robo rally [updated October 2002]

RRY  5 prizes Beginners Single Elim Continuous 
      9  Round 2 14 Final


Jeff Cornett, FL

2002 Champion

2nd: Rich Shipley, MD

3rd: Bill Navolis, PA

4th: Rodd Polsky, PA

 5th: Ken Samuel, VA

 6th: Brad Johnson, IL

Event History
1999     Daniel Lawall      40
2000     Bradley Johnson      41
2001     Jeff Ribeiro      44
2002     Jeff Cornett      42

AREA Ratings

GM: Marc Houde

Past Winners

Daniel Lawall - VA

Brad Johnson - IL

Jeff Ribeiro - NH

AFL-CIO it ain't ...

This years tournament saw some changes to the format, some good, some bad. First of all, the two-minute turn limit was placed into effect. Two-minute sand-timers were passed out to each table, and players were then able to enforce the turn limit as neccessary. It is very easy for a person to spend too much time programming their robot, thereby reducing the enjoyment of the game by all participants. Two minutes is a reasonable amount of time to select five cards (out of nine) to play. Naturally slower players dislike this rule, but it is favorably received in general. I've even had some players suggest that one minute would be better, but I don't believe this gives players enough of a buffer for sticky situations. Next year I will improve this rule by allowing each player to exceed the time limit a few times during a game.

The second format change was to the final board layout. This year we used five boards and flags instead of six, the idea being to reduce playing time a bit. In previous years the finals have run over the expected length, and to increase player interaction by having players criss-cross the board. Unfortunately, this backfired a bit causing an increase in playing time, forcing the game ultimately to be adjudicated.

As in previous years the first round boards were hard fought and deadly with many players losing two or more of their five lives before reaching Flag 1. Several boards managed to finish very quickly, a couple coming in at just over two hours, while two took nearly all of the time alloted. Ken Samuel was the first to qualify with a runaway win, and Rich Shipley won the last board to finish, fending off three other robots who's only goal was to take him out, including last years Champion Jeff Ribiero, to get to the last flag. Past champion Brad Johnson made it to the finals by taking out the beloved GM, and our first champion and member of the Greenville Mafia, Dan Lawall was taken out by, fellow mafioso, Ralph Gleaton. The boards that took longest, also tended to have the closest races for the finish.

The finals this year were a big slugfest, with the increased player interaction, players actually stopped on occasion to collect option cards, with Ken Samuel and Rodd Polsky topping the list with as many as four at one time. Brad Johnson was the first person to touch Flag 1, followed shortly thereafter by Jeff Cornett, Bill Navolis and Rich Shipley. Ralph Gleaton, Rodd Polsky
and Ken Samuel finally managed the flag, several turns behind the leaders. Michelle Goldstein dropped out after her third robot perished before reaching flag 1.

Luck was not with Brad as the game continued, as he fell to 3rd by the first flag, with Jeff and Bill getting there first, and 5th by the third. Rich Shipley was able to turn 4th place into 2nd by the third flag, and all without losing a single life. Rodd managed to pull into 4th by the 3rd flag, while Ken fell to 6th, Ralph never made it to the second flag as he lost his remaining lives to a board edge and a pit.

When the allotted time expired, Jeff was the only player who had managed to touch four flags, Rich and Bill had both tagged flag 3, but Rich had more lives and so took second place, leaving Bill in third

Some changes I am planning to implement for next year include, two 2-hour heats instead of one 4-hour first round. These will have much shorter boards and allow more people to play. There will be a reduction in the number of boards in the final to four, so it can finish without the usual time pressure in four hours. Also there will be the addition of two or three time overruns per player mentioned above.

Despite the time problems, it was still a fun year, and hopefully next year will be even better.

Marc F. Houde

 GM      Marc F. Houde  [4th Year]   201 I St SW #623, Washington, DC 20024   (202) 554-3124

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