Who doesn’t love playing with robots? Even better when they blow stuff up, tear off limbs, and generally run amok. Hiro took to bot fighting as an outlet for his intellect, the physical power of a robotic being functioning as an extension of his genius. It’s safe to assume that when the dude is kicking back and chilling out, he likely goes for some good old fashioned cardboard carnage from time to time.
If this were the case, here’s a collection of three games that Hiro would absolutely dig.
Volt is a lightning paced robotic arena dueling game. It’s a bit like a gladiatorial bout of metal and electric sinew. This design is noteworthy because it was originally released in 2014 with this new 2019 HeidelBÄR Games edition completely revamping the whole thing.
The main focus of this re-release was pace. It’s a much quicker design that’s heavily streamlined. You get right into the action with up to four players, rending each other apart, dropping mines, and generally blasting things.
It’s very forgiving for a programming game. Each round you lock in dice to fire or move in various directions. While players can jostle and knock each other around, rarely does the resulting fallout lead to someone completely flying off course or drastically altering their game plan. The best moments are when those more rare happenings occur with an errant bot falling down a pit or landing upon a mine and exploding.
Clocking in at 20-30 minutes, a match flies by so quickly you will often stay for an encore. Subsequent plays reveal subtleties in different builds and gear options, allowing you to fully explore the deadly space the game occupies.
Capping the entire thing off is the beautiful physicality of the thing. The box serves as the ring you will scrap in, extending vertically with 3D pillars that provide presence. The graphics are all crisp and powerful as well. These are all woven together into an experience that is brutally fast and brutally physical.
Gekido by CMON Games is a game we’ve already spoken praise for. It’s a wonderful game that hits you hard in retinas upon first glance. Arriving with excellent painted miniatures, this game has table presence like a boss.
From a high level, it’s a dice game with many similarities to the ubiquitous King of Tokyo. Geek & Sundry contributor Raf Cordero comments on the dice mechanic, “This system is my favorite part of Gekido because it’s rife with tension and drama.”
Raf further elucidates: “…you don’t get to casually take your re-rolls and shrug it off at the end…After the first roll a player has to lock in their target attack. This is risky because failing to achieve it means turning a portion of that damage in on yourself as you overload your own system. Suddenly everyone cares about all of your rolls; gasps and groans fill the air as you beat the odds and find the 3 green symbols you desperately need.”
This design also happens to skew the closest to Hiro’s actual robot battles as seen in Big Hero 6. The visuals strongly align with the overall tone of the film, and the setting is spot on. There’s a lot of effort put into the overall feel of this game and it shines brightly through.
Mechs vs. Minions
Mechs vs. Minions was all the rage when it suddenly was announced by Riot Games and shortly thereafter released. The most noticeable impact of this title is its sheer magnitude, the box extending to the horizon and instantly sagging your shelf. Seriously, this thing’s big and packed with content.
From prepainted minis to huge oversized boards, this thing is impressive. It includes dozens of enemy minions, each carefully washed with paint and then nestled into their many storage trays.
As a game, Mechs vs. Minions is every bit the winner. It’s a programming game where you extend your action row and commit to an ever-increasing complexity of actions. It starts small with your figure moving a few spaces or firing off a single shot. Later in the game you’re slicing across the board and everything’s exploding. It’s a wonderful arc that is empowering and emotionally potent.
Geek & Sundry contributor Teri Litorco writes, “The game is delightful, with scenarios coming in sealed envelopes and revealing themselves as though players were playing through a video game campaign themselves. Moreover, an audio drama can be played between each scenario, setting the stage for the battle to come. Each instance is filled with tension, whether it’s from the massive hoard of minions laid out during the scenario’s setup, the timed drafting phase in which players must both come to a consensus about what each mech needs to do that round and in turn draft appropriate cards for each player, or having to work through the unfortunately placed damage cards they must work around.”
Mechs vs. Minions was originally released in 2016 but has stood the test of time and established itself as a modern genre standout.
More Board Game Goodness!
- Our 19 Most Anticipated Board Games of 2019, Part 1
- Let’s Get Ready to Robot Rumble With Critical Mass
- Adeptus Titanicus, the Game of Giant Gothic Robots, Stomps Into the Tabletop
Image Credits: Disney Pictures, Charlie Theel, Raf Cordero,
In addition to Geek & Sundry, Charlie Theel writes for Ars Technica, Tabletop Gaming, Player Elimination, and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. You can find him on Twitter @CharlieTheel.