RAMbots Factory

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Under development


This game is currently under development, in the Nearly Complete stage. Feedback is strongly encouraged! Feel free to give comments on game design or structure on the talk page.

RAMbots Factory
Blake Cetnar
A variant of RAMbots where the factory floor moves and changes orientation and adds various board elements to interact with.
:Players Players: 2 - 4
:Time Length: Long?
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 1 per player
Number of colors: 1 per player
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1 per player
Five-color sets: 1 per player
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
1 extra Treehouse stash, 1 Xeno stash, 1 Martian Coasters set, four 5x5 Volcano boards or equivalent, 1 dice bag, 1 Treehouse die, misc tokens or dice
Setup time: 5 minutes
Playing time: 30
30 Min
0.5 Hr
- 60
60 Min
1 Hr
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: Medium
Game mechanics: None
Theme: Strategic
BGG Link: not ready yet
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987
Created in July, 2009


Inspired by RAMbots created by Kory Heath. Note: The mechanics are the same as RAMbots, the main difference here is the board on which the game is played. For simplicity I will copy the contents of RAMbots so that all the rules are in one place so players don't have to refer back and forth between two pages. I will highlight the additions/changes introduced by RAMbots Factory via bolding the lines/sections which are new.

RAMbots Factory



What You Need
• Two to four players
• A Rainbow Treehouse set for each player, plus one extra set
• 1 Xeno set
• (4) 5x5 Volcano Boards
• 1 Martian Coasters set
• A cardboard screen for each player
• 1 Treehouse die
• 1 dice bag
• Misc tokens or small dice (used to keep track of damage)


Setup
The easiest way to begin setting up RAMbots is to use all of the pieces to build trees of each Treehouse color (except the black). (A "tree" is a small piece stacked on a medium stacked on a large.) Each player should gather an initial "code-pool" of pieces by selecting a single tree of each color. A tree of each color should also be placed on the board. The large pieces on the board represent RAMbots, the medium pieces represent the "precedence stack", and the small pieces represent beacons. Set the 4 Volcano boards together in a 2x2 configuration and put 1 Martian Coaster tile in the middle of each board so that there is an empty row surrounding each Martian Coaster on all four sides (these empty rows are referred to as the Board Element Rows). Assign a RAMbot to each player, and place each one upright near its owner, in the corner of the Martian Coaster closest to each player. If there are fewer than four players, set aside any unused RAMbots and code-pool pieces for the duration of the game.

Place the four beacons in the middle of the Martian Coasters, lying down on their sides (it doesn't matter in which direction), and in random color order. Arrange the four medium pieces into a stack which, from top to bottom, matches the color ordering of the RAMbots on the board, beginning with a random color and moving clockwise around the board. (This ordering is not strictly necessary, but it will make the process of executing programs during the game a bit easier.) The precedence stack should not actually occupy spaces on the board and should be off to the side in order to stay out of the way.

Select one piece of each color from your code-pool (of whatever sizes you choose) and create a "goal stack" for the player on your left. This stack will represent the order in which that player needs to tag the four goals to win the game; the top piece the color that needs to be tagged first, and so on. Keep the goal stack you create hidden until all players have created one; then place the goal stack on the corner nearest your neighbor's RAMbot, on the very edge of the board. Like the precedence stack, these goal stacks do not occupy spaces on the board, and they will not interfere with the movements of RAMbots during the game.

Set aside the orange 3-pip piece from the Xeno stack. Choose one player (the tallest, shortest, or dice off, etc). The selected player takes the 3-pip piece which will be referred to as the Torch.

Put all the remaining Xeno pieces and all the black in the dice bag. This will be the board elements bag. Once the goal stacks have been created and the torch has been handed out, the setup is complete; you're ready to begin playing.


Rambotsfactory.jpg
Play
A single round of play is divided into three phases: the programming phase, the execution phase, and the board movement phase.

The Programming Phase
At the beginning of this phase, all players set up their screens and begin "programming" their RAMbots. You may lay out up to five of your code-pool pieces behind your screen; they will be executed in order from left to right. Each instruction piece represents a single RAMbot action, which will cause your RAMbot to move and then shoot a beam of colored energy. (See the section entitled "Executing Individual Instructions" for a full description of RAMbot actions.) You are not allowed to set up more than five instructions, but you are allowed to set up less than five.

When all players have finished programming, everyone lifts their screens, and the game moves on to the Execution Phase.

The Execution Phase
To begin the Execution Phase, each player should slide his or her leftmost instruction forward to the center of the nearest board edge, an action known as "loading the program register". One of these instructions is about to be executed; to determine which one, first look at the sizes of the pieces. Smaller pieces run more quickly than larger pieces, so smaller pieces always take precedence over larger ones. If there is a single smallest piece, simply execute that instruction. (See the section entitled "Executing Individual Instructions" for details on how the individual instructions work.)

If there is a tie for smallest piece, compare the colors of the tying pieces to the precedence stack in the middle of the board. Higher colors always take precedence over lower ones. If there is a single highest color among the tying pieces, simply execute that instruction.

If there is another tie, then the instruction pieces in question must be identical. In this case, compare the colors of the appropriate player's RAMbots to the color precedence stack. The instruction belonging to the player whose RAMbot's color is highest on the precedence stack should execute first. (This is easy to see, assuming you've arranged the precedence stack according to the initial RAMbot colors. The player whose color is currently on top of the precedence stack will have the highest precedence during a tie, and so on clockwise around the table.)

After an instruction has been executed, the instruction piece should be returned to its owner's code pool, and that player's next leftmost instruction should immediately be pushed forward into his or her program register. Once again, follow the above rules to determine which instruction should be executed next, and then execute it. (Note that it is perfectly possible for a player to execute two or more instructions in a row.) Repeat this process until every instruction has been executed.

When all instructions have been executed, move on to the Board Movement Phase.

Executing Individual Instructions
Each instruction in your program will cause your RAMbot to move and then fire a beam of colored energy in front of itself. Each piece in a program should either be lying down and pointing in one of the four cardinal directions, or standing upright on its base. The orientation of the instruction piece indicates how your RAMbot will move, and the color of the instruction piece indicates what kind of beam your RAMbot will fire.

Movement<b> <b>RAMbots may only move in the directions of the arrows on the square it is in. If a RAMbot attempts to move in any other direction it does not move. An instruction piece lying on its side tells your RAMbot to move in the direction the instruction piece is pointing. When you execute this instruction, move your RAMbot one, two, or three spaces in the appropriate direction, depending on whether the instruction piece is small, medium, or large. If your RAMbot is not already facing in the direction that your instruction piece is pointing, the first unit of the movement instruction will be used to reorient your RAMbot in the appropriate direction. So, for instance, if you have a large movement instruction piece pointing in a different direction than your RAMbot, you must first reorient your RAMbot (using one unit of the movement action), and then move it two spaces in the appropriate direction. A small-sized movement instruction will therefore reorient your RAMbot without moving it if it's not already facing in the appropriate direction. If at any time your RAMbot is standing on its base (as it is at the beginning of the game), the first unit of a movement instruction will tip your RAMbot down and point it in the appropriate direction, to be followed by the rest of the movement action.

An instruction piece standing on its base represents "reverse gear"—it causes your RAMbot to move backwards away from the direction that it's currently pointing, for one, two, or three spaces. If your RAMbot is currently standing on its base, an upright instruction will not move your RAMbot at all.

Pushing and RAMing
If, during one of your movement instructions, your RAMbot moves forward into or backs into a space that contains a beacon or another RAMbot, the object will be pushed. Note: No RAMbots may be pushed or pulled off the Martian Coasters and into the board element rows. If there are objects directly on the other side of the pushed object, they will be pushed along with it. If an object cannot be pushed any further (because it's against a wall, or it's against objects which are against a wall), your RAMbot simply stays where it is (though you do still make contact with the object). If your RAMbot runs directly into a wall, nothing special happens. If you make contact with another object with the nose of your own RAMbot, you have RAMed that object. (If you back up into an object, or if you get pushed into another object during someone else's instruction, you do not RAM that object.) If you make contact with another object multiple times during a single instruction, this only counts as a single RAM. Whenever you RAM another player's RAMbot, you cause damage to that RAMbot. Take the highest precedence piece from that player's code-pool and add it to your own code-pool. In other words, take the smallest piece available in that player's code pool; if there's a tie for smallest piece, take a piece of the color that's highest on the precedence stack. If there are currently no pieces in that player's code pool, you don't get to steal any pieces. You may not steal pieces from an opponent's currently running program.

If you RAM an upright object (whether it's a beacon or a RAMbot), tip it down onto its side, facing away from the point of impact. If that object matches the color currently on top of your goal stack, you have tagged a goal. Remove the top piece from your goal stack, and add it to your own code-pool.

Colored Energy Beams After your RAMbot moves, it will fire a colored energy beam in a straight line out in front of itself. The beam's color is determined by the color of your instruction piece. The beam will affect the first object it hits. If a beam hits a wall, or fires straight upwards, it has no effect.

Blue—Push A blue beam will push any object it hits (along with anything else that the object runs into) away from your RAMbot for one, two, or three spaces, depending on the size of your blue instruction piece.

Yellow—Pull A yellow beam will pull any object it hits toward your RAMbot for one, two, or three spaces, depending on the size of your instruction piece. If an object is pulled all the way into the nose of your RAMbot, the object remains in the space next to your RAMbot. This does not count as a RAM; you cannot damage another player, tag a goal, or knock over an upright object in this fashion.

Green—Activate A green beam will set any object it hits upright.

Red—Damage A red beam will damage any RAMbot that it hits. (This is in addition to any RAMing damage caused during this instruction.) Take the highest precedence piece from that player's code-pool and add it to your own code-pool. The red beam itself does not actually RAM an object; you cannot tag a goal or knock over an upright object with the red beam.

Note regarding Energy Beams: Aside from red beams (lasers) being able to destroy some types of board elements, no other energy beams have any effect on board elements.

The Board Movement Phase
The player holding the Torch rolls the Treehouse die. Instead of applying the results to the Martian Coasters, they are instead applied to the entire Volcano board the coaster rests upon. Once the Board Movement phase is complete, the current player who holds the Torch passes it to the player to his/her left. When a player is instructed to add a new random board element to the table he or she must place the board element on the Volcano board that currently has the least number of board elements. The player can place it on any of the 4 board element rows on that Volcano board. If more than one Volcano board is tied for having the fewest board elements then the player decides which to place the new board element on. The description of the results for the Treehouse die roll are:

• Swap: The same as in normal Martian Coasters AND add 1 random board element to a Volcano board
• Hop: The same as in normal Martian Coasters AND add 1 random board element to a Volcano board
• Wild: The same as in normal Martian Coasters AND add 1 random board element to a Volcano board
• Aim: The same as in normal Martian Coasters AND add 1 random board element to a Volcano board
• Tip: Add 1 random board element to a Volcano board AND draw 1 random board element and replace another existing board element with that piece.
• Dig: Add 1 random board element to a Volcano board AND move 1 board element to another legal location on the same coaster.

The board elements are:
• Wall (black): Can only be placed in a space in the board element row next to a square of a Martian coaster which leads to another coaster. This wall prevents movement of that path from one coaster to the other. Wall elements can be destroyed by RAMbot lasers. The # of hits needed to destroy a wall element is equal to the # of pips of the element. For each hit this board element takes place 1 token next to it to keep track of the damage.

• Repair (white): Can be placed in any spaces on the board element rows except the corners. If a RAMbot has taken any damage previously and rams this repair element it may repair 1 damage (get back a random program piece from the pool). A RAMbot cannot gain more program pieces than it started the game with. Repair elements are limited in use. Each time a repair element is used to repair is considered to be 1 hit. The # of hits needed to destroy a repair element is equal to the # of pips of the element. For each hit this board element takes place 1 token next to it to keep track of the damage.

• Freeze (Clear): Can be placed in any spaces on the board element rows except the corners. As long as a freeze element is on a board, that board cannot be hopped, swapped, or aimed. Freeze elements can be destroyed by RAMbot lasers. The # of hits needed to destroy a freeze element is equal to the # of pips of the element. For each hit this board element takes place 1 token next to it to keep track of the damage.

• Tractor beam (purple): Can be placed in any spaces on the board element rows except the corners. It projects beams across the board in all 4 cardinal directions (left, right, up, and down) which extends across all coasters in each direction. Any RAMbot which ends an instruction on a square that a beam passes through is pulled 1 square in the direction of the element. RAMbots can be pulled off of one coaster and on to the next if there is another coaster between it and the board element as long as there is not a wall blocking the path. If the RAMbot would move in to the square of another RAMbot as a result of this, then both RAMbots are pulled 1 square towards the board element. Tractor beam elements can be destroyed by RAMbot lasers. The # of hits needed to destroy a tractor beam element is equal to the # of pips of the element. For each hit this board element takes place 1 token next to it to keep track of the damage.

• Repulsor beam (lt. blue): Can be placed in any spaces on the board element rows except the corners. It projects beams across the board in all 4 cardinal directions (left, right, up, and down) which extends across all coasters in each direction. Any RAMbot which ends an instruction on a square that a beam passes through is pushed 1 square in the direction away from the element. RAMbots can be pushed off of one coaster and on to the next if there is another coaster on the opposite side from the board element as long as there is not a wall blocking the path. If the RAMbot would move in to the square of another RAMbot as a result of this, then both RAMbots are pushed 1 square away from the board element. Repulsor beam elements can be destroyed by RAMbot lasers. The # of hits needed to destroy a repulsor beam element is equal to the # of pips of the element. For each hit this board element takes place 1 token next to it to keep track of the damage.

• Laser (Orange): Can be placed in any spaces on the board element rows except the corners. It projects laser beams across the board in all 4 cardinal directions (left, right, up, and down) which extends across all coasters in each direction. Any RAMbot which ends an instruction on a square that a laser passes through receives damage. The amount of damage it receives is equal to the # of pips of the element.

Notes regarding board elements: Walls and RAMbots do not block line of sight to other RAMbots in regards to board element beams. Board elements only interact with the RAMbot which is actively moving at that moment. So, for example, if player 1 is currently located in front of a laser and player 2 takes his turn and ends an instruction on a square that the laser passes through, player 2 will receive damage but player 1 will not. Non-wall board elements do not block paths between coasters for RAMbots.

Winning
The first player to tag all four goal colors in the order specified by his or her goal stack is the winner.

Special Notes
Compilation Caps—Although it isn't strictly necessary, it's helpful during the programming round to have some kind of method of indicating who's finished programming (so it's immediately obvious when everyone's ready). This can be something as simple as placing a coin on the edge of the board next to your goal stack when you're done. However, we prefer to give each player a small black Icehouse piece. Drop your "compilation cap" on top of your goal stack to indicate that you're compiled and ready to run. (Of course, you're free to "uncompile" and change your program, as long as the execution phase hasn't started yet.)

Code Pool Disclosure—Although players may choose to move their code-pools behind their screens during the programming phase (to keep people from seeing which pieces they're using), the official rule is that you're allowed to know exactly what pieces each player has to work with. Therefore, it's legal to ask players about their pieces (how many small pieces they have, what colors they are, etc.) at any time during the game, and they must answer honestly.