Are You A Robot?

Andy Looney and team have built an empire out of making games more complicated with their super-successful FLUXX line of card games, but they also at times carve away the extraneous trappings of a genre in order to find a kernel of elegant simplicity, as they did with Choose One and their new social deduction game "Are You A Robot?"

AYAR is an extremely simple package and a simple concept: the game is three cards, two of which say "You are a human" and one of which says "You are a robot." Simply deal these out randomly and start playing. The humans' job is to figure out who the robot is and "zap" it. The robot's job is to stay hidden, throw off suspicion and hopefully a human will zap another human. It's the Werewolf game taken to its simplest extreme, which is refreshing in the age of Ultimate Werewolf (dozens of roles! Everyone gets one! Try to keep up!), One Night Yadda Yadda and the new Clocktower game which justifies its high price take with a fancy complicated box. Are You a Robot has a very high ratio of game to components.

That said, you will get out of it what you put into it. If you think there's no real way to tell who the robot is and insist on just guessing randomly and zapping, it's doubtful anyone will have much fun. The reality is there are lots of ways to detect who is who, both verbal and nonverbal. You really have to play it and truly experience it to understand how it works, sort of like the card game The Mind. It's a bit mysterious how it works, but it works! Another nice feature is the game is so quick (usually about two minutes) that if you don't like it, it will be over before it overstays its welcome, and if you DO like it, you can play several times in a row. The game instructions include some variations and there's a page on the Looney web site that has info on combining sets to add more people.

Could you make your own copy of Are You A Robot? Of course you could. But Looney Labs has done it for you and the cards are nice, they're more uniform and sturdy than you could easily print yourself, and the game is only 2 bucks. So why not get yourself one. And start sniffing out that pesky robot!