Way back at PAX East 2019, there was a very important announcement in the Borderlands franchise – a game that fans all over the world have been clamoring for since 2012’s Borderlands 2. I am, of course, talking about Borderlands: Tiny Tina’s Robot Tea Party.
Yes, of course we’re all excited for Borderlands 3, but sometimes you gotta rest those eyes and relax with a nice tea party. We at long last got some hands-on time with this new tabletop card game from Gearbox, Nerdvana Games, and XYZ Game Labs.
The rules for this Tea Party are pretty simple: choose a Claptrap skin (such as Gentleman, Pirate, Wizard, and others), draw your cards, then spend your turns by attaching parts to your mouthy metal friend or sabotaging your friends’ creations using Action Cards. The first person to fully assemble their Claptrap with limbs that completely match it’s body theme is the winner.
Right out of the box, TTRTP is a treat to look upon. All 80 cards in the box are gorgeous and feel great to shuffle (they’re all standard playing card size), and the artwork on them is fantastic. The rules themselves are super light (this is a short, brisk game) and my group of four people didn’t have a single speed bump on our first round of play. The game quotes you 15 minutes on the back of the box, but I think our second round for us took only about 10 once we knew the drill. Where your average tea party may take all afternoon, this one certainly will not.
TTRTP strikes me as a game that’s meant to be played a dozen times, and I can see myself house-ruling “alright, first to 5 claptraps wins” or something like that to keep the good times rolling. There’s also a “True Vault Hunter Mode” that doubles the length of a single session, challenging players to build out their chosen Claptrap, then flip it over and start again with a blank slate to secure their victory.
All in all, Borderlands: Tiny Tina’s Robot Tea Party is a fun, brisk card game that’s just as suitable to play a dozen times at your kitchen table or in a single speed round on a convention floor. Fans of Borderlands will recognize signature characters and themes from the games on every card, and the Claptrap costumes themselves got a good chuckle out of me as they were assembled.
The Good: Gorgeous cards, iconic artwork, and easy-to-understand rules make TTRTP a great little game to play once, twice, or a dozen times with a small group.
The Bad: Games can end very fast if your group is drawing really well (or really poorly), and I can see some people losing interest in playing repeatedly if a winner is declared inside the 10 minute mark.
The Verdict: 3/5. Strong recommend if you’re a superfan of Borderlands. As a matter of fact, you probably already have this on your game shelf. If you’re a casual fan, this is still a great little card game if you need your robot fix. Add in a dozen beers and some signature Borderlands music in the background if you want to kick up the experience a bit and have some laughs.
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