Play as the brave Robotech Defense Forces (RDF) or the warrior Zentraedi, manoeuvre your warships, deploy your forces and gain victory. By utilising your brave heroes and deploying your commands at the right time and place you can swing the battle in your favour.
As the RDF it is your job to protect and defend Earth. As the Zentraedi you will try to destroy Earth and capture the SDF-1.
The game is set up by placing ship cards for each faction in to a 3×3 grid with the central space being “empty space”. The game plays over three phases, the tactical phase, the token phase and the hero/command phase.
In the tactical phase players will pick one of their ships and move it to a new location swapping the card in the target space. The player will the place two of their fighter cards facedown on the outside of the grid. Some fighters can be placed face up activating any text on the card at this time. During this phase certain tokens (like the spy or ship lock tokens) can be played. Play will continue this way until all players have laid all of fighter cards.
During the token phase players will take it in turn order to place one token on a ship until both players have placed all of their tokens.
In the Hero/Command phase both players will take it in turn order to play one Hero card and two command cards in turn order, applying their effects as they lay the card.
After the last phase scores are calculated by evaluating each ship in the grid and determining the attack power and the defence power to determine who wins and who gets the card. After all ships have been evaluated the players count up the victory points on their ships and the player with the highest points wins the game.
I am always interested in two player only games as I play a lot of games with my wife. Small box card games are always a hit with me as well due to 1) space constraints and 2) portability.
Robotech falls in to both of these categories and has a good level of gameplay involved as well. It is a neat card game with some interesting aspects that make it an enjoyable two player game.
The moving of the space ships in the first phase to try and get your ships in to a favourably position is an interesting back and forth tug of war. The placement of the fighter cards, where you place them, do you place attack or defence fighters, do you play cards face up to gain tokens but give your opponent some information are all interesting choices that need to be made.
Do you concentrate on defending your high value cards and sacrifice your low level ones or spread out the defence gives players different routes and strategies that they can employ. There is also some degree of reading your opponents with what they have played and revealed face up.
The tokens are a great addition with the spy tokens allowing you to peak at an opponents face down card and the ship lock tokens restricting the movement of your ships. You can also add to your defence or attack power by placing additional tokens attack/defence tokens.
The Hero/Command cards have some interesting abilities/actions and you have a choice of four of each with only one Hero and two command cards allowed to be played. The cards you pick can help turn the tide of the battle and win battles that you might have previously lost.
The theme didn’t really come across much to be honest. I was more interested in the numbers on the card than what actual name of the card or what I was playing. Not necessarily a bad thing, there are many great games out there with tacked on theme, but if you are looking for an immersive space/sci-fi game then this might not be for you. But if you are looking for a quick playing, small box card game with some interesting choices and gameplay then Robotech: Force of Arms is worth checking out.