Its been a while since we aired a guest post here but when Tom Norfolk asks if he can write something for me I can’t say no. Stak Bots Red which we reviewed last week introduces a raft of new and vicious little bots into the game and here Tom looks at how those bots came to be, whether it was through strange science, bio-engineering, darwinian survival or simply being in the right place at the right time.
Take it away Tom…
A Treatise on the Evolution of Stak Bots
In the last 2 years, ever since Callout Bot summoned forth its army of admirers in the Yellow Expansion, the cogs of the Stak Bots factory have continued to turn and grind and smoosh together… a new wave of Bots is now ready to make its appearance! In no particular order…
There are concerns that a door was left open round the back of the factory somewhere, and that various creatures wandered in and somehow got caught up in the fabrication process, because some of the new Bots are decidedly animalistic.
Elephant Bot for example, a towering beast of a Bot, not only harnesses the power of the pachyderm, but also its weakness: an intolerance of tiny creatures. In this case, it self-destructs if it even tries to fight off a zero-powered Bot! Never have Trip Bots been so mighty! Watch a power 8 tremble with fear as you draw forth your mighty Shot Bot! Maybe now you won’t be so hasty to cast them aside once they’re spent?
Another animal to amble out of the gates is the sinister Shark Bot. With no concern for affiliation, this fish feasts on damaged Bots.
Be careful not to spill any oil or it will seek you out!
The final member of the new animal family takes the form of that perennially popular plant pollinator, the Bee. Thanks to robotic adaptations, Bee Bot will manage to sting and survive, resetting the card it is played on top of. If it finds nothing to sting there, it will look elsewhere.
Some of the Bots have had a simple upgrade. Crevice Bot is a Pit Bot that swapped its shovel for something a little more impactful, which allows it to sink a whole group of Bots at the same time.
In a similar fashion, the vicious game-ending Spike Shot Bot adds the injury of a Spike Bot’s damage effect to its bullets.
Sometimes an upgrade isn’t as simple as grabbing a fancy weapon; Stomp Bots have to attend several years in a mysterious elite facility to learn to mask the sound of their approaching boots. Once they do, they graduate as fully fledged Ninja Bots, capable of stealthily assassinating their foes then Stomping their way out of (or into) trouble!
For Bountiful Bot, things took a strange turn… or two. Some were so pleased with the fruits of their card-drawing endeavours, that they decided to package them up and share the joy with others and became known simply as Nice Bots.
This horrifically naïve Bot has swelled up in size from the pride it finds in helping others; unfortunately it needs this size to survive when the gifts are turned against them!
Other Bountiful Bots took a different path; lost to the powerful feeling of generating new Bots, they obsessively worked until their spark finally exhausted. Left suddenly absent of their effect, in their desperation they turned to another method of generation: harvesting the Bots they defeated and trading in the scrap. Bounty Bot was born.
Bounty Bot’s weren’t alone in this habit of harnessing other Bots; by hiding in the shell of another Core Bot, Armour Bot managed to fashion an impenetrable shell… well, impenetrable to weak blows, but it’s enough to keep the Spike Shot Bots at bay!
While some Bots were being turned into scrap or hidden inside, others turned out to be more resilient to a battering.
Some ended up with so many dents and holes that other Bots were able to scramble over the top of them, using the injuries as footholds! Once this turned out to be useful, the design was later refined and Ladder Bot appeared as the finished article. A quick thought: if there is nobody around to climb it, what use is a ladder?
Created sadly small and with no innate offensive tools, there exists a real runt of the purple Bot litter. In order to ensure its survival, it had to learn to wield weaponry almost the same size as itself. It is the most feared of all the purple Bots and ironically Mace Bot is now the least likely to survive.
While Mace Bot was doing something useful and mastering weaponry, a little orange Bot found a few round objects on the ground and entertained itself making patterns in the air with them. Through the dark art of something known as ‘numbers juggling’, Juggler Bot became insanely strong and eventually was able to launch several Bots into the air at once, rearranging them at will. Yes, it can even juggle Elephants.
Another one that needed something to hold is Needy Bot. Or rather, someone. It can’t stand being alone and has even taken to wearing a nappy to try and evoke Boternal feelings in other robots. They should really learn not to try and hug Spur Bots though.
This next Bot has a strange ethos: when you’re surrounded by trouble, generate even more trouble. Avalanche Bot summons a mighty debris of Bots that tumble onto every Stak. Unfortunately the effort is so ridiculous and tiresome that you’ll need a moment to recover while your opponents get the drop on you with their new entry effects.
Another Bot that has the ability to possibly affect all Staks at once is Pulse Bot. And not just all Staks; it has been known to eliminate every single Bot in a fight before (including itself!). Pulse Bot generates an EMP which is tuned to the frequency of whatever it perceives to be the largest threat. Its cold calculations don’t take into account whose side the Bots are on; maybe it has suffered too many times at the hands of a Grappling Bot, who knows.
Finally, we turn to Ram Leader Bot, a Bot as fiendishly complex as the steering system of the supermarket trolley it loosely resembles. Calling on its Leader Bot powers to boost itself up to a decent ramming speed, when this Bot collides with another Stak it will shatter the parts of the weakest Bots present (unless those Bots are larger than the Ram Leader Bot, in which case it’s more like an egg head-butting a tree).
These Bots are itching to get out there; the prototypes have been functioning for over a year and they’re dying to get into mass production, so they can unleash their special brand of chaos upon the Land of Bot.
I have a real soft spot for this game, it’s not only fun and cheap but its also infinitely adaptable. Tom has published a 60 page pdf this week featuring all the current play modes and he’s putting out more all the time. No two games need ever be the same, so if you haven’t already checked out the game head on over to the Kickstarter page and pick up the base game and expansions for just £20 + P&P. I cannot recommend this highly enough.