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Carlton Noles
This is a Robotic Combat game
:Players Players:
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 4
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 4
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Chessboard, a unique token for each player, a 3x5 card (or like implement) for each Automaton)
Setup time: 2 Minutes
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics: Simultaneous action
Theme: SciFi Battle
BGG Link:
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987

Automaton is a game of robotic combat using Icehouse pyramids as robots.


Set out the chessboard bandana or chessboard. Each player receives 1 unique token for marking their automaton. Decide which direction of the board will be North. All movement is relative to this orientation (i.e., North refers to the same side of the board no matter which way a particular player is facing).

The 3x5 card should be marked on the front with spaces for the pyramids to be used on the left and squares representing hit points on the right. I reccomend a group of six squares seperated from a group of 3. The seperate three are the 3 possible extra points of armor. If a player has no blue pyramid put an X in all of the three extra squares, then as damage is taken put an x in one additional square for each point of damage taken.


1=R      000
2=B      000
3=Y      ---

This Automaton consists of a small red giving it one additional fire power, a medium blue giving it 2 additional armor and a large yellow giving it a continuous movement of 2 with bursts of 3. The back of the card is used for recording movement (discussed later).


Each automaton will consist of a Tree of Icehouse pieces. No colors may be repeated in a single automaton. The colors of the pieces represent the qualities of the robot. Building your automaton should be done in secret. On one side of a 3x5 card (the design side), indicate which color to use for each pyramid. Players should then place the card info side down in front of them. When all players are finished ,the Automatons are revealed and placed at a mutually agreed upon starting point (corners of the chess board are good starting points).

Blue - Increases Hardening (Armor)
Red  - Increases Firepower (Damage)
Yellow - Increases Movement
Green - Increases Range

The base value for the qualites of Firepower, Movement and Range is 1. For Hardness it is 6.

The Qualities of a automaton are modified by the pyramids used to construct them. For Hardness and Firepower, the modifier is 1 point for each pip of the pyramid used. For Movement and Range, it is one half the number of pips rounded down with the provision that odd numbers can boost the quality by 1, but this boost cannot be used on successive turns. (more on this at Movement and Range).

Game Play

Each turn consists of two phases: Movement and Combat, as follows.


Movement in Automaton is simultaneous. All players write down a number of moves for their automaton on the back (movement side) of their 3x5 card. An automaton is not required to move every turn. The number of moves that is available is determined by the size of the movement pyramid (if there is one).

Movement is augmented by the Yellow pyramid (if any) in the Automaton.

Movement Table:

Pyramid        Movement        Boost
none              1              -
1                 1              *
2                 2              -
3                 2              *

Movement is written on the back of the card in the following form:

N-W-W* <<< This would indicate a turn during which the boost was used. There may 
           not be two of these turns in a row.

The card is then placed movement side down in front of the player. When all players have completed their movement instructions, reveal them and move your Automatons.

Possible Moves

| | | |3| | | |
| | |3|2|3| | |
| |3|2|1|2|3| |
| |3|2|1|2|3| |
| | |3|2|3| | |
| | | |3| | | |

Just a little chart so you can see the possible moves.

Since movement is simultaneous, there is the possibility of collision. Collision will be resolved as follows:

Head On:
1===>*<===2   then 1*2     Each Automaton ends one square away from the collision
                           in the direction from whence it came.
     2        then  1      Each Automaton travels one square beyond the collision      
                    *2     in the direction the other Automaton was moving.
Rear End:
---===>*      then 1*2     1 stops one square short of its original destination and 
1  2                       2 stops one step beyond its original destination.


After all players have moved, any player may choose to fire on another player. At its most basic, combat consists of firing at an Automaton 1 space away and doing 1 point of damage. As noted of course, the makeup of the Automaton can alter this. Range, like movement, is figured along orthoganal paths. And like movements, some range modifiers provide for a boost (an extra square of range that cannot be used on succesive turns).

Range is augmented by the green pyramid (if any) in the Automaton.

Range Table

Pyramid         Range          Boost
none              1              -
1                 1              *
2                 2              -
3                 2              *

Range Diagram (where X is your current location)

| | | |3| | | |
| | |3|2|3| | |
| |3|2|1|2|3| |
| |3|2|1|2|3| |
| | |3|2|3| | |
| | | |3| | | |

Damage is resolved by checking firepower. An attack does 1 damage plus 1 additional damage for every red pip in the Automaton (if any).

An automaton can take 6 points of damage plus 1 point of damage for every blue pip in the Automaton (if Any) before being destroyed. Damage should be recorded on the design side of the Automaton card. Damage is public knowledge, and if not easily seen, it must be provided to other players upon request.


Originally I was thinking Straight up 1 adds to movement and range but I think that would throw those abilities out of balance (especially on a chessboard which is a bit small for this type of game). A few obvious variations would be multiple Automatons for each player and Team Play. Also the game does not have to be played on a chessboard (that is just a convenient board that most people have around) what would be even better, IMHO would be to have a large trasparent sheet marked off in squares that you could use to overlay a map of some sort. A city, state, or amusement park map, or even a blueprint, might offer some interesting hindrances like walls, buildings or bodies of water to have to move around.

Credits and Copyright

This game was dreamt up by Carlton "Kermit" Noles was placed on the wiki. It is licenced under the Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial)