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Robo Rally is a fun game but the option cards totally break it if a person just sits on the wrench and hammer and collects them all.

Has anyone tried a house rule to discourage this behaviour? How did it work out?

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6 Answers 6

While option cards can be handy, most of them aren't going to buy you a full turn, so I'd recommend the simple strategy of:

  1. If they're behind you, just keep going and build up that lead.
  2. If they're in front of you, and it's not terribly out of your way, just line up with them and drill 'em full of laser holes as you go by - if they're grinding the wall, you might even manage to push them away and make them spend a turn or two course-correcting.
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It's not in the current set of rules, but to avoid option hoarding my play group always said that you only get a new option card if you go to a different repair bay slot (you can use your archive token as an indicator of this). So, you can go back and forth between two double wrenches to collect them.

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The best way to discourage this behavior is to remember it's a race, and start racing.

Grabbing early options is actually a very good strategy -- it maximizes the use you'll get out of them during the game. But once you've got a few loaded up, get your butt moving. Every turn your opponents spend option camping is a turn you get to advance without them messing with you. Unless the cards royally screw you (you don't get any move cards for a few turns, or somebody lucks into a devastating option combo), the head start they're spotting you can be very tough to beat.

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It's a lot easier to camp a "Toy Spot" than some of the other answers are making out. To combat this, we institute a limit of 3 options. If you would get a 4th you must choose and discard one of your options BEFORE you draw a new one. This reduces the camping to a good extent, but doesn't stop it either. And of course, if someone is camping constantly, coming over and shoving them into a pit, or shooting the crap out of them can be the simplest method to solve the problem. Or just go tag all the flags and win while they're collecting toys.

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I someone is able to somehow null out their 5 moves to collect options - kill them! Your robot has a laser for a reason :)

Also, most hammer and wrench spaces are hard to get to - if they sit and waste many turns collecting options you should be able to beat them in the race.

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This uses the online PDF from http://www.wizards.com/avalonhill/rules/roborally.pdf

You aren't allowed to "sit" anywhere.

First:
You have to play cards. If you time-out, the player to the right plays random cards to fill out your non-locked registers. (p. 4) Locked registers WILL be played.

Second:
All movement Cards used but not locked are discarded, as are unused. (p. 4, 8) New ones will be drawn.

Third:
You only get one draw of an option card per turn, and only if you END the turn (and thus also Register 5's phase) on it. Crossing it during the turn doesn't get you the card. (p. 8)

fourth:
The odds are not good in 3p or more that you'll get the cards needed to return to your start space.

Camping on a repair spot is thus not as easy as it may seem. Especially since you retain only locked cards. If one gets consistently lucky enough to have the ability to return to start spot with cards alone, it's great. If one is using terrain, it's skill, more than luck.

In short, I suspect the problem isn't the option cards, but a misread of the rules.

If there was no misread, one simple solution is to use a 1 per space limit; put a (custom) player token on each upgrade spot, and when you draw an option card, put that token on it. When it's lost, put the token on an upgrade slot where you don't have one.

I've never felt it needed, and the people I've known who did usually were making one of three mistakes:
1) retaining unused programming cards, thus being able to plan multiple turns ahead
2) retaining used programming cards. This makes it a VERY different game.
3) allowing repairs and upgrades each register phase, rather than only at the end of the turn. This makes camping on a spot far more worthwhile.

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While the rules are not clear in the manual it is quite easy to spin in place or move turn around move back to stay on top of the hammer/wrench. And if you know someone may try to push you, you have more ability to keep your longest to perform move for your last so you know you'll push the other person off of the option marker. –  Biff MaGriff Aug 8 '11 at 14:47
    
I've seldom seen someone get 5 rotation cards two hands in a row. –  aramis Aug 9 '11 at 6:49
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Actually, camping on most repair sites is dirt simple (at least in the '90's version of the game I own). They're almost always next to one or two walls; just point yourself at the wall and grind into it with your move forward or move backward cards. –  BlairHippo Dec 12 '11 at 21:35
    
There are TONS of ways to stay in the same spot... a U-Turn and a few moves; 5 turns; 3 turns, a move one and back up 1 just to name a few. –  aslum Dec 13 '11 at 4:19
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