16 Jan 2020

Bot War The Game from Traders Galaxy

Bot War The Game from Traders Galaxy

As I have some spare time I thought I would offer some thoughts in Bot War as a game. There is a fair bit of info in the game info section on the website about the game but i thought some if those points worth expanding on and reiterating.

Like all good games Bot War is quite hard to get a handle on game wise. There are three reasons for this -
1. The game core rules are simple. So simple a kid can play it.
2. The game uses some abstract concepts regarding models.
3. Multiple ways to win

Ill attempt to explain point 1 first.

The core rules use a few levers to make the game. This can be particularly confusing for new players regarding balance as there is more than just lateral play involved. Let me give an example -

Some may look at a stat card and think wow this model is really good for the points. But then find out in game that it totally failed. This is because the force was not designed around this character and it literally starved to death on the battlefield (not enough energy)

Energy management and list building is a huge aspect of Bot War. But energy and strategy ratings are even more important than points when it comes to selecting your force.

This is why Bot War is a supremely complex game. Yes kids can play the basic rules, but managing strategy rating and energy distribution is very difficult to get right. It means that for each activation phase you really need to have some kind of plan or foresight into what may happen. Including knowing when all your opponents models will activate.

2. Bot War uses abstract concepts that are not super common in other games. For example, infantry, bots, vehicles and even bunkers and other battlefield items all easily fit into the core rules and activations.

Only slight special rules and traits are required between a vehicle and infantry. Or bot and a bunker. This can sometimes be confusing for new players.

As the designer i see bots as the middle road. After all the game is bot war. So bots can do a bit of everything within the game. All bots will lean towards excelling in close attack compared to other model types. This is because bots have the ability to punch and kick things.

The other model types all specialise in certain other areas. For example infantry specialise in energy conservation. Dedicated flyers specialise in movement. Etc etc.

My prediction would be that the more skill playing the game the more your force would include specialised units such as infantry and vehicles.

I have now been playing this game for two years against Aidan Spittles and i can truly say that i have had some super enjoyable games of bot war.

3. Multiple ways to win. Back in my warhammer days i hated the feeling that it was impossible to win against some forces. In my game it is ALWAYS possible to win against any force. Obviously some will be harder than others. However usually the more powerful forces have in built achilles heels.
For example a battle that have a big tough guy we depend on a small bot or model Aidan and i call a battery. Kill the battery and the big tough guy starves his force.

Having taken many army types in bot war i now lean away from big tough guys. Yes they re scary but they are too vunerable to battery death in my opinion. Myself i always make sure i take a model to counter any batteries hising at the back of the board too.

In Bot war objectives and scenario rules matter. Like. A LOT. The scenarios are an essential balance for some forces. For example the new Beastlords will be super strong but very small in number. Without far superior numbers or by playing an objective game,players will struggle to win against them. Interestingly multiple close attacks are the way big scary bots are brought down.

This is once again an abstract representation that big bots are slow. Yes super powerful but they get overwhelmed but lots of smaller attackers.

So in summary i think it is quite difficult to get a real handle on Bot War until you play it a few times. There are a few battles on the Bot War youtube page. However players really need to experience all the thought processes you need to consider in this simple game.

I suggest if you are on the fence. Take the plunge on a starter and give it a few games with a regular opponent. The rules are solid.

Traders Galaxy

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