Those familiar with my board game reviews will know I’m always on the lookout for games I can play with my nearly-6-year-old. He and I have spent many an afternoon playing Ticket to Ride, Quest for the Antidote or Stuffed Fables, and with these moments being awesome for us both the quest for more games is an ongoing affair. Robit Riddle looked, on the surface, like it’d be another valuable game in our collection. Short games, story-based action and rules that have an element of complexity but could’ve been understood by the little dude without having to water it down much.
Did it work out? Damn right it did.
The main idea of Rodit Riddle is role play, getting yourself into the mindset of your host robot who’s trying to go and find their pet. Stories are playing out using one of the three mini books in the box in a choose-your-own-adventure type way. Unlike Stuffed Fables which has a similar story telling mechanic, this feels more like a story with a game attached to it as opposed to a game heavily lead by a story. Decisions don’t have the same lasting effect as such, you’re unlikely to miss out on anything super crucial and there’s less variety in terms of how many different routes the story can take. But let’s not forget, this is a family game, so between this less threatening game style and simpler rules is actually a bit of a bonus – I often feel like I’m nudging my son along in Stuffed Fables, but in this he was making his own decisions, acting out his own bits of story and getting more engrossed in the theme.
It’s that acting idea which will make or break this game for you and your gaming buddies. Throw yourself into the roles given, and use the story prompts to interject where required to flesh out the story and you’ll be engrossed. Without this though the stories, while interesting, aren’t anything amazing without the players playing up to their robots and pretending to be the ones in the story. With an excited kid or two in tow this is pretty easy, and even if you think “pfft, that’s not the kind of thing I’ll do…” chances are you’ll be sucked in and doing your best robot voice in no time.
Initially it seems that there aren’t all that many location cards, with the stories largely treading the same paths in terms of main locations. That said, a lot of the contextual cards bring about other places to see – one early possible option, for example, takes you down a path where you encounter a bit of trouble and more decisions to make. Depending on the outcome you might even end up turning the card over and bagging some helpful gear to aid your journey, or another character to help you later on. It’s a different way to present the locations when compared to Stuffed Fables, with the various steps of your Robid journey coming in smaller chunks than the gorgeous pages sat under the stuffies, but it’s effective and a nice way to bring variety to the locations you visit.
But there’s a really cool feature that makes things a bit easier to deal with, and that’s the bookmark. You can, at certain points, place the bookmark in the book as a kind of save point. If you go wrong, make a stupid decision or choose the wrong direction you can revert back to the bookmark and remake your choice. Considering that each story can be played out in several ways it’s a great way to make sure you don’t repeat yourself in future playthroughs, and is also a good way to stop the younger players from getting annoyed or upset when something goes wrong.
Maybe, then, it’s unfair then trying to compare Robit Riddle with Stuffed Fables. Yeah they’re both story based games with choices to make, but in terms of how they play they’re actually quite different. Where the heart of Stuffed Fables is in the story, Robit Riddle is more about the involvement, the engrossing nature of acting out your characters. It’s more of a role playing scenario, where you’ll get the most enjoyment if you leave your embarrassed at the door and just throw yourself into it.
In fact, I’d argue there’s room in your collection for both. If you grab Robit Riddle, you can be pretty sure your kids will thank you for it, and your adult friends might just find a new side of themselves too. Good stuff.