Hello Traveler! And, yes, this reviewer is a big Borderlands video game franchise fan. “Big” is defined as played all the games (Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel) with multiple characters and multiple playthroughs.
A small card game was released this past PAX East in conjunction with the announcement of the third installment of Borderlands. The executive producer of the video game even incorporated a mention of the card game into his on-stage magic-show/announcement.
The game is called Tiny Tina’s Robot Tea Party. The title alone is an in-joke, so any readers unfamiliar with Borderlands can feel free to bounce now. This small card game is meant for 2-5 fans of Borderlands over 15 minutes of playtime.
Players, starting with an opening hand of cards, are attempting to build a CL4P-TP robot (Claptrap) in one of five different costumes. On each turn, a player may play a part card to their robot or an action card to disrupt other players. Players may discard cards which they don’t need or action cards to try and cycle their hand for better cards.
The first player to build a complete Claptrap with torso, arms, a hat, and a wheel (bottom) wins. The action cards accomplish a variety of interesting interventions with other players, but that’s really all the game is about.
Thankfully, this game is short. As much love as this reviewer has for Borderlands, there are many more games that are worthy of play than this. It’s a random slugfest of cards with the barest of tie-ins to Borderlands.
That’s actually a big miss considering the subject matter. There are other casual set collection games out there with a lot more to offer, even with an opponent pile-on mechanism, than this. The strongest draw here is the humor and the art which derives from various elements of the video game.
What could have been a well-designed game with some sort of bandit-killing tie-in is reduced to a crapshoot where the first person “allowed” to keep the cards they need to win will come out victorious. There’s really no other interesting punch here.
If you LOVE LOVE LOVE Borderlands, Tiny Tina’s Robot Tea Party is a good snack time game to warm up for an evening of gaming. That’s about it. The mechanisms are forgettable, and the theme rehashes jokes from the video game. Connoisseurs of quality gaming should avoid. This just barely makes it into the “better than UNO” category. Come to think of it, Borderlands themed UNO might be better.
Final Score: 2 Stars – Randomness and an upcoming video game release tie-in makes this only necessary for the die-hardest Borderlands fans.
• Very random
• Pile on the leader mechanism