Because of how the board elements work. Any given board element will only have its ability take effect in 2 directions (either left and right, or up and down) since the other two directions will be parallel to the board elements row it is on. Board elements cut across coasters in both directions.
2009 Game Award evaluation
This game seemed daunting at first -- 5 Rainbow stashes, 1 Xeno stash, Martian Coasters, and 4 volcano boards! But I was able to quickly whip up in Power Point a volcano board spaced-out enough to fit the coasters in the middle, and print them out.
This game is a combination of RAMbots, Martian Coasters, and RoboRally. When I started getting into it, I enjoyed the tactical possibilities involved in moving the coasters around. But I found that the board elements need more thinking through. Some issues I noted:
- Movement. It says, "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." It should specify whether this refers to the start of the movement, or every step of the movement. E.g. if moving 3 spaces from a large instruction, do you need an arrow in the specified direction only in the 1st square, or in all 3 squares?
- Repair. "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." A player gets a random piece back from *what* pool? Each piece lost will have gone to the player who did the damage; does this mean we need to keep track of who did all of the damage to us? Why random, when the damage rewards are always deterministic (the highest-priority instruction)? And why shouldn't a player get more than at the start, since that happens all the time (through damaging others) anyway? This paragraph makes it seem that the author had misunderstandings about the RAMbot rules.
- Tractor Beam. This sentence doesn't quite make sense: "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. " I think the italicized phrase should be removed.
- Repulsor Beam. There is a similar confusing sentence here too. And what if a RAMbot ends up in a row with both a tractor and an repulsor, what happens: does it hold still, or does it get both pushed and pulled? In what order?
- Laser. "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." Damage equal to the number of pips is pretty harsh, especially since it could happen multiple times in a turn. It would be better to have the larger lasers take more damage to destroy, just as with other board elements; I don't know why the destruction of lasers was not mentioned. And when a laser damages a RAMbot, where do the code pieces go?
A lot more work needs to be done on the board elements. In fact, I think they could be dropped altogether, which would simplify the requirements and the rules considerably, and still leave an interesting game.
Award evaluation: The combination of RAMbots with Martian Coasters is interesting; the addition of RoboRally-like board elements is completely and needs a lot more development. My assessment: this doesn't make the cut.