It was getting late on Friday and the Exhibition Hall at Gen Con 2018 was about to close, but I decided to take one more walk around the booths in the corner of the hall. And I’m glad I did, as I had a chance to try out the board game AEGIS: Combining Robot Strategy Game.
I had first heard of AEGIS during its Kickstarter campaign , which I had the misfortune of missing. Walking by the booth, I was offered a demo and hopped in immediately.
Each player commands a team of five unique Level-1 robots. Each robot produces a certain amount of energy for the team. The energy which goes into a pool and can be spent freely among all your robots. Each also has a maximum movement value, a number of abilities, and potential special skills.
The above image shows my team. A.E.G.I.S. stands for the five classes of robot in the game: Assault, Evasive, Guard, Intel, and Support. As you can see above, I had two Assault types, one Evasive, one Guard, and one Support. Each was unique: My Assault robots had some high damage potential, but needed to get in close to their targets, while my Support could fire a laser on anything it could see from anywhere on the board (doing only a single damage, though).
Turns are simple: collect the total energy produced by all your robots, then spend it. Robots can move, then use an ability. It costs one energy to move one hex, and skills cost the energy indicated by the green number (which is coincidentally also how many dice you roll to resolve the ability). When a robot is destroyed, it no longer produces energy, and a team is eliminated if they can not make more than four energy on their turn.
But wait – why is it called “Combining Robots?”
Because your Level-1 robots can join together to form Level-2 robots. Add another Level-1, and you get a Level-3. As you combine bots, you combine letters to get stronger and more versatile robots to command. And if you started with one robot of each class, you might even be able to put them all together into an AEGIS-class Level-5 robot, the ultimate fighting machine!
The game comes with 18 different generals to play as, and over 100 individual, unique robots! That’s a lot of content in the box, including cards and standees for each and every robot.
Above is the team I played against, consisting of A, S, G, G, G robots.
The game offers almost limitless replayability given the vast number of robots of the various levels. And player choice is just as important: Do you keep your team at lower levels, which offer more energy production and overall health, but lack attack power? Or do you spend a few turns combining and put all your resources into a bigger fighting machine?
This game was by far the star of the show for me this year and I see myself playing it for years to come.