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Subject: “It only follows your commands...” rss

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Ururam Tururam
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Robo Rally is a board game invented by Richard Garfield (who is also the creator of Magic: the Gathering). The game rules say that players impersonate supercomputers. Well, let it be so for advertisement purposes. In fact the players are programmers.

The aim of the game is to let your robot get through a race track. To do so you should program your robot using a simple set of commands like: “move forward”, “move fast forward”, “turn”, “move backward” etc. Each turn you get a bunch of special command cards and you should use them as effectively as possible.

Doing so you should take into account interactions between your robot and the game board as well as its interactions with other robots. As for the environment – the board represents a factory; so crushers may destroy your robot, conveyor belts may carry it, some other elements may push or turn it, your robot may have troubles to stop if there’s oil leak on the floor, and some doors open and close periodically… As for other robots – they push each other and even can inflict damage to opposing machines using laser beams. If you miscalculate something, your tin can starts to walk aimlessly for the rest of the turn. Or sometimes worse: it walks straightly to its doom.

It all sounds to be a good fun and it is so. In fact the more players the more fun, as with a lot of robots on-board some interactions are quite unpredictable and often hilarious.

But the game has also a big educative potential! If it is played with children (preferably as 2- or 3-player game) it teaches the basics of programming. No former Robo Rally player would ever claim "The computer is stupid: it does not do what I want!”. The Robo Rally players know: the machines do not do what we want. The machines do what we ordered them to do. They are only following our commands!

I recommend this game as a source of both fun and wisdom.
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alexfingers anastasiou
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played it for the 1st time over the weekend found very amusing and great fun
 
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Vince Lupo
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ALEXANDRIA
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Agreed. I suggest the following to make it take just the right amount of time:


1 board - simpler boards are better, usually

3 flags - usually placed in such a way as to promote player interaction

respawning from a destroyed robot gives you back full health

shutdown can be declared the turn you need to use it, before you look at your cards.

Also, when someone touches a flag ahead of you, you get to draw an "option card".



These things tend to stop/slow down runaway leaders and give most players a chance at catching up or at least potentially causing some damage and having fun before someone wins.
 
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Håkan König
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Neo42 wrote:
Agreed. I suggest the following to make it take just the right amount of time:


1 board - simpler boards are better, usually

3 flags - usually placed in such a way as to promote player interaction

respawning from a destroyed robot gives you back full health

shutdown can be declared the turn you need to use it, before you look at your cards.

Also, when someone touches a flag ahead of you, you get to draw an "option card".



These things tend to stop/slow down runaway leaders and give most players a chance at catching up or at least potentially causing some damage and having fun before someone wins.
I'm usually playing it so that you have to declare it before you are dealt any cards - that way there is no confusion.
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J J
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Urtur wrote:

But the game has also a big educative potential! If it is played with children (preferably as 2- or 3-player game) it teaches the basics of programming. No former Robo Rally player would ever claim "The computer is stupid: it does not do what I want!”. The Robo Rally players know: the machines do not do what we want. The machines do what we ordered them to do. They are only following our commands!

I recommend this game as a source of both fun and wisdom.


Garbage in, garbage out. Old computing adage, one which I believe they stopped telling people somewhere in the 90s - about the time computing became "IT"...
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RoboRally is a classic game of spacial relationships. If you cannot visualize in your mind how your robot moves before it moves, then you're screwed and will likely end up dead.

I've had players physically stand up from the table and "rotate left" or "rotate right" in place to help themselves visualize the robot command sequence.

Hilarious.
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Andrew Hurp
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markgravitygood wrote:
I've had players physically stand up from the table and "rotate left" or "rotate right" in place to help themselves visualize the robot command sequence. Hilarious.

It's known as the 'Roboraly Dance'. Often performed whilst seated.
 
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Jorik
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you need chairs with slippery cushions to do the roborally dance effectively.
and no fear of making a fool of yourself in front others
 
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