Robots Family Game Review: An excellent “filler” game and stocking stuffer!

Best Moment

Our adorable little five-year-old was just learning how to play. The concept of time is difficult for little ones, and it was delightful to see that play out in this game. We would laugh with her as the robot would wait a long time in between beeps (indicating a long travel), and she would guess the very first object. Or, the second beep would quickly follow the first, and she would guess something way down the line. It was SO cute and fun to see her little mind working and trying to understand the timing of the game. =-)

Gameplay Overview

Become a robot. Say “beep” two times. Let the other players guess an object. Next player. Those are literally the mechanics of the game! But there is OH so much going on behind the scenes. =-) The designated robot is given a key to determine how far and how fast she/he is secretly traveling down a path lined with objects. The second “beep” indicates a stop at which time the other players guess how far the robot traveled.

Quick Thoughts

When I first read through the rules for Robots, I thought, “What in the world kind of game is this?” I still wasn’t sure how it would go when we first started playing with our kids. Then I remembered that was my exact initial perception before playing The Mind (and now it’s a staple in our family)! Very quickly, the pieces started to fall into place, and its simple yet cleverly nuanced strategy started to unfold.

Before our first gameplay, I also thought, “Well, how in the world do the observers know how fast the robot is moving?” And that’s the crux of the game! You don’t know, and you’ve got to do your very best to guess. There are SO many fun variables at play here: the age of the current robot, current mood, previous guesses, even her personality! Is she a fast-paced, rambunctious little thing or a more methodical, intentional gal? Each of these could come into play.

I love when games come with solid gameplay variants. I really don’t love when variants seem forced just to accommodate a certain preference. While the main gameplay for Robots is designed for all players to work together and improve as a combined team, there is an alternate mode that makes it a bit more competitive…for those uber-competitive families like ours! It’s a very logical fit and doesn’t seem contrived at all. I typically prefer this mode in settings with older kids and enjoy the standard mode with young ones. There’s even a beginners and super beginners mode for the wee folk!

I don’t normally call out artwork or game components for smaller games like this, but I would feel amiss if I passed this up. The artwork is outright adorable! It’s fun and colorful and cartoony, and I’ve caught our kids several times squinting really close to see the fun details. And of course, who doesn’t love to stack and roll and flick and drop and makes shapes with 50 small, wooden discs? =-)

Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t just guess! Take all factors into account and make an educated guess. =-)
  • Use this game as a chance to teach your children or grandchildren! There are some really valuable and simple principles that can be taught if you pay close attention. Alright, I’ll give you one: everyone has different perceptions of reality…and that’s okay! It makes life and people interesting and different and great.

Scoring & Wrap-up

Overall, as a light-weight family game, I give Robots a solid 8 out of 10 (“Very good – enjoy playing and would suggest it” BGG’s scale) for the following reasons:

Promoters

  • Very intriguing balance of actual timing versus personal perception of time
  • Adorable, vibrant, and fun artwork
  • Clever theme with an interwoven storyline

Detractors

  • I don’t yet know how much replay value this game will have over time, but that’s okay! I don’t expect what I call “filler” games to have grundles of replay value. They’re great to play a bunch at first then pull out here and there for a quick gameplay between heavier games.

I was a major sceptic at first but have since been turned. While I wouldn’t turn to Robots every time we have a game night, it is a perfect game to pull out 10-15 minutes before dinner or bedtime as a way to connect with the kiddos. This has been added to our stack of short, simple, and fun “filler” games shelf!


Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.

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