You Robot

One of the most entertaining games I played with my girls when they were very young was Statue. I would sit absolutely still and they would move my arms and legs and face into whatever position they desired. Sometimes we would name some pose that they would have to make: guy-on-bicycle, stinky-socks, spider-in-your-hair.

You Robot (available from Asmodee) has that similar vibe. A partner game, You Robot requires that one partner act like a mindless robot and the other, the teacher, must get the robot to assume a specific pose. The trick? No talking and no touching.

A posture card is drawn and all the teachers gather around to look at it. The robot partners sit on chairs, eyes forward, and hands on their laps. The teachers then proceed to instruct their robots using 6 Remote Control cards. Two cards depict the robot’s body. The teacher can use these cards to show the robot what body part to move. Two cards have arrows that can be used to indicate how the robot should move the body part. The last two cards either tell the robot to pick up something in its vicinity or to think for a second (the sort of oh-come-on-it’s-so-obvious message that always occur in games like these).

In many ways, You Robot is like a variation of Charades that does not allow acting.

Fortunately, it does allow laughing. Which makes the tasks that much more difficult. And the teachers’ job is TOUGH. It is tough to keep from talking. It’s tough to just use the Remote Cards. It’s tough to keep from gesturing. It’s tough to refrain from reaching out to strangle your robot when it doesn’t understand the ever-so-obvious gesture you are trying to communicate.

Asimov needed a fourth rule of robotics: A robot will only make small, careful movements (instead of wild flailing movements) or risk injury at the hands of the human teacher.

The pairs race to see who can strike the pose first. Teacher and robot change for the next round and the process starts over. First pair to win 5 poses wins.

After the first few rounds, robots and teachers figure out that small moves work best and the arrows can be turned in very useful ways. It’s not cybernetic neural science but it is major fun.

For 4 – 10 players, ages 6+

You Robot game design Alain Rivollet. © 2010 by Repos Production.

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