Inside a world where you have the chance to adapt and build your own robots, it only naturally makes sense to climb up a giant tower, scavenging for parts, and looking to take on an evil mastermind lurking at the top. You play the role of a mad genius, with your own robot to work on. These robots are simple bots though, but they can be modified and upgraded to fight against other robots and get across traps that are strewn across the massive tower you are trying to scale.
As stated above, you will be assembling a robot before entering a giant tower in the middle of the table you are playing on. These towers are made of face down cards, so you never know what is lurking until you face it. When it comes to building your robot, you are given a variety of different parts; heads, torsos, legs, individual arms, as well as consumables which can be held on your robot.
You are looking to fight your way to the top of the bosses tower — a large tower made of trap rooms, that is completed with a huge boss that you must face down. Other players will be playing to get to the same goal; the epic loot the boss has, and escape in order to secure the win. You can work with them or against them in the tower, but ultimately only one person is going to end up with the loot.
Along the way, your robot will be tested at various traps. If it loses then it can lose its body parts, or even fully detonate. These parts can be picked up and put back on, however, you cannot rebuild with new parts until you have exited the tower. Each of the body parts give statistic boosts to stats from strength to speed, which can be used for traps. Some also have various symbols that give it new effects.
Doomsday Bots consists mainly of cards, all of which are divided nicely in the box by little dividers! There are trap cards, which make up the main elements of the tower — each row in the recommended beginner tower being five high. On top of the left hand row, there is a bonus card which is from the bosses deck. Each boss has its own stat card of the same name, which can be selected once the boss is revealed. Speaking of bots, there is a collection of bot loot for when the boss is defeated. The majority of the cards come in the form of parts and consumables, which you will be using to make it through the tower. There are various types of consumables as well as parts, which were mentioned above. Each player also has their own reference card. These show their selected robot, the various stat symbols, the different actions that can be taken each turn, as well as a quick reference to various card symbols for abilities on the back.
Now that we have the cards out of the way, let’s talk about the other items inside this rather compact box. There are four twenty-sided dice in the colors green, red, blue, and yellow. These refer to the color of the robot each player can choose. They all look slightly different in design and have a background that match the color of the dice. These robot pieces stand up in plastic bases, so they can be moved around the tower. As for tokens, there are two types. Scrap tokens, also called trash tokens, can be placed on rooms once their trash requirements are met. Charge tokens are given, three each, to each player. These can be used once per tower, one at a time, to activate bonus actions as listed on various parts. Doomsday Bots also comes with a tiny, cute rule book.
When it comes to starting the game, there are a few set-up instructions to follow. After picking your bot and setting up your tower as you wish (we played the recommended layout) and boss, you need to dish out all of the parts. This is done through drafting a deck of cards, which you can then use to modify your robot and stay alive for longer. You will do this by having a handful of cards, picking one to keep, and then passing the rest to the next player. This continues until all of the cards run out, this requires a second hand of cards being distributed in the opposite direction.
Once you have your robot parts, you can decide if you want to deck your robot out. Each of these parts have various actions, can work with other parts, and have a bunch of stats that are needed to get through the traps in the tower. Your robot can only have one pair of legs, two arms, one head, one torso, and two consumables. After you have built your desired robot, you will start going through the tower.
There are various actions that can be taken on your turn, but you must only pick two to use. The first of which can be movement; you can move diagonally, horizontally, or vertically by one card, flipping it over to reveal the trap within it. You will then need to face this trap. Most of the time, it’s about getting a higher number in that specific stat — either intelligence, power, or speed. You can do this by adding up how much of a specific stat your parts make, plus rolling your dice. If these numbers added together are more than the number needed on the trap, you pass. If you fail, you lose a part of your choosing, and drop it to the room.
Moving, of course, isn’t your only option. You can pick up items in the room (like dropped parts), you can self destruct, knocking a part off of any other players within the room, you can attack another bot inside the room (or within reach, if you have parts that give you a longer range), or you can use one of your abilities. You can also attack the boss if you are at the boss card.
When it comes to attacking another person’s robot, the attacker will get to pick the stat they want to contest. You then take on the battle like a trap card — adding up the stat power you already have on your bot and rolling a dice. If you lose then the challenger gets to pick what part you drop. If you win, nothing changes and you move on with the game.
Once you have resolved your turn, it will move onto the next player. If at any point, you run out of parts on your robot and are also hit again then you will end up back at the start of the tower. Some of the traps have failure actions that can also push you back tiles. You will need to then take on each and every room, despite them being defeated before, to make it back to the top.
Once the boss is defeated, you must then make your way down the tower with your boss loot, hoping to make it out alive while your friends attack you for your boss loot.
Doomsday Bots is a pretty intense game. After the first tower round, you are able to build your robots up with more parts, and take on a brand new tower. The decisions that are made when you make your robot at the start of the game are super important, as there are various ways to take on the tower. You can build up a huge robot and work on taking on traps, or you can attempt to defeat various other players so they don’t make it to the top of the tower, or you can work together with some people to actually conquer the tower together.
A lot of playing Doomsday Bots really depends on who you are playing with, since there are chances to mess with other players and even explode by them. You will need to be really calculated if you want to challenge other players, but you must do what you have to do to make it to the boss. I was playing against some very intensely competitive players, who were all about making the strongest bot possible and fighting anyone near the top. Sometimes knocking off specific parts breaks abilities bots might have, which can really mess people up.
Overall, Doomsday Bots is a really, really fun game. I enjoyed building up my robots. So many of the parts were not only cool looking, but had awesome abilities and matched each other. The tower has great traps, both in the way they look and the little description of what they are.
There are a bunch of different boss bots, and they live up to the name. Not only are they super challenging, but you can easily lose all of your parts to the boss room — if you do this then you also cannot pick up the parts until the boss is defeated. The loot you get from the boss, which you can use for the next tower, is really powerful and well worth the challenge of defeating them (or destroying whomever ends up with it before they reach the end).
Also, the box the game comes in is small, compact, and organised super well. I really am starting to appreciate nicely designed boxes when it comes to my shelf of games. All in all, this is a pretty lovely, well made game that would be perfect even if there isn’t much room on your shelf.
A copy of Doomsday Bots was provided for preview purposes. You can find out more about it as well as pre-order the game, on their Kickstarter page.