I got to playtest Pax Robotica again, this time with Ares Project designers Geoff and Brian Englestein. They seemed to enjoy the game, but they had the same problem that Seth Jaffee had with it at BGG.CON; namely, the game isn’t thematic enough. Battles don’t feel like battles; they’re too abstract.
I’ve been meaning to address Seth’s comment for awhile now, but it always went to the backburner. Hearing exactly the same thing from Brian and Geoff has pushed me to action. I have to do something.
Here’s what I’m thinking. Each region starts the game with five cubes. I’m going to mark up the last three cubes with a white dot. These “last three” cubes will always be the last ones pulled from a region.
If a regular cube is pulled from the battle bag, then the battle is a “skirmish,” and the current battle rules apply (each side loses its weakest bot). However, if a marked cube is pulled, then the battle is “heated,” and the resolution is different.
In a heated battle, you go from right-to-left in the given region, looking for two bots facing each other with different values. If you find one, then you destroy the weaker bot. You repeat this for every heated cube you pull.
If there aren’t any different values between bots in a heated battle, then the battle becomes a skirmish.
If you pull both a heated and a skirmish cube, then the skirmish cube counts as a heated cube.
I don’t know if I’ll get to try these new rules anytime soon, as my work situation has exploded, and I may have to work next weekend. But I’ll definitely post as soon as I get a shot at playing this again!