fbpx
topics

Games With Robots

Robots have a long history in literature, film, and television. And, of course, in board games.

“Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!”
  -Robot Model B-9, from Lost in Space

The concept of the automata, or a moving mechanical device meant to act in a way imitating humans, has been around since the ancient Chinese, Greeks, and Ptolemaic Egyptians. They  attempted to make machines in the shape of humans to perform useful tasks.

The word robot, as used to describe a fictional human being, was coined by Josef Čapek in 1920 and was popularized by his brother Karel Čapek in his play RUR, or  Rossum’s Universal Robots. Initially happy to work for humans, the robots in RUR eventually revolt and kill their creators.

Since then, robots have featured heavily in science fiction, from the Maria robot in Fritz Lang’s highly influential 1927 film Metropolis to Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Robbie, from Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, and Marvin the Paranoid Robot in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

While we all await our robot servants, who will undoubtedly make our lives easier and never be tempted to organize in a RUR-like uprising, here are some board games that feature our robotic friends.

Robots

2020
A 2020 Kinderspiel des Jahres nominee, where players need a feeling for time and speed together without talking to determine how far they think the robot will move in four short seconds.
Read our review More articlesBuy a copy

Transmissions

2022
Players share Matt Dixon’s mechanical creatures and move them around a rondel, collecting resources. Build up your robots, build pipes, and collect birds and butterflies for points.
Read our review More articlesBuy a copy

Dunaïa

2021
Draft a die and activate an ancient robot to work on the surrounding buildings. Complete your buildings to gain powerful artifacts.
Read our review More articles

Comanauts

2019
Adventure through the mind of a famous scientist, trying to bring him back to consciousness. Play as a robot if you choose, but you’ll definitely be needing to avoid the deadly robots in one of the Comazones.
Read our review More articlesBuy a copy

GKR: Heavy Hitters

2018
GKR, or Giant Killer Robots, is a game where you control a team of, well, Giant Killer Robots to do battle for mega corporations to gain the favor of fans and consumers.
Read our review More articlesBuy a copy

RoboRally

1994
A programming game where you play cards face-down that dictate the order of your movements. Each turn sees players moving their robots to the consternation of their opponents. (Also one of the few games Tom refuses to play because he’s so bad at it.)
More articlesBuy a copy

Ricochet Robots

1999
An abstract strategy game in which you try to move your robot to a specific target in the fewest moves.
More articlesBuy a copy

Are You a Robot?

2019
A social deduction mini-game from Looney Labs where players ask each other questions to determine who amongst them is human and who is the robot.
More articles

Jetsons: Rosey the Robot Game

1962
The 1962 game features Astro (Rast-Ro!) and the Jetson’s own Rosey the Robot. (Yes, this is an absurd entry, but I grew up watching The Jetsons and this is my list.)
More articles

About the author

Tom Franklin

By day, I'm a mild-mannered IT Manager with a slight attitude. By night I play guitar & celtic bouzouki, board games, and watch British TV. I love abstracts, co-ops, worker placement and tile-laying games. Basically, any deep game with lots of interesting choices. 

You can find my middle grade book, The Pterrible Pteranodon, at your favorite online bookstore.

And despite being a DM, I have an inherent dislike of six-sided dice.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Subscribe to Meeple Mountain!

Resources for Board Gamers

  • 36+ Board Game Gifts for 2022

    Our epic board game gift guide has over 30 recommendations for every kind of board gamer! There are wallet-sized games and wallet-friendly games. There are games for the first timer and for friends who have been playing for years. From lightweight games you can play in minutes to multi-hour games your gamer will love. Read more…

  • Board Game Giveaways

    Enter a Board Game Giveaway! Enter each board game giveaway and you could win free board games from some of… Read more…

  • Tennessee Meeple T-Shirt

    Now you too can show pride in your state, and more importantly your love of board gaming. The Tennessee Meeple t-shirt is printed on soft and comfortable 100% ring-spun Anvil 980 t-shirts and is available in sizes S through XXXL. Read more…

  • The 2022-2023 Guide To Board Game Conventions

    Looking to attend a board game convention? Our guide to board game conventions can help you decide what to pack, play, and pass on! Read more…

Board Game Categories