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Subject: The computer is down and the robots dont have brakes rss

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DMM NAC
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Ricochet Robots (Alex Randolph, 1999) is one those games that I had sitting in my shop for ages. Even though it came highly recommended from one of my co-workers, it just wasn't a game that I had the tiniest interest in. I mean how could I find time for it when I was busy with the likes of Twilight Imperium, Dixit, and the endless shuffling of Dominion? Ricochet Robots was old, and boring, and its box was just way too small to excite me. Well after years of avoiding it, I finally played it and it is *%&ing fantastic.





RR is one of those games that is easy to set up, easy to explain, and easy to play. It may take you a while to get the hang of it (not unlike the first time a person plays SET) but the concept of the game is easy enough to grasp. The computer is down and the robots don't have brakes. That's all you need to know. Ok maybe not, but still that's the gist of it. The game board is made up of 4 double sided boards that are placed together so that they form a large square. Each one of the boards has a hole in a corner and you place all of those corners together, fastened together by a Plexiglas center piece. Then you randomly toss a chit for each robot (red, blue, yellow, green) onto the board and place the corresponding robot on each chit. Now you're all set to begin.

Each round starts with a player flipping over one of the 17 target chits (4 per robot and 1 vortex chit that any robot can be used to solve) onto the Plexiglas center of the board. The goal of the game is to get the robot that matches the color of that chit onto that spot. Well that doesn't seem too hard, right? WRONG. These robots don't have breaks, so getting them where they need to be can be difficult. Players mentally begin moving the robots around the board. A robot can move up, down, left, or right, but as soon as it starts moving it has to keep moving in that direction until it collides with either a wall or another robot. In order to come up with a solution, you're more than likely going to have to move multiple robots. So everyone is sitting around the table trying to keep track of their number of moves without trying to tip off the other players. I have a bad habit of nodding my head in various directions as I’m mentally shuffling the robots around. This does let my opponents know that I’m close to a solution but it also helps me keep track of how many moves I’ve used. As soon as a player comes up with a solution, they call out the number of moves it takes and flip over the sand timer. The rest of the players have approximately a minute to come up with a shorter solution. Once you have made a bid on the number of moves you will use, you are not allowed to change it. You are stuck with whatever you originally said so you better make sure you counted right. There have been plenty of times when I have said the wrong number simply because I was rushing to be the first one done. When the timer runs out, whoever has the quickest route gets to solve it while counting the number of moves aloud. If that player solves it successfully they get to take that chit as a victory point, if they can't do it in the number of moves they bid then the next player gets to attempt it. You are allowed to do it in fewer moves than you originally said, but you aren't allowed to take more moves. After a solution has been performed, you take all of the colored robot chits and place them back underneath the corresponding robot and flip over a new target chit. There is a recommended number of chits that it takes to win depending on the number of players, but my group always plays until all the chits have been used. Whoever has the most points when the game ends, wins.




7!



There is a catch up mechanic in Ricochet that I don't use unless I am playing with new players. In the case of a tie between bids, then the person with the fewest victory chits takes precedence. This is helpful for new players but not something that I enjoy using with a more experienced crowd. My group has also introduced a limit on the minimum amount of moves that a solution can have. We won't do a puzzle that can be solved in fewer than 5 moves.

Silverbot FTW! The third edition of Ricochet Robots also comes with a silver robot that can be used with whatever variants you can think up. In my group, instead of using the aforementioned catch up mechanic, we will allow the silverbot to be used by the player with the fewest chits. There is a list of 40 or 50 variants for the silverbot floating around BGG somewhere if you can find it. The second edition (blue box) also comes with an extra robot, a black one.

I'm not really sure why it took me so long to give RR a try. The game is simple yet deep, it plays in less than 45 minutes, and it can be played with any number of players. Hell, you can even play with teams if you want (helpful when introducing new players to the game). The double sided boards add a ton of variability to the game; there are 96 different game boards that can be made. While the thought of moving sliding robot pawns around a board may not sound that exciting, this game is flat out fun and evokes feelings that other games don‘t give me. I get a rush of adrenaline as I can sense that I’m close to a solution, but I know that my competitors are could be on the verge of their own solutions. There is a certain air of desperation as you mentally count out your solution, which can very easily cause you to miscount and bid one move too few which can be quite infuriating. On the flip side, coming up with an efficient solution before anyone else can leave you feeling elated, a sensation somewhat akin to what Arnold feels while pumping. My favorite thing about this game is that you know you won because you were better than your opponents; there is no luck in Ricochet Robots. There really isn't much to complain about with this one. If I were to nitpick the game, I do wish that the designer included some of his own variants for the silverbot. Also I wish that the silverbot's home marker matched the other robots' starting chits. Still, this is a game that I highly recommend, especially since it comes with a $25 retail price tag.


I just wish the Silverbot's chit matched


The first time I tried Ricochet Robots, I played it 7 more times that day. I feel that its fitting for me to give this game an 8 out of 10.
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Rob Robinson
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
ODNSRW wrote:




7!



Five!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Yellow: Right > Down


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Blue: Down > Right > Up

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David Bohnenberger
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
The best thing about Ricochet Robots is that it supports up to an infinite number of players. I believe this fact is listed right on the box.

So when you have an infinite number of gamers sitting around wondering what to play, you are ready.
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Martin Godolakis
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
Dweeb wrote:
...when you have an infinite number of gamers sitting around...

yeah, I'm always clueless what to play every time this happens!
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Tim
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
Love RR. One of my favorite games. Beautiful simplicity, quiet, contemplative moments followed by bursts of jeering and shouting, usually followed by claims of someone being a liar, or lacking the ability to to count, or joking claims of cheating (even though it would be impossible to cheat, it's fun to call people cheaters when they aren't touching pieces and there's fundamentally no way they could do so).

There's a small section of my group that loves this game, and when all of us are together it almost always comes out. The ones who don't love it, HATE it though. I've had people actually walk out of game night in the middle of playing the game, and I've had others threaten to go home if we even started a game in the same room.

I bought my copy used from another gamer in my group. 1st edition (no silver robot).

I like the OPs idea of not allowing puzzles shorter than 5 moves.
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David van Damme
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
I find it is funny to see that some peoples brains are not wired to play this. No matter how hard they try, they don't "see" it.
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DMM NAC
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
zombiegod wrote:
ODNSRW wrote:




7!



Five!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Yellow: Right > Down


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Blue: Down > Right > Up



Ohhhh nice!

DavidvD wrote:
I find it is funny to see that some peoples brains are not wired to play this. No matter how hard they try, they don't "see" it.


Yeah it took me 20 minutes of just staring at the board before I saw a solution. I didn't see it first, and it certainly wasn't the fastest solution but it was incredibly exciting that I got one. After that all I wanted to do was get better at RR
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Paulo Santoro
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
ODNSRW wrote:
zombiegod wrote:
ODNSRW wrote:




7!



Five!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Yellow: Right > Down


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Blue: Down > Right > Up



Ohhhh nice!

DavidvD wrote:
I find it is funny to see that some peoples brains are not wired to play this. No matter how hard they try, they don't "see" it.


Yeah it took me 20 minutes of just staring at the board before I saw a solution. I didn't see it first, and it certainly wasn't the fastest solution but it was incredibly exciting that I got one. After that all I wanted to do was get better at RR


That's why you and your friends should not discard puzzles solved in "less than 5" moves. Sometimes it's not easy to see it!
 
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DMM NAC
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
Quote:
That's why you and your friends should not discard puzzles solved in "less than 5" moves. Sometimes it's not easy to see it!


Thats why the minimum is 5. 4 usually just turns into a speed contest.
 
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Re: The computer is down and the robots dont have breaks
*brakes*
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Paulo Santoro
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ODNSRW wrote:
Quote:
That's why you and your friends should not discard puzzles solved in "less than 5" moves. Sometimes it's not easy to see it!


Thats why the minimum is 5. 4 usually just turns into a speed contest.


Sometimes, 4 is not so obvious. Even 3, if the robot has to go for 3 long paths. For simplicity (and the rules), we only limit the 1s. 2 or 3 won't happen often, anyway.
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Devin Smith
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The local house rule is that no solution of 4 or less is legal, nor any solution containing such a solution as a subset.
 
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Paulo Santoro
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Excalabur wrote:
The local house rule is that no solution of 4 or less is legal, nor any solution containing such a solution as a subset.


If your group goes ok with this, great. But I think that this can take to a lot of rule talk over the board.

"This is not valid, there is a solution of 4 as subset!"
"No, I had to do this in order to pass that other robot."
"In fact, you could simplify in 4 moves."
"But we can't use only 4 moves. So I made a way to go further with it."
"You are only wasting moves."
"No, I'm not!"

This can't be the spirit of the game. I don't want to enter in a philosophic argument about whether such a solution is allowed or not. By the way, I made a house rule to ease the "1-move" solution: if the robot is in line with the target, we switch it with the silver one. No need to discuss when a solution is valid.

I like heavy and "serious" games, but Ricochet Robots is not one of them. I want it quick and light.
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DMM NAC
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PauloSantoro wrote:
ODNSRW wrote:
Quote:
That's why you and your friends should not discard puzzles solved in "less than 5" moves. Sometimes it's not easy to see it!


Thats why the minimum is 5. 4 usually just turns into a speed contest.


Sometimes, 4 is not so obvious. Even 3, if the robot has to go for 3 long paths. For simplicity (and the rules), we only limit the 1s. 2 or 3 won't happen often, anyway.


You can play the game however you like, but in my group we have a rule against solutions that are 4 or less. If everyone agrees that it is 4, then we put the chit back in the box and grab a new one. Not a big deal
 
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The Compulsive Completist
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Our rule: The first person to shout it out gets it unless someone can beat it. The whole game is a speed game. Whoever is fastest to "16!" wins. Whoever is fastest to "3!" wins. No ambiguity there. It can make that beginning phase a bit frantic until everyone realizes it isn't something simple.

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Hockey Mask wrote:
Our rule: The first person to shout it out gets it unless someone can beat it. The whole game is a speed game. Whoever is fastest to "16!" wins. Whoever is fastest to "3!" wins. No ambiguity there. It can make that beginning phase a bit frantic until everyone realizes it isn't something simple.



Perfect. People sometimes don't understand that some kind of house rules can damage the experience. Soon they will start to choose the game less and less, not even knowing why.
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Hockey Mask wrote:
Our rule: The first person to shout it out gets it unless someone can beat it. The whole game is a speed game. Whoever is fastest to "16!" wins. Whoever is fastest to "3!" wins. No ambiguity there. It can make that beginning phase a bit frantic until everyone realizes it isn't something simple.



Isn't that how the game is normally played?

PauloSantoro wrote:
Perfect. People sometimes don't understand that some kind of house rules can damage the experience. Soon they will start to choose the game less and less, not even knowing why.


I'm not really sure why you're so fixated on the idea that my group is ruining the game by having a limit on the solution. We love RR and we feel that this makes it a lot better. It also gets a lot more burn than most of the other games we own due to its quickness and easy set up. I really dont think we're gonna play the game less and less because we have a minimum of 5 moves per solution
 
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Rob Robinson
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Even with a 3-4 move solution, there is still going to be one player who shouts out the answer first.

Seems unfair to take that players point away from him.
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zombiegod wrote:
Seems unfair to take that players point away from him.


That's the beauty of house rules.

I don't like fast obvious solutions and wish they weren't part of the game. I can house-rule it away. Maybe you get bored if nobody can find a solution in the first fifteen seconds. You can house-rule those away. Neither one of us is right. (Well, I'm right but I'm allowing for the possibility that you are too).
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Menace wrote:
zombiegod wrote:
Seems unfair to take that players point away from him.


That's the beauty of house rules.

I don't like fast obvious solutions and wish they weren't part of the game. I can house-rule it away. Maybe you get bored if nobody can find a solution in the first fifteen seconds. You can house-rule those away. Neither one of us is right. (Well, I'm right but I'm allowing for the possibility that you are too).


Exactly. I'm not making anyone else play the way my group does. I'm not some brutal rules dictator. We're just trying to maximize the fun that we have when we play the game, and we all feel this is the best way to do it.
 
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Menace wrote:

That's the beauty of house rules.

I don't like fast obvious solutions and wish they weren't part of the game. I can house-rule it away. Maybe you get bored if nobody can find a solution in the first fifteen seconds. You can house-rule those away. Neither one of us is right. (Well, I'm right but I'm allowing for the possibility that you are too).

Technically, I am right since I am following the rules.
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Hockey Mask wrote:
Technically, I am right since I am following the rules.

Unless it was a misprint in the rules!
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Rob Robinson
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So gameplay is as follows:

Player 3: Eight!

Player 2: Five!!

Player 1: Four!



Players 4, 3, 2, Ahhh scrap it, you beat us all at four moves, sorry but it's not allowed. shake

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dmillwillkill wrote:
Didn't he already say that they just toss the chit back in the box when they agree it's 4? Not sure why you're so concerned about a game that encourages variants

But this additional rule allows cheating: player One finds the optimal 4-moves solution, adds a simple detour move and shouts "5". If the other players don't find the 4-moves solution before the time is up, then player One wins by breaking the 5-moves-minimum house rule.

My opinion: the minimalist rules of Ricochet Robots make this game special - it looks so simple and is so hard to master. When you add your own rules, you might taint the beauty of this game.
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smack42 wrote:
dmillwillkill wrote:
Didn't he already say that they just toss the chit back in the box when they agree it's 4? Not sure why you're so concerned about a game that encourages variants

But this additional rule allows cheating: player One finds the optimal 4-moves solution, adds a simple detour move and shouts "5". If the other players don't find the 4-moves solution before the time is up, then player One wins by breaking the 5-moves-minimum house rule.

My opinion: the minimalist rules of Ricochet Robots make this game special - it looks so simple and is so hard to master. When you add your own rules, you might taint the beauty of this game.


I dont play with cheaters. And the only reason we started to use that rule is because when the solution is so small it normally took about 10 - 15 seconds for 4 people to each call 4. I get that you don't want to play that way, but I dont understand why it bothers you so much if we still love the game? I could understand it if we were adding new rules to Power Grid or Le Havre, but this is a game that encourages variants.
 
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