One book to rule them all: week May 8 - 14
Raising Robots is a game about assembling cute robots using familiar mechanisms like action selection and engine building. A combination that is very hard to resist for someone like me.
The game is played over eight rounds. You have a board, 5 phase cards, a deck of 8 energy cards, class and inventor card and a hand of 5 robots. There’s also a central board to track selected phases and shared energy. Class cards are your scoring requirements at the end of the game (on top of any scoring on your board), you can acquire max 3 of them, and inventor card provides unique asymmetric abilities.
A round has three steps: preparation, phases and end. In preparation reveal 2 cards from energy deck and assign a phase card to each. Energy cards can have shared energy you put on central board.
Phases are played in order and you can perform them only if you have energy (either by selecting it, or due to central board providing energy). Each phase has associated actions based on energy requirements (for example you can get a resource before activating a row of robots). Phases are:
Upgrade - pay cost to improve action and receive upgrade token (these can improve robot actions or inventor ability), you have max 2 per upgrade type available during game, choose carefully
Assemble - pay cost to play a robot from hand to your board
Design/Fabricate/Recycle - perform actions up to your energy level and activate all robots in respective row from left to right (do actions printed on their cards).
At the end of a round you discard energy cards (visibly, not a hidden information), take back used phase cards (you can use the same again next round), clear central board and move round marker. After four rounds reshuffle energy cards and receive new class card.
To simulate multiplayer interaction, you use two “dummy” players. Deal extra set of five phase cards face down with energy cubes on top (1 on card 1 and 3, 2 on card 2 and 4) and each round reveal two. Last phase card won’t be used. In the end calculate scores and check against a table to see how well you did.
My thoughts are revealed
Very clear with a lot of examples and clarifications, didn’t find anything that would be unclear or potentially problematic. Frequently missed rules, FAQ and icon index are all provided.
I am a fan of engine building games and cute robots. This game speaks to me in many ways. In its core, there are very simple rules and if you’ve played Race for the Galaxy or Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, it will feel very familiar. However this one seems to aim for a bit more complexity with all the interconnected mechanisms.
The graphic design helps with keeping track of everything in a very clear way. It also surprised me they managed solo without simulating opponents, but just providing the interaction with partly predictable results.
I’m very intrigued by this game. One beef though, I don’t appreciate sleeves being auto included with the deluxe version.
Raising Robots has launched on Kickstarter and the campaign will run for 22 more days. Both retail and deluxe editions and a mini-expansion (included with deluxe) are available.