Game Design: Chad Elkins
Artists: Thomas Holt
Published by: 25th Century Games
Plays: 1 to 4 players
Time: 20-30 minutes (2 min set up after 1st play)
- Cooperative and Solitaire
- Set Collection
- Hand Management
- Trip to local ice cream/custard store
If Robots Love Ice Cream looks familiar to you, you’ve probably heard of or played the video game app. The app version of the game was a huge success and now it’s represented as a board game. Robots Love Ice Cream is heavily dipped in its own theme, which makes it appealing to the eye before you open the box. Once it’s all set up, the table presence is an attention grabber as well. Sit back and have a Boomsicle! This my review of Robots Love Ice Cream.
In Robots Love Ice Cream, players use ice cream trucks and shoot flavored ice Cream to take out Boris Boddington and his robots. Among the army of robots, Boddington’s Spinston robots are sent out across the galaxy scooping up ice cream from across the galaxy.
The gameplay of Robots Love Ice Cream is easy to explain and sprinkles the table with it’s colorful presentation (Yeah, I’m going all in on ice cream humor). Each player has an ice cream truck, with two Truck Upgrade slots and one Game Effect slot. Players are dealt seven cards with ice cream names like Boomsicle, Single Serve, Rapid Pop, Hot Fudge Funday, and the wild card Brain Freeze.
The game is played over five planets that make up a galaxy. There are different planet cards that match each player count. The player count changes the amount of Spinstons and robots on the cards. On each planet, you must defeat the Spinston robots and save all the Ice Cream Tokens within three rounds. For each Spinston destroyed, you recover an Ice Cream Token. If you save 10 of the 13 Ice Cream Tokens, you win the game. You lose if you cannot meet the required amount.
During this phase, players will collect and play sets of cards to destroy the robots. On a player’s turn, they will draw two cards and keep one in their hand. The active player will play matching sets of Icre Cream Cards to destroy robots. The number of matching cards must equal or exceed the number indicated on the robot card. When a robot is destroyed, players receive Sprinkletonium cards. Sprinkletonium cards are used to purchase Truck Upgrades and Game Effects Cards during the Upgrade Phase. You can pay one Sprinkletonium to refresh your hand back to seven cards. Robots Love Ice Cream is a cooperative game, so coordinating a plan of attack is essential to your success as you reach harder planets. I’ll explain why during the next phase. After the players turn, the robots return the flavor..I mean favor!
Every robot left over from the Player Phase has a special ability that activates. The activation starts from the bottom row and goes from left to right, until every robot’s special ability is completed. The robots can steal your Sprinkletonium, summon more robots or deactivate your truck’s upgraded weapons. Spinstons presents the most challenge to the game. They have the most health and they are the last character you can target in each column. Spinstons use a Tractor Beam Track to lift Ice Cream Tokens one level closer to them during this phase. If you can’t find a way to take out at least one per round, you run the risk of an Ice Cream Token slipping into the Spinston’s grasp. If you have three Spinstons hanging out for more than one round, you’re in trouble my friend. Depending on player count, the game can become a little…challenging.
When a planet is complete, players can purchase Truck Upgrade Cards and/or Game Effect Cards using the Sprinkletonium they’ve acquired. Some the upgrade abilities are, plus one to hit totals, attacking twice, and attacking the Spinston robots directly out of order. The Game Effect Cards are immediate or permanent for the remainder of the game. I found the Marshmallow Shield to be my saving grace if I was lucky enough to draw it. This one-time use card blocks all attacks from robots in one row, excluding Spinstons. This game effect is a life saver when you reach the last two planets of your game. I should mention it’s highly unlikely you can win the game without purchasing upgrades, but be my guest to challenge yourself.
I played this game with friends at work, with my son, and solitaire. The adults were surprised by the gameplay and my son was easily drawn to the theme. I love the whole package and especially the Lil’ Chip robot it little tooth gap. I keep having thoughts of Mega Man meets Space Invaders with ice cream being fired all over the place when I play this game. That’s my vision and I’m sticking to it. The solitaire mode deserves some mention. The mode eliminates cooperative cards, gives you two attacks, allows you to draw and keep more cards, increases your hand size to eight, and adds an additional upgrade slot. You get the feeling that you’re playing as 1.5 ice cream trucks in this mode. I recommend sticking to the rules in the book or playing the normal game two handed. You always have the option of substituting red Spinstons for green ones.
Should you buy the board game if there is an app? Yes, you should! I assume that you are reading this review because you’re a fan of boards games anyways. My suggestion it to purchase the game and play the app. The app is a pure video game, while the board game is more gamey and multiplayer. You have more options and replayability to work with in the board game version. I’m a big fan of board games like this that draw in gamers from video games. We need more games that help put down their phones and sit with friends and family at the table. I was able to find a copy of the game on Amazon for $23.99 and I feel like the game is worth it for family night or filler game purposes. You could break this game out for any occasion and everyone will enjoy their experience.
I hope you enjoy the game and my review. Please comment below and like or subscribe for future content. I will not apologize for my silliness on this one.
A copy of Robots Love Ice Cream was provided by Chad Elkins for review.