Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1

As a self-proclaimed mecha anime nerd, Robotech is my secret shame. I can talk Evangelion, Transformers, Voltron, Votoms, or Gundam with you (especially Gundam even if you don’t want me to) but Robotech and Macross has always been a hole in my mecha lexicon. I always liked the transforming mechs, though I always found the chicken leg halfway-form between plane and robot to be a bit funny. I am informed that the show has a deep lore akin to what I like about Gundam, but for some reason I never got around to absorbing it and to this day, I have yet to watch a full episode of it. So what I am saying is, you are going to be getting the perspective of someone who is genre savvy with mecha anime but only has a cursory knowledge of Robotech in this review.

Robotech is set in a world where humanity has gained a huge leap in technology (especially military technology they call Robotechnology) from a crashed alien ship. The conflict of the series begins when a mysterious alien force known as the Zentraedi shows up to attack Earth without warning. In Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1, you play as the variety of pilots and officers of Super Dimension Fortress One, or SDF-1, that must act as Earths last line of defense against the invading alien horde.

Even looking at the back of the hefty box, you can clearly see the high production value of this game. Not a lot of games are going to include a giant transformed paper craft mech and a lazy-susan style turnstile to put it on. All the components have striking art that will surely appeal to fans of the series.

I am not going to spend a lot of time explaining the mechanics of the game for they are complex and numerous. Broadly speaking, it’s a crisis management cooperative game. Players react to the appearance of Zentraedi fighters and other randomised events in order to beat back the alien invasion. All the characters have distinctive powers that you can utilize to this end and the SDF-1 itself has a plethora of weapons that the pilots can use to defend themselves. Least of all is the massive reflex cannon you can fire that is sure to please fans of the show.

Another thing I like about this game is its instructions and tutorials. The included material already does a great job of explaining the rules, but what really pushes it above the rest is the training scenario booklet new players can play through (and should). Besides the training mission there are three main scenarios you can play through plus a special one. Each of the scenarios are modelled after a story arc in the show. While this adds replayablity to the game you are not going to be able to play through any scenarios more than a couple of times before you get sick of it. This is definitely not a game you are going to play 30+ times unless you get your hands on new scenarios.

The game play is fun enough but your enjoyment is entirely going to be dependent on whether or not you like cooperative games. There’s no twist on the formula here in its win conditions. You win together or you lose together; there is no secret traitor mechanics like those found in Battlestar Galactica. That will be fine for a lot of people but not all.

I typically find it hard to recommend purely cooperative games to people unless it has extraordinarily interesting game mechanics or I think they’d love the game aesthetically.

Sadly this game is not one that meets the first condition. Don’t get me wrong, Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1 is a competently made game and it’s enjoyable. But there is nothing exceptional about it. So while you don’t need to be an active fan of Robotech, unless the setting holds some interest for you, I find it hard to recommend.

If you at least like the appeal of rag tag group of anime protagonists holding off an alien invasion in the midst of various melodrama, well first of all you need to go watch the show, but then you need to play this game.

Overall Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1 is a good game with great production values. Mecha fans should have fun with this game but I find it hard to recommend to a player group if none of you are familiar with the show. On the other hand, if you are a Robotech fan and like board games, this is definitely a must have game for your collection.

A huge thank you to Japanime Games for supplying us with this copy of Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1 for review.

Checkout the Japanime store page for more information – https://japanimegames.com/products/robotech-attack-on-the-sdf-1

Liked it? Take a second to support ATGN on Patreon!