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Subject: Which version to buy? What are the differences? rss

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Kenneth Stuart
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Hi


I loved this game from the first time the rules were explained. My first play then strengthened my attraction. I'm now looking to buy a copy, but I want to get a quality edition and not necessarily the plastic components that typically come with Avalon Hill games.

If you don't mind, could you explain (or provide a source that explains) the differences with each edition? Which ones do you think are best?


The version I played had green movement cards and (I think) these bots shown on the right. It also had little white cardboard pieces that the game owner called "holograms" so that all bots could use the same starting location.

I think these counters and game boards at the right are the ones we used. Were these included only in the WotC 1st edition? Or would other WotC editions also have these counters?


Lastly, are there significant rule and board differences between versions? I was told that one version has all bots starting at different locations, which seems like it could be quite unfair. If there are different rules, which one is best, in your opinion? What are some of the differences? Which boards are best?


I'm really looking for any and all information you can share. Thank you for your help!
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Kevin Riddle

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honestly I like the new version that does not use the holograms and virtual robots ...

I thought the starting bay added a lot to it, but that's just me

The newest Avalon Hill version is the easiest and cheapest to find as well

the rules are the same, I can't think of any differences

also, I believe those bots are the second edition
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Jason W.
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I have the Avalon Hill version as well and I'm happy with it as well. As far as maps goes, if you want original your going to be paying an arma nd a leg for. There are several websites with free maps that you can print, assemble and laminate. I've posted several maps I gotten for the web and they look fantastic.
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Bern Harkins
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My set is the first edition, with lead robots (different bases and mostly different models than you have pictured, although the Twonkey is in both sets). We have all the second edition expansions, which work seamlessly with the first edition.

This game is such a long standing hit with my group that we wore the original cards to illegibility. We revived them for a time with a sharpie, but finally purchased an Avalon Hill version just for the cards. This proved to be a mistake; the quality of the new cards was terrible, and they became worn and actually dog-eared (something that had never happened to the originals) in just a few plays. Fortunately, we were able to pick up a second edition set which was missing its models pretty cheap on e-bay, and now use those cards.

I've never used the docking bays, so I can't really comment on them, other than noting that they really have to give an advantage to some starting positions; we prefer the Virtual starting robot rules, which are not so complex once one is used to them. I believe that the Bay/Virtual split is the only significant rules change, although newer editions have fewer maps. (Also the German edition does make firing of a bot's lasers optional instead of mandatory, apparently to make it more of a "family game".)

Bottom line, you are going to pay a premium price for a first or second edition at this point, but such editions are available because the components are very durable. The newer edition is much flimsier.
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Mil Myman
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The version you've pictured there is the 2nd edition. The rules are identical to the 1st edition. The only differences between 1st and 2nd are:

* The 1st edition bots were in two pieces - a metal bot with a plastic base, a bit of assembly was required. Some of the bots were "the same" ones - Twonky, Trundlebot, Hulk X-90, Zoombot, Spinbot - but with slightly different designs - a bit more elaborate with more parts sticking out (and easier to break and harder to paint). Three other bots were included: a "spider-looking" bot, a big rolling wheel with 4 feet sticking out, and a four-wheeled platform with a mechanical arm sticking out. These were replaced in the second edition with Twitch, Hammerbot, and Squashbot. (All the bots come unpainted in both of these editions. It's a good idea to paint them, because it helps to make it clear which way they're facing.) The second edition bots are one-piece metal, with an "embossed" arrow on the base which indicates the facing (painted in yellow in the picture you posted).

* The boards in the first edition were printed in darker colors, mostly a much darker shade of gray for the concrete floors of the factory.

* The rule book is a bit longer in the second edition - some sample setups are included. The rules may have been rephrased a little bit, but play the same.

The first edition will probably be a lot harder to find, and probably will cost more. Those first edition bots were pretty cool, though. The third edition will be the easiest to find, and the cheapest.

The third edition is the Hasbro/Avalon Hill edition. And typically for Hasbrolon Hill editions, they dumbed-down the game a little. Because I have too much time on my hands, and am such a fanatic of this game, I color the differences below according to my opinions - good rule changes, bad rule changes (which can usually be ignored), neither good nor bad changes, good cosmetic changes, bad cosmetic changes:

* They got rid of the virtual rules, so that every bot starts out "real" on a different space, which makes the game less fair and harder, since bots push and damage each other from the very first turn, rather than granting at least one "safe" turn to start the game with. They included a "starting board" with starting spaces numbered 1-8 for this. HOWEVER! It should be noted that you can still play 3rd edition with the original virtual rules. You can play without using the starting board.

* The options included are 24 of the original 26 options, and 2 from the Armed & Dangerous expansion. They took out Shield and Turret, and added Crab Legs and Dual Processor.

* They completely nerfed the Superior Archive Copy option (which wasn't that strong originally), and made Robotic Arm much more powerful (it works diagonally - WHAT?!? This is RoboRally! There's not supposed to be anything diagonal in this game! - as well as orthogonally, and they made a rule change that makes it even worse [see the next item]). If someone gets Robotic Arm early in the game, you may as well call the game. HOWEVER! You can always ignore these changes and play by the original rules for these options.

* They changed the rules so that bots can touch flags even while powered down. HOWEVER! (You get the idea.)

* They changed the rules so that you don't keep the cards in your registers when you power down. If you power up with locked registers, you fill those registers randomly. This isn't a big deal, but is a bit less elegant than the original rules. HOWEVER!

* The 3rd edition includes 4 double-sided boards - that is, a total of eight boards on four pieces of cardboard. On one side is one of the original boards: Island, Cross, Maelstrom, and Exchange - these boards are mostly the same as the originals, but some have been made slightly easier (which isn't a bad thing) and have had additional repair sites added (which also isn't a bed thing). On the other side of these originals are four brand new boards: Chop Shop, Vault, Spin Zone, and Chess. They are fine boards, sufficiently challenging. None of these boards include Crushers. Also:

* They replaced the Double-Wrench spaces with "Wrench-Hammer" spaces. At these spaces, you repair *one* point of damage *and* gain an option. This is an interesting change which doesn't necessarily make the game better or worse. It should be noted that this means there is no way to repair more than one point of damage per turn other than by powering down. HOWEVER! You can always play as if the Wrench-Hammer spaces are Double-Wrench spaces if you want.

* Among the suggested board layouts, they included several with different variant rules, which are interesting. For examples: flags that move on conveyor belts, team play, doubled damage, greater option distribution at the expense of repair, starting the game with damage, etc.

* The bots are small, one-piece, plastic, with an obvious directional point on the base. They claim that these bots are "pre-painted", but what they really mean is that a black wash has been applied to them - that's it.

* They changed the board graphics, supposedly to make them clearer. Some people prefer the new board element designs, but I don't. (Not that it's a big deal.)

* They got rid of all the clarifying definitions for the options: Run Time, Turn Programmed, Phase Programmed, Additional Weapon, Optional Weapon, Main Laser Mod, etc. This doesn't make much difference, but the original definitions did help to keep the rules clear, if you paid attention to them.

* They include 8 flags - which are very nice! They are transparent plastic, and they stick up from the flat board for great visibility. Probably the best change they made.

* They included some player mats, which are useless. They take up more space on the table, and make the concept of damage and locked registers a bit more confusing.

* They included some "Power Down" markers, which inexplicably say "Power Down" on *both* sides. Shouldn't they have said "Power Up" on the other side?

* They made a number of dumb mistakes that they refuse to admit:
- They include some suggested setups that you can't actually make unless you buy two sets, due to the way some of the needed boards are on the backs of other needed boards. And with a modicum of thought and planning, they could have done differently, so that all the suggested layouts are doable with just one set.
- They accidentally switched around the names of some of the bots.
- They used an image of a claw hammer in the graphic for the Wrench-Hammer space. Are these robots supposed to be made out of wood and nails?
- The graphic for the gears depicts two gears that don't actually mesh together.


* The boards are flimsier cardboard than the earlier edition, and for some odd reason, they have to be "punched" out of a frame. The only benefit to this it that the boards are lighter than the originals, which might have made a difference if they were ever going to put out expansions. I have all the expansions from the WotC edition - 20 boards! And the box is heavy!

* The box is therefore larger than the boards, so they rattle around inside a bit. However, if you have all the WotC boards, as I do, they all fit nicely into this one box - 20 WotC boards, 4 H/AH boards, and the H/AH starting board fit, rattling around a bit. Then I keep all the other components in my original second edition box (the cards, the bots, the rules, the tokens, the flags, etc.).

* HOWEVER! All the boards are made to the same scale as the earlier editions, so you can freely mix boards from different editions.

* They did not include tuckboxes for the cards, as they did in the earlier editions.

* They included a 30-second timer, and the official standard rule is that the last player to finish programming has 30 more seconds or has to fill in the rest of his program randomly. This tends to make the game harder for the player in the most difficult situation. And it can also make the game longer by making mistakes more likely. But I suppose it might be useful for those who enjoy the illusion of speed. (BTW, the one that came it my set is actually a 31-second timer. I don't know how consistent the timing is across sets.) HOWEVER! You can always just leave it in the box.

* There are no expansions for the 3rd editions, and likely never will be.

And it should be noted that any of the bad rule changes can be ignored - you can always play with the original rules if you know how.

The original WotC game had four expansions (which all used the 2nd edition lighter-gray graphics): Armed & Dangerous (6 boards, 26 options, tokens for use with the new options, Board Elements: Water, Currents, (Drains,) Teleporters, Randomizers, Levels/Ledges/Ramps), Crash & Burn (2 boards, Board Elements: Flamers, Oil Slicks, Portals), Grand Prix (3 boards, Board Elements: Oil Slicks, Levels/Ledges/Ramps, Portals, Chop Shops, Repulsor Fields, Trap Doors), Radioactive (3 boards, Board Elements: Radioactive Waste, Radiation, One-way Walls, Teleporters, (Drains,) Flamers, Portals, Trap Doors, Chop Shops).

As much as I criticize the H/AH edition, it's better than no RoboRally at all, and is fully playable with the original rules. There are certainly positive things about it. I bought it pretty much for only two reasons: (1) Four new boards that aren't available in any other edition, and (2) a new deck of program cards since my original deck is *very* worn. The new clear plastic flags and variant rules were a happy bonus.

I know of another edition which I don't own put out by Amiga, IIRC. I think it's called "RoboRally Crash & Burn". AFAIK, these are the differences:

* It includes 8 boards, the six original WotC boards, plus the two from the Crash & Burn expansion (which is why the borrowed the name of the WotC expansion for this edition). This makes a viable option to get these otherwise difficult-to-find boards. (Although, this edition might also be hard to find.) EDIT: I may be mistaken here - there might have been only *four* of the original boards, plus the two from Crash & Burn.

* The standard rules for this edition are that the players' bots do *not* have mounted lasers! Thus making for a kinder, gentler game. It's a German edition, and the German game companies tend to avoid play-on-player violence in their games. HOWEVER! (You know the drill...)

* The bots included are multi-colored plastic. They aren't bad. I don't think they are given names at all.

* The boards aren't named either, just labeled A-H (or was it A-F?)

Someone here probably knows more about this edition than I do.

Whew! Far more information than you probably needed.
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Kevin Riddle

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wow, great break down of the differences, I hadn't even noticed some of them

I don't have the 2nd edition, still looking for it ...
but I do have the Amigo (German) version, but it's still shrinkwrapped so I can't answer anything on it. It was a very lucky purchase that I got last year ...
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You can see all the differences here: Roborally Geeklist Review.
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
The third edition is the Hasbro/Avalon Hill edition. And typically for Hasbrolon Hill editions, they dumbed-down the game a little.

I would like to point out that "dumbed-down" is a statement of Phil's religious faith.

Quote:
* They got rid of the virtual rules, so that every bot starts out "real" on a different space, which makes the game less fair and harder, since bots push and damage each other from the very first turn, rather than granting at least one "safe" turn to start the game with. They included a "starting board" with starting spaces numbered 1-8 for this.

Virtual robots were a crude hack which Richard Garfield never liked. The starting board was a great improvement on that. Unfortunately the suggested setups in the book were poorly thought out, and probably not playtested. You have to ban the use of certain starting spaces with certain setups.

By spreading the starting spots across the width of the board, there is generally less early interaction than with virtual bots not more.

Quote:
options

If you care about fairness, the game is better without options. If you use them, a few of them should be banned. Even orthogonal, Robotic Arm is too powerful.

Quote:
* They changed the rules so that bots can touch flags even while powered down.

Only a problem with RObootic Arm. Otherwise it's perfectly fair.

Quote:
* They changed the rules so that you don't keep the cards in your registers when you power down. If you power up with locked registers, you fill those registers randomly.

That's a clunky rule that had to change. There are no game decisions that would be different because you know a card might still be in the register three turns later. Under the clunky rule, people would turn in their card s when the shouldn't and cause trouble over that doesn't impact the game.

Quote:
They changed the board graphics, supposedly to make them clearer. Some people prefer the new board element designs, but I don't. (Not that it's a big deal.)

On the old board an arrow means a speed one conveyor and a somewhat different arrow means a speed two conveyor. On the ne board an arrow means a speed one conveyor and two arrows means a speed two conveyor.

Quote:
They included some player mats, which are useless. They take up more space on the table, and make the concept of damage and locked registers a bit more confusing.

I like the mats. I usually like mats. I insist on mats for Ra. I think Dominion and Bohnanza need mats.

Quote:
* They included some "Power Down" markers, which inexplicably say "Power Down" on *both* sides. Shouldn't they have said "Power Up" on the other side?

Confounding.

Quote:
They made a number of dumb mistakes that they refuse to admit:

Yup. The setups with four boards could easily have been fixed in the second printing (it's not as though they playtested those). The bot name screwup is sad.

Quote:
They included a 30-second timer, and the official standard rule is that the last player to finish programming has 30 more seconds or has to fill in the rest of his program randomly.

The timer is there if you need it. If you have a player with AP you can force him to play faster. You can turn the timer over and double the time, if your timer is too fast. The one I clocked was 48 seconds one way and 51 seconds the other way. As I recall, the timer was explicitly optional.

Quote:
* There are no expansions for the 3rd editions, and likely never will be.

But there are hundreds of boards you can download on the internet.
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Mil Myman
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Barticus88 wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
The third edition is the Hasbro/Avalon Hill edition. And typically for Hasbrolon Hill editions, they dumbed-down the game a little.

I would like to point out that "dumbed-down" is a statement of Phil's religious faith.

As I made it clear in my post, they are statements of my opinion. It has nothing to do with religious faith. Hasbrolon Hill dumbed down a number of games: Cosmic Encounter, History of the World, etc.

Quote:
Virtual robots were a crude hack which Richard Garfield never liked.

And this is of course a statement of Randall's opinion. And even Richard Garfield's opinion isn't relevant.

Quote:
You have to ban the use of certain starting spaces with certain setups.

What if you need them all for an 8-player game?

IMO, the starting board is a crude hack that has to have spots "banned" in order to reduce the unfairness it introduces.

Quote:
By spreading the starting spots across the width of the board, there is generally less early interaction than with virtual bots not more.

Absolutely false! This is not a matter of opinion, it's a provable (and obvious) fact. With the virtual robots, there is *no* interaction on the first turn. None. Zero interaction. You can't have less interaction than that. With all the robots starting real on the starting board, there is a greater-than-zero probability of interaction (shooting, pushing, blocking). In games with less than 4 players, there *might* not be any interaction, but in games with 6 or more players, interaction on the first turn is almost a certainty. I've played in 8-player games using the starting board where, by the end of the first turn, most 'bots took damage and some had locked registers! That is definitely *not* "less early interaction"!

Quote:
Quote:
* They changed the rules so that bots can touch flags even while powered down.

Only a problem with RObootic Arm. Otherwise it's perfectly fair.

Sure, it's perfectly fair, it just makes for a less interesting game. Sleep your way to the finish line!

Which brings up another issue with the starting board: it's boring. It adds a few extra phases to the beginning of the game where you have to first get to the actual racecourse. To make an analogy, I've never seen a horse racing game where players have to use their first turn(s) just lining up their horses at the starting gate.

Quote:
Quote:
* They changed the rules so that you don't keep the cards in your registers when you power down. If you power up with locked registers, you fill those registers randomly.

That's a clunky rule that had to change.

Again, "clunky" is just Randall's opinion. To me, filling in locked registers with random cards is far more clunky. And leaving cards in place is not clunky.

Quote:
On the old board an arrow means a speed one conveyor and a somewhat different arrow means a speed two conveyor. On the ne board an arrow means a speed one conveyor and two arrows means a speed two conveyor.

Yes. The double arrows for the express conveyors was a good idea.

Quote:
As I recall, the timer was explicitly optional.

Not according to the standard rules. See the bottom of page 4 in the rule book. And yes, as I said before, you can ignore the timer if you want.
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Quote:
By spreading the starting spots across the width of the board, there is generally less early interaction than with virtual bots not more.

Absolutely false! This is not a matter of opinion, it's a provable (and obvious) fact. With the virtual robots, there is *no* interaction on the first turn. None. Zero interaction. You can't have less interaction than that. With all the robots starting real on the starting board, there is a greater-than-zero probability of interaction (shooting, pushing, blocking). In games with less than 4 players, there *might* not be any interaction, but in games with 6 or more players, interaction on the first turn is almost a certainty. I've played in 8-player games using the starting board where, by the end of the first turn, most 'bots took damage and some had locked registers! That is definitely *not* "less early interaction"!


I thought you ceased to be virtual the first phase you started on a space unoccupied by other players. I distinctly remember my opponent severely interacting with me on phase 2 of turn one in a recent game. (detailed in all of its shameful lasery death here) In games with many players the opening turn inevitably results in a 5+ bot pileup as some bots pop out of virtualness right next to each other on phase 2, shoot each other up, and have more bots join them in the free-for-all laserfest that follows in successive phases. (This leads to the dilemma: Do I take the route that gets me where I want to go, or do I zip in an opposite direction and hope to avoid the mayhem awaiting path #1.) Have we been handling the virtual bots rule wrong?
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Kenneth Stuart
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Whew! Far more information than you probably needed.

Not at all. This was perfect! Have some
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
What if you need them all for an 8-player game?

Use a different setup. It is not hard to create a good setup, but the samples in the rulebook were assembled by morons.

Quote:
With the virtual robots, there is *no* interaction on the first turn.

You can be shot as soon as you go non-virtual. With the starting board there is no way to be shot in the first phase.

Quote:
Sleep your way to the finish line!

If I go to sleep next to the flag and you push me onto it, that is my superior strategy at work. I'm guarding the house like in Curling. meeple

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Kevin Riddle

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worst time playing was when I had to power down because of damage, and everyone seemed to do more damage to me while powered down ...
I think I had more damage than when I powered down at the beginning ...
I had to stay powered down for another 2 turns ...
that was a dreadful game
 
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GreyArcher wrote:
I thought you ceased to be virtual the first phase you started on a space unoccupied by other players. I distinctly remember my opponent severely interacting with me on phase 2 of turn one in a recent game.


Negative.

"At the end of a turn, if a virtual robot is on a square all by itself, it then becomes a 'real' robot." (RoboRally Operating Manual, 1995, pg. 15, emphasis added)
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scout13 wrote:
worst time playing was when I had to power down because of damage, and everyone seemed to do more damage to me while powered down ...
I think I had more damage than when I powered down at the beginning ...
I had to stay powered down for another 2 turns ...
that was a dreadful game

I did that to someone in my first game. They powered down with 4 damage. Powered up with 5 because I just pushed them and shot them for my entire turn.

Oh the joys of player-vs-player!
 
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Are the 1995 rules available online somewhere?

I probably should have checked the files list on BGG before posting this question, but I didn't!
 
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wizcreations wrote:
Are the 1995 rules available online somewhere?

I probably should have checked the files list on BGG before posting this question, but I didn't!


Here's a transcript without any of the pretty pictures: http://globetrotter-games.com/index.htm?E&game/rules/eRobRal...
 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
To make an analogy, I've never seen a horse racing game where players have to use their first turn(s) just lining up their horses at the starting gate.

I have never seen a horse racing game where horses can pass through each other in the first furlong.
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ZomBub wrote:
"At the end of a turn, if a virtual robot is on a square all by itself, it then becomes a 'real' robot." (RoboRally Operating Manual, 1995, pg. 15, emphasis added)


This is worse than I thought. Obviously a rule created by some wuss who whined about getting pushed and shot.
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GreyArcher wrote:
I thought you ceased to be virtual the first phase you started on a space unoccupied by other players. .... Have we been handling the virtual bots rule wrong?

Yes, you have.

Barticus88 wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
With the virtual robots, there is *no* interaction on the first turn.

You can be shot as soon as you go non-virtual. With the starting board there is no way to be shot in the first phase.

You don't go real (non-virtual) until after the end of the first *turn*.

Barticus88 wrote:
ZomBub wrote:
"At the end of a turn, if a virtual robot is on a square all by itself, it then becomes a 'real' robot." (RoboRally Operating Manual, 1995, pg. 15, emphasis added)


This is worse than I thought. Obviously a rule created by some wuss who whined about getting pushed and shot.

Huh? I thought the "reduced early interaction" you claimed the starting board gave was something you were in favor of. Now you seem to be claiming that early pushing and shooting in the first turn is a good thing that only a wuss would want to avoid.
 
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Possibly a bit late to the party, but my original impressions of the newest iteration:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/72686/user-review-robora...

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Vincent Streuner
United States
Concord
North Carolina
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"Cambot! Gypsy! Tom Servo! Crooooow!"
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byronczimmer wrote:
Possibly a bit late to the party,


Well it's okay, cuz Cindy's the hostess. And it's okay, cuz she's the mostest. She's D.O.A.
 
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Kevin Riddle

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byronczimmer wrote:
Possibly a bit late to the party, but my original impressions of the newest iteration:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/72686/user-review-robora...



that was a great read, thanks for linking it
and I also saw the reply about the boards and packaging the expansions. Well said, just shrinkwrap new ones and they'd sell, it could be a print and pay kind of thing

I have all the expansions and barely got the last one Radioactive ...
I called a game shop 2.5 hours away and begged them to hold it for me, I'd be there in 3 hours ... Myself and a couple friends drove to get it and hang out. Since I didn't have a car, i paid for the gas and even bought dinner because I finally got it! all many years ago ...

Quote:
You don't go real (non-virtual) until after the end of the first *turn*.


wow, I guess I played it wrong too ...
that would make a little sense, I would intentionally play a card with low numbers to let everyone else move and then I mess them up
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Randall Bart
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Winnetka
California
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Huh? I thought the "reduced early interaction" you claimed the starting board gave was something you were in favor of. Now you seem to be claiming that early pushing and shooting in the first turn is a good thing that only a wuss would want to avoid.

Do you remember me saying "eight bots, eight flags, one board"? I want lots of interaction. I was just pointing to what I thought was a flaw in your argument.

 
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Vincent Streuner
United States
Concord
North Carolina
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Barticus88 wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Huh? I thought the "reduced early interaction" you claimed the starting board gave was something you were in favor of. Now you seem to be claiming that early pushing and shooting in the first turn is a good thing that only a wuss would want to avoid.

Do you remember me saying "eight bots, eight flags, one board"? I want lots of interaction. I was just pointing to what I thought was a flaw in your argument.

If you use the dock, then there's liable to be more interaction on the first turn, obviously. But in my experience if you start with virtual robots then you're liable to have more interaction on the second turn; starting from the same square often tends to cause people to approach the board in a similar way, which can cause tighter clustering in the second turn than if all robots started spread out from one another.

Naturally, the robots will eventually interact as they all make their way to the first flag. Personally, I tend to favor the docking bay, but I still use virtual rules in the rare instance that two robots who are each archived at the same space should both happen to be destroyed in the same turn.
 
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