Saturday, December 16, 1995

Bolo Game (12/16/1995)

Players: Joshua, Mike, Scott

We played Bolo with the "tournament rules," which allow for ammunition each time a tank dies at the beginning of the game -- but less and less ammo as you die further into the game; and we provided Joshua with a map of the island because he was just starting out in Bolo. At first, Mike took the upper-left of the island and quickly stretched it across and down toward the center. Scott started in the lower-right and spread to the top, keeping the whole right side to himself. Joshua had the lower left and a bit of the center, but didn't really crank until later.

Once established in their respective territories, Scott and Mike became expansionist. Scott engaged Joshua to the left of the maze (roughly center of the island) and lost his builder, so when Mike drove through the middle of the island and took Scott's first stronghold -- the lower-right -- Scott was busy trying to slow Joshua's attempts to take back what Scott had just won, so Mike won the spot almost unopposed. To counter Mike's win in the south, Scott attacked the top-middle but spent too much time there while Mike fought long and hard to take the right-side center of the island, thus splitting Scott's "empire" in half before his builder ever got back.

Joshua had a some bases but he collected all of his pillboxes near one or two of them, stacking them up "like a trailer park" (Mike). This was hardly an effective empire- building strategy, but is sure kept his two bases safe. Feeling that he was out of the game, Scott engaged in some general trouble-making (destroying boats, half-destroying pillboxes with no intent of taking them) while Joshua and Mike battled each other -- Mike for control of the island and Joshua for more and more pillboxes.

Joshua was fortunate enough (or skilled enough) to kill Mike's builder three times in quick succession, and that was the chance that Scott and Joshua were waiting for. Scott quickly regained his lower-right outpost and then parlayed that into a victory in the center- right. Joshua worked at Mike's upper-left and center positions, and with those weakened, Scott then took the center-top base and we agreed to call it quits. Scott was declared the winner at the end (with Joshua second and Mike third), but those positions could well have been reversed if the game had ended a half-hour earlier.

A word from our winner, Scott

"When I heard Mike's builder had died, I realized that he would be unable to repair pillboxes, so that's what I decided to destroy. I figured that I could at least recapture my original empire, and it wasn't until Joshua got the builder twice more that I expanded my goal to include an actual win in the game. Bolo is most effectively played as an empire- building game, but remember to solidify your own empire before going after others'. The latter strategy can be deadly."

Scott's words to live by:
- Building roads and laying mines are underrated activities, both of which slow your competition and allow you greater mobility in your own territory
- Place two pillboxes near each base for much better protection of all three
- A dead builder is worth his weight in gold -- to the other players

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