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mygif

Unfortunately, “whoever has the rights” is still Hasbro/WotC, so odds are against being able to pry them away easily.

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mygif

While I don’t own an I-device, I feel this game might well suited to a tablet application. This might be more marketable than a PC application (though a BSW package would be nice!)

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mygif

I just recently received “Pirate Dice”, which was a Kickstarter game with similar game play as Robo-Rally (sail a pirate ship to treasure rather than direct a robot through a course). If the rights to Robo-Rally are really the issue, you could probably make a similarly awesome game out of Pirate Dice.

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mygif

There used to be an online version that was quite good, called Robo-Runner that I played a ton of with a bunch of my friends until the guy running the site gave up taking care of it and let the site and the domain name (eyeplaygames.com) languish and eventually vanish.

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mygif

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/18/roborally

In the late 90s, the game company I was with pitched to the owners of the property (I think Julian is right).

For whatever reason they weren’t interested. It’s less likely today because they don’t want to hurt sales of the physical product because that’s where they are making the money.

Yes, that’s crazy because the Cost of Goods (physically making it) is where you’re spending most of the money on a box game, and it’s a market doesn’t let many new games in (not counting the 200+ versions of Monopoly) but it’s where they are today.

YES, it would be an AWESOME game for a tablet computer. and you could SO MUCH with it. But they won’t.

The only clone on a tablet I’ve found hasn’t been updated since 2010 and was mediocrely reviewed.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/parcours-robo/id364702560?mt=8#

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mygif
Stephen McNeil said on February 17th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

“This is pretty universally regarded as a great game.”

Well, no.

Current average rating at Boardgamegeek: 7.23/10. Current Rank: 174. 10% of the ratings have it at a 5 or less, so that those gamers will never choose to play it. That puts the consensus opinion solidly in the “good but not very good” category, hardly universally regarded as great.

I rate it a 7. I’d say it’s at the median of my collection. It’s OK, if I design the boards to keep it very short and very compact and direct the game to keep it moving. There are easily 50 games on my shelf I would much rather play, with any group.

My complaints are very different and far more fundamental than those that you insist could be the only possible complaints.

1) If the board isn’t set up with a good understanding of the way the game plays out — e.g. if you succumb to the obvious temptation to use four or five boards and six check points — it degenerates into four hours of multiplayer solitare, because the robots spread out too far for any meaningful interaction.

2) The game suffers from a huge runaway leader problem — if one player gets a good first draw, a couple of Move 3s and the right Turns, then that player is out in front and will never be caught. Most games tend to end with the player who has been leading for half the game winning easily, because there is no way for other players to stop that leader. In the rarer cases where there is a genuine race down to the last turn, it comes down to a final luck of the last draw of cards.

3) The option cards are hugely imbalanced. Many are confusing, most are useless, and only a handful — the big weapon cards, mostly — have a meaningful effect on strategy or tactics in any but the most unusual circumstances.

4) The game suffers from a critical design flaw, because the best way to have fun — get down and dirty pushing and shoving and shooting in close quarters with the other robots — is the compete antithesis of the best way to win — run away from the other robots as fast as you can, and stay there, so that you’re alone all game. Sure, you can choose to play the game so that you have fun instead of winning, but a well-designed game would make those the same thing, so that the fun strategy is also the winning strategy. In Roborally, they are the exact opposite.

None of those problems is fixed by putting it on a tablet. Yes, you’ll cut down the fiddliness, and reduce the time it takes to play, and get pretty animated playbacks of the turns. But it’s still a median game where you are most likely to win by striving for a boring strategy. And now it means that playing it is reduced to inviting five friends to my house so that we can each separately poke at our phones and iPads for an hour. That actually sounds like *less* fun to me.

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mygif

From wikipedia:
RoboRally is a board game originally published in 1994 by Wizards of the Coast (WotC). It was designed in 1985 by Richard Garfield, who would later create the card game Magic: The Gathering. The game and its expansions received a total of four Origins Awards. RoboRally was re-released in July 2005 under the Avalon Hill label.

I seem to recall hearing that RoboRally was the game Garfield wanted to launch/sell and was told he’d need to fund it himself.

So he created M:tG.

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mygif

@Stephen McNeil: All but #3 can be solved with smart placement of checkpoints (and if absolutely needed, a house rule involving placement of checkpoints.) If the checkpoints are placed in such a way that they involve looping back, then players that are behind have the ability to shaft players on their way back to touch the next checkpoint (in some cases literally, due to the aforementioned bottomless pits.) You can design courses with plenty of opportunities for bot interaction with very little trouble, and I think that there’s incentive to do so (since nobody can guarantee that they’ll be the ones way out in front.)

And I think the sequels made #3 less of a problem; ‘Armed and Dangerous’ upgraded the options for, um…options. Obviously, not everyone will love the game, because as I said, not everybody can love everything. But I’ll stand by my assertion that it’s got a very good rep.

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mygif

Huh, that’s odd. I just went to GTO and was playing a 2-person game of RoboRally against the AI within 2 minutes (and that included the time it took to log in, which I haven’t done in years).

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mygif

See, I’d want to go the other way entirely, and play RR on a real-life, fully functional game board. (With the ‘bots moving on their own according to your commands, even.) Obviously impractical, but part of the game to me is seeing the whole thing at once and squeezing it onto a tiny screen or having to scroll around beats the point.

(I have similar, only slightly more practical ideas about an ideal Dominant Species board, where each hex has a little LCD that constantly calculates and shows dominance based on information it’s getting from RFID chips in all the counters on it and each species card.)

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mygif

Strangely enough, Robo Rally is perhaps the only board game I’ve ever played that I truly dislike. I’m not sure why – I’ve only played it a few times, and I had a horrible experience in those games, so it might just be that I had a few bad occasions that have turned me against it.

The actual mechanic of playing movement cards and such doesn’t inherently bother me – I recently got a chance to play Space Alert and thought it was fantastic – but in Robo Rally, the unpredictability of what is going to happen is paired with potential for severe results. And games where players can get wiped out – or simply crippled beyond the point of remaining competitive – by random chance in the early moments of a game that will run for several hours… well, I’m glad most games have moved away from that type of design.

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mygif

It’s not exactly the same, but this looked fun (I haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but I’ve seen the demo). http://www.gameofclairvoyance.com/

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mygif

@Myth: I do agree with that. We made an “unlimited lives” house rule after about the second game, and it vastly improves things because you’re always at least theoretically in with a chance.

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mygif

These guys (full disclosure: they’re friends) are creating a cool-looking game inspired by the venerable RoboRally:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/477600012/goblin-grand-prix

I’m pretty excited about it.

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