In a world where only robots persist, it’s up to you and a few friends to find out what has happened to everyone’s pet robits! Choose a robot, crack open the book, and use your skills to find a successful path through the story.
At a glance: Robit Riddle is for 1-6 players, ages 8 and up. It takes anywhere from 5-45 minutes to play. It is the first game from Baba Geek Games, created and designed by Kevin Craine, and is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. The base game costs $40. There are also Educator options where you can spend a little more or less to send a copy of the game to your favorite teacher (and either receive the game yourself for $65 or just send it to the teacher for $30). It straddles the line between RPG and Choose Your Own Adventure, the cooperative nature good for readers who might be intimidated by pages of text. Storytelling is highly encouraged (and necessary for getting to the “good” endings) and replayability is very high.
Inside the box, you’ll get:
- 1 Rulebook
- 6 Character Cards
- 3 Storybooks
- 18 Encounter Cards
- Encounter Dice
- Story Dice
- Story Tokens
- Cue Cards
- 1 Bookmark
The art is part of what drew me to this project to begin with. It’s the work of John Ariosa of Mice and Mystics fame and has that special storybook atmosphere. His character design brings the quirky nature of the robotic characters to life.
And, seriously, could we just get some 3D files of the robits already? I need to print an army of them! They’re adorable.
How to Play
You are part of a community of robots. You all function happily, each robot doing their part until they decide it is time for their final spark ceremony. Then one day you wake up and discover that your and everyone else’s robit has disappeared. The object of Robit Riddle is to find out what happened to the missing robits. Depending on how successful you are in your investigation (and what ending you reach in the Storybook); you’ll find varying degrees of information about their whereabouts. After setting out Encounters (in the forms of robots that will hinder or help you, as well as negative environmental conditions), locations, and the story cue deck and story tokens, all you have to do is pick a couple of characters and start reading.
The storybook is set up like a Choose Your Own Advnture, with multiple endings, some satisfying, some not so much, peppered throughout the text. You read the text on the page, setting the scene (sometimes literally, if you travel to a new location) and placing any cards mentioned in the text. Then the group either chooses a path to take or you resolve the encounter (indicated by the roll values at the bottom of the page). Each character has Battery, Processor, and Scanner values for their character that indicates how many dice they’ll get to roll for each encounter. The “good” results are often higher values than what individual characters can roll and that’s where Story Cues come in.
Indicated by little gears and a bit of descriptive text, Story Cues (found on just about every type of card) allow anyone playing to elaborate on what they’ve done in the encounter or what they’ve done to help. Doing so will let you spend a Story Token and add to the number of Successes rolled. Playing this with my daughter, who can elaborate like no one I know, I got some very detailed feats of strength and cunning to help manipulate the rolls! And that’s the charm of Robit Riddle. The story is interesting, but it’s a bit thin. It’s meant to give you just enough so that you and your friends can build on it and take it far beyond what’s written on the page. We all do this to some extent in games, my son and I have woven tales of personal betrayal and unrequited love for our Pandemic Legacy characters that have nothing to do with, but enhance our enjoyment of the game. Here, it’s a play element. You’re rewarded for what you do already.
Depending on how successful you are in the encounter, you’ll either find an ally, helpful item, or even a robit to assist you later on (each with Story Cues of their own). If you’re less successful, you might just get some advice or shunted to a new path. If you fail, your investigation into the missing robits might end altogether. If that happens you tally up the points at the bottom of the ending along with the point values of whatever you’ve gathered through throughout the game, to see where you rank. Lots of points and you’ve likely found a good ending (there are several of them). Less points and you need to dive back in and try again to see if you can find more robits!
The art was the first thing that caught my eye with Robit Riddle and it’s continued to be my favorite thing about the game. It doesn’t hurt that it’s built around a fun and engaging Choose Your Own Adventure-style story. The encounters aren’t overly scary, so they’re not likely to frighten younger players; but there’s enough teeth to the negative consequences to ensure the tale isn’t devoid of tension. It’s a light, well produced game, that has great potential to bring players of all ages together while working through the three choose your own adventure stories included in the box. My prototype copy just came with the first and I’m anxious to see where the story goes. Even after getting the best ending (I may have cheated a bit), there are still plenty of questions unanswered. I enjoyed the addition of the stat system and liked how, rather than just piling stats and dice rolls on top of a classic gaming system, it encourages deeper interaction among all the players. Robit Riddle has charm to spare and will be a welcome addition to family gaming groups with big imaginations and a variety of ages to accomodate. It’s over 50% funded after its first week and, judging by the prototype, already a very well polished game. I’m looking forward to seeing more from Baba Geek Games. You can pledge for a copy on the Kickstarter page today.
Disclaimer: Baba Geek Games sent me a prototype copy for this review. Opinions are my own. New to Kickstarter? Make sure you check out the GeekDad Crowdfunding Primer.