Today I throw caution to the wind and combine two of the most popular games ever published. Call it RoboRobin…. Call it Eggs ‘n’ Lasers. I call it never turning down a combo challenge. Here we go again…
Today’s two randomly selected (popular) games:
Wingspan (2019): Bird enthusiast card game of nests, food and feathered chain reactions.
Robo Rally (1994): Map-based, programmed movement game of robot conflict set in a deadly factory.
Initial thoughts: Why did I ever agree to trust the Excel Randomizer Function. It clearly has it in for me with this combo. You couldn’t have picked a more preposterous combo if you did it on purpose. Well, today we are combining two random “popular” games, and Wingspan and Robo Rally definitely fit. On the one hand we have Wingspan, whose form is basically card placement and hand management of birds, eggs and food. The spirit of the game is more or less feeding and populating birds and nests in order to fill the forrest. Contrast that with Robo Rally, whose form is card-based pre-set movement on a rectilinear board. IT’s spirit is of course destruction and the inevitable random chaos of pre-set movement with multiple players and unseen snowball effects of many players all in a small space.
Game Combo: Egads, let’s do this. First combo to consider is the form of Wingspan (cards, tokens, powers) with the spirit of Robo (destruction, randomness). The players could be either birders or robot-makers, I guess. The other combo is the form of Robo Rally (deadly maps and movement) with the spirit of Wingspan (nurturing baby birds). Wow, I really can’t decide, but let’s start with the the second one since it sounds more fulfilling. So cue up Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” and let’s throw some baby chicks into a factory.
Take any board you like from Robo Rally’s vast assortment, but let’s use Wingspan’s tokens from here on out. we could let players have momement cards and play Robo Rally and move birds, but here’s a thought: have the cards move nests and let the cards be random. Then have the players be placing birds and eggs into the nests as they move around the board of their own accord.
This is basically becoming that rare game combo where nearly all elements of both games are used. Since there are no forrest boards, we would have to drop the “locations” element of Wingspan. The rest of Wingspan could be played out, including food drops and eggs. As added fun I would skip the dice rools and drop the food tokens directly onto the rally map where they would be subject to the conveyor belts and move around. Then the birds can eat any food they are near or that pass by them.
As for victory conditions, I think we all know that the game has to keep going until the last next falls into a pit, or all the other birds starve due to lack of nearby food.
Final thoughts: Do I think this is playable? Umm… At least once? Yes! As with any good game combo, it ought to be good for at least a half hour of play and a laugh. And it’s also good if it doesn’t mix up the two games’ components too much. Sorry about that. This might get messy.