Here is a brief history about how The Robot Battle League card game came to be.
Calista and I have been volunteering for a local non-profit, SMaRT Education, for a little over eight years; helping with community events and teaching kids camps. During these events, we often worked along side a local FIRST LEGO League team named X-Treme Team. They were a talented group of 9 to 14 year olds, showcasing SMaRT’s programs, helping teach robotics camps and mentoring anyone curious to learn about technology and engineering. Calista and I became fast friends with the X-treme Team family and were soon involved with their LEGO robotics projects. I mean; lightening smart kids, LEGOs, and an endless pool of creativity, why wouldn’t Calista and I want to be a part of that?
Now, allow me to introduce you to Mikie. When we first met him, he was nine years old, a member of X-treme Team, and interested in film making. Teaching him what I had learned in film school was a blast. His imagination and passion for story telling was (and still is) unbridled. And, like us, he loved playing with LEGO. His family and ours became great friends, and in a sense, I felt like I had become a big brother to him.
Mikie was into LEGO Bionicle back then. Calista and I were in the early phases of becoming LEGO fans, but we hadn’t bothered with the Bionicle sets, nor its follow-up series, Hero Factory. We bought a couple sets for Mikie’s 10th birthday, and picked up a few extra for us to check out. A couple weeks later and after trying out different custom builds, I showed Mikie what I had crafted, explaining my Bionicle’s defensive and offensive strategy. Mikie to Travis; challenge accepted!
Mikie was fast to built a robot to best mine in robotic combat. And for the three or four months that followed, we went back and forth trying to out do each other with better Bionicle builds.
Enter Aubrey, another amazing member of X-Treme Team. Aubrey asked about the game Mikie and I were playing; our speculating who had the stronger LEGO Bionicle robot. We explained each of our plastic creations’ special abilities and weapons, fighting styles and weaknesses, but clearly we weren’t answering her real question. I don’t recall her exact words, but I do recall her dry witted tone. Her second question was more to the point, “But what are the rules? How do you know who wins?”
And, she was right. We didn’t have any rules to determine how one robot could defeat the other. Mikie and I had plenty on imagination to fuel our battles, but there wasn’t a system to govern how one robot would conquer the other. And that’s when the idea hit us, we should make it an actual game! Travis and Mikie to Aubrey – Challenge accepted.
In part two, I’ll cover the journey of creating the game. Stay tuned…