Back in 2010, I wasn’t quite into board games like I am now. Instead, video games were where I spent most of my free time. I loved playing all kinds of games, but never really got into first-person shooters much. I never was very good at them, and they seemed to have such a high learning curve to play online that they didn’t seem worth my time.
Then I played Borderlands.
Man, I loved Borderlands. Well, really, I loved Borderlands 2. My friend Clay and I used to play online every week or so, which was kinda funny because he lived less than half a mile away. The humor, the weapons system, the animation… man, I just really loved that game.
That’s Enough Scrap Metal to Make a Teapot!
So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw a giant Borderlands banner at the XYZ Game Labs booth at Origins last year. After I nearly knocked down a few elderly people to get to the booth (not really), I quickly sought to find out more about Tiny Tina’s Robot Tea Party.
What I learned was that the game has the characters, the art style, and a little bit of the humor that I love in this video game series. But does it have all the fun? Read on to find out.
Fluffybutt, You Are Looking Good!
Robot Tea Party is a card-based title that focuses on two of my favorite characters from the game: Claptrap and Tiny Tina. Two to five players each have their own Claptrap body, and they are trying to find the matching arms, hat, and wheels that will complete their particular robot. The variations of Claptrap are very entertaining – you’ve got the gentleman version with his top hat and monocle, while the wizard looks an awful lot like a white wizard we all love.
On a turn, players have the option to add a body part to any Claptrap – including that of an opponent. In addition, they can play action cards, which provide a bunch of different bonuses like adding an additional part, going through the discard pile, or scraping your entire robot and starting over.
Play continues until one player has managed to get all of the matching parts for their Claptrap, meaning they are the winner and they get to go to the tea party!
Can’t Attend a Tea Party If You’re Dead!
My favorite part of this game has to be all of the Borderlands elements. Adding parts to Claptrap fits very well within the game’s universe, and I can just hear his snarky little voice each time I add or remove parts. It’s also great to see some of your favorite characters appear in the actions cards.
The game couldn’t be Borderlands without the incredible art style, and that’s definitely present here. Each of the cards looks like it could come from a screenshot of the video game. They’ve really done great work with all the fan service that is found in this title.
There are definitely some strong elements to the gameplay. I appreciate that the rules are so simple – you can teach the game to anyone very quickly. Turns also go by very quickly in most cases – you’re just putting down a robot part and then drawing a card. Action cards take a little longer, but not really that much.
Why You Gotta Be Like That, Boo?
Unfortunately, the game experience does come up a little bit short. The game is certainly fun when you get started. Unfortunately, the mechanics just aren’t there to sustain the game for as long as it can last. The major issue comes with a lack of options to protect yourself from other players. Anyone can add a wrong part to your robot at any time, but in order to remove that part, you’ll need to find a special card. This generally results in a lot of turns being spent just drawing cards, hoping that you get the right one.
While I can’t say that the game is great, I think that you can still have a good time with it, especially if you are fans of the franchise. A few house rules that limit the length of time that the game can drag on would certainly be helpful. If done the right way, you certainly could have a great time with this little game. And really, isn’t that what Tiny Tina would want?