Robo Rally is Back!

Robo Rally is finally back in stores. Apparently it has been out since last summer, though I’ve only discovered it last weekend. If you’ve never played Robo Rally: Each player ‘programs’ a robot that needs to capture one or more flags on a factory floor. Each turn, five movements/rotations are programmed, and the robots then execute each program step simultaneously. There are all sorts of obstacles on the floors (traps, lasers, conveyer belts etc.) and the robots also interfere with each other, so there’s plenty of room for surprises, in particular since the program can no longer be modified once the robots begin executing the first instruction 🙂

The new edition is fully compatible with the old one and its extensions, all the new rules are optional. The robots are plastic now, but they look very nice and finally have a clearly visible direction indicator. I am actually not sure if the boards themselves have changed since I’ve always played with the ‘Armed and Dangerous’ extension mixed in.

New rules and features:

  • No more virtual robots at the beginning of a game: A dedicated ‘docking bay’ board is put next to the regular playing boards and has individual starting points for each robot.
  • The last player still programming their robot gets a 30-second limit to finish programming (a sand timer comes with the game).
  • There is a program sheet for each robot to hold its current program, damage tokens, life tokens and power down marker.

The whole thing comes with a new course manual that contains a selection of courses sorted by difficulty and length. While this is a great addition for the days you just don’t feel creative to design your own course, the manual itself looks a lot less robust than the old one and seems a bit chaotic. People who have never seen the game played before will probably have a harder time understanding how it works. So if you are planning to give the game to someone who has never played, be sure to play a game with them, or at least point them to the web site which includes tutorials. Same goes if you are a new player yourself.

Anyway, it’s really cool that Robo Rally is finally available again, so if you always wanted your own copy or are searching for the perfect geek game, go out and get it. Oh, and while you’re buying robot games, you might want to check out Ricochet Robots (online version here) as well.