Robo Rally

Wizards of the Coast, 1994, 2-8 players, no age range specified by I'd say 12 and up. In Robo Rally players play robots whose mission is to successfully navigate a nightmarish "factory floor" and touch all of the checkpoint flags on the board before any of the other robots. Movement is accomplished by drawing cards, each of which consists of a movement order (rotate right, rotate left, move X number of spaces forward, hold in place, etc). A turn consists of "programming" your robot to move by selecting five cards from your hand and laying them down in the order you want to execute the moves. Things get extremely complicated in a hurry because the board you are attempting to navigate is chock full of moving conveyor belts, obstacles and various traps that can mess you up in a big way. To make matters worse, each of the robots is equipped with a laser that they can fire at the others (robots so damaged can play fewer movement cards each turn).

My friends all love this game, but I can't stand it and have sworn off ever playing it again. Being a computer programmer by profession, you'd think I'd really dig this game, but it absolutely drives me nuts. I simply cannot visualize and hold in my mind the consequences of each of the movements and how it relates to the ever shifting floor spaces. Inevitably I will screw up and blunder into a bottomless pit or something. If you're good at that kind of thing, you'll probably have a good time with Robo Rally. Feeble-minded, non-Mensa persons such as myself should stick with Hungry Hungry Hippos and other less mentally challenging fare.

Robo Rally has had numerous expansion sets over the years, basically consisting of newer and more treacherous factory floor game boards. I guess WotC never was able to keep up with the demand for this game (miscalculating its cult appeal, I guess) and the game was reportedly woefully underprinted over the years. Consequently, a lot of these expansion sets are highly sought after and fetch big bucks on eBay. The ones that I know of are: Armed and Dangerous, Crash and Burn, Grand Prix, and Radioactive.

A revised version of Robo Rally was released under the Avalon Hill label in 2006. I don't know anything about it (because, dammit, I just don't care).

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