AFL-CIO it ain't ...
2001 was a banner year for the RoboRally tournament
at the WBC. For the first time, the GM actually made it to the
finals, eliminating two of last years finalists, Tamara Mcgraw,
and defending Champion Brad Johnson along the way. Only one of
last years finalists made a return trip, Jason Levine. Our earlier
timeframe, Thursday instead of Friday did not seem to
hurt attendance as we increased the number of entrants.
The first round games varied greatly in length, with one game
finishing in under two hours, and a couple going into the 3.5
hour range. Typically this depended on how quickly the lead player
was able to get away from the deadly first flag, and whether
or not he was alone. The two prolonged tables however were special
cases. One table had extremely slow play, and no one there was
willing to invoke the two-minute programming rule. Next year
I will be providing two-minute timers and making this rule mandatory.
At the other slow table, the first place player was unable to
make the finals, and the battle for second was brutal. In this
6-player game, Tim Evinger, who had fallen behind early, gave
up on the race strategy and went for the last man standing win.
He destroyed three of the contenders for second before George
Seary managed to tag the last flag, and snatch the advancement
The final was even more violent than usual. Of the eight robots
in the game, only five survived until the end of the four-hour
time limit. Cliff Ackman's Spinbot was the first to reach the
initial flag, followed closely by little Jeff Ribeiro's Trundlebot,
and not long after by my own Twonky. By Flag two, Mark McCandless's
Zoombot had pulled into the lead, with Jeff still pulling a close
second, and Cliff now down to third. Yours truly was the last
to touch this flag, and it would be the last flag that my Twonky,
Jeff Powers's Squashbot, and Jason Levines Twitch would ever
touch. Mark would hold onto his lead for the next two flags with
Jeff's armed to the teeth Trundlebot close behind. Trundle was
carrying both the Pressor beam and the Scrambler - two very dangerous
weapons, that he would use to good effect. After the third flag
had been touched (around turn 20), with under two hours remaining,
several players invoked the two-minute rule, due to the slow
play of some players. With less time to program his 'bot, Mark
found himself in trouble, especially with Jeff right there to
give him a shove off the board
with the pressor beam. On turn 26, with only 30 minutes left,
he lost his last bot. Reducing him to a disappointing last place.
On the last turn of the game, with Jeff Ribeiro's Trundle
sitting on Flag 5, cementing his win, Jeff Powers found himself
shutdown with only one life left on an express conveyor into
the center of the maelstrom and certain death. I was able to
beat him to the punch however, and take 7th place, by driving
my last robot under a widget maker one phase before he fell in
pit, giving him 6th place. Jason Levine, who also never reached
flag 3 was able to take fifth by virtue of actually having a
robot left. Cliff's Spinbot, while never able to make it to flag
4 despite several tries, did actually mange to touch flag 3 giving
him fourth. The remainder of the pack managed to touch flag 4
including Dan McGowan's Hammerbot, who got off to a bad start
and didn't manage to tag the first flag until the 12th turn.
None of them were able to Stop Jeff's Trundle bot however, who
easily took the win once Mark's Zoombot was eliminated.