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Review: ROBiTs

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Yes, that title is typed correctly.  I know.  It looks a bit disjointed.  But that’s fitting.  You see, you’re about to build some automatons with whatever parts you can grab from those just lying about the assembly room floor.  So, yeah, your robots will look a little patchwork.  OCD types – you are warned!

How To Play

Everyone needs a slave companion who can cook and clean and drive for them, right?  Well, now you can just build one!  In ROBiTs.  Players gather parts to assemble the best bot that they can construct.  There’s a possibility it may not look like much, but it will have it where it counts!

ROBiTs parts are represented by cards. There are seventy-five body parts – heads, torsos, legs and arms – in five colored suits of various quantity.  There are also sixteen special cards representing Sparkeez, Junk and an action called Overclock.  These are all shuffled and a number of rows per player, each with seven cards, are dealt to the table.  The first row is face up while ascending rows are face down.

On your turn you take any card from that assembly line.  If you take a face up card, you reveal the one in the column above it.  If you select an Overclock card, you draw the top two cards of the unused deck and choose one to keep.  After everyone collects seven cards, you assemble your bot with whatever parts you gathered.  A complete ROBiT requires five cards – one head, one torso, one pair of legs (depicted on a single card) and two arms.

ROBiTs score the aggregate value of their parts, even if incomplete.  Any surplus components are worthless, except the Sparkeez.  If your bot is complete, you may also score set bonuses if three or more pieces are of the same color suit, which award different points based on the suit.  Since you can only earn bonuses with completed automatons, you may need some Junk as spare parts.  Junk is worthless by itself, but counts as a wild part so that you can complete your ROBiT for its set requirements.

The most valuable ROBiT wins, no doubt performing any old menial chore that you program it to do. Just please keep it from evolving to sentient awareness…

Move it on down the line.

Domo Arigato?

ROBiTs – besides being difficult to frequently type – is a quick, streamlined, nuts-and-bolts (no pun intended) design that serves one purpose: an introduction to card drafting.  There’s little to no depth to it, really.  In fact, it’s so basic that I almost gave it our ‘K’ for kids rating, but I suppose it reaches a broader demographic scope.  All ages of new gamers can use accessible gateway titles and mechanism debuts.  That, and even kids will quickly move on from this bare offering.

The set-collection and scoring elements are mildly interesting.  There are fewer blue cards in the deck, so individually they’re the most valuable – three points each.  However, you earn less on blue set bonuses.  Meanwhile green components are exactly the opposite in all three characteristics – and worth only one point singly – while purple, pink and gold parts fall in between.  So if you’re trying to collect blue segments, but manage only four body sections, you’ll wind up with fifteen points.  Whereas if you can cobble together an entire green ROBiT you’ll earn twenty, even though green parts are cheaper individually.

Pretty in Pink!

So there is a push-your-luck aspect to the design – coupled with incomplete, yet developing, information – which creates some engagement.  It’s also compounded by the fact that the entire deck isn’t used in any one game.  So parts you need may not even exist in the assembly line.  It doesn’t make it frustrating, because the design is so quick and elementary.  However, I think that characteristic nixes this as even a filler option for more discerning gamers.

The Junk parts help to fill in missing sections in an effort to complete your bot so that you can count a set bonus.  However, Junk doesn’t count as part of any set in itself.  And there’s no guarantee enough will be out to meet the demand.  Or any.  Especially with fewer players as there are less cards in circulation.  Indeed, for that reason 4+ player sessions are more entertaining.  Those sessions increase the number of supplies available, while also heightening the competition over them.

Despite the mildly interesting push-your-luck set collection, there is nothing particularly unique here.  And that is the biggest issue.  ROBiTs is simply up against other popular and established gateway card drafting titles.  Designs like Sushi Go, Machi Koro and Tides of Time are just as accessible, but more compelling with a touch more intricacy.  In ROBiTs you lay out the number of specified rows, grab what you can and assemble a robot after collecting seven cards.  Again, it’s a really good introduction to the genre.  But it lacks staying power as anything than perhaps a family oriented filler.  Even then, there are more interesting options.

That’s right. A little bit of junk in the trunk is OK!

ROBiTs will have a short shelf life for individual gamers.  It’s a nice down-and-dirty introduction to card drafting with simple rules and fast play.  Alas, there are other options meeting that need that experienced gaming evangelists might already own, and would rather keep.  If you don’t have access to such a design, this is a cute-looking and cheap option to pick up.  Just know that once you use it to introduce the genre to new gamers with a couple of plays, they will quickly move on to more interesting titles.

 

Quick Simple Fun Games provided a copy of ROBiTs for this review.

No Domo Arigato

  • Rating 5.0
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Summary

PROS
Good intro to card drafting
Plays quickly

CONS
Not of much use beyond intro to card drafting
Over quickly

5.0 Unspectacular

I have lots of kids. Board games help me connect with them, while still retaining my sanity...relatively speaking.

Discussion1 Comment

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