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Subject: Stack and attack! The battle of the bots is in your hands... rss

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Dion Baxter
United Kingdom
Canterbury
Kent
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I love fillers. Love letter, Resistance, King of Tokyo are a few of my current favourites. My latest is a little card game called Stak Bots.

I discovered this advertised in a blog in the weeks leading up to the UK Games Expo and it held an immediate appeal. Was it the art? The quick play time? A British game made in Britain? Or the quirkiness of little bots battling to their own demise for the amusement of their gaming overlord masters?
Or all of the above?

Anyway, I made sure I went to DogEared Games stall at the Expo and sat down with a charming gentlemen who gave me a quick '6 stack' demo. I was so impressed, I bought a copy there and then.



First impressions:
The artwork is basic. But it works. Simple, uncluttered and functional. You wouldn’t call it clipart but I really like it. Sort of ‘Robo Mr Men with guns’! (And I’m quite proud of that description)

The rules are simple to learn (as a filler should be) and even with the ‘advanced cards’ the game is easy to grasp. Play / Discard / Attack as many times as you want.

Brief rules:
Deal a stack of 9 bots face down and turn over the top card. These are your supply of bots you will battle with. When your last card goes – game over! You lose.
Deal two more cards to each player. This is your hand. You can play as many cards from your hand as you like during your turn.
Set the remaining cards as a shared draw pile.
Leave a space for destroyed/discarded cards.

On your turn, after drawing a card, you can do any or all of the following as many times as you wish:
+ Play a card (follow the instructions on it if necessary).
+ Discard a card.
+ Attack with a card. (Restriction - You can only attack with the same card per round)
For the turn to end, a bot must be sent to the discard pile. This may have to be one of yours.

When a stack card is discarded or destroyed, put it in the discard pile and reveal the one below. This is when ‘reveal effects’ may occur.

And repeat until you have a glorious winner!

The cards:
16 types of bot await you.
Standard attack bots with a strength rating; weak ‘Reapers’ that kill when revealed; Shot Bots that snipe as soon as they appear; strong Clumsy Bots that damage their own stack...
No bot is invincible. But each has its own strengths at the appropriate time and a weakness that you hope you have done the best to avoid.

Fun?
Most certainly. There is an element of luck and even if you are teetering on the edge of defeat, there is always a chance for an almost outrageous victory. The joy of watching someone’s face when they trip a Reaper Bot with their level 7 Stomp Bot is always funny. Or pulling off a lucky draw to thwart off inevitable death is always a pleaser.

Tactics?
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a luck-fest. There is a delightful element of randomness, but you do have to work out when to play a certain card, when to hold back or even sacrifice a card for the greater good. (Don’t worry, these bot's sole purpose in life is to fight for your own insane pleasure.) Play well and you can unleash a chain of ‘robo fury’ that will decimate an opponent’s deck in seconds.
It certainly requires more thought than watching any of the Michael Bay Transformers movies... devil

Replayablity?
The game is customisable. DogEared Games don’t seem too precious about how you should play and they give suggestions for multiplayer, team and a number of variants. They want you to share your ideas as well. I personally can see the potential for a board game utilising these very cards...

Summary:
As you’ve probably guessed, I like it. So does my youngest son (10 years old) and he enjoys a range of games from King of Tokyo to Dungeon Lords. I’ve yet to show it to my local gaming group, but I’m sure it will be a hit there too. My next step will be to introduce it to my school where we have just started up a lunchtime board games club - a two team three player battle should interesting.

And it’s a bargain price! (£7 from www.stakbots.com) It would quite frankly be rude not to have a copy.


Edit: Correcting some terrible grammar. (Oops!)
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Chrees M
United Kingdom
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
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I was nearly the same. I hadn't heard of it though before the UK games Expo, but was enticed to play a game (6 stack) and fell in love and bought it. Only had once game since, but it was with a strange gamer friend who wasn't impressed :/
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