If he is pushed onto repair spaces etc, does he repair and earn option cards at the end of the 5 register phases if he is on an option space?

The rules state:

The robot doesn’t receive or execute Program cards and doesn’t move while powered down, but board elements still affect it. For example, a robot that powers down on a conveyor belt will still be moved by that belt even though it’s not moving on its own. Other robots can push a powered-down robot, and the robot can still be damaged (such as by laser fire), Because of that, a robot that’s powered down may receive new Damage tokens during the turn.

The fact that phase 4, the Complete Registers phase, lists "Board Elements Move" as subpart C and yet files flags and repairs sites under subpart E suggests to me that these are not technically "Board Elements". Coupled with the natural telling of the story of robo-rally, that one would expect a lump of metal to be subject to attacks and conveyor belts but not be able to 'pickup' items or make use of a repair site to repair itself (this, versus the idea that a factory arm is doing the repair 100% for it), I lean toward the reading that the robot cannot earn cards or repair while powered down.

1 Answer 1


It depends on how you view the rules from the original 1994 edition vs the rules from the newer edition.

In the rules for the original edition, you cannot:

A powered-down robot is completely shut down--it can't fire weapons, tag checkpoints, or update its archive location, nor can it acquire or use option cards. Powered-down robots don't move under their own power (they receive no program cards), but they may be moved by pushers, gears, and conveyor belts. They may also be pushed by other robots and shot at by lasers.

This is also clarified in the FAQ from that edition:

Q: What can a robot do when it is powered down?

A: Nothing. A powered down robot cannot fire weapons, receive option cards, tag checkpoints (if pushed onto them), update archive locations (ditto), or use turn programmed cards (for example, Shield). It cannot use any options unless the options specifically say they can be used while a robot is powered down. The robot basically becomes a lump that can be pushed around and suffer damage.

It is reasonable to assume that rules from the original edition are intended to be carried to the new edition unless it's somethign that the new edition specifies (such as the differences in how robots re-enter the board). Based on this, the answer is no, the intent of the rules is that you cannot receive new option cards or repair while powered down.

However, this rule is missing from the newer edition, so by a literal reading of the newest rulebook, without being concerned about the old edition, the answer would be yes. The rules for earning new options simply say that a robot on the correct space earns an option, no exceptions listed for if that robot is powered down. And the rules under powering down make no mention at all about this preventing you from earning new options or healing. The rules do specify that your robot can still be affected by board elements, and lists taking damage and conveyor belts as examples of this. One could say that option and healing squares fall in this category as well.

There's some good discussion on this question here and here, but no official answer given.

  • I selected this as the answer at first for the literal reading, but am still feeling ambivalent after reading further and considering it, so for now removed the selection. I'll add details to the question to go into further detail.
    – Joey
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 14:34
  • Actually I'm kind of glad, because I think the first edition gives more clues to the answer. I'll update my answer with more details.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 14:47
  • From your snippets, it sounds like the first edition rules also prohibited repairing at repair sites or discarding option cards to prevent damage.
    – Joey
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 16:05
  • @Joey Yes, I'd agree, especially from the FAQ.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 16:14

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