Board Layouts for RoboRally

Variant by William Sherman (

Being a person who likes to archive stuff for future reference, I've brought this compulsion to playing - or rather - recording games of RoboRally. Mainly, I want to be able to look back at board designs we used in previous games, and perhaps reuse some of the layouts that seemed to work well.

There has already been a brief discussion about other board examples, and Mike Davis has stated that he had others in the original rules, before editing. To facilitate layout sharing, and to allow game situations to be more easily described to other readers, it would probably be a good idea for the net to come to a consensus of a "description language" for layouts. Probably whatever format Mike Davis would choose to post/ftp his designs in would become the standard.

Of course, I've already come up with a method for myself, so I will start the discussion with what I do, including an example of my own, and the example in the rules.

Note: of course, I'm talking a pure ascii description format!

So, given the above, here is how the example in the rule book would be listed (I don't have the boards here at work with me, so I'm going from what I can see in the book):

Oh, first, I use the initials of the boards rather than the names in the top view, so:

| Name: Rules Example layout
| Layout: 2x2 sqaure
| Top View:  CR-n C-w
|            M-s  I-w
| Locations:
|	Startpoint - Cannery Row at (9,4)
|	Checkpoint 1 - Cannery Row at (3,9)
|	Checkpoint 2 - Cross at (5,3)
|	Checkpoint 3 - Island at (7,5)
|	Checkpoint 4 - Maelstrom at (1,9)
| Notes: taken from the RoboRally operators manual

Now, here is a game we played, chosen as an introduction for two new players (actually only my second game), to not be too complicated, but also to get more robot interaction than we experienced in our first game, in which we used the Rules Example layout. Also, in this example, I'm not exactly sure where the startpoint was, as I say, no boards here at work, and a picture of Exchange is not in the rules - so I've given the approximate location, and the fact that it is on a single wrench.

| Name: Beginner Game layout
| Layout: 1x3 line
| Top View: E-n I-w C-e
| Locations:
|	Startpoint - Exchange at ~(3,4) a single wrench
|	Checkpoint 1 - Exchange at (4,8)
|	Checkpoint 2 - Cross at (2,8)
|	Checkpoint 3 - Island at (7,5) 
| Notes: Checkpoint 3 is same as the Rules Example - though I didn't
|	realize this at the time.  Also, see my preample for the
|	goals of this layout.

Opinions? Comments?

J Michael Davis ( responded:

As far as course variations go. Tom Jolly liked my playtest versions of the boards, they allowed him to do some pretty cool stuff. The boards were paper thin laminated boards and when designing race courses he'd overlap the boards. Maybe something like:

Name: Made up Jolly Course
Layout: 2x2 square overlapping boards (1.75x1.75)
Top View:  CR-n <3 C-w (C on top)
            ^       ^
            3       3  (M and I on top)
            M-s <3 I-w (I on top)

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell