January 27, 2023

#UnboxingDay ~ Robotech Reconstruction from Strange Machine Games

Michale Eckenfels, 19 January 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay

Robotech is not something I was always a huge fan of. Well…I never was a fan, period, to be honest.

Bear with me though, please.

Not that I dislike it; I just never got into it. Robotech is an anime series that came out in the mid 80s, dealing with an alien starship that crashes on a South Pacific island and humanity, as they do, scours over the wreckage to discover fantastic new technologies. They then build their own advanced weapons, including mecha (giant robots). This all happens, of course, just before a gigantic alien invasion puts the hammer down on Earth. Anime shenanigans ensue.

Despite my lack of interest previously, that interest has grown over the years, only because I find the ‘giant robot’ genre fascinating, really. I had flirtations with Mechwarrior, the game, back in the mid-to-late 80s, and had some interest in anime, but never anything that made me dive deep. Yet, Robotech remains something of the ‘grail’ of anime (which I could be wrong about, but that’s my perception) in that everyone knows what it is and no doubt could recite the history deeply, lovingly, and far more accurately than I could. I always felt like I shouldn’t dare show my interest for fear of looking like a goon that knows nothing about Robotech. Yet, here we are with me doing precisely that.

Getting a copy of Robotech Reconstruction, though, is something of a cathartic moment for me. My interest in anime has risen a bit with my viewing Attack on Titan and One-Punch Man – granted, two well-known ones among anime fans of course – but also something called Chainsaw Man. My interest is piqued. I am afraid of falling into a black hole, but my next viewing interest is going to be Robotech, so I will be checking it out finally to see what it’s all about. That should keep me busy for the next fifteen years, at least.

 

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click images to enlarge

Robotech Reconstruction looked like a simple, easy game to get into. And since Robotech is such a classic part of anime history, plus having giant robots, what’s not really to like? Why did I not get into it before? What’s my issue? Never had one, and now that I have a copy of this, I’m going to start learning more about this genre and this specific story.

It’s not solo – BGG says it’s three to four players – so I’ll be finding people to play it with me. Each player helms a faction that is looking to lay their vision on the Earth on how they see it should be defended against future alien incursions. There’s four factions total – the Zentraedi Rebellion (ZR), the Anti-Unification League (AUL), the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF), and the Robotech Defense Force (RDF). 

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According to the game, each Faction has a half-ally, a half-enemy, and a full enemy. I’m not exactly sure how that aligns insofar as gameplay, but it sounds like interesting machinations. It also sounds like it’s much better as a four-player game rather than a three-player, just so all those angles are present in the game.

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Opening the box gives you a view of the rule book.

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That rule book is colorful, laid out well, and has lots of helpful examples, it looks like.

There’s a mounted board also within the box, which is a nice addition.

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Unfolding it, you’re greeted with a rather chaotic-looking board with no symmetry nor rhyme and/or reason, it seems. My initial inspection of this made me incredulous at first, but the more I look at it, the more I’m realizing it doesn’t bother me. I’m guessing each area borders others for movement access for player pieces, and the Earth in this story is something of a chaotic mess, so…this actually makes sense given the theme of the game.

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Then there’s two sheets of counters, most of which are hexagonal-shaped.

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There’s two Player Boards here, one of which is labeled “protoculture” (which I’m not sure what that is), and the other, “Victory Conditions.” The Victory conditions board looks like it measures success differently for each Faction, which is an interesting way to measure winning in a game.

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Next is a Set-Up Card, which looks like a useful way of getting pieces on the board and ready to go quickly.

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There are four Faction player aids, one for each in the game. This one is for the Robotech Expeditionary Force, or REF.

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Each such player aid has a reverse side with a bit of color text and story to help you understand that Faction’s thinking and goals.

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Here’s all four Faction player aids.

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And there’s cards!

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Three different types of cards.

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First are the Reconstruction Event cards. I admit I do like the old school anime frames and art, here. I’m guessing these images are straight from the show.

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Next are the Territory cards. I’m guessing there’s one for each such area on the main game board.

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Lastly, there are Ref Drop cards. At a glance, I’ve no idea what these do, but they don’t look friendly at all!

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There’s also stands for the standees in the game. I believe there are four here, one for each Faction piece.

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The box, now empty, has an insert present.

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The insert works well with the cards once they’re unwrapped, as well as the standees. I’ll get this one punched and learned as quickly as possible so we can do a full review on it!

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