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Ricochet Robots: Priority

May 17th, 2019
games  [html]

In Ricochet Robots everyone gathers around a board trying to figure out the most efficient ways to bounce around a robot to get it to a target. It's a great game for parties and loose gatherings, because anyone can join or leave at any time: you join by claiming a solution, you leave by wandering away. It's a bit like Set in this dynamic.

In the official rules, when you see a solution you say the number of moves it requires and start a timer. If anyone else sees how to do it in fewer moves they say so, and when the timer runs out the person with the shortest solution demonstrates it and wins that chip.

This is fine, but I've found adding an additional catch-up rule makes the game a lot better:

Priority: a player with fewer chips can underbid a player with more chips by bidding the same number.

For example, say A has 3 chips, B has 2 chips, and C has 2 chips. If A bids "12" then either B or C can also bid "12" because they have priority. If B does so, then no one has priority and the only way to underbid B's "12" is by finding a solution that takes fewer than twelve steps.

The main advantage of playing with priority is it's much more interesting for people who are newer to the game. Otherwise you can have a dynamic where the same few experienced players win every single round, and even once the newer players start to figure things out they still won't win any chips. It balances the game, but since you can only use it when you're behind it doesn't break things.

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