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Subject: is 4 a good number for this game? rss

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Mark McEvoy
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4 is an excellent number. At 3 there's a typical 3-player problem where two people are likely to engage as the other runs away with the lead. With more than 4-5, the game can drag out as there might be too much board congestion (meaning lots of chaos and very slow progress). Not to mention this game plays as fast as its slowest player, so when you add more players you're increasing the risk of that one slow link...

For a first game, you should DEFINITELY choose a 'novice' board layout - you shouldn't place the flags so that they're so difficult to get to or aweay from that things bog down. Nothing frustrates new players more than board layouts that lend to a lot of retreading the same territory turn after turn. I'd suggest a 4-boards-square layout with 4 easily-accessible flags for a first game.


Also, use the rules of the set you have. Handy to have an accurate reference on hand, and besides, you don't have the 'start board' that the new edition uses to avoid the Virtual Robots rule anyways.
 
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Geoff Dunbar
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Four is enough for a good game, though RR really shines with more players.

If it's the first game for everyone, keep the expansions in the closet. Armed and Dangerous is an awesome expansion, but you'll probably want to have the basic play figured out before you start messing around with the missiles, bombs, teleporters, etc.

Keep your board layout pretty small and confined; I'd say just one or two boards. It's really tempting to make a gigantic, beautiful layout, but it just takes forever and spreads the robots out too much. You want the robots to be bumping into each other and shooting each other to keep the interaction (and chaos) pretty high.

Hope that helps,
Geoff
 
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Stven Carlberg
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Four is a good number for Robo Rally. Actually, every number from two to eight is a good number for Robo Rally -- just, good in different ways. With four you should expect a certain amount of pushing and shooting. Which, of course, is good in its way.

You definitely want to start with a simple board layout. If nobody has played the game before, there's nothing wrong with starting with the very simplest layout as described in the rules, doing that one to get the basics in mind, and then moving on to the next.

I once worked out a layout for a game with beginning players which worked out quite well... let me see if I can reconstruct it here... or approximate it, anyway....

I recommend: Use just the "Exchange" board. Positioning it with the word "Exchange" down at the bottom (and calling that direction South), put the starting square up near the northwest corner, one square south of the gear and one square west of the laser.

Put the first flag in the northeast quadrant. See how there are two gears in that quadrant, with one space between them diagonally? Put the first flag in that one empty space.

Put the second flag in the center of the board. See the four blank spaces in the middle? Put the second flag in the lower right square, that is to say, the southeast square of those four blank spaces.

Put the third and final flag in the southwest quadrant of the board, one square southeast (diagonally, that is) from the gear in that quadrant.

This should keep you going for 30 minutes, more if you have to look up details in the rules while you're at it. From this you'll learn all the basic routines of movement -- reveal cards, higher numbers go first, resolve board elements, check for laser hits and see if you've touched a checkpoint -- and will be ready to tackle the more arcane board elements on another board.

Remember that every flag you place adds 10-15 minutes to the game, more if it's hard to hit, more if they're farther apart. The game always takes longer than you think it will when you design the course, so be sparing.

Good luck and enjoy!
StvenC
 
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Mike Banks
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Sure, four is a great number for this game -- provided you remember the key (tho unwritten) rule about setting up your board at the beginning:

Do NOT lay out the flags in a "loop" sort of arrangement, or you will quickly understand what all the talk regarding "runaway leaders" is all about. It is imperative that you place flags in some sort of back-and-forth arrangement, so that all robots are continually in proximity with one another.

I recommend starting with two boards (at MOST), with flags (say, 4) arranged something like this:



1...3......................2....4



Meaning that flags 1 & 3, and 2 & 4 are within a few floor spaces of each other -- and not on belts or other hazards.

Hope that helps, and enjoy!!
 
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