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Robo Force Card Game Rules

Robo Force Card Game Rules
How to Play | My Thoughts | Final Verdict | Comments

How to Play

To begin the game the following cards are removed:

  • Layout card
  • Instruction cards
  • The axle card of each robot that a player has chosen.
  • In a three player game all of the parts from one of the robots.
  • The spare parts if the advanced rules are not being used.

Each player chooses a robot and take the axle card (the middle bottom card) for that robot. In a two player game each player takes the axel card for two robots. The rest of the cards are shuffled and eight cards are dealt to each player face down (16 in two player games). Without looking at the cards, they are arranged around the axle card (bottom middle) to form a three by three rectangle.

Robo Force Gameplay 1
To begin the game every player lays their cards out like this.

Each players’ turn involves picking two of the face down cards and turning them over. The two cards that are flipped over switch positions. If after switching positions either card is in the correct location of the correct robot (even if it is not the current player’s robot), that card stays in place while the other card is flipped back over. If a piece is placed in the correct position, the current player also gets to pick two additional cards to flip over. These cards switch positions and follow the same rules. The player is only able to get one additional free turn.

Players continue taking turns until one player has completed their robot with all face up cards. In two player games the first player to complete both of their robots wins the game.

Robo Force Gameplay
Once a player has completed their entire robot like above, they win the game.

In the advanced game, the spare part cards are added to the game. When dealing out cards, the last three cards are placed into the center of the table. During the players’ turns they may switch a piece in one of the robots with one of the cards in the center of the table. Spare part cards will work for any space on any of the robots.

My Thoughts

In 1984 the Ideal company created a new branch of toys called the Robo Force. The Robo Force ended up getting a cartoon special and several lines of toys. It must have never been particularly popular though since I had actually never heard of Robo Force before running into the card game at a rummage sale. Being based on a line of toys, the card game is made for young children and you can tell. While the game may be fun and challenging for younger children, the game is way too easy and quite boring for adults.

At its’ core, the Robo Force card game is a simple memory/matching game. You pick two face down cards and flip them over. The two cards swap positions and if you end up moving a piece to its’ correct position, you get an additional turn to try and find another match. This process is continually repeated until someone has complete their robot(s).

I personally have never been a big fan of memory/matching games. The gameplay mechanic is just not that interesting in my opinion. Memory games also tend to be either too easy or too hard. In the case of Robo Force the game is really easy. The game has a recommended age of 5+ but I think an age range of 5-9 would have been more appropriate. Parents can get some enjoyment out of the game playing it with their young children but they will have to purposely throw the game in order to make the game even close.

For adults there are only two things keeping you from winning really quickly. First is luck. For adults whoever gets lucky and has all of their cards flipped over first will likely win the game. For adults the biggest challenge is actually finding where your pieces are located instead of trying to remember where they are located. Once you have seen the cards it is pretty easy to remember where they are located and then to add them to your robot.

The second slight challenge for adults is trying to remember which cards have been flipped over. It is pretty easy to remember where cards from your robot are located. The harder task is trying to remember which cards have been flipped over. If a card has been flipped over and it is not part of your robot you can totally ignore that card for the rest of the game. If it wasn’t for forgetting which cards have already been flipped over, I honestly think the first player to have all of their cards flipped over first would almost be guaranteed to win the game.

One thing the game could have done to make the game a little harder would have been to require the player to pick the two cards they were going to flip over before either card was revealed. This is a problem since if the first card flipped over is a part of your robot you will just pick the right spot on your own robot which will add the part to your robot. Having to pick both cards before flipping over the cards would make it a little more challenging since you would actually have to remember where different pieces were located and where they went on your own robot.

The game is too easy for adults but I think for the most part it is the right difficulty for younger children. The game could work as a good memory game for children. The only concern that I would have would be whether they could figure out which pieces of the robot went where. At times the only way I knew which piece went where was due to the colored lines on every card. To determine if a piece was placed in the right position you can usually look at whether the colored line is on the outside of the picture. If so the piece is usually in the correct position. This trick does not work with all of the cards though. I don’t know why the game couldn’t have made a layout card for all of the robots so they could be referenced during play.

I would say that the components are okay. The cards’ artwork is pretty typical of the 1980’s. The artwork is colorful and cartoony. The cards themselves are kinda thick. If you take good care of them they should last. The cards are around the size of a flash card though. With the cards being pretty big, you need quite a bit of room to play the game since the 3X3 rectangles take up quite a bit of space. You most likely will have to play the game on either the kitchen table or on the floor.

Final Verdict

The Robo Force card game is pretty much your typical children’s memory game. The game is too easy for adults. I doubt adults will get much enjoyment out of the game unless they play it with younger children. Despite the game being nothing special, I could see younger children enjoying the game especially if they like robots.