Disclaimer: This preview is from a copy of the published game that was provided by Royal N. Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Game: DeathBot Derby
Publisher: Royal N. Games
Designer: Zach Connelly
Artist: James Groeling
Main Game Mechanisms: Variable Player Powers, Drafting, Action Selection, Grid Movement
Number of Players: 2 or 4
Game Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Description: You’ve been waiting your whole life for this moment: you get to take GigantoBlamoSaurus into the arena for a fight to the death – well, whatever the death of a robot looks like.
Deathbot Derby is a 2 or 4 player game that allows you to build a robot to take into the arena. You can start with the recommended starting bots, or you can draft the movement, ranged weapon, melee weapon, and secret weapon so that you can build the ultimate DeathBot to win in the arena. Your DeathBot has 4 armor, and then each of those pieces has a certain number of hit points associated with them as well. Get through your opponent’s armor, then start beating down their weaponry and movement pieces to be the winner of the DeathBot Derby!
The thing is, the ever-changing arena is a 5×6 grid of cards that is filled with obstacles, like buzzsaws and bombs, that can cause you a lot of problems as you’re running to make repairs. Don’t like the current setup? Hit the big red button, roll the die, and certain parts of the arena will flip to their other side based on what you rolled.
Review: This game really is BattleBots in a card game. From the goofy names that you can use (the pieces of the bot’s suggested name are on top of your movement, melee, and ranged cards) to how intense it can get toward the end of the game, this neat little title is nonstop fun from start to finish – and quite a bit of tactics in between.
The art is dark and dingy, but it gives you that feel of being in an underground arena that was built for making DeathBots that want to beat the daylights out of each other. Seeing the obstacles may be a little difficult for colorblind players, but since everything is open information, someone could easily help their opponent if necessary. The components are great for a small box game. I love the chunky little robot meeples, the cards are of a good thickness, and everything is easy to read.
With how much you’re running around and such, it actually feels a little bit like a lighter two-player version of Adrenaline (which is one of my top ten games of all time). We haven’t gotten to try it with four players yet, but I imagine it will maintain that feeling with just a bit more chaos mixed into it.
Try, Buy, Deny: If you’re someone who loves nostalgia and likes a little bit of beat ’em up in your games, Deathbot Derby is definitely a buy. Like having a 2 player game where you get to beat the daylights out of your opponent? It’s a buy for you as well. Otherwise, it’s a solid try that I believe people with all sorts of interests will enjoy.
Marti – The Fluffy Meeple