In a very broad sense it could be regarded as a precursor to BattleTech, as the underlying concepts – player-designed modular robots fighting each other on hex maps – are similar.
From the back cover
|“||COMBOTS are higly versatile, heavily armed, and extremely mobile robots. Their intricate electronic circuits have been programmed to achieve a single goal—total destruction of the enemy. Combot soldiers have become the mainstay of every modern army. Combot gladiators engage in single combat to the delight of millions in every star system.
Now you can experience the thrill of controlling one of these massive machines. You can design and equip your Combots with the best combination of equiptment for speed, strength and endurance. Then lead you Combot armies into large scale futuristic battles, or send your best design into the arena to defeat your opponent's champion in single combat.
COMBOTS is a game designed for two or more players, each controlling one or more Combots. The rules are simple, and the action is swift. This basic game contains everything needed for a two player game:
2 Highly detailed, 11/2 inch high, metal Combot miniatures
48 Interchangeable Combot weapon and equipment castings
1 11 x 17 inch full color mounted mapboard
1 Easy to read rules booklet
2 Six-sided dice
ENTER THE ARENA AND WITNESS THE AWESOME POWER OF THE COMBOT
Combots features robots (called "Combots") fighting each other on a hex-based gameboard. It does not employ sheets to keep track of configurations or battle damage. Instead, players would customize and configure their Combot figurine with different weapons and equipment by putting it together from pewter parts. Battle results are determined with dice, and hits are recorded by removing parts from the Combot miniature.
The box includes two different command units (heads), two main thrusters (bottoms), and four equipment tenders (middle pieces with six equipment slots each). From these, Scouts (combots with one tender), Warriors (two tenders), or Marauders (three tenders) can be built, although the game does not include enough tenders to build a pair of Marauders. Available modules for the equipment tenders includes lasers, laser shields, missile launchers, ECM, claws, aiming units and armor plating.
The game was designed for two players in the standard game, but provides scenarios for up to five players on the included map or more on player-designed maps. Additional copies are needed to field larger Combots or play with more than two players; owing to the game's modular nature, the boxed set can easily be expanded with additional parts from other sets.
Jordan Weisman reportedly said Combots had not done too well for FASA.
Non-canon with regards to BattleTech. Despite the conceptual similarities Combots is a different, completely separate game with no connection to the BattleTech universe later developed by FASA.