Any young person of the 90s and early aughts will remember watching remote-controlled automatons duke it out on Robot Wars (and the Americanized version, BattleBots) with electric glee. Upcoming board game Robot Quest Arena looks to weave that excitement through an approachable deckbuilder with an art style you can’t help but love.
Published by Wise Wizards Games and designed by Perfect Day Games’s Paul Waite and Robert Dougherty - most widely known as the co-creator of Star Realms - Robot Quest Arena lets two to four players duke it out vis a vis adorable robots in a causal arena format. Players take turns using energy cards to either manoeuvre about the battle pit or buy equipment and upgrade cards from the public shop.
The goal of each session is to rack up victory points by doling out damage to enemy bots using hammers, crossbows, rail guns and other high-powered weaponry, or otherwise ramming opponents into walls and hazards. Depleted health, represented by red cubes on each player’s card, is awarded to the aggressor as victory points. A robot who has lost all of its health is sidelined until the beginning of the next turn - there is no permanent death in Robot Quest Arena.
The four robots included in the base box sport unique abilities that lend each a different play style. For example, the bulky Crate can’t be pushed around as easily and therefore excels at holding advantageous ground or closing off escape routes. Contrast that with Petri’s ability to draw a card and gain power whenever it destroys another bot, which rewards aggressive and cutthroat tactics.
The world of the game, Rivet, fosters a near universal love for robotics, and everyone boasts some kind of mechanical aptitude. The characters competing in the arena are especially good at creating bots that are as effective as they are personable - the genuinely incredible designs for both bots and humans lie somewhere between Adventure Time and Mega Man and immediately draws you into the game. Seriously, tell me you don’t want to squeeze Pug until some screws pop loose.
Robot Quest Arena comes with four prepainted 40mm miniatures of the robots and enough cards and tokens to support four players, but expansions can be purchased separately or added to a pledge. These broaden the base experience with an additional bot - which ups the maximum player count, too - and related cards that bring new mechanics and playstyles for players to learn and master.
Wise Wizard Games is best known for handling popular deckbuilder Star Realms and its fantasy follow-up Hero Realms - both made it onto our list of the best collectible card games that aren't Magic: The Gathering. It also publishes the comic book-themed dice fighter Kapow!
Robot Quest Arena’s Kickstarter campaign runs through June 17th, having already punched through its original funding goal and currently sitting above $150,00 (£106,000). Backers can secure a copy for $49 (£35), with shipping beginning in May of 2022.