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Doomsday Bots – Pre-Release Review

If you head north, past Edinburgh, you might find the seaside city of Dundee, where we find the DigiSprite team who have, up until now, been building websites and mobile games. They are trying their hand in traditional board gaming with their first product called Doomsday Bots. Their Kickstarter is going very well and I was lucky enough to get an introductory game with managing director Robyn during UK Games Expo, so I thought I would do a full review.

Specifications

  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Average play time: 30-60 minutes
  • Kickstarter end date: 3rd July 2018
  • Investment tiers: From £1 – £200

Gameplay

You start the game by setting up the tower, which is made up of two columns of five cards drawn from the deck of challenge cards. You also pick a boss and three boss loot cards, placing them at the top of the tower as your goal. Once the tower is complete each player builds their hand from drafting two sets of seven Part cards – This is done by taking a card out and then passing the cards to the next player, until all the cards have been distributed. Finally, players assemble their starting bot. Bots are made up of a maximum of a head, a torso, two arms and a set of legs. You don’t need one of each to start the game, but it is advisable that you build as big a bot as possible to take on the challenge. Each piece of the bot will give you a boost to taking on one of the three types of challenge; power, intelligence and speed. Some parts also have special abilities that can be triggered by the room, or by the player at will.

Each player gets up to two actions per turn, so once your robot is built, you decide which side of the tower you want to start your journey from. Turn over the first card and take on the challenge by rolling a D20 to get over the required value, applying any card bonuses given to you by bot parts. If you are not successful, then you lose a part of your bot in the room and your turn ends. However if you succeeded the test, then you get to move up the tower and so you can turn over the next card, either in the current column you’re in or you can move over and up to the other column.

As you move through the tower towards the Boss, you can spend an action to pick up any bot parts that others have dropped. Some of the room cards have bonus elements that get triggered by passing or failing a challenge, as well as being triggered by player activation. Once at the top of the tower, you then take on the Boss with a series of challenges and should you beat them, you get to pick up the doomsday device and attempt to make a dash for the exit.

This is where the game changes from being co-operative (players versus the Boss) to competitive, where all the players then begin to attack the player holding the doomsday device. Players can then start to use their bot parts to attack. Players can choose to self-destruct their bot to do damage to all bots in the room, where they can then build a brand new bot and start back at the bottom of the tower.

Visuals & Verdict

I must say that the visuals for the game are rather beautiful and since DigiSprite sent me over quite a few images of the game, I thought I would share them with you. It certainly embraces the steampunk feel that they are going for. Sam (the designer for DigiSprite) has done an amazing job with the card design. Throughout the whole game, that I saw there was a sort of tongue in cheek feel to the bot parts and room that can be both fun and incredibly devious.

If you previously read the Kickstarter roundup article, then you know that I have invested in Doomsday Bots. The game is well priced at £20 and you get a fair amount of product for the money. From what I played I can see that it would have enough random and strategic elements, which means that I can play it months later and still enjoy it. It’s also very easy to pick up; I think it took Robyn all of about 5 minutes to explain the basic rules. Naturally she did have to clarify a few things, but there was no major misunderstanding. I love the way the games tension shifts as soon as someone picks up the Doomsday device, which can add a bit of a back-and-forth flow to the game.

Have you invested in Doomsday Bots as yet? I’m genuinely excited to see how the final game plays and what the end product is like. Is this a game that you would buy? Give us some feedback via the comments section or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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