Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Stak Bots is a very simple but tactical game but I’ll talk more about that in a few weeks when I do my review. Before that though Tom Norfolk from Dog-Eared Games is here to talk to you, in his patented tongue-in-cheek manner, about the expansion and the process his team went through when trying to come up with 16 new bots to add to the game. Take it away Tom…
Stak Bots, Battling Robots Card Game - The First Expansion
After receiving numerous requests, I am very pleased to announce the arrival of a whole new batch of Bots!
It was an incredibly difficult process deciding which new cards to include in the first expansion pack as there were many considerations!
These 16 made the final cut, after a lengthy and traumatic auditioning process. They were chosen not just for their individual characteristics, but for how they worked when combined with each other and the existing cast.
We had a lot of difficulty during the early stages of auditions; many of the Bots are very destructive by nature and a lot of candidates for the expansion had to withdraw due to injuries. We also had a nasty incident where we had to examine Greedy Bot's robo-fecal matter for one of the smaller contenders.
Anyway, for whatever reason, the other Bots didn't make it in but these Bots did and I am proud to announce the following line-up and the reasons behind their successful audition!
Some Bots got through simply because they were needed; Pit Bot has been causing powerful cards to accumulate at the bottom of Staks for quite some time, and we actually started to feel sorry for them.
This was why Levi Bot really shone; it not only brought back your strong cards to the top of the Stak, but it could also mess your opponent's cards around just for fun. It can also be used sometimes to discover what their face-down cards are.
It's this kind of multi-usage ability that we really look for in Bots. Callout Bot and Portal Bot both fell into this category; they are Bots that let you control the game if used correctly and are adaptable to different circumstances, especially Portal Bot.
We also had to be careful that cards were suitable for both single Stak and multiple Stak play. Begone Bot caused a lot of problems for people in the original set; it was amazing returning your own cards to hand to use again in multi-Stak, but incredibly annoying when you gave your opponent their powerful entry effect cards back in single Stak.
The good news is that Re-Entry Bot will create exactly the same problems in the expansion! It's great having Bots that are useless in one mode, but incredibly powerful in another. It's almost like having extra cards.
The balance of abilities between different cards is very important; a lot of time was spent getting it right for the original set and we haven't messed much with that formula. As well as the above mentioned manipulation cards, there are also the destruction (Cannonball Bot and Tank Shot Bot) and the obligatory hapless Bot in the form of Spur Bot; it earned its 'special consideration' place in the set because it needlessly wore cowboy boots, but didn't know how to control them.
Some of the new Bots are the result of inconsiderate splicing; we simply chucked two Bots in a blender and waited to see what came out. This was how Stomp Leader Bot was created and also Twice Bot (recipe: 2x Core Bot).
Spash Bot (Spike + Bash) is an oddity of spliced Bots; it exhibits only one of the original Bot abilities at a time, and will change how it behaves according to the composition of your opponent's. We also tried combining Shot and Pit Bot, but the result was… messy.
Then we come to the Bots that grabbed our attention because they functioned a bit… differently. We noticed Invisi Bot because we didn't notice it, until we realised that all of the Shot Bots in single Stak mode had started targeting themselves. Very odd behaviour; Invisi Bot seems to exploit a loophole in their programming whereby they have to shoot something!
Cloudy Bot drifted in because of its uncanny immunity to being bashed. Or spiked. Or… fatalled. Is that a verb? We tried to establish why this was and we believe it has something to do with the Cloudy Bot's extraordinary fluffiness. If you try and death punch something that is really, really fluffy, it just doesn't work. Apparently.
Not all of the Bots had to do something impressive to succeed; Shield Bot managed to sit motionless and did just fine. Fine that is, until we asked it to attack, at which point it scrapped itself. We thought this was funny so we let it in.
There would probably have been a lot more Bots in the expansion if it wasn't for Greedy Bot. It's insatiable hunger devoured many of the other Bots and it grew stronger with everything it ate.
We had to include Anchor Bot so that Greedy would have something to eat; when it doesn't have any Bots to chew, it starves to death!
Nano Bot was specially engineered at the very last as a special counter measure to the massive Greedy and Shield Bots that littered this set. It has the unique ability to dodge damage from powerful cards and destroy them from the inside.
So there you have it! 16 newly crafted Bots, ready to battle each other and the existing set, time and time again, in a vindictive, jolly and utterly, utterly pointless manner. Those that didn't make it this time will get the chance to re-audition in the future.
If you would like to get your hands on a specially compiled set of 60 of these extraordinary constructions, then head to http://kck.st/1bdQ3oF and please back our Kickstarter campaign to have them manufactured.
You can also pickup a set of the original Bots with the expansion if you're missing them from your collection.