Monday, October 10, 2016

Robot Function Fighters - Classroom Game

I am so excited to tell you about my new game Robot Function Fighters.  I will be presenting this game (and others) at the NCTM Conference in Philly.  You can join me on Tuesday, November 1 from 3:15 - 4:30 in room 201A.

If reading about games isn't your thing, there is a video explanation at the bottom of this post.

Educational Objective:  Students will be able to evaluate expressions and compose functions.

Game Objective:  Collect the most victory tokens by winning bot fights.


Deck of Cards (1 per player)
I printed my cards on computer paper, then placed them in a clear card sleeve with old playing cards.

Building Mat (1 per player)  This is printed on 8.5" by 14" paper and laminated.

Dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, and eventually D12)

Victory Tokens (buttons, pennies, anything small to keep score)

Game Set Up:

Each player takes a deck of cards and a building mat.  Shuffle the cards and place them face down on the "Draw Pile".

Place the victory tokens and dice in the middle of the table.

The Cards:

There are two types of cards in the deck: robot base cards and enhancement cards.

These are the robot base cards.

These are the enhancement cards.

To have a complete robot it must have a robot base and two enhancements.

In the photo above you can see two completed robots.  The one of the left uses a 6-sided die (the number is indicated on the upper left of the card) and has the enhancements of annoying poke and fire breath.  The robot on the right uses a 10-sided die and has the enhancements of speed and magic.

To determine a robot's fighting power:
Let's take a look at the robot on the left.  I would roll the D6 and let's say I rolled a 5.  I would substitute the 5 into the first enhancement of annoying poke and get (5) + 4 = 9.  Next I would take that answer of 9 and substitute it into the second enhancement of fire breath and get 2(9) - 1 = 17.  Therefore the fighting power of the robot on the left with a roll of 5 would be 17.

Another example:  This time let's take a look at the robot on the right.  This time I would roll a D10 and let's say I rolled a 7.  I would substitute 7 into the first enhancement of speed and get 2(7) - 2 = 12.  Next I would take that answer of 12 and substitute it into the second enhancement of magic and get 2(12) + 1 = 25.  Therefore the fighting power of the robot on the right with a roll of 7 would be 25.

If these two robots were battling each other the robot on the right would win.

Game Play:

There are three phases to the game:

Phase 1)

All players take cards from the draw pile until they have 5 in their hand.

Phase 2)

All players can place up to three cards face up in the building area of their mat.

Phase 3)

Any player who has a completed robot must place one in the arena (middle of the table) to battle.

Move any robot in the recharge station to a building station.

Each player with a robot in the arena rolls the corresponding die and determines his robot's fighting power for that round.

The player who has the highest fighting power that round is the winner.  He takes a victory token and places his robot in the recharge station of his mat.

All players who lost the battle must place their robot in the junkyard on their mat.

End of Game:

The game ends when no one is able to battle.

Winning the Game:

The player with the most victory tokens at the end of the game is the winner.
If there is a tie, the players who are tied take the robot from the bottom of their junkyard to battle.  The winner of that battle is the winner of the game.


Can I disassemble a robot to use its parts for another robot?
No.  Once a robot is built, it must stay that way.

Can one robot have the same enhancement twice?
Yes.  For example, a robot's first enhancement could be magic and the second enhancement can be magic again.

What if I have no room left to build a robot?
If you are unable to place any cards in the building area, you will skip that phase until the next round.

What if I'm the other person with a robot out in the arena?
If you are the other person to have a robot in the arena, treat it as a win: place your robot in the recharge station and take a victory point.

What if I only have enhancement cards or only robot base cards in my hand?
You may (but are not required to) put them on the bottom of your draw pile and draw five new cards.

Do I have to place three cards in the building area during phase 2?
No, you may place 0, 1, 2, or 3 cards at that time.

Print and Play:

Rule Document


Mat (This is printed on 8.5" x 14" paper)



  1. Love it. I want to start designing more cards for it already. Reclaim a card from the junkyard, this enhancement is a copy of the other enhancement on this robot, change robot's die to a d10...

    Be fun if you used negatives that are usually bad, but good in combination. Like -x-5 and x^2!

    1. You and I are thinking alike! Ideally, each student would have their own deck (that they return at the end of the year) and as a reward they would receive these "other" cards to add to their personal deck.

  2. Can you junk an enhancement to put a new enhancement on? Or a robot to replace the robot?

  3. Interesting, I see how that would balance out.... No, we were playing that once a robot is made, it's made. But that could make a good "other" card.

  4. I really like this idea and I'd love to try this game with some students. I could see an enhancement card that uses a variable in it such as a=current victory points or b=cards left in your hand. A way to keep games close until the end.

  5. This looks great! One thing I thought about - is it possible to switch the order of the enhancements mid-battle? I feel like that's always something good to think about when composing functions.