Transformers is a series of Robot Toys created by Hasbro and Takara Tomy that typically turn into cars and other vehicles. Robots are cool, cars are cool and so they became popular. In 1984 they made some comics and a cartoon show. The comics show created a lot of toy sales and the toys kept the shows and comics popular, which in turn generated more interest in the toys and comics. Over the years they changed things up to sell more toys and new series were made, some worked quite well (Beast Wars, Prime) others did not (Armada, Energon, Cybertron). Transformers is also the Warhammer 40000 of /toy/ in terms of board culture.
Transformers is /tg/ related via several different board games as well as Heroclix (because what doesn't have those fucking things, they're our Funko). Why does this have no serious tabletop or role playing game? Only comics, cartoons, anime, and finally video games. So much potential. Seriously, it's a setting about sentient, shapeshifting robots fighting a war that spans motivations from political to racial to theological. Hasbro owns Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons via Wizards of the Coast, so it's not like they've never done tabletop stuff before. How the fuck has nobody at Hasbro realized the money-making potential there? Of course when your talking about a a franchise owned by a company who has just as many fuck up as Games Workshop. This shouldn't be surprising.
For those who want a video series explaining the various things like continuity, how Transformer maek babby, why the Primes are kings but also knights but also angels except when they're gods, or why the fuck literally every version of Sideways has absolutely nothing to do with any other version, watch this excellent set of Youtube videos explaining it all with more detail and less vulgar jokes than we can.
Official Tabletop Games
Despite not having a licensed RPG Transformers is no stranger to tabletop games. None have been particularly commercially successful, but some may have deserved to be.
- (The usual pallet-swap games)
Monopoly, Risk, Chess, Stratego, Connect 4, Uno, memory cards, playing cards, you know the drill.
You fucking know what these are. Enjoy your game of Optimus Prime, Harley Quinn, Jean Grey, and Drizzt VS Master Splinter, Freddy Krueger, a Xenomorph, and Bilbo Baggins. Wait, that does sound cool actually...
- Transformers Robot Warrior Game
Released in 1985, its redeco Snakes/Chutes & Ladders except you have two pieces to divide die rolls between, and an outer board to progress around as a vehicle before transforming to robot mode and making your way through as usual. Since all players control cars, its technically all Autobot players trying to reach their base during a battle with the Decepticons
- The Transformers Game
Released in 1986. Despite impressive wargame-style box art, its a very simple game for small children. No real strategy, both players are trying to reach the end goal to destroy the enemy base and all movement is determined by dice rolls after the first move where you choose to go left or right (both ways are mirrored, offering only the illusion of a choice), and after that point you only decide whether to move forward or back. The board resembles outer space and the enemy base is on Earth, and all pieces are Seekers meaning both players are Decepticons interestingly enough. When a piece for both players land on the same space they draw cards from a deck which interestingly all depict Autobots, highest number wins and best of three wins the battle. Winner transforms to robot mode, loser goes back to start. Only robot modes can enter the enemy base. First player to have all three of their team in the enemy base wins.
- Transformers Card Game
- Transformers Adventure Game: Defeat the Decepticons
- Transformers G1 Decoys Board Game
- Transformers: Beast Wars
Released in 1999 in Japan, based on the entire Beast Wars line at the time (including the Japanese-only cartoon).
- Transformers Armada: Battle For Cybertron
A redeco of Star Wars: Epic Duels, with some rules simplified and new modes. Generally considered a casual strategy game, with a lower learning curve. Instead of one hero and two minions, you only have one hero. Four characters per faction, each having their own combat deck and rules. They aren’t equal in strength, Megatron and Optimus predictably outclass everyone. There are four different maps to fight on with their own cover and terrain, and character start locations mitigate the strength difference in characters to a small degree. 2v2, faction mixing, and FFA game modes are available.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Robot Heroes Game
- Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen Missile Mania
- Jogo Dos Transformers: Una Aventura Emocionante Com Os Robos-Herois Do Futuro
A licensed Brazilian Transformers game made by Estrela. Estrela made up its own Transformers continuity based entirely on Minis. The game is extremely rare, so good luck finding the rules, let alone a copy.
While no official roleplaying or tabletop games exist, the idea of "giant robots turning into vehicles" is so cool that lots of homebrew and independent mecha RPGs include mechas or characters that are totally NOT the Transformers, we swear! For example:
- Giant Guardian Generation
- Horizon - Mechamorphosis is literally "Transformers with the serial numbers filed off, done by way of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5".
- Mechagenasis - Another "Transformers with the serial numbers filed off" game, this time done for True20.
- Battlechangers - Blatantly Transformers-based RPG, in both an original version and a Pathfinder version (Battlechangers Ironworks).
- Mekton - Extremely flexible with what it can do: the rules for transforming are simple (as far as Mekton goes anyway) and adapting to a Transformers setting is as easy as actually reading up on them, but the game's hilariously broken.
- Rifts - Some homebrew stuff floating around on the net for playing Transformers exists. Pity it relies on the godawful RIFTS mechanics...
- Codex: Transformers - A case of 1d4chan getting shit done, adapting Transformers into yet another Warhammer 40000 faction.
- Setting:Transformers - A tie-in article to the above trying to develop the lore to explain why Codex: Transformers is a thing.
- TFWiki.net, the unofficial Transformers wiki.