- 6 double-sided gameboards
- double-sided start board
- 6 robot figures
- 6 reboot tokens
- 36 checkpoint tokens
- plastic priority antenna
- 6 checkpoints
- 48 plastic energy cubes
- 30-second sand timer
- 6 robot player mats
- 40 upgrade cards
- six 20-card programming card decks
- 6 special programming cards
- 74 damage cards
- vac tray
- label sheet
Object of the Game
All week long, the robots of ROBO RALLY toil over their work. There's no escaping their factory home, so these robots know only one joy: to be the victor in their weekly race of survival and sabotage.
Choose a robot, and program it to move, turn, pick up energy, and navigate the trials of the factory . Be prepared to watch all your plans go wrong as rival robots of equal ambition push and blast their way through. It's every robot for itself in this strategic race through the factory.
Play cards to program your robot's moves through the hazardous factory. Make your way to each of the checkpoints in your chosen course in numerical order. The first player to reach all of the checkpoints wins.
Choose a racing course to play. You'll find a complete list of courses starting on page 16. "Dizzy Highway" is a great course for first-time players. Page 16 of this guide will tell you how to set up the gameboards, priority antenna, checkpoints, reboot tokens, and energy cubes for "Dizzy Highway".
Each player chooses a robot and takes the matching figure, player mat, and programming deck for that robot. Shuffle your programming deck, and place it facedown on your player mat as shown below.
There are six special programming cards that are not associated with a specific robot. Place them faceup near the board where all players can reach them.
Separate the four types of damage cards (these are the SPAM, Worm, Virus, and Trojan Horse cards), and place them, in four separate piles, faceup near the board where all players can reach them.
Shuffle the upgrade cards, and place the deck facedown where all players can reach it. From the top of the deck, take the same number of cards as you have players, and place the cards faceup next to the draw pile. For example, if you have three players, flip over three cards. If you have five players, flip over five cards. This will be the upgrade shop.
Place the timer and checkpoint tokens within reach of all players.
Place the energy cubes within reach of all players. This will be the energy bank.
Each player takes five energy cubes. Place yours on your player mat as shown below.
Each player places their robot on one of the black and white gears on the start board shown below. Players place their robots with the arrow on their base pointing toward the racing course.
The youngest player places their robot first, and the choice moves to the left. At the start of the first round, players will take turns based on whose robot is closest to the priority antenna. You'll learn more about this on the next page under Determining Priority.
For a two-player game, your game set up should look like this:
Robo rally is played in rounds. Each round is made up of the following three phases: the upgrade phase, the programming phase, and the activation phase.
Here's a quick summary of what a round will look like. You'll find a more detailed description of each phase and how to play a full round starting on the next page.
The Upgrade Phase: Use energy cubes to purchase upgrades for your robot.
The Programming Phase: Draw cards from your programming deck, and arrange them on your player mat to plot the moves you want your robot to make.
The Activation Phase: Activate your robot, and carry out its programming. Board elements will also activate. During the upgrade and activation phases, players must determine priority to see who goes first. In the programming phase, players will perform actions simultaneously.
In ROBO RALLY, when a player has priority, it is that player's turn.
Rather than taking turns based on where they are sitting, players take turns based on where their robot is sitting on the board.
At any given time, the player whose robot is closest to the priority antenna has priority. After that player takes their turn, the second closest player to the antenna has priority and takes their turn, and so on.
Here are two basic examples of how to determine priority.
To determine who is closest to the priority antenna, start at the antenna and count the number of spaces to each robot.
Count by row, then by column. Zoom Bot, in green, is closest to the antenna and therefore has priority.
What if robots are tied for priority? In this example, Zoom Bot, in green, and Smash Bot, in yellow, are an equal number of spaces away from the antenna.
In the case of such a tie, imagine an invisible line pointing straight out from the antenna's dish.
Once this line reaches the tied robots, it moves clockwise, and the tied robots have priority according to the order in which the line reaches them. Zoom Bot has priority and goes first. Smash Bot goes next, and Hulk x90 goes last.
1. The Upgrade Phase
At the start of each round, players may purchase upgrade cards for their robots using energy cubes which you'll have chances to collect throughout the game.
Upgrades change the way your robot functions, providing your robot with advantages, and you may use upgrades at different times during the programming and activation phases.
There are two basic types of upgrades: permanent and temporary. Permanent upgrade cards are yellow, and temporary upgrade cards are red. Once you purchase a permanent upgrade, its effects will last for the remainder of the game. Temporary upgrades may be used only once and are discarded after you activate them.
The Upgrade Shop
At the beginning of the upgrade phase, make sure the upgrade shop is refreshed AND full, in that it contains the same number of upgrade cards as there are players.
If the upgrade shop is already full, that means no players bought upgrades during the last upgrade phase (unless it is the first round of the game). Take the cards in the upgrade shop, and remove them from play. Refresh the shop by drawing the same number of cards from the top of the deck as there are players and placing the cards faceup.
If one or more cards are missing from the shop, draw cards from the top of the upgrade deck, and place them in the open slots until there is the same number of cards as players.
At the start of the upgrade phase, determine which player has priority. (Remember, it's the player whose robot is closest to the priority antenna).
That player has first choice of the upgrades available in the upgrade shop and may buy only one.
Continue to determine priority to see who gets to purchase upgrades second, third, and so on.
To purchase an upgrade, look at the number in the top left-hand corner of the card.
This is the number of energy cubes you must pay to purchase the card. Take that many energy cubes from your player mat, and place them in the pile near the board.
If you've purchased a permanent upgrade, place it on one of the upgrade slots on your player mat.
If you've purchased a temporary upgrade, place it in front of your player mat. You may use it at any time during the programming or activation phases.
Note: Your robot can have a maximum of three permanent upgrades and three temporary upgrades.
If there is an upgrade in the upgrade shop that you'd like to buy when you have the maximum number of upgrades, you may discard an upgrade of the same type that you own and then purchase the desired upgrade.
Once all players are finished purchasing upgrades, proceed to the programming phase.
2. The Programming Phase
During the programming phase, you'll plan your robot's actions for the round. You'll do this by placing programming cards in each of the five registers on your player mat. Programming cards tell your robot to do things like move, turn, or collect energy.
Programming Your Robots
To program your robots, all players perform the following actions at the same time.
Draw nine cards from your programming deck. If there are fewer than nine to draw from, take what is available. Then shuffle your programming discard pile to replenish your deck, and draw until you have nine cards.
The nine cards in your hand represent the moves available to you for this round. Inspect the gameboard to see which cards will help you safely make your way to the next checkpoint.
Should you move 3? Should you recharge to collect energy? Do you need to turn left or right? Be aware of board elements or other robots in your way as these will affect your robot during the activation phase.
After you have an idea of what you need your robot to do, choose five cards to play, and place one facedown on each of the five registers on your player mat.
During the activation phase, your robot will perform the action on the card you placed in register one first. Then it will perform the action on the card you placed in register two, and so on.
Note that during the activation phase, players take turns activating their robots. This means that all players will activate register one, based on priority.
After register one programming is complete and any board elements have been activated, players will proceed to register two, and so on. You'll learn more about this on the next page in step 3, The Activation Phase.
Once you have placed your final programming card, you cannot change your cards.
Place any programming cards still in your hand in the discard pile on your player mat.
Don't take too long programming!
ROBO RALLY is a race! Program your robots as quickly as you can! After the first player has finished placing their programming cards, that player must flip the timer. Players who are still placing programming cards have until the timer runs out to finish programming without consequence.
What if time runs out?!
Chaos! A player who is not finished programming must immediately discard the programming cards in their hand. They must then take cards from the top of their deck, shuffling their discards if necessary, and randomly place them on the unfinished registers.
Once all players have finished programming, proceed to the activation phase.
3. The Activation Phase
During the activation phase, the programming cards you placed in your registers during the programming phase activate. Programming cards activate one register at a time, and players take turns during the register based on priority.
For every register, after all players have activated their programming, board elements and robot lasers activate before the next register begins.
Activating your Robots
All players flip over the cards in register one on their player mats, revealing their programming choice.
The player with priority (that is, the player who is closest to the priority antenna) carries out the action on the programming card they placed in their first register.
For example, if they played a Move 3 in the first register, they move forward three spaces. Don't worry about which space your robot ended its turn on just yet.
The next player with priority (that is, the player who is second closest to the antenna) carries out the action in their first register and so on until all players have activated the programming in their first register.
Now board elements activate, and robot lasers fire. Board elements trigger in the order shown on the next page and affect all robots on them at the same time. (See the next page for activation order and page 12 for a more detailed description of board elements and robot interactions).
Activation Order for Board Elements and Robot Lasers
Blue conveyor belts move any robot resting on them two spaces in the direction of the arrows.
Green conveyor belts move any robot resting on them one space in the direction of the arrows.
Push panels push any robot resting on them into the next space in the direction the push panel faces.
The panels activate only in the register that corresponds to the number on them.
Gears rotate robots resting on them 90 degrees in the direction of the arrows.
Board Lasers fire, hitting any robots in their line of sight.
Board lasers cannot fire through walls, the priority antenna, or hit more than one robot, and they shoot from the red and white pointer. (Take a SPAM damage card for each laser that hits you).
Robot lasers fire in the direction a robot is facing. Their range has no limit. Any robot in the line of sight is shot.
Robot lasers cannot fire through walls or shoot more than one robot. (Remember to take a SPAM damage card for each laser that hits you).
When you end a register on an energy space, if there is an energy cube there, take it.
If you end the fifth register on an energy space, take an energy cube from the energy bank.
You must reach checkpoints in numerical order. In order to reach a checkpoint, you must be on it at the end of a register, and you may enter a checkpoint from any side.
After you reach a checkpoint, take a checkpoint token, and place it on your player mat to track your progress in the race.
Some Notes on Board Elements and Activation
Board elements only activate if your robot ends the register on them. For example, if you move through a laser's path on any given register but do not end your move on the laser, you will not be hit.
You can push fellow robots, and sometimes robots will bump into each other. For more on pushing robots.
There are other types of board spaces to be aware of. See page 12 for more information on racing through the factory.
You can use permanent or temporary upgrades during the programming and activation phases. See each upgrade card for specific details regarding that upgrade.
Repeat "Activating your robots" steps 1-3 for the remaining registers. Remember, after all players have activated their programming cards for a register, board elements activate, and robot lasers fire.
After the fifth register is complete, players take the programming cards in their registers and place them in their discard piles. Then play returns to the upgrade phase.
Damage and Reboots
Robots are not impervious to damage, and any time they fall into a pit, are shot, or are knocked off the board, that player must take damage in the form of damage cards, which are played like programming cards.
When you receive a damage card, place it in your discard pile. When you shuffle your programming deck, the damage card will be in it, diluting your hand.
When you play a damage card in one of your registers, you must take the following steps:
Carry out any instructions on the card.
Immediately discard the damage card by returning it to the appropriate damage card draw pile. Now it is out of your deck. This is the advantage of programming a damage card.
Take a programming card from the top of your deck, and play it in your current register. It will be a random card, so it might really mess up your plans! And that is the disadvantage of programming a damage card!
Note that if a damage card draw pile ever runs out, any player who would have drawn that type of card must choose a damage card of another type.
There are four types of damage cards, and some are scarier than others. Here's a more detailed description of each type.
This is the simplest form of damage. Robots must take a SPAM damage card when they are shot by a board or robot laser.
When you program a Trojan horse damage card, you must immediately take two SPAM damage cards.
When you program a worm damage card, you must immediately reboot your robot.
When you program a virus damage card, any robot on the board within a six-space radius of you must immediately take a virus card from the draw pile.
When you fall off the board or into a pit, or when you activate a worm card, you must reboot your robot. When you reboot your robot, you must immediately take the following steps:
Take two SPAM damage cards, and place them in your discard pile.
Regardless of the current register, your programming is canceled for the round, and you may not complete remaining registers.
Immediately discard any programming cards (including damage cards) in your remaining registers, as well as those in your hand. You must wait until the next round to program your robot.
Place your robot on the reboot token that is on the same board where your robot was when it rebooted. You may turn your robot to face any direction. If you rebooted from the start board, place your robot on the space where you started the game.
Note: If multiple robots reboot on the same board in the same round or if a robot sits on the reboot token when other robots are rebooting, robots will leave the reboot space in the order they rebooted, with the next robot pushing the robot before it in the direction indicated by the arrow on the reboot token.
Also note: You can be shot or pushed by an active robot while on a reboot token, but you cannot shoot robots. You also may not use upgrades.
End of the Game
The game ends as soon as one robot ends a register on the final checkpoint, according to your chosen course. That player wins!
Beginners, younger players, or players who would like a lighter game may choose to play without the upgrade system.
Just eliminate the upgrade phase, including the upgrade cards and energy cubes. You may also choose to remove the timer from the programming phase.
More Advanced Game
After you've become a ROBO RALLY pro, try this change to the core rules.
At the end of a round, instead of discarding the remainder of your hand, keep the programming cards you didn't use that round, and draw enough cards to have 9 for the next round.
This will force players to program more damage cards, rather than discarding them at the end of a round.