AFL-CIO it ain't ...
tournament was notable for several reasons. Firstly, both the
heats and the finals took an unusual toll in robot lives. Additionally,
all of the heat games finished on time. Maybe this GM is finally
getting the hang of things. Also, it was the first year we were
subject to a misprint in the schedule, while the game was properly
listed as having three hour heats, the second heat was only listed
for two hours on the chronological schedule. Fortunately, those
who needed to leave early were able to do so, as the games had
been set up to take an average of two hours. Finally, this was
the first year that more than eight qualifiers advanced to the
final round and they all actually appeared for it. While the
game is only designed for eight, there are enough cards in a
set for nine, so an extra set of robots solved the problem admirably.
The nine players in the final game included Jonathon Tivel
running Twitch, Nick Henning with Zoombot, Tom McCorry with Hulk
X90, Ralph Gleaton running Squass Bot, Dan Lawall on Trundle
Bot, Tamara Houde driving Spin Bot, Rich Shipley and Hammer Bot,
Brad Johnson in Twonky, and Bill Navolis running Twonky 2.
Each robot started with four lives and during the course of
the game every player lost at least one. In fact, every player
but Tamara lost two or more, and Dan Lawall was completely eliminated
by losing all four of his. It was a close race for most of the
game, with the apparent lead passing back and forth several times.
There were three flags on the three boards used for the finals.
Eight of the nine players managed to touch the first flag but
only three made it to the second, and due to time constraints
the game was adjudicated before the third flag was touched. Ralph
Gleaton got off to a great start and managed to touch the first
flag first, however his badly damaged robot then stalled out
on the way to flag 2, forcing him to shut down for a turn which
allowed several people to get ahead of him. Tom's Hulk hit the
flag second, followed closely by Tamara, Brad, and Jonathon.
Bill, Nick and Rich all eventually made it to flag 1 as well.
Jonathon was able to orchestrate an amazing comeback from
fifth to first to touch flag 2, Tamara and Brad were only a turn
behind, and Jonathon got stuck above the cannery, allowing both
of them to pass him. Heading towards flag 3, Tamara had about
a half turn lead on Brad towards flag 3, but on the last turn
before time ran out a misplay put her only two spaces away from
Brad. Adjudication was performed using an optimal hand method,
suggested by Tom McCorry after last years tournament. In this
method, the GM determines how many cards it would take for the
player to get to the next flag. This method gave Brad a one card
lead over Tamara and the first place prize.
Considerations for next year - having to adjudicate the final
round is not optimal. The game was probably within 10 minutes
of finishing, and the extra time can likely be attributed to
there being nine instead of eight players. I am very tempted
to reduce the number of players per game in the initial heats
from eight to five or six, giving us more players advancing to
a semi-final. A more likely scenario is to add some time for
the finals and use a tie-breaking method to keep the number that
advance down to eight.