From the planet Botatron they came, a race of giant sentient robots that turned into stuff at will. And who had a penchant for defending cities and blowing each other up.

What You Need: A 52 card deck, some poker chips, some method of keeping track of the four zones of play.

Number of Players: 2

Object: To blow up all of the buildings in your opponents city.

Setup: Each player sets up in front of himself a row of four stacks of poker chips, each two chips high. These represent the buildings in your city. Morphatron cards placed next to these chips are in your home zone. There are two zones between the home zones that the Morphatrons can move through. Delineate these however you like — one of the easiest ways is to put a chip or the deck box halfway between you and your opponent. Cards on your side of the deck box are in your near zone, while cards on the other side are in your far zone (which is the same as your opponent’s near zone).

No cards will begin the game on the battlefield. They are shown here to help visualize the zones of play.

How to Play:
All players start the game with four cards in hand. Each of these cards represents a Morphatron. Morphatrons have two modes they can be played in — robot mode or vehicle mode. Morphatrons oriented vertically are in robot mode; horizontally they’re in vehicle mode.

In robot mode, the Morphatrons are able to attack. Each Morphatron has an attack type determined by its value; those with even values have range attacks, while those with odd values have close-up attacks.

Morphatrons in vehicle mode can’t attack, but they may use an ability based on their suit as follows:

  • Spade (Jet Power): This bot may move two spaces when moving.
  • Heart (Transport): When this bot moves, you may move any number of your other Morphatrons in the same zone with it.
  • Club (Construction): When this bot is in your home zone you may discard a card to build (add a chip) to any of your buildings. This may not be used to rebuild a totally destroyed building.
  • Diamond (Defender): It is more difficult to destroy your Morphatrons (See Attacking).

Robot clip art courtesy of pupsik at ClipArtsFree.net

On each player’s turn, that player may take two actions and morph one of his Morphatrons (this is referred to as the “free morph”). He may perform these actions in any order. If he wants to morph two Morphatrons in one turn, he may use one of his two actions to do so. To morph a Morphatron, either turn it sideways, or turn it upright. The other things you can do on a turn are:

  • Draw a card
  • Play a Morphatron from your hand to your home zone. You may play the Morphatron in either mode. You can’t have more robots in play than you have buildings. Morphatrons with a value between 2 and 10 may be played right away, but face cards require you to build higher towers first (see Elite Forces below).
  • Move one Morphatron to an adjacent zone.
  • Attack a Morphatron or city (see Attacking below).
  • Use a Club in vehicle mode to build up a building. Discard a card and add a chip to any building. This may not rebuild a completely destroyed building.
  • Deactivate one of your Morphatrons (discard it) to draw a card. You might want to do this if you already have your maximum number of robots out, or to get a card out of a damaged bot.
  • Triple Morph — Replace any of your Morphatrons in play with one from your hand of the same suit or value, discarding the original Morphatron. The new Morphatron enters play in the same zone and in the same mode as the old one. Do this only if you have a tower high enough to play the new bot. (see Elite Forces).

There are two ways to put the hurting on your opponent’s robots — range attacks and close up attacks. Cards with even values have range attacks; odds are close-ups. Range attacks deal one damage from up to one zone away, close up attacks deal two, but only to robots in the same zone. As an action, you may have any one of your Morphatrons attack any one Morphatron in its range. You can’t attack with the same Morphatron twice in one turn.

Normally it takes two damage to kill a Morphatron. So if attack a Morphatron with a close-up attack, just put it in the scrap yard. If you attack it with a ranged attack, put a red “critical damage” chip on it. If a robot with a critical damage chip on it is dealt any damage, it is destroyed.

Sometimes this is complicated by a diamond’s defender ability. When a diamond is in vehicle mode, it and its nearby friends are harder to scrap. If you hit a Morphatron protected in this way with a close up attack, put a critical damage chip on it instead of scrapping it. If you hit an undamaged bot with a range attack, put a minor damage chip on it (any chip that is not red). This indicates that it will take two more damage to kill the Morphatron. If you hit a Morphatron that already has a minor damage chip with a range attack, put a critical damage chip on it. If you hit it with a close-up attack, scrap it. Once a Morphatron has a critical damage chip on it any attack will kill it, whether a defender is present or not.

You can also attack buildings in the same way you would attack a robot; for each damage you deal, remove a chip. So, if you have a range attacker one zone away from your opponent’s home zone, you may remove one chip from one of his buildings. If you have a close up attacker in your opponent’s home zone you may remove two chips from one of his buildings — which will destroy it outright if he hasn’t built it up. The diamond ability does not protect buildings.

Elite Forces
Some Morphatrons kick the ass of other Morphatrons. These elite forces are represented by the face cards.

To play these cards, you must first build up at least one of your towers with the club’s construction ability. You may only play a Jack if you control a building at least three chips high. Queens require a four-chip tower, Kings a five-chip tower, and Aces a six-chip tower. Here’s what you get for your trouble:

  • Jacks – “Fly” (Can move two spaces. In Vehicle mode, can’t be hit by close-up attacks) Have a standard ranged attack.
  • Queens – Have a range attack that deals 2 damage.
  • Kings – May either attack one robot with a close up attack that deals 3 damage, or two different robots with range attacks that deal 1 damage each.
  • Aces – Fly (as Jacks do), and may either attack two robots with close up attacks that deal 3 damage each, or three robots with range attacks that deal 2 damage each.

Each face card also gets its normal suit ability.

And no, you can’t triple change one of your Morphatrons into a face card unless you already have an appropriately sized building, you sly devil.

Game End
The game ends when a player has destroyed all his opponent’s buildings.

And that’s all there is to it. Now as someone who sure never turned into a truck used to say: Morph and Roll Out!

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