Review: Robotech – Force of Arms
- # of Players: 2
- Playtime: 20 – 30 Mins
- Ages: 14+
- Publisher: Solar Flair Games
- MSRP: $19.85
The crash of a derelict alien spacecraft signals the beginning of a desperate battle between humanity and the Zentradi to determine who will control not only the alien technology but space as well.
In RoboTech players try to gain the upper hand in a constantly changing battlefield.
What I Liked
- I love the theme. I am a big fan of Robotech’s first season.
- Changing Battlefield
- Tactical Gameplay
What I didn’t
- The rules can take a couple of plays to understand
- Downtime is a possibility
Robotech is played on a 3×3 grid of spaceships: four RoboTech Defence Force (RDF) ships, four Zentradi ships, and one empty space card. As play progresses players reposition their ships and deploy their fighters and defenders in an attempt to out maneuver their opponent during the Scoring phase of the game.
Fighters are played two at a time and are usually played face down … I say usually because a few fighters provide a definite benefit if they are played face up. While this does remove the element of surprise, for this deployment, it does give you a benefit in the form of more attack or defence later.
Tokens are one time bonuses that you earn by playing specific ships face up during the first phase of the game. The exception is the Spy Token which players start the game with.
When deciding whether to play a ship card face up for tokens it is important to remember that while you may get a bonus later, you are revealing information to your opponent that they can, and will, use against you.
Heros and Command Cards
Heroes and Command cards offer powerful effects that can change the course of a battle, depending on how they are used. These effects range from drastically increasing attack or defence, to moving a ship out of harm’s way.
While deploying your resources is the majority of the playtime in RoboTech, it is really just an extended setup phase where players are trying to give themselves the best advantage possible. Where the game gets interesting is the scoring phase. It is like a campaign: you have to make speeches, answer questions, make promises and sacrifices, and endure intense scrutiny. All that matters, at the end of the day, is the results. In RoboTech the results are calculated by comparing the total attack on a given ship, by the total defensive value of that ship. Whoever has the highest number takes that ships Victory point.
While Robotech is designed well and plays wonderfully, I do have an issue with the game. The issue arose more than once and with different opponents. The problem was with the correct use of tokens, specifically tokens that provide an attack bonus. To use an attack token you simply place it on an opponent’s ship and it adds one attack to that ship during the scoring phase. The problem was that my opponents kept playing the attack tokens on their own freighters, effectively shooting themselves in the foot.
As a fan of the original series, I had high hopes for RoboTech. I wasn’t disappointed. The game is well thought out, and put together nicely. The one issue I had can easily be fixed with a revision to the rules, or by addressing it in an FAQ.
That being said, RoboTech isn’t a game for everyone. RoboTech is more about trying to set up the final outcome, and less about moving pieces or playing take that effects on your opponent. To consistently win you must be able to figure out what your opponent is playing and effectively counter it. Once scoring begins, there is nothing you can do to change the outcome, so adapting is essential to your success. If this sounds appealing, I cannot recommend Robotech more. If not, I would recommend looking elsewhere.