Board Game Review: Ricochet Robots

Quick description from Board Game Geek:

Ricochet Robots is less of a game and more of a puzzle, which explains why there’s such an odd number of solutions possible. There’s a four-piece modular board that forms a large room with walls spread around the board. There are also color-coded targets on boards. Placed on top of the surface are four robots. The idea for each turn/puzzle is to get the like-colored robot to a randomly selected target. The trick is that once a robot starts moving, it will continue to move until a wall or another robot stops it. Therefore, players are seeking a sequence of moves for the robots that will enable them to move the required robot to the target in the fewest moves.

Players: 1 – 10 (4-6 is ideal, playable with 3, 7)
Play Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Learning Curve: Medium
Price: Currently unavailable on Amazon, $16-20 on random sites
Best Place to Learn: From Others, this post.

Review

Ricochet Robots is not a typical board game. You don’t take turns. Instead, everyone is playing at the same time.  In a simple sense, the object of the game is move a robot from one spot on the board to another in as few moves as possible.  Once you have found a way to reach the destination, you shout out how many moves you can do it in and a timer starts. The other players then have one minute to try and find a faster route…or, if you think the person is crazy and made a mistake, you can shout out a longer route and hope that they mess up and give you a chance to play.

Here is a standard setup.

The main reason I enjoy playing this game is the fast pace.  There is no waiting for someone to agonize over their next move (which admittedly, is often my own problem when playing a complex game).  You can also get non-board game players to enjoy this one because of the quick game play, low commitment on overall time, and straightforward rules.  However, this game does require you have a decent memory and good spatial skills to have any chance of winning.  You have to be able to redo your route a second time for the group in order to get credit, so if it takes you 10-20 moves to get from Point A to Point B, you better have a good memory.  If your spatial skills are lousy, you won’t see optimal paths very quickly and you can easily get frustrated that everyone else keeps seeing a solution before you do.

This game is good for mid-sized groups.  While you can play with 2-3 players, or heck, you could challenge yourself and play alone (but why would you?), it’s better if more people are competing. This amps up the competitiveness and the urgency, and therefore the fun.  On the flip side, if you have too many players, some players won’t be able to see the board well enough and they will become uncomfortable and/or disinterested.

Overall, this is a great game for a group but not a game that I would get together with friends to specifically play. It’s good entertainment to play a few times at a group gathering and get people’s adrenaline going. Since the positions of the robots and their destinations change each time you play and there are multiple board layouts, you will always have a different game, keeping it interesting.

Ricochet Robots
Components 2.5 The components are decent, but there are only 4 wooden robots, a board and a handful of little cardboard discs. Nothing particularly interesting.
Skill
9 Since there are no dice, cards, or really anything but your own ability to find the fastest route, this game is almost pure skill. The reason I didn’t give it a 10 is because you are not required to develop a strategy or change your game play in any way during each game.
Replayability 7 The game board changes every time, but there are no new strategies to develop to keep the game play varying.
Complexity
3 The game has simple rules and no real “strategy”. Just be good at finding paths quickly and you will be successful.
Fun 8 This game is fun. If you like racing against your friends and against the clock, don’t like long games, and have decent spatial skills, this game is for you.
29.5  

 

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