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On a distant planet that serves as the Empire's grid-widget factory, the various control computers went about their daily routine. These sophisticated computers were fully equipped with standard intelligence modules to handle any situation which might come up at the factory. Unfortunately, it was this intelligence that made it difficult to bear the months of routine maintenance which bored the computers to electronic tears. For years they had combated boredom by diversions, such as chess. But after several bagillion draws during the last tournament, the computers concluded they were too evenly matched.
Then it happened...
An archaic janitor robot's radio contact died. Using its rudimentary programming, the robot accidentally wandered into a grid manufacturing center. There it was spun by conveyor belts and fried by industrial lasers, and (as its last circuits blew trying to avoid a bottomless heating shaft) the robot got crushed into a molecular wafer by a widget compressor.
The computers were amused.
Twelve microseconds later, they held the first "robo-rally," a race across a deadly, ever-changing factory floor between eager robots with intelligence rivaling that of the average door knob.
As one of the main planetary control computers, you oversee the operation of numerous small robots. You issue them commands, but you must keep issuing them commands as they have very short memories.
But now it's party time! You and your fellow control computers have decided to race these robots across some of the factory floors. But it wouldn't be fun if you could program these robots exactly according to plan, would it?
The rally relies on both luck and skill as you draw from a deck of program cards to move and turn the robots. You start each turn with nine program cards for each robot you control, but you only need to use five of them. The five you choose and the order in which you program will decide the fate of your robot as it races towards the next flag in the rally.
But beware: obstacles and other robots have a nasty way of interfering with even the best program. Some of the obstacles on the factory floor are definitely harmful, such as pits and laser beams, but some can be quite useful, such as conveyor belts which can move robots further along course... or further off course!