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Game Updates

What is Micro Bots?

Micro Bots is the first signing from Prometheus Game Labs – a game designed by Simon Beal and co-developed over the past year. Packed into a mint tin, Micro Bots delivers a tight two-player dueling experience in 15-30mins.

Micro Bots: Duel, along with the expansion Power Up, is launching on Kickstarter in February. Click below to be taken to the prelaunch page:

The Game

In Micro Bots you take on one of two bots maneuvering around an arena, shooting at each other, and aiming to be the first one to destroy the opponent. Each bot has a set of starting cards and a unique ability that changes the way they play.

Every round, you both play one card from your hand. Cards are played to either the Weapon or Support rows on either side of your bot card, which increase in power the more cards you have there.

When combat occurs (and there’s a lot of it), you will both play Power Tokens (from 0-5) to boost your attack or defense power. These tokens are exhausted until playing a Recharge card, so trying to predict which number your opponent is going to play (and how to counteract them) is key!

Recharging lets you refresh up your Power Tokens, gain energy, and replay some of your cards, but it leaves you vulnerable. Deciding whether to hang on for one more turn or Recharge early could be the difference between winning and losing.

Micro Bots delivers a tense, tactical experience as you each try to outwit and outplay each other, all in 15-30mins and a pocket sized box.

Design Journey

Micro Bots is inspired by retro video games, the very first of which is an unreleased game called Laser Droids that Simon developed more than 20 years ago. The game is intended to feel like two vehicle like robots battling out in an arena. More succinctly it is best described as Robot Wars (or Battle Bots in the US) with big lasers!

Simon and I have playtested each others designs in the past, and my first exposure to Micro Bots was when Simon was looking to brainstorm a concept for a new idea. Simon and I are both fans of Aeons End (a cooperative boss battler deckbuilding game) and Simon wanted to develop an arena type of boss battler from an old design of his – Laser Bots. I wasn’t considering taking on other designs at the time, but as he showed me the original mint tin game for context, I realised it would actually be a great fit for Prometheus Game Labs. It was a tight, two player game that fit into a tiny package and offered a lot of potential depth of play.

As we worked together on the game, we changed a few of the core mechanics. The single program row became two rows, giving players choice of focusing on their offensive or defensive capabilities. The dice rolling for combat became Power Tokens, allowing players more control over their outcomes and the opportunity to ‘outplay’ their opponent in a way that I love to bring to Prometheus Game Labs games. The final big change was to increase the maximum damage from 1 to 3, which balanced more exciting ‘big’ moments in the game without allowing a complete blowout.

Whilst we settled on the design for Duel fairly early on in the process, there was so much extra design space that just wouldn’t fit in a single tin, that we opted to launch Power Up alongside it. Alongside two new bots, Brains and Flash, this expansion lets you collect cubes from the range track (reflecting your bot zooming around the arena and picking up these special power ups) that improves your power tokens, increases your bots unique powers, and unlocks special Wildfire cards. As well as a chance to include some of the more complex Upgrade cards, Power Up has been a lot of fun to develop in a way that extends the base game further and offers even more interesting decisions.

You can read more about the development from original game to the Laser Bots mint tin game in an original post from Simon here.

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Categories
Game Design

New Signing: Micro Bots

I’m delighted to announce the next game from Prometheus Game Labs – Micro Bots, designed by Simon Beal. Micro Bots is a mint-tin sized duelling game, where players try to outmanoeuvre and outwit their opponent in a virtual arena. Coming to Kickstarter in 2023 (and demoing at UK Games Expo 3-5 June 2022)

Micro Bots on Tabletop Simulator

Simon has worked on a number of other games, including the Ion Award finalist, Diverse City and a minigame for Token Terrors, The Gauntlet. Simon introduced Micro Bots (then titled Laser Bots) to me a while ago when looking to get some thoughts on a larger game idea, and I immediately took an interest in it. It also helped me clarify exactly the kind of games that I want to produce with Prometheus Game Labs – tight, cerebral, 1-2 player games, with a short to medium play time.

Prototype Micro Bots game

Publishing another designer’s game is a first for me, but something I am really excited to do as a game that fits so well with the current lineup. On a more personal note, I discovered two delightful things about signing another designers game. Simon has mentioned that he’s really happy to have a game design of his published, and though it’s not quite his first game, I’m really happy to be able to make that dream come true. Secondly, I was surprised how enjoyable it is giving money away (in the form of an advance). I’m really looking forward to sending royalty payments in future – it means we’ve been successful together in bringing a game to life, and I’m excited to share that success.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Simon and I think we make a great team. I’m extremely grateful for Simon’s ability to continually tweak and refine the game (it really does get better every time we play it), and in particular his ability to take some of my off-the-cuff ideas and fit them perfectly into the existing game system. We have a habit of extending our play sessions to be about 30 minutes of play and then another hour of chatting about ideas (sometimes retro video games), and each time I come away inspired. I’m so excited about the future of Micro Bots and our partnership.

Keep an eye out here, in the monthly email updates, and the Micro Bots Facebook Group for more information about the game as it unfolds.