OBJECTIVE OF ROBOTS!:  The first player to earn 250 points or more wins

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 5 players

MATERIALS: 74 card deck, 13 robot cards, 3 reference cards, 1 rule sheet 

TYPE OF GAME: Set Collection Card Game

AUDIENCE: Ages 12+



Robots! is a thematic set collection card game.  It plays like Rummy 500 and includes special power cards.  Each round, players are trying to build spreads of sets and runs to earn points.  They are also trying to be the first to empty their hand of cards.  Points are earned for spreads, but they are lost for cards remaining in hand at the end of the round.



This small-box game includes a seventy-four card deck.  The deck has five suits (green, purple, white, red, and blue).  Each suit contains cards numbered 2 – 14 as well as one star card which can be a 1 or a 14.  Four wild cards can be used to represent any card needed.  Three reference cards help players during the game.  



Remove the thirteen double sided robot cards from the deck and place them aside.  Shuffle the remaining seventy-four cards and deal seven to each player.  Place the rest of the deck face down in the center of the table to form the robot factory.  Turn the top card over to begin the scrap heap pile.


The player seated to the left of the dealer goes first.  Begin your turn by drawing.  You may draw one card from the top of the robot factory, or you may draw from the scrap heap.  If you choose to draw from the scrap heap, you may take one or more cards.  Scrap heap cards are staggered so their color and number can be seen.  Should you want a card that is lower in the pile, you may pick it up along with all of the cards on top of it.  

After drawing, you may play two types of spreads from your hand to the table: sets and runs.  A set is three or more cards of the same number, and a run is three or more cards of the same color in sequential order.  If a player draws more than one card from the scrap heap, they must play the bottom-most drawn card immediately.  There is no requirement to play a spread unless more than one card was drawn from the scrap heap.

It is possible to play on an opponent’s spread.  If you have a card that can be added to an opponent’s set or run, simply play it face up near your spreads.  You cannot play on an opponent’s spread until you have at least one of your own. 

A set of all five cards is called a robot.  Once a player has completed a robot, they place the corresponding robot card on top of it.  There is a scoring bonus for accomplishing this.  Completed robots cannot be dismantled with power cards.

After drawing and playing spreads, end your turn by discarding one card to the scrap heap.  If a player discards something that can be played, any other player may yell out robot!  They get to pick up the card and play it.  Play passes left once the turn has ended.


Cards with special powers are activated immediately after being discarded.  There are five special powers in this game.

Recycle allows the player to immediately take any other card in the scrap heap and add it to their hand.  Extra Parts allows the player to draw two cards from the robot factory and then discard any two cards to the top of the scrap heap.  Any powers are activated during the discard.  When completing the Extra Parts power, a player may not add more cards to their existing spreads until their next turn.  Tractor Beam calls for the player to place the bottom half of the scrap heap under the robot factory pile. 

Determine half the pile by counting the cards and rounding up if needed.  Do not count the Tractor Beam card.  Freakin’ Laser Beam allows a player to discard one card from any opponent’s spread to the bottom of the scrap heap.  If this breaks a spread (meaning it now contains less than three cards), the spread’s owner must add the rest of the cards to their hand. 


The round ends once a player has discarded their final card to the scrap heap.  If a player empties their hand by playing a spread, the round does not end.  Play continues until that player draws and discards their final card.  A card that can be added to a spread cannot be discarded to end the round.

After the round ends, players earn points for the cards they played in spreads.  They then deduct points for any cards left in hand.  It is possible for a player to have a negative score at the end of the round.  Those points would be deducted from the player’s total score.  

Once the score is tallied up for the round, continue playing rounds until one player reaches a score of 250 or more.  That player is the winner.  If more than one player passes 250 at the same time, the player with the higher score wins.  In the case of a tie, play rounds until there is a clear winner.

Mark Ball
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