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These are BotWars Rules version 2.1.

Material in cyan is updated or added from Rules v.1.x. If you were familiar with the first version of the rules, these bits are all you need to read up on.

Material in pink is updated or added from Rules v.2.

The added rule was implemented in Turn 5, in the section on rebooting. The other additions in the sections titled Push, Hit Points, Mechanisms 1: Electric Fence, and Mechanisms 2: Conveyors, are clarifications of rules assumed to be in effect throughout Game Two.

Click on the green rectangles to be taken to a subsection with more information on the topic listed. All subsections are available at the bottom of this document.


The object of the game is to get your robots to touch the flags on the game board in numerical order before your opponents.


Players are dealt a hand of cards, whose size will vary. More on that later. All players compose a five-card program in secret and submit it. The remaining cards, if any, are discarded.

The robots perform their programs in five stages, alternating between robot movement and mechanisms on the factory floor that can affect the robot's movement.

The stages are reported on the web site as follows:

First, a graphic depiction of the current board and all robots' positions is displayed. Below that, a table describing the events of the stage appears.


In the first line of the table are the players' names, as well as their robots' colours.


The second line displays the operating mode of each robot.

When the game starts, all players appear on the same square. At this time, the robots are virtual, and they cannot affect each other. If, at the end of the first turn a virtual robot occupies a square all by itself, then it becomes real. If there are two or more robots in the same square, then they become real at the end of the first stage that they are alone in their square.



On the third line, the cards active for that stage are revealed. There are seven kinds of cards: FWD1, FWD2, FWD3, RVS1, LF90, RT90, and UTRN. There are also RVS2, RVS3, IDLE, SLF1, and SRT1 cards, but they are only available after the proper upgrades. WDLF and WDRT may be available in future games.


There is an electrified fence around the perimeter of the entire board. If a robot moves to leave the board, whether because of their program or if moved by other robots or board mechanisms, the robot will lose 2 HP and will encounter an obstacle.


The next line lists what the outcomes of the cards are.

If a robot moves, the table will say 'move to' and then the coordinate of the square that the robot moves to. The coordinate will be in the form r#c#, where the numbers indicate the row and column of the entire floor. The westernmost column is 1, as is the southernmost row.

If a robot turns, the table will say 'face' and the cardinal direction that the robot is now facing.

There are some items on the board that can affect a robot (or vice versa) as it moves.


If two robots interact over the course of a turn, because an robot moves to the square occupied by another robot, then the stationary robot gets pushed. This will be noted on this line, with the time index that the pushing occurs and what square the robot moves to. If it happens before the pushed robot's card takes effect, then it will appear before the readout of the card's action, and if not, then after.

If a movement cannot be completed, because of a wall, or a robot that cannot be pushed because it is up against a wall itself, then the move is completed as much as is possible and the message "obstruction encountered" will appear. At this point, the robot stops. If the robot being pushed encounters an obstacle (such as an electric fence) and is destroyed, the robot doing the pushing does not occupy the now-empty square.


The fifth line indicates what interaction with board elements there are, if any. In the order in which they take effect, they are:

  • conveyor
  • pusher
  • gear
  • crusher
  • laser



The sixth line of the table shows the laser fire of the robots. The coordinates of the squares each robot fires into will be listed, using the same system as above, e.g. r4-6c7, meaning that the laser passes through squares r4c7 through r6c7. If your robot's laser hits an opponent, then that opponent's name will appear just below the squares your robot shoots. That player will lose one hit point.


The seventh line lists each player's current hit points, after all of the above is taken into consideration. Each player starts with ten HP. Between turns each player is dealt cards equal to their number of HP - 1. (So a player at full health gets nine cards.)

If your HP drops to zero, then your robot is destroyed. At the beginning of the game, you get three robots. If you destroy them all, you are out of the game. If your robot is destroyed, this information will be displayed in the table at the point where it happens.

Damage and destruction are instantaneous. If your robot is destroyed, it is immediately removed from the board, and does not get to complete the rest of that stage.

If your HP drops below six, i.e. past the point where you would be dealt enough cards to make a complete five-card program, then the card dictating the last stage's part of the program gets "fused", or locked in place. Whatever card is there when this happens will be in the same position for your next turn. This goes on until that robot is destroyed, or repaired to the point where it has enough HP to build a long enough program to reach it.

For example, if your robot is shot by a laser and now has 5 HP, you would only be dealt enough cards next turn to make the first four stages of your program. Whatever card is used in the fifth stage of the current program is locked in, and will serve as the fifth card of your next program. If you take another point of damage, then the fourth card in your program is fused as well.

If a register gets fused this way, the information will be displayed in the table at the point where it happens.


The eighth line, which may or may not be in a given table, updates checkpoints and upgrades.

If a robot ends a stage on a square marked with a green wrench icon or a flag without being destroyed, then it has touched a checkpoint. If that robot gets destroyed, then the next robot will be reinstated on this square, rather than at the start. In the case of a flag, your robot has now tagged it, and can move on to the next one.

If a robot ends a stage on a square marked with a blue computer icon, then it receives an upgrade. Upgrade stations do not act as checkpoints for robot reinstatement.


After this, the next stage begins, starting with a depiction of the board as it now stands.


After five stages, a final graphic showing the state of the board at the end of the turn appears, then the table covering the end-of-turn actions. They are:


The player's names on line 1.


The player's modes on line 2.



The most recent checkpoint touched by each robot. If a robot's mode was "destroyed" the robot will be reinstated in the indicated square.


The flags touched by each robot are displayed. Flags are counted as touched if the robot is on the square with the flag at the end of a stage.


The fifth line may not appear. It lists the upgrades stations a robot has visited, if any, and the extra card types it can use.



The sixth line may not appear. It lists whatever options, if any, robots have accumulated.



Finally, a review of HP and robots remaining is given. At this point it is announced whether a player wishes to reboot.

A reboot takes an entire turn, but restores all HP. While your robot is rebooting, it cannot execute a program, cannot fire its laser, and cannot interact with a checkpoint. Other robots may still push it, and lasers can damage it. If your robot is damaged during a reboot, you will be missing the usual amount of HP on the turn after. If a robot takes on enough damage to fuse registers, those registers are randomly filled when the robot comes back online. Options and checkpoints are still intact for the player.

A player can call for a reboot to occur only at the end of a program, it must be before s/he finds out the results of the turn.

An additional table may be added at the end if any robot has fused registers. This is for reference so that all players can see what cards are in those registers easily.


For each turn, the GM will send out your HP, robots left, fused registers, if any, and cards.

Send back a five-card program (less if you get fewer than five cards). Also declare whether or not you want to reboot for the turn after. If it matters to you which of two similar program cards (i.e., two FWD1's) should come first, please specify by number. If not, they will be ordered as they appear in your hand.

If you have an option, you should also say at what point you would like to sacrifice it in taking a point of damage. Default is at HP 6.

Turns should be submitted no later than five days from the day the GM sends out cards. The GM will take up to two days to compile the turn, ask questions, and accept corrections. (If the GM is also a player, his/her program should be completed at this time as well.)


A robot can be real, virtual, or destroyed.

Robots spend most of the game in real mode. This means the robot is physically in the game, and can completely interact with the board and everything on it.

Immediately after reinstatement, whether at the beginning of the game or after a player's robot was destroyed, a robot is virtual. Virtual robots interact with the board and its mechanisms, but not with other robots. This includes pushing other robots and being pushed, shooting other robots and being shot. A virtual robot is still affected by board elements including board lasers. Virtual robots can take on damage. Virtual robots become real as soon as they end a stage alone in their square, but only after one complete turn has passed since that robot's reinstatement.

If a robot loses all its hit points, the robot becomes destroyed, and cannot carry out the rest of its program. The robot is removed from the board immediately. It will be reinstated at the end of the turn, if the player has any robots left.

If a robot is destroyed, then a new one is reinstated if the player has any left. (A player only gets three robots.) The reinstated robot spends its first full turn in virtual mode, and continues to be virtual so long as another robot occupies its square. If it is in a square by itself at the end of its first turn after being reinstated (or as soon as it ends any subsequent stage alone in a square), it enters real mode, and can affect other robots. Reinstated robots retain any upgrades the previous robots had, but not any options.


FWD1, FWD2 and FWD3 move the robot forward in a straight line the indicated number of squares. RVS1, RVS2, and RVS3 move the robot backward the indicated number of squares, without turning around.

LF90 and RT90 rotate the robot in place 90 degrees to the left and to the right, respectively. UTRN rotates the robot 180 degrees. None of these three cards moves the robot at all.

IDLE allows a robot to stand still for a stage.

SLF1 and SRT1 allow a robot to move one square to the side without turning.

The cards also have a unique number assigned to them. This determines the order in which the actions should be performed. Larger numbers happen first. In general, the bigger the movement, the earlier the action happens.


The mechanisms on the board in this section are in effect at all times, even during the robot movement part of a stage. They may take effect even in mid-manoeuvre.


Walls block robots' movement; robots may not pass through them. A robot in the square depicted above could not move into the square to the west. The wall operates on both the square it is in and the square next to it; a robot in the square to the west of the one depicted could not move into the one depicted.


The electric fence block robots' movement; robots may not pass through them. A robot in the square depicted above could not move into the square to the west. The fence surrounds the board. If a robot comes in contact with the electric fence, it takes 2 HP of damage.


Switches activate other board mechanisms. Switches can get flipped whenever a robot moves into the switch's square.

The green switch depicted above is a simple pressure switch. Pressure switches should be off at the start of a game. Once they get flipped to "on", they never flip again. At the moment, this switch can activate drawbridges and teleporters, which see below.

The red switch is a toggle switch. It can get flipped "on" and "off" as many times as necessary. This kind of switch can only be used to activate or deactivate a teleporter.


If at any time, your robot moves into a square that contains a pit, the robot falls and is destroyed.


At the beginning of the game, drawbridges are raised. They can be lowered by pushing the switch associated with the bridge. The location of that switch, in r#c# format, will be written in the square.

When a drawbridge is raised, it acts exactly like a pit, except from the direction where the bridge itself is. From this one direction, robots act as though there is a section of wall. (For example, if a robot tried to enter the depicted square from the north, it would encounter an obstacle. If the robot approached from any other direction, it would fall into the pit and be destroyed.) Raised drawbridges block laser fire. When a drawbridge comes down, it looks and acts like empty floor space.


If at any time, your robot moves into a square that contains an active teleporter, the robot automatically moves to the next active teleporter. If there is the robot had not finished moving when it teleported, it completes its move in its new location.

The order of the teleporters is determined by the alphabetical order of their colours, with Z looping back to A. Deactivated teleporters do nothing, and are skipped in determining teleporter sequences. Occupied transporters are also skipped in determining teleporter sequences. If, for example, teleporter B has a robot in its square, and a robot enters teleporter A, that robot moves to teleporter C, or the next unoccupied, active teleporter. If none exists, the robot does not teleport.

Note that a robot must move into the square with the teleporter. If a robot turns in place in a square with an active teleporter, it does not also teleport. If a robot is in a square containing a teleporter that is activated under it, the robot also does not move.


The mechanisms on the board in this section take effect only after robots have moved because of their collective programs in a given stage.


Conveyors move robots in the direction that the arrow in that square indicates.

Robots that begin this part of the stage on a blue-arrowed conveyor move up to two squares in the directions indicated by the arrows. (The robot moves a second time if and only if it moves onto a second conveyor square, in which case it moves in the direction indicated by the arrow in the second square. Otherwise, it moves only one square.) Robots that begin this part of the stage on a yellow-arrowed conveyor move one square.

If a conveyor moves a robot onto a square made of empty floor space or another conveyor moving in the same direction, then nothing interesting happens.

If, on the other hand, the conveyor moves a robot onto another conveyor moving perpendicular to the first, then the robot gets turned as it moves onto the second conveyor as well. If the second conveyor is moving 90 degrees clockwise compared to the first conveyor (i.e. to the right) then the robot is rotated 90 degrees clockwise. If the second conveyor is 90 degrees counterclockwise, then the robot will rotate 90 degrees counterclockwise.

Note that this is quite different from a robot moving onto a conveyor under its own power. In that case the robot doesn't also turn.

In the case where two conveyor squares are trying to move robots into the same square of empty floor, neither robot moves. If they are being moved into a square with a conveyor, then the robot who would move in the same direction as the conveyor does moves, and the other doesn't. If neither robot is moving in that direction, neither robot moves.

If a conveyor would push a robot into a stationary robot or the electric fence, then the conveyor has no effect. In the case of moving into the fence, however, the robot does take its 2 HP of damage.

If a robot is moved into contact with the electric fence on the perimeter of the board, and it loses all of its hit points, it is destroyed immediately and removed from the board. Any robot behind it on the conveyor belt can still move into the now-empty square.


A pusher moves robots one square away from the wall on which they are mounted. Pushers are marked with numbers which indicate the stages during which they are active.

In the case where two pushers are trying to move robots into the same square, neither robot moves.

If a pusher would push a robot into a stationary robot, then the second robot gets pushed if possible. If it's not possible, neither robot moves.


The first two gears rotate robots 90 degrees in the direction indicated. The third one rotates a robot 180 degrees.


Crushers destroy robots. Crushers are marked with numbers, indicating the stages during which they are active.


Lasers do damage to robots. If by this time, a robot is standing on a square where a laser on the board would hit it, then it loses one hit point for every such laser. If another robot stands between a blue laser turret and your robot, your robot does not take damage.

If your robot takes on laser fire, your column of the table will say so, for example, "-1 HP".


Robots can be improved in several ways.

If a robot ends a turn on a green wrench square, it can repair damage: one HP for every wrench in the icon in the square. A robot can also repair one HP if it ends a turn in a flag checkpoint square.

If the square has two wrenches, the player can choose to outfit his/her robot with an option instead. Options alter or improve the way a robot behaves. It may give a new weapon, or change the way a robot moves, or modify current weapons. Some need to be programmed, and this will be noted in the description of the option when a player receives one. More information about the specifics of options will be forthcoming.

You can choose to sacrifice an option instead of losing a hit point. Since options are hardware, all options are lost when a robot is destroyed.

If a robot ends a stage on a blue computer icon, it can get an upgrade. Upgrades are used to improve robot manoeuvrability.

Once a robot has received two upgrades from two different stations, the robot can use the improved card sets:

A robot can be upgraded so that it can use more than one set, but no robot will be dealt a card it cannot use. Since upgrades are software and can be saved, upgrades are retained when a robot is destroyed.

Revisiting an upgrade station has no effect. If a player wants to complete his/her robot's first card set, the robot must move to a different station than the first one it visited; to start a second set it must move to a third, new station, and so on.