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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  RoboRally
Series:  RoboRally
Genre:  Maze, Racing
Format:  Board Games
Other:  Available on iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch


List Price: $50.00
Your Price: $39.99
(20% savings!)
(Worth 3,999 Funagain Points!)

This item is In Stock []

Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Family Game Nominee, 2007

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 30+ minutes 2-8

Designer(s): Richard Garfield

Manufacturer(s): Hasbro, Avalon Hill, Wizards of the Coast

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Product Description

RoboRally is a fast-moving robot race. Each player tries to be the first to cross a series of checkpoints by maneuvering a robot across the floor of the "Grid Widget Factory." The course is laced with perils such as lasers, crushers, missile launchers, and conveyer belts.

The 2005 edition of RoboRally includes new design and play mechanics that differ from the game's original 1994 release, but it's still completely compatible with the first edition.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Family Game Nominee, 2007

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Richard Garfield

  • Manufacturer(s): Hasbro, Avalon Hill, Wizards of the Coast

  • Year: 2005

  • Players: 2 - 8

  • Time: 30 or more minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Est. time to learn: 20-30 minutes

  • Weight: 1,556 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #212

  • Language Requirements: Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is a domestic item. Game components are printed in English.


  • 8 Plastic Robots
  • 4 two-sided Factory Floor Boards
  • 1 two-sided Docking Bay Board
  • 2 Factory Floor Guides
  • 1 Rulebook containing
    • 10 pages of rules
    • 24 pages of racecourse layouts
  • 8 Program Sheets
  • 26 Option Cards
  • 84 Program Cards
  • 8 Flags with Number Stickers
  • 1 Sand Timer
  • 40 Life Tokens
  • 60 Damage Tokens
  • 8 Power Down Tokens
  • 8 Archive Markers
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.1 in 31 reviews

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February 27, 2008

I learned this game through a member of my old gaming group. I never knew this game was a re-release, but I absolutely love this game. It's a beer and pretzel game, but very fun, and unlike a lot of other games, the more you add, the more hilarious and entertaining the game becomes. the bumping, pushing, shooting and cursing get great with all the players you can fit in the game. A great way to sit back and get an easy laugh with friends. A must buy for any gamer!

Perfect merger of theme and play
August 04, 2005

First of all, the mechanism of the game (movement cards in 5 registers) perfectly matches the theme of the game: Looking at the arrows and movement instructions on each card and then figuring out how that could move your robot in real life is basically the same thing as simple programming. You really are "programming" these little robots.

Second of all, the game is a really wonderful puzzle and mind-sharpener for children. My 7-year-old will move his hand in twisting motions and figure out what his program will do to his robot, and many times he'll be right. It's really making him smarter!

This is a unique, cute game that is fun to play and even believable: Surely there will be a computer version of this one day.

Reprogrammed RoboRally Rules!
July 30, 2005

I have been a fan of RoboRally ever since a friend introduced me to those intrepid robots two years ago. The only problem was trying to get the original game and the expansion packs without breaking the bank on eBay since the game has been out of print for so long.

When I heard that Avalon Hill was re-releasing the game, I was one of the first in line to get the new game, even though I already had quite a Robo collection going. To all of you RoboRally regulars out there, believe me, the new version is actually an improvement (which I didn't believe possible).

The little things make the revised game work so well: the launch pads, the programming timer, the new boards, and especially the invaluable suggested game board layouts. Now you can actually play a game with three flags and not have it last for three hours or more! I guess all the years of all those regulars playing the game and offering their advice has paid off -- now we can play a classic game in a much more streamlined manner, and it looks great too!

Thanks, Avalon Hill, for re-figuring a wonderful old game and making it run like new again.

The new RoboRally - A first look
July 19, 2005
I've been a fan of RoboRally since I first played on the giant board at Origins many years ago (does anybody remember the 18" tall Twonky and Twitch?). I bought the 2nd edition, and all the expansions. So I was very excited when I heard the new edition was coming out. So excited, that I felt I had to let people know what I thought of it.

First the graphics. Impressive as always. The box is beautiful (though I do miss Phil Foglio's art a wee bit, Peter Bergting keeps the spirt alive). The boards are clean and clear. The card backs are beautiful - more on the cards in a bit.

The Robots. "Prepainted Plastic Robots". A bit disappointment here. The robots are smaller -- and the painting is a simple ink wash over the grey "metalic color" plastic. From the company who does D&D and Star Wars miniatures I simply expected a lot better. The bases are nice -- very clear as to which way the robots face. The new sculpts are a bit smaller -- the only one that I think is an improvement is Spin Bot. And why did they shuffle the names of some of them. Trundle became Hulk X90, Hulk X90 became Squash, and Squash became Trundle. A bit of a disconnect for those of us with earlier editions, though new players won't notice.

Plastic Flags. Fantastic. These are simply wonderful. 3d so you can easily see them, and clear so you can see what is under them. I love these. And giving us 8 allows for advanced players to get as wild as they want.

Program cards. Nice backs, nice layout. The only problem is with the move cards. All the cards have an icon in the upper right corner as to what it does (like the suite of a normal playing cards), but the move cards don't have the move value (1, 2, 3). This makes them a bit harder to keep in your hand and program from, since you have to look at the middle of the card to see how far the move is. I'm already considering writing in a 1, 2 or 3 as appropriate on mine.

Option cards. Nicely done. For old time players, they swapped out the Turret and Shield for the Armed and Dangerous cards Crab Legs and Dual Processor. This removes any "turn programmed" options from this basic set -- keeping it simple for new players. All the rest are back, even the much maligned Robot Arm. The art and layout for these is nice, though art for the Mini Howitzer misses the mark. Also, there is nothing to indicate which set these belong to (as compared to 2nd edition and Armed and Dangerous), which doesn't bode well for expansions.

Tokens. These are great, and very sturdy. Full color, and a good size. And about time they added a power down token. Also an archive marker for each robot -- always good to keep track of where you last archived. Nice improvement.

Docking Bay. Good addition -- I like this. I played against Richard Garfield at Origins this past year, and when discussing this he said he always hated virtual robots. This eliminates them, and gives an interesting and fair way to start the races.

Factory Floor Reference Sheet. Nicely done, simple clear explanations of the floor elements.

Player Program Sheets. Fantastic addition. I have seen at least 3 fan variations over the years -- it is nice they have finally added this to the game itself. The program sheets have places to put program cards, damage tokens, life tokens and a powerdown indicator. In addition they have a turn summary -- nice for new players. This is a much needed addition.

Timer. Years ago, I acted as the timer for the National Championships at Origins. Not always needed, but it does keep the game going. The idea of only turning on the 30 second timer when there is only one player left is excellent -- it doesn't rush the game, but keeps it moving.

Rulebook -- Beautifully done. Simple, clear rule explanations. I did find it a bit humorous that the example pictures used the old icons for Twonky and Zoom Bot -- even though the new Zoom Bot looks nothing at all like the one in the examples (since his entire upper body is gone). Aside from this trivial point, the example illustrations are clear and concise.

Course Manual. 34 predetermined courses. A really great addition. From the fast and simple Checkmate to the Day of the SuperBot and Moving Targets for advanced players -- these look to be great fun and a good way to get new players up and running, and to keep experts challenged.

So now the boards. I was a bit disappointed in the straight cardboard boards, as opposed to the heavier boards from earlier editions. While these don't appear to be flimsy and should hold up well enough, they are just a simple disappointment as compared to the previous editions. Having two sides to them is a nice idea -- however it would be great if they were made available separately so that we could build some of the expert courses without buying an entire new set.

Of the 8 'new' boards, 4 are actually from the previous 2nd edition. Island is a direct reprint, while Cross, Exchange and Maelstrom have some minor differences (an additional wrench space, a wall moved here or there). At least these 'older' ones are all on the backs of the new ones. Spin Zone, Vault, Chess and Chop Shop all look to be a lot of fun, and I look forward to playing on them for many years to come.

The graphics on all the boards, as I mentioned above, and clear and concise. Some are much improved, such as red gears for left, and green gears for right. The double arrows on the blue fast conveyers are also a nice reminder of how they work. And changing the double wrench to a wrench and hammer was something I didn't notice immediately, but should make game play a bit more interesting (what, I can't heal two points any more?) The pushers are much clearer as well, and the walls of the pit heading down are a nice touch.

Gameplay has been improved. For this starter set, they have gone back to the basic board elements -- conveyers (both normal and fast), walls, lasers, gears, pushers, pits and repair spaces. Sorry folks -- no crushers -- yet. This will help to get new players into the game, as there is less to learn up front before playing. Eliminating the virtual bots, along with rules for when two bots are destroyed with the same archive point, should provide for a bit more carnage and mayhem from the start -- and robot interaction is always one of the best points in the game. There are enough board layouts in the book to keep players happy for a while, and advice on avoiding the "board of doom" that can so often pop up (and not many people enjoy a 4 to 5 hour slog-fest, where you never manage to reach all of the flags).

Of course, all the boards are compatible with the previous editions, so those of us who are veterans have simply added to our libraries of widget factory destruction, while the new players have plenty to keep them busy.

Overall, a great update to a fantastic game. While the boards and minis are a bit disappointing, the playing aids and accessories are a fantastic new edition.

I give this and A-, and have just one question -- When is the first expansion coming out?

Re-released at long last.
July 18, 2005
This is a new release of an old fantastic game. If you don't own any prior edition, just buy the game already and skim the review.

Why you should buy this game if you've never heard of it.
1. It's fun. Your robot moves on a board. Even though the board looks static, when combined with the way your robots are allowed to move the game will be different every time, even if you choose to setup the boards and pieces the exact same way.
2. It's fast. Each person is dealt cards to program moves into their robots. All players play simultaneously so there is no waiting around for turns.
3. It's frantic. You get to shoot at your friends, push them off course, push them into pits, etc.

Why you should buy this if you have an old edition:
1. New start-up rules. There is a half-size starter board. Each robot now gets a pole position to start, no more piling cardboard tokens.
2. There always would be one pokey person taking forever to program their robot. The new edition includes a 30-second sand timer. The last person left to program gets until the timer runs out to finish.
3. New boards! Fans of the previous version know there were 20 unique boards across all the expansions. This version includes 4 double-sided boards. One side contains an 'old' board, one side contains a board created for the re-release.
4. Plastic checkpoint flags. These florescent yellow transparent flags are the best. Since they are transparent, you can see what type of tile they cover. (i.e. lasers, conveyor belts, etc.)
5. Course layouts in the rulebook include custom rules. (One course might define the objective to wipe out the other bots, one course defines a 'no power-down rule', etc.)
6. The program sheets/damage tokens/ life tokens make this game stand out more than prior versions.
7. The board element design looks nicer than before.
8. The option card color quality looks nicer than before.

The downsides of this version include:
1. The boards are thinner, of lower quality than the previous edition.
2. The robots are now plastic instead of metal.
3. Some of the board elements do not exist in this set, probably removed for simplicity. The crushers that smash on specific phases is the most notable piece missing.

Rated on its own, the game would rate a 5. Compared with the original, it would drop to a 4, based on the downsides mentioned. I'm treating it as a 'new' game, and giving it a 5.

Competitive geek heaven
December 29, 2003

Given an evening alone with my wife, with my son over at a friend's house, I'm as likely to suggest Robo Rally as a way to spend the evening as anything else.

I'll never understand why WOTC stopped producing this, and I dread the day when my copy wears out.

This game definitely has a limited target audience. But I've never met a fan who wasn't rabid about it. It's a thinking game, like chess, or Risk, with a bit of lady luck thrown in. But it takes a different kind of mind to really get into the game.

It's not for everybody, but if you *enjoy* coding HTML in notepad instead of some web-page-spewer, if you *enjoy* writing quick-sorts, but are still willing to use a bubble where appropriate, if you *enjoy* taking things apart to see how they work, this is the game for you.

I only wish I could find more people to play against.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
I have NEVER played a better game in my life.
December 04, 2003

Humor. Strategy. Intellegence. This game is painfully amusing, addictive, and in severely high demmand as it is out of print. The company with the current rights to this game are either blithering idiots for not releasing it again, or mindbogglingly cruel.

If you get your hands on a copy of this game, you are a very lucky person. Send it to me if you don't like it.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
C/S, MIS, I/S, I/T - Geek Must Have...
March 03, 2003

If you're like me, you know how computers work at the hardware level - processor, RAM, Registers - this game is up there with the best of them. Program your robot to navigate the course and interact with the board elements in real time. Gears, belts, lasers, and your competitive robots will interfere with your program as it is fully autonomous - not remote controlled. Load the program and watch the metal fly!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Terry
Robotic chaos - You'll love it!
February 24, 2003

This game is one of the best games ever made. If you like zany, hair-pulling action, this is the game. Make one slight mistake, and you'll get crushed or accidently push your bot off the side of the world. This game is not for the timid. It is for smart players that like a real challenge.

Also has many alternate rule variations.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
The original Battle-Bots
January 24, 2001

RoboRally is a fun game with a bit of history behind it. If it weren't for this game, we would never have had the Magic: the Gathering craze, much less the Pokemon phenomenon. Designer Richard Garfield approached a little game company named Wizards of the Coast and asked if they wanted to produce his game, RoboRally. While they were interested, they could not afford to produce it and suggested that he design a game that was portable, fast-playing, and suited to play at game and sci-fi/fantasy conventions. Dr. Garfield went home and came back some time later with the design of Magic: the Gathering. They produced it, it was a sudden smash success, and Wizards suddenly had the money to produce RoboRally....

The game concerns programming robots from a selection of cards you receive each turn. Damaged robots receive fewer cards. The controller uses five of these cards to program his next moves, trying to maneuver his little robot across a littered factory floor from rally flag to rally flag. First robot to complete the circuit wins, but oh, how difficult a task that can be!

Robots move semi-simultaneously. Each player reveals their next queued card and the moves are resolved in the order of their listed card precedence. Robots can be bumped into pits, knocked onto conveyer belts, turned on giant gears, and will generally wind up where they ought not to be. There are pushers and lasers and other nasty effects on the factory floor itself. A robot's life is not a happy one.

Since the robots' moves are planned out in advance, and are resolved from the standpoint of the robot, players turn and shift in their seats as they program their cards, in a squirming dance affectionately known as the RoboRally Shuffle. This is a game that rewards a grasp of spatial relationships.

The original Wizards version of the game had lots of chrome that didn't add that much to gameplay, but the Amigo version strips it down to a much more approachable level. Players desiring more complexity can buy the expansion for it, and there is a possibility that Amigo will issue even more expansions in the future. This is a fun, goofy game, and is highly recommended.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Fun If You Set It Up Well
January 05, 2000

I agree with the comment below about needing at least 4 players for a good game. If it's taking too long, you've probably put the flags in places which are too hard to reach (I was in a 9 player game with a flag in a tough corner, and robots just crowded around, grinding each other to death in the nearby laser beams). Put them out in the open and make sure the route doubles back on itself enough so, if a leader gets way out in front, the others have a chance to chew him up.

Another modification to try is dealing everyone 3 option cards at the beginning of the game and letting them keep one or two; that way a lucky player who gets a good option early won't have as much of an advantage.

We also found it easier to ignore the limits on how many times you could die. Dieing itself is enough of a penalty.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Paul
Maddening Excitement
December 20, 1999

Never the right combination of cards in your hand!

Always just 1 turn away from that guy in the lead!

Too close to that conveyor belt!

Watch out for that pit! GAH!

Buy the game, get some friends, but don't get too drunk - it's frustrating enough as it is!

Program your little chunk of metal to perform wonders. At least that's what they seemed like before that little r2d2 ripoff pushed you onto that moving floor...

Great game with any number of players. First expansion is excellent - variable game length and complexity by the board setup.

You cannot ask for more silliness.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
great fun!
February 04, 1999

This past year I was introduced to RoboRally and its expansions and have quickly become its number 1 fan in our gaming group. The basic concept of reaching the flag first is easy to grasp for beginners but getting there is the fun!

I agree with other reviewers that setting a time limit to 'program' (organizing the movement cards passed out randomly into some kind of motion towards the flag) greatly speeds the game and adds fun as small mistakes intensify quickly. I would recommend the Armed and Dangerous expansion strongly as the number and type of option cards add excitement to the game. You must watch for other players' widgets (they can move you and damage you with lasers), game board mechanics such as conveyers and pits, and options such as land mines and ooze. This game takes a long time to play and needs at least 4-6 players to maximize the fun.

I have never won at this game and my widget has been destroyed in every possible manner (falling into pits, getting crushed and lasered, and even blowing myself up with the 'big one') but I still love this game!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Watch out for the… whoops!
July 31, 2010

This “puzzle” type game is for the light-hearted only. If you’re easily upset by an unforeseen force ruining your entire strategy and thus making you lose the game, you won’t like Robo Rally.

However, if you can deal with a healthy dose of strategy, the occasional vindictive players and out-of-your-control luck then buy Robo Rally. Bonus: You get to be a robot and shoot lasers at your fellow players. Who doesn’t like that?

Mechanics: All robots start at one end of the board and are tasked with capturing the flag. You are dealt a series of command cards to control which direction the robot will move. On the board there are moving conveyer belts and pitfalls (which you’ll want to avoid!) While you control your own robot, you cannot control what your opponents are doing. As you race toward the flag, you can be bumped and laser- blasted by your opponents. Occasionally you’ll get knocked out of alignment so far that you’ll get pushed into one of those dreaded pitfalls!

The more players (2-8) the more chaotic (and fun) the game becomes. I suggest ditching the timer for the first several rounds of play so newbies can get into the swing of things.

Pro’s: It’s a different game every time. The equipment for your robot is fun and keep the game fresh (and usually unbalanced). Keep the atmosphere light and everyone will have fun. Amusing concept. Writers were creative with descriptions of the robots.

Con’s: We’ve never had the patience for the medium or long length games. Even the simplistic maps can take 1-2 hours with a full house. Also, a slight misunderstanding of the rules can ruin the game for a newbie—Make sure everyone understands how the room actions affect the robots.

The price tag is high, but that’s because there’s a lot included in the box. You’ll get a lot of entertainment from the game.

Note: If you are getting bored with the short-length boards, or finding the players never land on the equipment, just randomly re-arrange the flag positions! It’s a whole new robot game! ~Lou Rocco Centrella

RoboRally: A Quick Review
May 23, 2006


The new Avalon Hill has recently re-released a range of classic games with improved rules and components. Roborally was one of the first games to receive this treatment, and the new version has turned out brilliantly.

Roborally is a game designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of the original Magic the Gathering. It is a game about programming your robot then watching the chaos unfold, and what chaos! This is a very easy game to teach, learn and play, and is always great fun. At the beginning of a turn you will be dealt a hand of cards, using these cards you must program your robot’s movement for the turn, taking into account such board features as conveyer belts, lasers and bottomless pits. The object is to race your robot around and be the first to have ‘touched’ all the flags (which will vary in location and number depending on the map you use).

One of the best ways to play this game is by using a time limit everyone must abide by – ie: during the programming phase everyone must have their robots programmed in X amount of time. Using this optional rule means that every player will be under pressure to get their move programmed quickly, and this will increase the tension – and fun – of the game considerably.

Roborally is a great game to watch as well as play, watching what happens after a robot turns left when the player thought it would turn right is hilarious – if you aren’t that player. Bumping and shoving are big parts of the game as well, having your robot shoved one square out of the way will mean that the entire programmed movement is out – who knows where the little thing will end up!

Roborally comes with all the components you need to play, four double sided maps, flags, robots, damage markers (lots of them), life tokens (lots of them too), program cards, option cards, and a colourful rule book and course book – which has a heap of suggested maps.

One of the best things about Roborally is that the game is so easy to modify, if you want to make your own variation of a rule you can easily, there are also a ton of users who do the same – and their fun, and funny, suggestions can be found on the Avalon Hill website or other gaming related sites like Board Game Geek. Roborally is a brilliant game to play with between four to eight friends while you are having a couple of drinks, it is engaging (without being too tactical), and great fun.

Great.. but help with the rules
February 18, 2004

We love Roborally and would recommend it to any serious gamer, perhaps less for a casual gamer. It can, however, suffer from the much discussed 'runaway winner' syndrome and can run longer than planned if not properly set up. We have found the following house rules solve all problems: 1) Choose four flags and have the race course roughly loop back and forth across itself to maximize player interaction. 2) place flags in open areas to avoid ugly jam-ups 3) There will be four legs in the race, the first leg is a 'warm-up' and will be untimed. Once a player hits the first flag, they have two minutes to program moves until they hit the second flag. On reaching the second flag, they have 1.5 minutes, and on reaching the third, they receive only a minute. This provides a major 'catch-up' factor as extremely precise players cannot spend forever looking for the perfect move.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Robo Rally - still going strong.
December 09, 2002

Honestly, I can not believe that I have not written this review sooner. I first played Robo Rally back in 1995. Now, almost 8 years and countless games later, it is even more fun then the first time.

There is not much to be written about this game that hasnt already been printed. Robo Rally is a game that has stood the test of time and never looses its playability or fun factor. The limited number of sets available these days is a testament to this. Since it went out of print, even the used copies are hard to come by. No one wants to part with this classic series. If you have a chance to buy the Rally and its expansions, purchase them by all means, you will not be disappointed.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Chris G
the best, as long as you can grasp the concept
August 23, 2002

this is one of the greatest games i've ever played. the turns are set up by each player in a way that reminds me of the robotic arms that were around when i was a kid. first, you tell the robot eveything it has to do, and then it starts executing your orders. many people have trouble with the turning rules, but it's often fun to watch them run themselves into the abyss. this game has a definite cut-throat quality to it, as everyone has the option of destroying the other players. if people are easily angered, maybe you should play something else with them.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Wonderful Artwork; Enticingly Complicated Game!
January 04, 2002

Positives: Fun artwork; real pewter figures; nigh limitless variety and possibility of gameplay. Stretches the mind and tests the will. Complicated gameplay.

Negatives: Those who can not stretch their minds make the game last forever. Those who can not test their wills make the game boring. Complicated gameplay.

Verdict: I can enjoy complicated gameplay, so it is a positive for me. But beware, others do not. The steep learning curve requires a break-in period before true enjoyment can materialize. Keep the first few games small and simple. Participants need good 3D perceptual skills, or the game will grind to a halt. Players also need to be able to risk their robots for fun, or gameplay might as well be solo. Buy the game and ALL of the expansions, mix them all up, and have fun!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A great game regardless of how much time it takes
December 12, 2001

This is a great game. It does have some flaws, as pointed out by others, but if you head into the game aware of those flaws, it is still really fun. I will admit that the game programming can take some time, but if you want to speed up the game you can easily make up the board so that the flags are closely placed.

I have played this game easily over twenty times and still am not bored with it as others say they have become. This could be due to the fact that we all started on the learning curve at approximately the same time, so our programming times are about the same. Only in dire situations will someone in my group take upwards of ten minutes to program their robot. We head into the game knowing that this may come up, but not that often.

In addition, my group tends to play with absurdly large boards. They may take as much as six hours to complete, but that is the way we enjoy playing. The other problem of catching up to someone far ahead in the game can be partially solved by placing the flags in a position so that players must travel back the way they came, therefore they must navigate past the players trailing them or go the long way around.

The robot's options, which may be picked up during the game, expand the fun. Players who trail too far behind the leaders can pick up options to make them a force to be reckoned with.

There are many house rules which can be played with. Robo Rally lends itself to easy rules modifications. We have played games where each player starts off with an option. We have had hidden options where you dont have to reveal your option until you use it. We played with the random robot, which follows the leading robot around the board even if it gets destroyed. Another house rule we have played with is rotating boards in the middle of the game. If you are in the mood for destruction, you can have a battle to the death and not bother having a race.

This is one of my favorite games, and its length doesnt detract from the game for me at all. Although the game has some luck elements, there is almost always something beneficial that you can do, no matter which movement cards you are dealt.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Great idea, but slow to play.
December 25, 1999

Wow. Roborally has convinced me of Richard Garfield's talent in game design. One of the best games I've played in a very long time. Programming your robots is a wonderful idea that, surprisingly, has seen little use in previous games. It allows for a wild and chaotic beginning, and enough randomness to keep some check on the leaders.

Now that I'm done with the praise... This game plays slower than any I've played before. Over the several games we've played, by the end we had become so weary that we just threw down whatever seemed right, without thinking too much about it, and usually ended up dying, rather than having a winner. The game claims that a three- or four-board game will take a couple of hours, but our third game, on a two-board layout, took at least five hours spread over two days to complete.

Anyway, it is still a great game, but not quite flawless. If you don't mind waiting, buy it now!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Anything but robotic
August 04, 1999

RoboRally borrows from so many genres it is hard to place it in a category. It is part strategy, part tactical, part race, part sheer bloody-mindedness.

There is nothing polite about RoboRally; your robots shoot lasers ahead of them indiscriminately, pits and crushers are unforgivingly final. So it is best to approach this game as a safe way to be vindictive towards your fellow players without real-world repercussions.

What makes this game so much fun is the collecting of option cards, which give your robots extra powers. Some are dangerously powerful and others are practically useless. The more options you play with, the more fun it becomes. The Armed and Dangerous expansion is worth getting too, if only for its great collection of extra option cards.

You can help to overcome the problem of the leader running away with the game by making a course that crosses itself several times. This way the leaders meet the main group going the other way and are sure to get pummeled a bit.

This game will appeal instantly to the programmers out there, so those players who can't program their VCRs may find RoboRally heavy going.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Striking components highlight this game of racing robots
February 07, 1999

In 1995, Wizards of the Coast brought us this charming game of dueling robots racing through a computerized factory. It's a fun way for friends to whomp on each other. Unfortunately, it seems that the player who gets his robot into an early lead always cruises to a win.

All of the components of the game are good: six boards, which can be arranged into different configurations each game and which feature conveyer belts, lasers, crushers and pits; program cards that players use to maneuver their robots; option cards that give robots special abilities and weapons; and eight unpainted metal miniatures representing the robots.

Each turn, players must assign--in a specific order--five of their program cards to their robots. Then everyone reveals their first card and implements it, then their second card, etc. Any robot directly in front of another robot (regardless of distance) gets shot by the latter's built-in forward-firing laser. Severely damaged robots have some of their program cards locked in (i.e., they cannot be changed without repairs), limiting their options.

RoboRally won the 1994 Origins awards for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame and Best Graphic Presentation of a Boardgame. Nevertheless, I think there is a serious issue with this game regarding play balance. But if what you really want is fun more than satisfaction, give this one a try.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Hart
Simple Programming and a Wild Race!
February 02, 1999

I run a game club in a K-8 elementary school (I teach grade 4 there). Robo Rally is, hands down, the favorite game at the club!

The goal of the game is to use cards that give simple programming commands to your robot (ex. move two, turn right, etc.). Use these commands to move your robot through a factory floor racing to touch numbered flags.

THE CHALLENGE: What gives this game its unique challenge is that you must plan the next 5 commands for your robot all at once. So, you need to visualize the position of your robot up to five turns ahead of yourself.

THE FUN: This process is made very enjoyable due to the addition of front-firing lasers on your robot. It is always great to make a sneaky move and blast your buddies (up to 8 can play at once--party game!)

THE JOY AND THE SORROW: if your robot bumps into another robot early in the sequence of 5 turns, their robot is pushed to a new square on the board. The commands for his robot often due not suit his new placement on the board, and his robot will often fall into pits, or walk into crushers (THE JOY). Of course, if your robot gets pushed off course, there is the SORROW.

Great multiplayer game with loads of thinking and tension! Highly recommended!!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A Great Game If You Have The Time and Enough People
January 12, 1999

RoboRally is one of my favourite games. It is played by laying 5 program cards out that dictate the next five movements of your robot. These cards include move forwards, rotates, etc. Robots move across a factory floor covered with pits, conveyor belts and other traps; thus playing the cards requires thinking ahead. The game only gets really interesting when playing with several people, because robots can push and shoot each other. This means that no matter how well you plan your turn, someone else may push you a space and cause you to walk directly into a pit. The object of the game is to use these cards to avoid the traps (and other robots) to reach checkpoints in order.

My only two complaints are the time it takes to play, and the fact that it doesn't work very well with less than 4 players. Robots tend to take the lead, and there is really no way catch up. The time issue can be solved by placing a time limit on card placement of 2-3 minutes. Without the limit, players will take a very long time planning all the possibilities, and some of the chaos will be lost.

Despite these complaints, this game is REALLY fun, second in my mind only to Knightmare Chess and The Settlers of Catan. Go buy it.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Good, but tedious at times
July 25, 2005
This game can be played in two totally different ways: 1) As a fast and random game where your robot malfunctions and does things that you never wanted it to do, and 2) as a highly precise and complicated puzzle which incorporates trying to second guess your opponents. The first can be hilarious and is a lot of fun. The second can be excruciating if you have a players that tries to think everything through till the end. I would love to play with a timer but no one in our group thinks that is necessary.
by Matt S
Good game for the right crowd
December 08, 2003

I bought this game for Christmas and played it with my wife and family. At first I enjoyed it, but then I couldnt get anyone to play. The play time is too long and it isnt too fun when things don't go your way. An expansion might spice it up, but it just isn't for me.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Tom J
Great game, but loses its appeal
April 09, 2001

RoboRally was my favorite game when I first bought it; I have never seen a game with more to offer. However, after playing it four or five times, it quickly lost its appeal. If the board layout is too big, the game takes forever, and if it is too small, than there aren't enough effects to make it interesting. Three game boards and three flags seem to be the best amount for me. Also, I recommend buying the Armed and Dangerous expansion for this game, since the option cards make the game more interesting.

All the other reviews are right there should be a time limit to program your robot, but if you play with people that know what they are doing, this really isn't an issue. Of course, introducing new players to the game can be fun too since you get that first-time feeling all over again. Even though I am sick of this game, I will still go out and buy any new expansions for it. I like the art, and the basic idea of the game. Also, some days I just get in the mood to play a marathon game that could last a few days with 9 boards and 6 flags. So far we were unable to finish one of these games since I was tired of leaving the board set up for so long.

Still, I'll never forget my brother-in-law screwing up his program and screaming about the mistake he had made, and then later in his turn he had made another mistake that fixed the first one. At least until I pushed him into a pit--Oops sorry about that, he he he.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Way too slow
April 11, 2000

The concept behind this game is great. Every turn you put out 5 program cards that allow you to move your robot. However, the boards are huge with a multitude of obstacles to navigate through and many other players to disrupt your plans.

The game suggests 6 flags, one flag on each board. This is an insane idea. I played in a 6 player game and after 4 hours and only 3 flags gained, the whole group just gave up. There are a lot better games out there to spend your money on so if you're dead set on buying this game I suggest you try it before you buy it.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Bring a book
December 02, 2000

Ironically, several years ago I posted a positive review of Robo Rally to the Game Cabinet. (I posted under a different name, Julie Prince. You can read my review by searching Funagain's Gameweb for 'Robo Rally.')

In that review, I said it would be hard to get sick of Robo Rally. Guess again! I now flat-out refuse to play it.

The addition of many expansions has, in my opinion, muddied the waters. Some of those new boards--the ones with water and goo, for example--are impossible to move across. You could spend a whole game trying to go a very short distance.

The main reason I've gotten turned off of Robo Rally, though, is that I got tired of sitting around waiting for everyone else to program their robots. OK, I'm not going to win any awards for patience; but when it takes someone 10 minutes to program (I am NOT making this up) and everyone else is too nice to make that person program in a reasonable amount of time... well, that's not my idea of fun.

Robo Rally could be entertaining if you play with a group in which everyone programs at about the same speed, and if you lay out the boards to promote mayhem and make it possible for people to move.

I'd rather play Settlers of Catan any day.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Swashbuckler did it much better
November 05, 2000

RoboRally is apparently lifted directly from the old Yaquinto game Swashbuckler. In both games, you pre-plot your movement and attempt to wipe out your opponents (who are likewise pre-plotting their moves). The ensuing mayhem would be fun to watch if it didn't evolve so slowly. But what you really get is 75% planning, 20% boring movement, and 5% mayhem. Considering that the average game (even in tournaments where the players are supposed to know what they're doing) runs in excess of 3 hours, the distribution just doesn't work out.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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