Volt: Robot Battle Arena
Publisher: Nacza Games, 2014
I could give you a whole lot more nuts and bolts info, but, hey, that’s what Boardgamegeek.com is for, right? So let’s get right to the good stuff…
Volt: Robot Battle Arena is an awesome board game with a neat mechanic that is a little tricky to get your mind around at first, but works pretty great once you get the hang of it. Remember the robot battle arena shows on TV a few years back? Well, this is the board game version of that. From 2 to 4 people can play, and I find the game equally as fun with two, three or four players. It is more challenging with more people.
Your basic game play is as follows. The object is to move your robot to a randomly selected control point on the board. You have a control panel, which controls movement and firing. You secretly place dice… Yes, PLACE, dice (no rolling here) on the control panel to dictate your movement. Once everyone has placed their dice, all control panels are revealed and the dice are resolved. Then victory points are awarded based on if you are on the control point at the end of the phase, or if you managed to destroy another robot. The first player to 5 victory points wins.
If you have ever played the board game “Robo Rally”, then you might have a better feel for this game. In “Robo Rally”, you program your robot (which is a similar idea with a different mechanic, to the placement of the control dice), then simultaneously based on game criteria, you move your robot, interacting with other robots, firing weapons, and being affected by board elements.
I found this game challenging, quick and fun. There is a lot of strategy, but it is easy to get thrown off your game by a random (or not so random) play by another player. Knowing your opponents favorite strategies can help your game. It has a scrappy, fast-paced battle feel and really brings across the idea of the robot battle arenas from TV. You are never “out” of the game, because if you get “destroyed” you just start over again on your home row. Unlike Robo Rally, there is no “facing” in this game. Your robot always faces straight ahead. For some people I have played with, this makes the game easier. Using only an 9×9 board gives you limited options on where to move, so it can get quite crowded next to a control point.
The game comes with optional advanced pieces, giving you special upgrades that can add an extra level of fun and excitement, although I think you will find that playing the basic game is challenging enough for most people.