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Robo Rally (2016)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A simple review of RoboRally... or RoboRally 2? rss

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Ray
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So, Robo Rally 2016 huh? You are pondering/wondering if you should get a copy for yourself? Well, I read the rules and sleeved the game cards (a must I think), and then we (my friends and I) were ready to play our first games, so that is what we did... I bet you didn't see that one coming.


I'm not a die-hard fan or Robo Rally expert, but I have played (and own) all the earlier versions of Robo Rally. Needless to say I was quick to pick up that this new 2016 version of the game is different. In fact, I think they should have dropped the "016" in the "2016" and called it Robo Rally 2. Plain and simple, because of all the changes.

We played the 2016 version of the game as written with no attempts to adjust or change the game to match any of the older versions of the game or rules. We came to the quick conclusion that this is a different game. It is a more modern modified version of the old classic Robo Rally game. For me this newer 2016 version of the game has lost none of the theme, flavor, and fun, but I strongly feel that it should have been called Robo Rally 2.

The complaints I have read, like reading players that want Garfield's rules added back into the game seems to overlook the simple fact that this is not Robo Rally of the past. This is Robo Rally 2, and to be honest, so far I like this newer version of the game. Sure, its different from the older versions of the game, and I think that is what threw a lot of Robo Rally fans off. However, that is easily fixable because you could throw away all the new changes by getting a copy of the older rules and going back to the old game system, but you would only need to do this if you didn't already own the older versions of the game.

So, which is better? This newer 2016 version or the older versions of the game? Well, that is up to you to decide because not everyone likes the same games, but I can tell you that I like the new and older versions of the game. However, to me they are different games.

My Overall Opinion
As mentioned before, I'm not a die-hard Robo Rally fan, but I can see if you are a die-hard fan that you might find the changes disturbing or at least uneasy to accept. In that case, then I don't know if I would recommend you to get this newest version of Robo Rally. Is the newest version of Robo Rally a bad game? No, I don't think so. Just a different game, and if you have never played Robo Rally before, or if you have but want to try something different than what you already get with your older Robo Rally games, then check out the 2016 version. My only suggestion is to play the 2016 version of the game as written a few times first before you decide to change it back to match the older versions of the game.

My Biggest Complaints
When it comes to the rules and game components, the game is not perfect (what game is?), but some of my biggest issues I have with the 2016 version of the game are: 1) The check point tokens are too thin. 2) The energy cubes could have been a little bigger. 3) The cards are too flimsy and of non-standard size. The latter is the most important because they are not manufactured to last repeated handling/gameplay. Card sleeves or not, games that heavily utilize game cards should offer quality cards that will hold up to repeated handling.

The Miniatures
The game comes with miniatures that are already painted, and while nice, I'm indifferent about the game miniatures. I have nothing good or bad to say about them other than I'm glad they were not counters or simple game pawns. I know a lot of Robo Rally fans like the old metal miniatures, but of all the RoboRally miniatures produced for the game, I like the miniatures - and you get eight of them - that you got with the Avalon Hill edition of the game.

Board Elements with Checkpoints
One point of debate did come up during our games, and that is with the checkpoint5s and board elements. To be more specific, I am talking about the Lost Bearings map (see page 18). Two of the checkpoints are on push panel squares. We were going to play that the checkpoints override what is on the map, but then we thought about the maps that have checkpoints on conveyor belts. Clearly the checkpoint overriding of what is on the map will not be a sensible idea here. So, even though it is very difficult to see the push panels under the florescent-green checkpoint pieces we currently believe that the rule should be board element plus checkpoint for the square. We are pretty sure that is how it is supposed to be played, but has there been an official ruling on this yet?
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RayGuns wrote:
My Biggest Complaints
When it comes to the rules and game components, the game is not perfect (what game is?), but some of my biggest issues I have with the 2016 version of the game are: 1) The check point tokens are too thin. 2) The energy cubes could have been a little bigger. 3) The cards are too flimsy and of non-standard size. The latter is the most important because they are not manufactured to last repeated handling/gameplay. Card sleeves or not, games that heavily utilize game cards should offer quality cards that will hold up to repeated handling.

You said you'd tell us about the RULES and components, then listed three things about the components. Differences in the rules is what interests me, and while you hint that there are some you don't explain them in any detail. If you'd told me how the game plays differently than the original did, in detail, I'd have found your review far more useful.
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Don Jarmusch

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I appreciate your reasonable approach to this game. It is definitely a game that deserves to be played and judged on its own, rather than prejudging and assuming that a difference from the old game is automatically negative. I own and enjoy the original, but did find it hard to get to the table. I picked this up today from Target for $22, and played it twice with my two teenage boys, both experienced gamers. We enjoyed it on its own merits and thought of a few friends(casual gamers)who would probably enjoy this over the original. It is streamlined, easier to teach and plays more quickly than the original as well. That is not to say that there are not things about the original that we miss(Damage building and locking your registers was cool and thematic, for example). I would agree with you that if readers are on the fence, the should give it a try. If the very idea of changes turns your stomach, stick with the old version.
One correction, though. I'm looking at the box right now and counting only 6 robots, not 8. While we understand that this could keep production values down, we really miss the option to play with 7 or 8. The more crowded the board, the more chaotic and fun, in our opinion. Pushing other bots, for example, is much less likely with fewer players. Oh well! Still not a bad incarnation of an excellent game.
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Ray
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Sphere wrote:

You said you'd tell us about the RULES and components, then listed three things about the components. Differences in the rules is what interests me, and while you hint that there are some you don't explain them in any detail. If you'd told me how the game plays differently than the original did, in detail, I'd have found your review far more useful.

Good point, but I didn't say in my simple review I would go into details about the rules and components. I mostly wanted to point out to others that this 2016 version a different game. The game should have been titled Robo Rally 2.

Basically, if you have never played Robo Rally, then I recommend checking out this new 2016 version. If the idea of making any changes to the game upsets you, then I would pass on getting it and stick with the old version.

DJDJ wrote:
One correction, though. I'm looking at the box right now and counting only 6 robots, not 8.

No correction needed. That was in reference to the AH edition of the game. But you are correct, this new 2016 version has only 6.

I can understand why they reduced the number of players from 8 to 6 because how often do you play Robo Rally with 8? I have only played it once using the AH edition of the game, and to be honest, maybe 8 was too many players. Some of the best games I have had were with 3 to 6 players.
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Chuck Harrison
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We got this in Target's B2G1 sale this week, and played it last night (2 player). We've had the original WOTC Robo Rally and expansions for over 20 years, but haven't bought any of the intervening editions. I really liked the new rules, and mostly liked the new components. Buying power-ups from the market worked well, at the end we each had managed to pick up 5-6 upgrades, but without the old standard "sit and spin" on a double wrench that slowed you down. We earned upgrades by racing rather than by sitting.
The miniatures are fine, we never painted our originals so these certainly look better. My wife usually played Twitch, so she was disappointed that he was gone...but she was so caught up in the new painted miniatures that she didn't notice until we finished and we were comparing versions. The plastic checkpoint flags are a big improvement over the original flat counters, but I understand that change happened years ago. The checkpoint chits are just regular card stock, but considering our old version didn't even have a way of tracking how many checkpoints you had reached I don't mind.
However, the programing cards are tiny. It was nice that you start with a 20 card deck because that is a bit easier to shuffle than the deck-builder standard of 10 cards. But as the game progressed we found that we were "blessed" to have one of the copies of the game that has slightly different sized cards between the regular cards and the damage/special cards. That made shuffling very annoying once we had a mix. We may resort to Artscow to make bigger cards (and put indices in the corners). Or we may just be lazy (we never got around to painting our original miniatures in 20+ years).
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Randal Divinski
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RayGuns wrote:
The complaints I have read, like reading players that want Garfield's rules added back into the game seems to overlook the simple fact that this is not Robo Rally of the past. This is Robo Rally 2, and to be honest, so far I like this newer version of the game.

What I think you may have missed is that Richard Garfield was lead designer in this "version 2" but that Hasbro did not use several of his proposed rule changes. He blogged about what he proposed, and what they ended up doing.

So, many of the variant discussions are about implementing Garfield's complete 2.0 ruleset as opposed to the published (partial) 2.0 ruleset.
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Kevin Jonas

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randiv wrote:
RayGuns wrote:
The complaints I have read, like reading players that want Garfield's rules added back into the game seems to overlook the simple fact that this is not Robo Rally of the past. This is Robo Rally 2, and to be honest, so far I like this newer version of the game.

What I think you may have missed is that Richard Garfield was lead designer in this "version 2" but that Hasbro did not use several of his proposed rule changes. He blogged about what he proposed, and what they ended up doing.

So, many of the variant discussions are about implementing Garfield's complete 2.0 ruleset as opposed to the published (partial) 2.0 ruleset.

As the OP said, it isn't a bad game. After the first couple play throughs it was ok but felt off. Besides some of the components being crappy, which I can forgive if the game play is good. Being a good game should be first. Then we found out what Richard Garfield submitted to Hasbro was a little different than what Hasbro put out. So we tried the intended designers rules. We found them to be better.

Still, the Hasbro rules aren't bad, but I would give the intended design rules a try also.
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RayGuns wrote:
Sphere wrote:

You said you'd tell us about the RULES and components, then listed three things about the components. Differences in the rules is what interests me, and while you hint that there are some you don't explain them in any detail. If you'd told me how the game plays differently than the original did, in detail, I'd have found your review far more useful.

Good point, but I didn't say in my simple review I would go into details about the rules and components. I mostly wanted to point out to others that this 2016 version a different game. The game should have been titled Robo Rally 2.

Basically, if you have never played Robo Rally, then I recommend checking out this new 2016 version. If the idea of making any changes to the game upsets you, then I would pass on getting it and stick with the old version.

I own the original Robo Rally, but whether I would be upset by changes to the rules would depend on the nature of those changes. Perhaps somebody will write a review that explains what those changes are.
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Mike M
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Richard Garfield's explanation of what changed in the new edition (and why)

See above thread. I never played the original but I really like this version (after sleeving the crappy programming cards).

Regarding less robots (6 instead of 8), the boards are also a bit smaller, which encourages more running into each other, I suppose.
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Ray
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randiv wrote:
RayGuns wrote:
The complaints I have read, like reading players that want Garfield's rules added back into the game seems to overlook the simple fact that this is not Robo Rally of the past. This is Robo Rally 2, and to be honest, so far I like this newer version of the game.

What I think you may have missed is that Richard Garfield was lead designer in this "version 2" but that Hasbro did not use several of his proposed rule changes. He blogged about what he proposed, and what they ended up doing.

So, many of the variant discussions are about implementing Garfield's complete 2.0 ruleset as opposed to the published (partial) 2.0 ruleset.


Is there a link to download the full complete 2.0 ruleset that Richard Garfield put together for the newer 2016 game? Better yet, will he be adding them to the "files" section?
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sirpoonga wrote:
randiv wrote:
RayGuns wrote:
The complaints I have read, like reading players that want Garfield's rules added back into the game seems to overlook the simple fact that this is not Robo Rally of the past. This is Robo Rally 2, and to be honest, so far I like this newer version of the game.

What I think you may have missed is that Richard Garfield was lead designer in this "version 2" but that Hasbro did not use several of his proposed rule changes. He blogged about what he proposed, and what they ended up doing.

So, many of the variant discussions are about implementing Garfield's complete 2.0 ruleset as opposed to the published (partial) 2.0 ruleset.

As the OP said, it isn't a bad game. After the first couple play throughs it was ok but felt off. Besides some of the components being crappy, which I can forgive if the game play is good. Being a good game should be first. Then we found out what Richard Garfield submitted to Hasbro was a little different than what Hasbro put out. So we tried the intended designers rules. We found them to be better.

Still, the Hasbro rules aren't bad, but I would give the intended design rules a try also.

I struggle to understand how Richard's intended method of getting upgrades (random at the start, and buy random off the top of the deck), is in anyway better than the market method Hasbro included in the final rules. Having a choice and chance to buy the type of upgrade you need when you need it is a HUGE improvement in game play, IMO.
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mvettemagred wrote:
I struggle to understand how Richard's intended method of getting upgrades (random at the start, and buy random off the top of the deck), is in anyway better than the market method Hasbro included in the final rules. Having a choice and chance to buy the type of upgrade you need when you need it is a HUGE improvement in game play, IMO.


I think they both have merits and drawbacks. The shop seemed to slow gameplay down quite a bit, especially with worrying about priority for buying and the rules for the way it gets flushed/refilled.

Garfield's method introduced quite a bit of randomness, though, as you said.

Last time we played we dealt 3 cards at the beginning, per Garfield's rules, but then we did a draft (pick one and pass, etc), which evened it out pretty well. Next time we might even deal 4 and have everyone discard the last one. I also want to experiment with amount of starting energy and possibly refilling battery spaces to make buying new cards a bit easier.
 
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Steven Packard
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mvettemagred wrote:
sirpoonga wrote:
randiv wrote:
RayGuns wrote:
The complaints I have read, like reading players that want Garfield's rules added back into the game seems to overlook the simple fact that this is not Robo Rally of the past. This is Robo Rally 2, and to be honest, so far I like this newer version of the game.

What I think you may have missed is that Richard Garfield was lead designer in this "version 2" but that Hasbro did not use several of his proposed rule changes. He blogged about what he proposed, and what they ended up doing.

So, many of the variant discussions are about implementing Garfield's complete 2.0 ruleset as opposed to the published (partial) 2.0 ruleset.

As the OP said, it isn't a bad game. After the first couple play throughs it was ok but felt off. Besides some of the components being crappy, which I can forgive if the game play is good. Being a good game should be first. Then we found out what Richard Garfield submitted to Hasbro was a little different than what Hasbro put out. So we tried the intended designers rules. We found them to be better.

Still, the Hasbro rules aren't bad, but I would give the intended design rules a try also.

I struggle to understand how Richard's intended method of getting upgrades (random at the start, and buy random off the top of the deck), is in anyway better than the market method Hasbro included in the final rules. Having a choice and chance to buy the type of upgrade you need when you need it is a HUGE improvement in game play, IMO.


I think it's kind of funny that Hasbro's take on dealing with the option cards is very similar to how the option cards are done in King of Tokyo -- which was designed by Richard Garfield.
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