Robit Riddle: Storybook Adventures
Robit Riddle, by Baba Geek Games, is a co-operative storytelling game. Can you and your robot friends find the missing robits?
Robit Riddle is a cross between an interactive storybook and a role-playing game. Each player is a robot character. You’ve decided to work together to search for your missing pets, the robits. As you search, you will face decisions and encounters, occasionally rotating the leader of the group so that everyone gets a chance to be the primary decision maker.
Gameplay is driven through reading a spiral-bound storybook. The leader reads through the story out loud and there are prompts at the bottom of each page for decision points. These decisions can lead to different kinds of encounters, or merely forks in the narrative road.
When you face an encounter, the leader decides which sort of action to use: Power (symbolized by a battery), Intelligence/Wisdom (processor), or Perception/Communication (sensors). The number on the leader’s character card for that action determines how many dice will be rolled to attempt to reach a success threshold; the storybook has corresponding symbols and numbers which indicate how many “successes” must be rolled on the dice to continue on a certain path. It’s difficult to simply roll enough successes; this is where the other players can assist. Each character (player or ally) can spend a story token to use one of their abilities to add one success, whether a native ability (such as “hunches are usually right”) or one they have acquired during the story (“Glaring goggles allow wearer to see distant things”). The results of these encounters (failure, success, huge success) determine where the story will proceed.
WINNING THE GAME
When you reach the end of your story, you are done. You combine the points from successfully rescuing robits (or not) with the points you have gained from items and encounters along your journey. Compare your point total with the legend at the back of the rulebook and see how you did.
Beautiful art – although we played a prototype copy, it was nearly complete. John Ariosa, who illustrated Mice and Mystics, does a wonderful job bringing the world of robots and robits to life.
Storytelling – The story line is interesting enough to keep moving, but it also depends on the players to keep it going. Unlike a game like Mice and Mystics, the story isn’t designed to stand on its own, but rather enhanced by the cooperative storytelling of the play group. You will need to get in character and make decisions that will continue the adventure and flesh it out.
This is a co-operative storytelling game. It relies on creativity and storytelling from all of the players.
Complexity – Because the game doesn’t simply rely on the idea that you use a stick to hit a bad guy until they stop attacking you, there is necessarily more complex mechanics to work through problems. That being said, once you are comfortable with all of the iconography in the game, it is fairly straightforward. Each player has a character card with actions and abilities and eventually additional ability cards; most successful encounters give additional abilities or add non-player characters. Each ability can only be used once, which you mark off with tokens, earned separately as a byproduct of rolling dice during encounters. Most of the abilities have fairly wide uses and non-specific descriptions, however, in an effort to encourage more storytelling around the use of those abilities.
In a nod to choose-your-own-adventure books of old, there is even a bookmark mechanic you can use to hold your place in a previous decision point if you don’t like where the story is going.
This is a co-operative storytelling game. It relies on creativity and storytelling from all of the players. When we played, our five-year-old was a little too shy to come out of his shell and create a story with supporting pieces. Unlike something like Rory’s Story Cubes which have central narrative pieces to wrap a story around, he struggled with Robit Riddle where the narrative is informed by the tools he had at his disposal. Baba Geek was receptive to our feedback, so we would not be surprised to see a little bit more handholding if necessary in the final game.
Robit Riddle is a a beautiful, fun, silly and serious game that we recommend, but with some small reservations based on personality type.
The Kickstarter for Robit Riddle runs through November 18, 2016.
The Family Gamers were provided a prototype of Robit Riddle for review that was shipped to another reviewer.
Time: 5-45 minutes