"Who can understand the mind of a combat pilot?" --Capt. Glovall
Robotech is an interesting concept in itself. Fans may recall its origins in Japan over a quarter of a century ago (yep, we’re really that old). So when I heard there was a new Robotech game coming, I had to get all in that! (There are actually 2 games coming, this is the competitive dice game for those keeping score at home).
Ace Pilot represents a dip into a bigger universe. Players are tasked with hiring pilots each turn (if possible) to try to combat the invading Zentraedi forces and maybe score a few points while they’re at it.
“The Zentraedi tokens are placed in a small cassette. It has 3 rows and 3 columns so that each player has an array of 9 tokens to choose from. Each player inspects the 9 tokens and tries to kill the tokens that will give him the most points. Each Hero has a unique way to attack the array with a special attack and damage pattern. However, there is no guarantee that a player can gain the use of the best Heroes suited for the task. Players roll special action dice, in an attempt to gain the best results. Each player gets 3 attempts to gain the results that will allow him to take the best heroes.”
I could not have summed that up better. For me, Ace Pilot is like King of New York. You are battling the enemy forces and in doing so you may set your opponents up for success or you may ruin their day.
Players take the pilot they used that turn, which then limits what their opponent(s) can do. Cleverly in 2 player games, each player has 2 turns to acquire a pilot. It is possible with a lucky enough roll that a player can acquire 2 pilots in one turn. At the end of the round or 2 rounds with 2 players, the pilots are returned to the center of the table and the start player moves left unless someone took Gloval.
Another facet that is interesting in this game is damage is left on enemies unless their hit points have been met or exceeded. In doing so it is possible to leave a wounded adversary for an opponent who is falling behind the others as a show of support for the team.
Overall, Ace Pilot is a neat little game that really shows the color and flavor of the Robotech series. I certainly look forward to more dice chucking action with it!
Full disclosure: I was provided a review copy of Ace Pilot by Strange Machine Games.