First Impressions: Deathbot Derby

Hello readers! It has been a while I know, but unfortunately real life needed to take priority over the reviews this summer. It was worth it though as I now have my Mrs. Bored Games, among other amazing events. Anyway, I’m not here to get into that too much, let’s get back to what brings you in. Games! Today, I’ll be having a look at Deathbot Derby from Royal N. Games. Please note that the copy of Deathbot Derby I received is a review copy, and may differ from final copies. So some issues may be irrelevant in the final copy of the game.

If You Love
In this section, I will highlight mechanics, and some thematic aspects that may sway your opinion to either read on, or skip into a review of another game you may find interesting.

  • Head to head player combat
  • Strategic Planning
  • Competitive games
  • Thematic gameplay
  • Open board movement
A Typical Setup for a game of Deathbot Derby

How It’s Played

In Deathbot Derby, you are creating a robot to compete against your opponent using a pair of weapons (ranged and melee), a movement card which will give you a set speed(how far you are allowed to move on a turn), as well as a one time use secret weapon. When you get your robots built, you will enter them into the arena and start a deadly battle against your opponents. The arena is a set of 30 cards with random obstacles, which are set up in a random order in a 5×6 grid. During your turn, you will make two actions. These can either be a movement action, or an attack action against your opponent. You can choose to do two of the same type of action if you so choose. On top of these two actions, you have an opportunity to make two other actions as well. You may choose to use your secret weapon which have many different abilities. As well, you may use a hazard button (up to four times per game), which gives you an opportunity to roll a die and whichever number you roll, you go to your 5×6 grid, and in the middle of each card is a number. All numbers that match with your roll, will get flipped over to customize the board through out the game and change strategies as well. If you attack an opponent, they will lose armour by the number of hit points your weapon you attacked with has on it. Once the armour is completely destroyed, you will then start destroying their weapons and movement abilities. Once all of your opponents pieces have been destroyed, the game is over.


The Pretty Little Bow

This is going to be a quick section, as this is a Kickstarter preview. The art and pieces look promising for the final game art, however, not totally to my taste. It does however fit the theme perfectly, and am not sure that I could picture this game with a different style of art that would fit as nice. It certainly wouldn’t be a hindrance on a decision to play the game or not.

What’s To Love? 

While playing this game, I love the amount of strategy that is teeming out of the box. I didn’t however pick up on really how much there was in the first couple of games, and originally had a different opinion. When I first played, we basically just went all out to attack each other, and that was basically it. After playing a few times though, you really start to use the board to your advantage and the abilities you have as well. You can sneak beside obstacles and set up a diagonal attack if you have the proper equipment selected, and the board can provide at least partial protection. As well, you can take a chance with your hazard button and change the board, which may change your outlook and plan to move around the board. I also really enjoyed the abilities of the board itself. Having spots which can damage you and your opponent is a brilliant idea. As well, there are wrenches scattered throughout to help give you some hit points back so you can stay in the game longer.

A few of the obstacles within the arena

What’s Not to Love? 

There was really not too much to not love as far as gameplay goes in this game. It worked very well, and in my experience so far, there isn’t any over powered cards. If I had to say anything about not loving this game, it would likely be within the rule book. Though the objective is fairly obvious, there was no where in the rule book that stated the objective of the game was to attack your opponent and destroy their weapons to win the game. Another thing that seemed to be missing was a set starting point. In my games, we would start at diagonal corners, but it didn’t really specify. I personally believe that everything else in the rule book was great and well written, but it just seemed to be lacking those two things, which I really didn’t notice until they weren’t there.


What’d You Think? 

Other than a couple small hiccups in the rule book(which at this point may have been dealt with and updated), and a personal taste issue with the art style, I really enjoyed this game. It’s nice and compact, however, packs a big game feel to it. I think the decision to go with cards was very good rather than tiles, just to keep the size down to make it more prone to be a toss in and take with you game. I am always a fan of direct battles with your opponents, having grown up playing risk, and this is one that doesn’t disappoint. For such a simple movement game, it really brings up the strategy with a changing arena, and it is one of the more thematic games I’ve played recently. Definitely a keeper, and within a year, I can picture myself pulling this out consistently to play with my son.


Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first impression of Deathbot Derby, and have yourselves wonderful holidays in the coming weeks! And don’t ever forget, I love you all!

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