Stress Botics is a sci-fi adventure, where 4 easily-stressable robots (known as Beta Bots) are sent to an exoplanet by their corporation Cubebotics CORP®, in order to mine its resources. Once those resources are extracted, the Beta Bots’ task is to deliver them to the corporation’s ships.
It won’t be a piece of cake. To start with, the exoplanet is unstable, so the Beta Bots will have to adapt to a constantly changing environment. On top of that, each corporation ship requires different resources, and each payload delivery requires perfect timing & alignment with the orbiting trajectory of the matching ship. And last, but not least, the rival corporation Cylindroids INC® has sent its own bots to snatch resources and interfere with your bots.
But do not fret! Beta Bots can count on Alpha Bot’s help, a support robot with a (very) short-tempered AI. Alpha Bot will unlock new places to mine, give the Beta Bots more actions and generally make their life easier…but keep an eye on those pesky Cylindroid bots, since they won’t pass up the opportunity to damage your guardian!
The game is organized in rounds. In each round, an event takes place (which might involve trouble for the Beta Bots!) and the players will program actions to interact with the planet’s resource-laden chambers, with enemies, with Alpha Bot, or with each other. Actions are chosen in secret and players commit to them before any are revealed. The stress level of each bot determines the turn order as well as its possible resource deliveries. Then players take turns to reveal their programmed actions, and execute them.
Each player has their own robot’s blueprint, where they store resources using multiple containers of limited size. Those resources can be delivered to the passing ships, or they can be transformed or spent to enhance the robot’s capabilities.
During the adventure, the autonomous Alpha Bot will advance through the planet’s chambers until it reaches the surface. Players can interact with Alpha Bot to obtain advantages or to steer it out of harm’s way, since it is vulnerable to enemy attacks and the planet’s adversities.
At the end of each round, there’s a maintenance step that includes the activation of enemy robots (Cylindroids). They can move, attack, or occupy resource chambers. Additionally, players will receive benefits or penalties (stress) according to their distance to Alpha Bot.
The game ends when Alpha Bot reaches the last chamber. The players tally the victory points, which can be earned in different ways: Through successful resource deliveries, by upgrades on their robot, by fulfilling other objectives, etc. Then, each player’s victory points is reduced by the amount of stress they incurred during gameplay, and the player with most remaining points wins the game.