This section presents my version of the rules for MANOOVER.
Here is a brief history of the game: It was invented by Don OBrien, a computer programmer in Silicone Valley. His name for the game was Robot Rampage. He showed it to our games group in New York, and everyone thought it was fantastic. I said I would act as his agent for the game. That was a big mistake, because Im lousy at that job. But I did get it published by a small company in Germany under the name Crash! It had cars instead of robots.
Someone brought out a game with the name Robot Rampage, so we decided to change our name to Robot Attack. I got Kate Jones, of Kadon, interested in the game. She decided to publish it, but she dropped the name with Attack, because she didnt want any of her games to be about warfare (what a wuss!). Kate called the game MANOOVER, with a couple of arrows in the Os. It is now completely abstract and has no robots. However, in my write-up below, I kept the name Robot Attack, because I refer to robots throughout.
I should mention that I had made minor changes to the game. I added a rule which I thought was an improvement, but Don OBrien never liked it and Kate Jones dropped it from her rules. However, it is here in the section ALTERNATE RULES FOR AN EVEN-MORE-CONFUSING GAME. I also created the version of the game for three players and the rules for playing a match.
STARTING THE TWO-PLAYER GAME:
Well call the two players Red and Blue. Red will use the six red robots, and Blue will use the six blue robots. Here is the initial set up:
Blue sits here
Red sits here
Each player throws one die, and the one throwing the highest number goes first. If both throw the same number, they throw again.
THE OBJECT OF THE GAME:
There are two colored hexagons on the board. The red hexagon is the goal for Red, and the blue hexagon is the goal for Blue. Whenever a robot (of either color) enters the red hexagon, it is removed from the game and placed in front of the red player. Whenever a robot (of either color) enters the blue hexagon, it is removed from the game and placed in front of the blue player. Robots are also removed from the game if they go off the edge of the board. These robots should be placed somewhere off to the side, not in front of either player.
The game ends as soon as either player has none of his robots left on the board. At that point, the winner is the player who had the greater number of robots (of either color) enter his goal. If the same number of robots entered each goal, then the game is a tie.
A turn for a player consists of two phases: first there is a control phase and second there is an automatic phase. However, the game should be easier to understand if we describe the phases in reverse order. First well describe the automatic phase and then well describe the control phase.
THE AUTOMATIC PHASE:
During this phase of your turn, each of your robots makes one automatic move. Well, the move isnt completely automatic, since you have to use your fingers to supply the motive power for the robot, but during this phase you will have no opportunity to make any human decisions.
Your robots are moved in strict numerical order. Robot-1 is moved first (unless that robot is out of the game), Robot-2 is moved next, and so on up to Robot-6. To move a robot, simply push it one space in the direction that the robots arrow points. If that puts the robot outside the board, then remove that robot from the game. If the robot moves into one of the goals, then remove the robot from the game and place it in front of the player who owns the goal.
If the robot moves onto a square already occupied by another robot, things get complicated: that second robot is bumped along the same direction to the next space. (The arrow on the robot being bumped is not considered; the direction of movement is determined by the robot doing the bumping.) If the second robot is bumped onto a square that contains a third robot, then the third robot is bumped along the same direction. This bumping continues until finally a robot is bumped into an empty space or off the board.
If a robot is bumped off the board it is removed from the game. If a robot is bumped into one of the goals, it is removed from the game and placed in front of the player who owns the goal. The game is won by the player who had the most robots (of either color) enter his goal. If both players have the same number of robots enter their goals, the game is a tie.
THE CONTROL PHASE:
It is during the control phase that human intelligence enters the game. Chance also enters the game, since dice are used to determine which robots a player may control.
To start the control phase of your turn, throw the three dice. The number on the top of each die will now refer to one of your six robots. Leave on the table any die that refers to a robot still in the game. Pick up any die that refers to a robot that has been removed from the game.
If you have picked up one or more dice, make a second (and final) throw with these dice. Again, leave on the table any die that refers to a robot still in the game. Remove and place to the side any die that refers to a robot out of the game. (If youre really unlucky, you might make two throws and get no die that refers to a robot still in the game. In that case the control phase of your turn is over.)
You should now have up to three dice on the table. For each die you are allowed to make one controlling action on the robot referred to by the die. A controlling action is either changing the direction of the robots arrow or moving the robot. Controlling actions can be executed in any order; for example, you can change the direction of Robot-4, move Robot-2, and then move Robot-4.
If you change the direction of the robot, simply turn the robot so its arrow points in whatever direction you wish. If you move a robot, you advance the robot one space, but only in the direction that its arrow currently points. If this causes the robot to bump into another robot, then you follow the same rules for bumping that are described above in THE AUTOMATIC PHASE.
Note that one controlling action can be used to change a robots direction or move it, but not both. If, however, you have two dice that refer to the same robot, then you can perform two controlling actions on that robot. (If all three dice refer to the same robot, then three actions can be performed on the robot.)
Here is a sample move. It shows how you can make brilliant plans, but they dont turn out exactly as you expect. The current position is shown below. Three robots have entered Blues goal, and they are put at Blues end of the board. One robot has gone off the board, and it is put at the side of the board. No robots have entered Reds goal. It is Reds turn.
For the control phase of his turn, Red throws the three dice and gets 2, 2, 6. He uses the 6 to advance Robot-6 northwest one cell (thats northwest if you think of the board as a map). He uses one of his 2s to move Robot-2 northwest one cell. He uses the second 2 to rotate Robot-2 so it faces northeast towards Reds goal. The board now looks like this:
The automatic phase of the turn proceeds as follows. Red Robot-1 moves north, pushing red Robot-4 north, which pushes the blue Robot-4 north. Next, red Robot-2 moves northeast, pushing red Robot-3 northeast, which pushes blue Robot-4 into Reds goal. Next, red Robot-3 moves into Reds goal. The current position is this:
Were now halfway through the automatic phase, and Red is feeling pretty good. Two robots have entered his goal, and when the red Robots 5 and 6 move into his goal, he will be in the lead. First, however, red Robot-4 must move, andoh no!it moves northwest, pushing red Robot-2 northwest, which pushes blue Robot-5 off the board. Since one player now has no robots, the game comes to an immediate end, and Blue has won. Here is the final position:
PLAYING A MATCH:
If you want to play a series of games, here is a good way to put together a match:
In a game, each player scores 1 point for every robot (of either color) that entered his goal. The winner of each game also scores a 4-point bonus. If the players tie for winner, then each scores a 2-point bonus. Keep a running total of each players score. If, at the end of a game, one player has 21 points or more, then the player with the highest score is the winner of the match. If both players are tied at this point, then play more games until (at the end of a game) one player is ahead.
Because there is an advantage to going first in each game, there is this unusual rule for picking who goes first: Throw a die to determine the first player in the first game of the match. In the second and subsequent games, the player who goes first is the one with the lowest score. If the players are tied for low, the player who went second in the previous game should go first in this game.
ALTERNATE RULES FOR AN EVEN-MORE-CONFUSING GAME:
Once youve mastered the normal rules to Robot Attack, try the following rules. They should add more complexity to the game:
The first move for each player consists only of a control phase, with no automatic phase. The second, and all subsequent moves, consists of two phases but in this order: first the automatic phase then the control phase.
The effects of these rule changes are a little hard to explain, but give this game a try. You should find it to be interesting.
That concludes the rules for the standard game of Robot Attack. To play that game you need to order the standard version of MANOOVER. If you want to play the three-player version of Robot Attack, you need to order MANOOVER PLUS. Manoover Plus has a larger board with two sides. One side lets you play the three-player game, and the other side lets you play a more complex version of the two-player game. This more complex version was created by Kate Jones.
ROBOT ATTACK FOR THREE PLAYERS:
To play the three-player game, use the side of the Manoover Plus board that has three goals. The players are known as Red, Blue, and Green, and each has six robots of his color. The initial set up is shown below:
To start a game, each player throws one die, and the one throwing the highest number goes first. If two or more players tie with the same high number, then those who tie throw again. After the first player takes his turn, the turn proceeds clockwise around the board.
The three-player game is generally the same as the game for two players. Each players turn consists of a control phase followed by an automatic phase. Each player tries to get robots (of any color) to enter his goal.
However, there is a difference in the way a game ends. When all the robots of one player are gone, the game does not end at that point. Instead, it continues with the remaining two players. As soon as one of these two players is out of robots, the game then finally ends.
PLAYING A MATCH OF THREE-PLAYER GAMES:
Here is a good way to play a match of three-player games.
The players throw dice to determine who goes first in the first game of the match. For subsequent games, the player going first is the one to the left of the player going first in the previous game.
In a game, each player scores 1 point for every robot (of any color) that entered his goal. If one player has more points than any other player, that player also scores a 4-point bonus. If all three players tie for high score, then no one receives a bonus. If just two players tie for high score, then neither scores a bonus and, instead, the third player, the one with the lowest score, gets the 4-point bonus. That is an unusual rule, but it makes for some interesting strategy. Suppose youre doing poorly in a game and will probably come in last. You might be able to create a tie between the other two players and youll get the bonus.
Keep a running total of each players score. If, at the end of a game, one player has 21 points or more, then the player with the highest score is the winner of the match. If two or more players are tied at this point, then play more games until (at the end of a game) one player is ahead (and the winner is not necessarily one of those who tied originally).
ALTERNATE RULES FOR AN EVEN-MORE-CONFUSING THREE-PLAYER GAME:
The alternate rules given for the two-player game also work for the three-player game. The first move for each of the three player consists only of a control phase, with no automatic phase. The second, and all subsequent moves, consists of two phases in this order: first the automatic phase then the control phase.
MANOOVER PLUS FOR TWO PLAYERS:
This is the game Kate Jones createdon the suggestion of a customer who liked the standard version but wanted something more complex. Each player has eight pieces instead of six, and the players throw four 8-sided dice to determine which four pieces to move. See Kate Jones rules here. My alternate rule (automatic phase then control phase) works here. And my rules for playing a match work especially well here. If you play a match, make 30 the winning number instead of 21 (or you can experiment with higher winning numbers).