Twin Tin Bots - General game info
Twin Tin Bots
2-6 players, 50 minutes, 13 years and older
AuthorPhilippe Keyaerts
IllustratorKwanchai Moriya
Published byFlatlined Games
Online since 2014-10-04
Developed by (Stonecrusher)
Boardgamegeek126239
Yucata.de owns a license for the online version of this game. A big "thank you" to the copyright owners (publisher and/or author and illustrator) who make it possible to have this game for free online here!
Twin Tin Bots - Rules

Introduction

'Crystal is the future! A wonderful energy source! A dream job! They sure can sell their stuff at the Corp's recruiting office... Stuck with a couple of colleagues and all these Robots in the middle of nowhere, what a job indeed! Well, the planet's nice, it could be worse. And there's some fun to be had with the Bots - tough things these ones. Of course the mechanics get grumpy, but they still are the first to Jump all over the place when their favourite tinbox brings more Crystals home than the other Corp's Robots.
This time, even if they are torn down to shreds, my Robots will win!'
In Twin Tin Bots, each player controls two harvester Bots and tries to harvest a maximum of Crystals and bring them back to his Base. Robots are programmed using simple Orders, but communications are limited: you need to plan ahead as only one Order can be changed each turn!
It is possible to push other Robots, to 'borrow' their Crystals, and even to meddle with their programming.

Game Goal

Crystals Points Harvest a maximum of Crystals! Each Crystal is worth 2 to 4 points according to its size. At the end of the game everyone totals his harvested Crystals: the ones brought back to the Base, but also Crystals carried by their Robots. Crystals still on Robots are worth one point less than their regular value (1 to 3 points) when the game stops.
In the event of a tie, the player with the most blue 2- point Crystals Blue Crystal in his Base wins. If there is still a tie, the player with the most green 3- points Crystals Green Crystal in his Base wins. If there is still a tie, the highest total worth of Crystals brought back wins. If there is still a tie, 'both players rejoice in their shared victory'.
In the implementation at Yucata, only the points for the Crystals that have been delivered to the base are displayed in the player information. These are the more important points because they can trigger the game end by score victory (see below in chapter 'Game End'). However if the game ends by Crystal attrition then the points for the Crystals carried by the robots are added to determine the winner and the player rankings.

Components

Game components
G: 13 Special Order tiles (grey face, blue back)
A: Dual-sided game boardH: 3 Countdown counters numbered 3-2-1
B: Dual sided Crystal trackI: 1 'Active Base' token for the advanced 2 players variant
C: 18 transparent plastic Crystals (6x2 points, 6x3 points and 6x4 points)J: 3 Rock tokens in two parts
D: 6 plastic Bases and 12 plastic RobotsK: 3 Blob tokens in two parts
E: 6 programming boardsL: 6 Teleport tokens in two parts
F: 6 x 16 Order tiles (in each player's colour)M: 3 Mud tokens
In the implementation at Yucata the bases, bots and Crystals are shown from bird's eye view.

Setup

Set up Place the board on the side matching the number of players: use the small arena for 2, 3 and 4 players, and the big arena for 5 and 6. The number of players is printed in the corner of the game board for easy reference.

Each player gets the components in one colour: one Base Base, two Robots, First bot Second bot 16 Order tiles Order Order Order Order Order Order Order, and a programming board Program Board.
Shuffle the blue-backed Special Order tiles Backside of special order tile in a face-down stack and deal one face down to each player, that he will keep secret until he first uses it.

Set up the board and playing pieces according to the number of players. Place the Crystal track on the side of the board on the face corresponding to the number of players and fill the Crystal slots.

Attention, Robot orientation does matter: they must always face a given hex-side. Bases and Crystals have no orientation. Robot facing a hex-side Each Robot must face a hex-side.

Each player places his programming board in front of him near his Order tiles. Randomly determine a first player and give him the Countdown counters numbered 3 rounds till game ends indicator 2 rounds till game ends indicator 1 round till game ends indicator. The first player will not change during the game.

The Game

programming board
Players take turns playing, in clockwise order.
During his turn the active player performs the following steps in sequence:
  1. He may change programming of a single Robot.
  2. He must run the program of his two Robots, from left to right on his programming board.
Exception: On the very first turn of each player, he places an Order on each Robot on step 1 instead of making only one change.
The two steps in detail:
  1. Change the programming of a single Robot (optional)
    Each Robot has its own program, which contains up to three Orders.
    The player can perform only one of the following actions:
    Place order
    1. Place one Order or Special Order tile on one of the 6 slots of his programming board. If there was already an Order tile there, it is replaced and goes back to the player's hand.
    Swap slots
    2. Swap two slots on a single of his Robot's program. He can either Swap two tiles on the same Robot's program, or Swap a tile and an empty slot on the same Robot's program. He may not Swap between different Robots' programs.
    Remove order
    3. Remove one Order or Special Order tile from his programming board. (The tile goes back to his hand.)
    Reset program
    4. Reset: remove all Order and Special Order tiles from a single of his Robot's program. (Tiles go back to the player's hand.)
    5. Pass. (Leave Both Robots programming as is.)
    Important: The player performs a single modification to a single Robot's programming. He may not make a change on each Robot. The other Robot's programming remains unchanged.
  2. Run programs (mandatory)
    Run programs
    The player must then run the program of each Robot, starting left and processing Orders in sequence to the right on the programming board. Empty slots are ignored.
    Important: Robots always execute their programs in the same order. It is not possible to have the second Robot run his program before the first.
    If an Order can be executed it must be, otherwise it is ignored. If an Order is partially possible (for instance Forward then Load) all possible actions must be performed and the others are ignored.
    Reminder: a Robot must always face a hex-side. Pictograms on the programming board remind you of the allowed actions and the turn order.

Order Tiles

Forward 1x / Forward 2x

Forward 1x Forward 2x
The Robot must proceed to the hex in front of it. If the hex contains a Robot or Crystal and the hex behind it is empty, the Robot moves Forward, pushing the obstacle. However if the two hexes in front of the Robot are not empty, it cannot move.
In other cases, movement is ignored: no object can be moved outside the board, be pushed into a Base or a non-empty hex, and Bases cannot be pushed.
Forward 2x is resolved as two consecutive Forward Orders. If an obstacle prevents moving, the Robot moves as far as it can and the rest is ignored.

Turn left / Turn right

Turn left Turn right
The Robot must turn one hex side (60°) counter-clockwise / clockwise on itself.
To prevent mistakes, each Robot has colour coded left and right arrow stickers on the shoulders.

Load Crystal

Load Crystal
The Robot must Load the Crystal it is facing (be it on the ground or on another Robot). Crystals Unloaded in Bases cannot be Loaded any more. Place the Crystal on the Robot. If there is no Crystal, the Order is ignored.
A Robot can only carry a single Crystal. If it is Loaded already, the Order is ignored.
Load Crystals correctly

Unload Crystal

Unload Crystal
If it is carrying a Crystal, the Robot must Unload it in front of it. If it is empty, the Order is ignored.

A Crystal can be Unloaded:

  • on an empty hex
  • on a Base (even an opponent's)
  • on a hex with an empty Robot (your or opponent's)
  • but never outside the board, on a Crystal-filled hex or on a Loaded Robot.
Every time a Crystal is Unloaded on a Base:
  • The Base's owner places it in front of him, it will be worth 2 to 4 points at the end of the game according to its size.
  • If it is a blue 2-points Crystal Blue Crystal, the Base owner draws one facedown Special Order tile Backside of special order tile and adds it to his hand.
  • The next Crystal from the track is placed on the centre hex of the board. If it is not empty, the Base's owner places it on one of the free hexes that are closest from the board centre. If it is the last Crystal to enter play, the game end phase starts.
From the game start to the game end phase, there should always be three more Crystals on the board than the number of players.

Zap!

Zap
The Robot sends a pulse on the hex in front of it, and on the second in line if the first is empty. If Both hexes are empty, the Zap fizzles and has no effect.
Zap doesn't affect Crystals and Bases (but they block it and you cannot Zap through them). If a Robot (opponent or friendly) is in the range, the Zapping player may force it to immediately perform one of the following Orders (Zapper's choice): Forward 1x, Turn Left, Turn Right, Load or Unload. The target Robot does not need to have that Order in his program to perform it! Zap cannot be used to trigger a Forward 2x, Zap or a Special Order.

Double Modification

Double Modification
This tile is a joker that can only be used once per game, and is then turned face down. It allows the player to make two programming changes that turn, one on each Robot or both on the same Robot.

Game End

A game of Twin Tin Bots can end in two ways:

A) Crystal attrition

3 rounds till game ends indicator 2 rounds till game ends indicator 1 rounds till game ends indicator
When the last Crystal enters play, the current game turn continues to completion and the game will then last 3 more game turns: the first player discards a Countdown counter each time he is about to play (3-2-1). When he discards the last counter, this means the last game turn has started.
If the last Crystal enters play during the first player's turn, the current turn is played before starting discarding Countdown counters.

B) By score victory

If a player manages to bring back a certain amount worth of Crystals to his Base, the game ends immediately and that player wins.
Number of players23456
Points required1110987
In the implementation at Yucata, the amount worth of Crystals necessary to achieve score victory is indicated in the player information right next to the points, separated by a backslash.

Special Orders Tiles

Special Orders Backside of special order tile are used as normal Orders. They are kept hidden until placed on the programming board. When removed from the programming board, they go to the player's hand and can be reused just like normal Orders.

Turn 2x Left/Right

Turn 2x Left Turn 2x Right
The Robot must Turn 2 hex sides (120°) in the corresponding direction.

Anti-Zap (Faraday shield)

Anti-Zap
As long as this Order is part of the Robot's program, the Robot is not affected by opponent Zaps (but can still benefit from friendly Zaps). It has no other effect, so you trade a program slot for protection.

U-Turn

U-Turn
The Robot must turn thrice (180°), making a U-Turn.

Forward 3X

Forward 3X
Is resolved as three consecutive Forward Orders. If an obstacle prevents moving, the Robot moves as far as it can and the rest is ignored.

Forward then Load

Forward then Load
Is resolved as a Forward Order followed by a Load Order. The sequence cannot be changed (Load then Forward).

Forward then Zap

Forward then Zap
Is resolved as a Forward Order followed by a Zap Order. The sequence cannot be changed (Zap then Forward).

Dash

Dash
This is a 'Forward 1x' Order. In addition, as long as this Order is in his program, the Robot can push any number of Robots/Crystals as long as there is an empty hex at the end of the row. It is still forbidden to push a Base or to push things outside the game board.

Jump

Jump
The Robot must Jump two hexes ahead. The middle hex can be non-empty, but the destination hex must be empty (or the Order is ignored). Robot orientation remains unchanged.

Back up

Back up
As Forward 1x, but in reverse. All Forward rules apply.

Double Zap!

Double Zap!
The Robot must Zap twice in a row.

Anti theft

Anti theft
As long as this Order is in the Robot's program, the Robot's Crystal cannot be stolen by an opponent 'Load' Order (but a Zap can still have him Unload it). It has no other effect, so you trade a program slot for protection.

Long range Zap

Long range Zap
The Robot must Zap in front of it with an unlimited range (but obstacles still block it, as for a normal Zap).
The Zap affects a single hex: the first nonempty hex in front of the Robot.

Play Example

Example program bar
The new program, about to be run.
Program execution-first part
Position at turn start.
Robot A moves Forward, pushing the Crystal as the hex behind is free.
Robot A Loads the Crystal (it was empty)
Program execution-second part
Robot A turns right
Robot B turns left
Robot B has no second Order
Robot B tries to Load the Crystal but as another Crystal is Loaded already the Order is ignored.

Variants and Optional Rules

Here are some variants and optional rules to spice up your games once you will have mastered the standard rules.

Teleporters, Rocks and Blobs

These elements can be used separately or in combination. You can mix and match as many as you want, knowing that the more elements there are in play, the more programming skill will be required to pick up and deliver Crystals. You'll quickly notice that small variations in the items in play and in their placement subtly affect the game dynamics.

Teleporters

Yellow Teleporter Yellow Teleporter
Blue Teleporter Blue Teleporter
Red Teleporter Red Teleporter
Teleporters are always placed in pairs. There are up to three pairs of Teleporters. When a Robot enters a hex with a Teleporter, it is immediately placed on the opposite side of the matching colour Teleporter. It is forbidden to Zap and to Load or Unload Crystals through a Teleporter. It is allowed to push through a Teleporter, following the normal movement rules. If the destination hex is not empty and the Robot cannot push the obstacle, it cannot Teleport and stays where it is.
Teleporting: step 1 of 2
Teleporting: step 2 of 2

Rocks

Rock
Rocks are unmoveable obstacles, as Bases. A Rock cannot be pushed nor Loaded on a Robot. It blocks line of sight for Zaps.

Blobs

Blob
Blobs are peaceful but large critters. They may very well be an intelligent alien life form, but no-one ever was able to communicate with them or to understand them. They might also just be stupid. The only certain thing is that they are harmless. Or extremely tolerant.
A Blob is a mobile obstacle that can be pushed, as a Crystal or a Robot. A Blob cannot be Loaded on a Robot. If a Robot Zaps a Blob, the player may move that Blob to an adjacent empty hex or to an adjacent hex with a Robot, Crystal or other Blob by pushing it away (following the normal movement rules).

Mud

Mud
Robot caterpillars skid in the Mud. When a Robot enters a Mud hex, his next 'Forward' move is ignored. It will therefore need two 'Forward 1x' or one 'Forward 2x' Order to get out. Other Orders work normally in the Mud, including Jump which allows to Jump out of the Mud. Mud doesn't block line of sight for a Zap.
Mud has no memory: should a robot start his turn in the Mud, it will need two Forward moves to get out even if one was ignored on the previous turn.

Example: A robot is in front of a Mud hex and still has a 'Forward 2x' and a 'Forward 1x' in his programming. The first Forward of the 'Forward 2x' Order moves him in the Mud and the second is ignored. Then the 'Forward 1x' Order gets him out of the Mud.

Example 2: A Robot starts his turn in a Mud hex. His program is 'Forward 1x', 'Turn Left', 'Forward 1x'. The first Forward is ignored, then the Robot turns and moves out of the mud.

Teleporters, Rocks, Blobs and Mud setup

During setup, do not place Teleporters, Rocks or Blobs on the board's outer ring, next to a Base, a Teleporter, a Blob or a Rock.
At Yucata there is a so called 'Advanced Game' play variant which randomly adds Teleporters, Rocks, Blobs and/or Mud.

Team play

The game is played in two teams. You need an even number of players: if the number of players is odd, a player will play two colours (you may want to use the 'active Base' token as in the advanced 2 players rule).
Colours are spread between players so that players of a team have their bases as far apart as possible and so that teams alternate player turns: one player from the first team plays his turn, then one from the second team, and so on. The game proceeds using the standard rules and at the end each team adds up the Crystals harvested. With this variant there is no score victory game end. A player may Unload Crystals in any Base, he does not have to Unload in his Base. When a blue Crystal is Unloaded in a Base, it's the Base owner that gets the Special Order tile.
Team play is currently not directly supported by the Yucata system. However there is the play variant No game end by score victory that we suggest to use in this case. Also start such games as training games after the players have agreed upon the team composition. The order in which the players accept the game invitation decides upon their Base position (in clockwise order). Tip: Write this order into the comment of the game invitation and ask the players to join in that order. This way the players of a team can have their bases as far apart as possible and teams alternate player turns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Who chooses the location for next crystal ?
  1. If the robot of player A unloads a crystal to the base of player B and the center of the board is occupied, who chooses the location for the next crystal? Player A or B?
  2. If the robot of player A zapps the robot of player B and makes it unload its crystal to the base of player C and the center of the board is occupied, who chooses the location for the next crystal? Player A or B or C?
A: Always done by player that received the crystal.

Q2: Can a bot escape the mud using the 'Back up' Order ?
  1. Does a robot starting in a Mud field and executing only 'Back up' Order get out of the mud field?
  2. Does a robot starting in a Mud field and executing 'Back up' and then 'Forward 1x' Order get out of the mud field?
  3. Does a robot starting in a Mud field and executing 'Forward 1x' and then 'Back up' Order get out of the mud field?
A:
  1. No, is stays stuck.
  2. Yes, as this is equivalent to two 'forward' moves with what regards mud. Mud has no memory so it forgot the first forward was backwards.
  3. Yes, the first forward is ignored, then the robot exits the mud backwards.

Q3: Tiebreaker: why does the text in the original rulebook differ from the text on this page?
A: In the original rulebook (version 1.004 of Juli 2013) the tiebreaker rule text is:
In the event of a tie, the player who harvested the most blue 2-point Crystals wins. If there is still a tie, the most green 3-points Crystals.
This text is not 100% clear: Does it mean the blue respectively green Crystals in the player's Base and on his Bots, or only those in his Base? Therefore, after having clarified this tiebreaker rule with one of the designers of Twin Tin Bots in a BGG Forum Posting, I have changed the text to:
In the event of a tie, the player with the most blue 2-point Crystals in his Base wins. If there is still a tie, the player with the most green 3-points Crystals in his Base wins.

 
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