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RoboRally, Part 4
Game Boards and Race Courses

The new RoboRally game comes with four game boards, each printed in full color on both sides. Each board is 12 x 12 spaces, and each space is one square inch. (You do the math.)

You can set up a race course with up to four boards in it, and you have eight boards to choose from. Without considering physical layout (which boards are adjacent to which, and how they're arranged), 32 distinct board combinations are possible. Once you start playing with positioning, the number of possible layouts shoots through the roof. Now factor in the Docking Bay's location, the number of flags, and the flags' locations, and the permutations are ... well, they aren't infinite, but you won't run out in this lifetime.

Eight types of features appear on the boards, besides mundane, empty spaces: Repair spaces, Repair/Upgrade spaces, Pits, Lasers (single, double, and triple), Gears, Walls, Pushers, and Conveyor Belts (normal and Express). Each board has its own character determined by the type, number, and arrangement of these features. The contents of the eight boards are summarized below.

Board Repair Upgrade Pit Laser Laserx2 Laserx3 Gear Wall Pushers Conveyor Exp. Conv.
Chop Shop 2 3 5 15 4 1 7 15 0 36 12
Island 2 1 18 0 0 0 6 4 0 44 0
Maelstrom 2 2 4 12 0 0 0 8 16 53 52
Spin Zone 2 2 0 12 0 0 16 8 0 0 48
Cross 1 2 11 7 3 0 0 19 0 60 0
Chess 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 16 0 26 36
Vault 2 4 4 20 0 0 2 18 6 26 6
Exchange 2 1 2 0 0 0 5 11 0 55 13


Game Boards and Docking BaysRepair spaces let you remove one damage marker from your robot, if you end a turn on that space. They also let you update your archive at the end of any register, which is important if your robot gets destroyed -- you can start over from this space instead of back in the Docking Bay.

Upgrade spaces let you remove one damage marker from your robot at the end of a turn, and they also let you draw one option card, which is always a good thing. Like Repair spaces, you can update your archive here, too.

Pits destroy your robot, pure and simple. Nothing else in the game will kill you this fast.

Gears rotate your robot 90 degrees to the right or left. Used wisely, these can be a real help. Used poorly, they can be a real pain.

Walls just get in the way, which is annoying. They also block lasers, which is good. The numbers of walls listed on the table are the numbers appearing anywhere except around the outside edges of the boards. Besides these, each board has 16 walls arranged symmetrically around its edges.

Lasers damage your robot if you're caught in the beam at the end of a register phase. If you're zipping along in 2nd or 3rd gear, you can get through the danger space before the laser fires. Each beam puts one damage marker on your robot. Besides the more numerous single lasers, there are seven double lasers and one triple laser to watch out for. Each laser also adds its own wall section to the board.

Pushers activate either during register phases 1, 3, and 5 or phases 2 and 4. Like lasers, each pusher also comes with its own wall. Like gears, this can be good (if you plan for it) or bad (if you don't).

Conveyors and Express Conveyors whisk your robot along with them, either one space or two, depending on the type of conveyor. They also rotate your robot by 90 degrees when it's conveyed around a corner. This is a great way to cover lots of ground quickly, but it's also a great way to wind up far, far away from where you wanted to be.

Layouts, Special Rules

One of the best things about the new RoboRally game is that the Course Manual describes 34 course layouts using one to four boards and allowing for two to eight players. Fifteen of these have special rules for their use, and two require extra boards from a second copy of RoboRally.

The special rules really spice things up. Here are three examples:

Factory Rejects: All robots start the game with 2 Damage tokens and don't have the ability to power down.

Set to Kill: All robot laser fire is doubled, including lasers added with Option cards.

Moving Targets: During each register phase, the flags are moved by conveyor belts the same way that robots are. Flags that fall into a pit appear back on the board in their starting locations at the beginning of the next phase. Any Archive markers on those flags remain intact, and any robots that have touched those flags still have credit for doing so.

Other Articles

What You Get
The Problem
Option Cards

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