Announcing RACKS & ROBOTS, the Dungeons & Dragons style Rack and Roll simulation game. Designed, created, and developed by myself with the a lot of help from the Team 166 Chop Shop strategy subgroup and other team members, this is a dice game version of the 2007 FIRST game. (AS SEEN IN THE RECENTLY UPLOADED PHOTOS).
This game was developed in hopes of creating the first FIRST simulation that actually parallels reality, with robots that have defects, simulation of bumping and pushing, and all the variables in scoring. As the team’s scouting guru, who has sat in the stands of the Granite State Regional correctly calling matches two years running, I have been disappointed by the fact that most simulations make it look as though every robot is a 1337 pwnzor superbot. There are great robots out there every year, but a simulation isn’t all that accurate if every bot has these amazing capabilities. I felt that by using a dice game, I could set realistic probabilities for in game events, and even a realistic field by pre-making the character sheets.
This game is played with 6 players and a “Referee”, the dungeon master equivalent. Each player is randomly given a robot stat sheet, and then the players break up into alliances to discuss strategy, and divvy up the game pieces behind the driver stations.
Autonomous is played out simultaneously, then teleoperated mode begins. During teleoperated, each player gets 30 real time seconds to play out a 5 second in game turn, with various actions lasting an integer number of seconds. Additionally, the turn order is re-randomized every new cycle of 5-second turns. This simulates the rushed decisions drivers must make and adds the touch of general chaos involved in any FIRST game.
That’s the general gist of the game, and the full rules are found in the attached ZIP file. The full document is a little over 2 pages, but it in that length it includes justifications for several of the rules. It’s relatively simple for a dice game, but the rules it does have are important to know and understand when you’re under a 30 second time crunch.
How to Build the Game:
Attached to this post is a ZIP file with everything you need to build and play the game. There are photographs of the filled supply box that my team uses, but here’s the list of supplies in words:
-Flat glass marbles (for game tokens) NOTE: These numbers are minimums. Have extras.
-30 red (ringers)
-30 blue (ringers)
-3 blue of different shade (keepers)
-3 red of different shade (keepers)
-4 black (spoilers) NOTE: I used white for my team because the art store didn’t have flat black marbles.
-Arena on 11 X 17 sheet of paper, and the large picture of the Rack with colored spider arms on a 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper (the scale in the included arena jpeg file is 7cm : 1 foot)
-Scaled Robot game pieces (ours are made card stock with duct tape reinforcement)
-Scaled Measurement Tool (ours is made of card stock with duct tape reinforcement)
-Current Information Cards for each player
-Robot Stat Sheets printed
-Copies of the rules
-d20s and/or TI 83/84 calculators and/or stop watches
Nearly everything made of paper listed above has a corresponding file in the attached ZIP file. The exceptions are the Scaled Robot game pieces and the Scaled Measurement Tool. The arena, as it was printed by my team, has a 7 cm : 1 foot scale. Feel free to change that if you want your arena to be bigger, as its really as small as it can get right now.
As for the d20s and/or TI83/84 calculators and/or stop watches, you should have at least 3 or so ways of rolling d20s, a way of randomizing turn order and a way of counting down 30 seconds. I have included 3 programs for the TI83+/TI84+ families: one to roll dice, one to randomize a six player turn order, and a countdown timer (which only works on the TI84+ families because the TI83+ family doesn’t have an internal clock). They are in the ZIP file both individually as TI-program-editor files and together in one word document, with the caveat that you need the TI83 fonts installed (done already if you installed the computer software that most models come with) to have word display the programs with the proper syntax.
-In the sample end of match scenario, as seen in the uploaded picture and in the attached ZIP file, the final score is 51 Red to 40 Blue, with Red edging Blue because of one 4” lift.
-Altogether, the game materials we used cost about $15 at retail prices. We happened to get the most expensive component, the flat glass marbles on sale at the art store, so our total was about half of that.
- From our experiences with the game, I can safely say that the game is a blast to play as long as you read and understand the rules first (kind of like the real Rack and Roll).