Saturday, May 3, 1997

Robo Rally Game (5/3/1997)

Players: Anne, Joshua, Mike, Scott, Vishal

Decided to play Robo Rally while waiting to see if our mystery guest showed, and it worked out perfectly. Allan painted the 'bots and not only do they look great, you can actually tell which direction your 'bot is facing -- excellent! Phase one saw Josh kill his robot on the conveyor of doom and a serious crusher threat to Mike's robot, while Scott and Anne's 'bots bounced around in the wall maze, both real and both sustaining real damage. All of this tempered Vishal's wish that his virtual robot get real soon. Joshua went for the conveyor again (a move he'd soon regret), and Mike forged into the lead, dodging crushers like laundry duty. Vishal's robot no sooner became real than it conveyored itself off the board. When Anne faltered at the crusher conveyer belt, Mike seemed assured of victory and already had his winner's tip written: "What's the big deal. You program your robot and run it. Simple." (Hope those words taste good ;-> ) Luck of the non-Irish kicked him when he was three squares away from victory and was dealt seven, count 'em seven, turn cards. This allowed Joshua and Scott to move in, gumming up the works on the main conveyor and both dealing and receiving some serious damage. Joshua got off the conveyor by diving into a pit (death number three always sucks), and Mike and Scott raced for the flag.

Scott's robot passed over the flag and pushed Mike's into a wall, and the two 'bots traded damage for a few phases. Mike locked two of Scott's registers, and then had one of his own locked, after which he announced a shutdown following the next turn. Mike's 'bot passed over the flag and shut down precariously at board's edge, while his opponent (the "damn the torpedoes" robot) spun and sputtered to the flag just before bumping Mike's 'bot off the board. What happened to Anne and Vishal's robots is a mystery. Anne was still going at game's end, but Vishal was restarting for the third time, and of course, parts of Joshua's machine were strewn all over the board. We'd originally set up two flags for a one-hour game. Someone remarked, "We always underestimate this game," to which Mike replied, "No. We always overestimate ourselves."

A word from our winner Scott

"In the past, I've believed you should shut down rather than dying and coming back. However, tonight's game was a sprint, so I didn't think any shut down was advised -- just roll on and hope for the best. Three pieces of advice: think about which way you want to go before the timer begins; always turn your cards so their all facing up while the dealer is finishing the deal; first thing once you turn your cards over? separate the turns from the move. A swivel chair doesn't hurt either."

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