Nuts, Bolts, and Take-That: A Preview of RobotLab

RobotLab

Beat other players in the race to build the most awesome, colorful, robot ever in this family-friendly card game, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

Gameplay

Each player is trying to build a robot, and needs a head, two legs, and two arms. You start the game with a body, and all of your robot’s parts must be the same color as the body. So if you have the blue robot body, you will be looking for blue robot parts.

You have a hand of five cards. On your turn you may play one robot part onto any robot or play an action card. Obviously, you want to play robot parts onto your own robot, but if you don’t have the right colored part, you can also choose to play a wrong colored part onto another player’s robot, slowing them down and blocking them until they can remove it. Meanwhile, action cards do things such as let you take a card from the discard pile or discard you entire hand and draw up to five again.

Robot Lab animation

After you play a card, you can discard as many action cards as you choose and as many robot part cards of the same color. Finally, you draw back up to five cards and it becomes the next player’s turn.

Also in the deck are bonus action cards, which can be played at any time and do things such as force the player with the most parts on their robot to discard a piece, or block a card someone has just played.

After you have successfully built your robot, each other player gets one last chance to play a bonus action card to remove a piece from your robot, or you win the game.

RobotLab action cards

Review

RobotLab is really easy to pick up. The rules are simple and intuitive, but between the various action cards and the ability to block other players, there’s just the right amount of strategy to keep it engaging without overcomplicating things. This makes it a great game for families as it definitely has something to offer both adults and kids and won’t feel unfair for the younger players.

The artwork on the robots and action cards is fun and really creative. The robots are legitimately a lot of fun to build and you really do enjoy watching them come together. Also, you cycle through the deck several times in each game, so you’re never stuck waiting too long to find that one last piece you need.

Turns are fast and gameplay is about fifteen minutes maximum. Players who like quick, light card games will really enjoy RobotLab. However, game groups who are looking for something with a little more depth should probably look elsewhere. That’s not what RobotLab is and it’s not what it wants to be. It wants to fun, fast, and not too friendly, as there’s a healthy dose of ‘take-that’ and snatching victory from other players.

It’s colorful, it’s robots, and it’s just downright enjoyable. What’s not to love? Check it out on Kickstarter and see for yourself.

Pros: Great for families, simple yet engaging rules, fun artwork

Cons: May be too simple for some game groups

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.