A Year of Firsts ...
The finalists pose for their official
... and then are back to plotting
This year's RoboRally saw several firsts. For the first
time ever, the GM missed a heat -- this was due to a conflict
with the Bumper Car Arena Jrs tournament, which we did
not catch until the last minute. Fortunately, I was able to get
everything started and leave it to my assistant GM's to handle
any issues. Considering they were done and packed up when I got
back from the juniors room, it seems everything went well. There
were no complete eliminations in the first heat (I must be slipping)
so no Kaarin Engelmann Memorial Crash & Burn Award was awarded.
Heat 2 saw the first repeat winner of the KEMC&B: Evan
Cagwin. To date only Kaarin herself has more difficulty with
telling right from left, (and at least she's smart enough to
write it on her hands). The second heat also saw, the closest
game I have ever had to adjudicate. At the end of the time limit,
all six players had touched the first two flags (tie breaker
1), and four of the six were within one card of the final flag
(using the 'Tom McCorry optimal hand distance to the next flag
tie breaker'). So it came down to who had the most lives left.
That happened to be James Gilmere who had not lost a single robot.
(Obviously, somebody did something wrong).
Round 2 was the worst turnout I've ever had for a semifinal.
Of my 12 qualifiers (one of which was my wife), only seven came
(and my wife was not one of those, choosing instead to go watch
what turned out to be a pretty lame Drum Corp International Regional
semifinal in Allentown). Sadly, one of the seven had to leave
for a family emergency before we got started, so, that left us
with six. Which it just so happens is the number needed to properly
fill out the prize form. So, with the consensus of all present,
the semifinal became the Final (for which we plan for an extra
hour). Which would allow us to end just before the room got too
crazy with Slapshot. All of the finalists were veterans of previous
years, but only one past champion, Alex Henning, made the cut
this year. Yes, that's right, for only the second time, Brad
Johnson failed to make it to the semifinal round.
Despite the use of the Cannery Row board twice in the Final,
robot deaths were down from previous years with only 12, although
robot shutdowns were way up (averaging one or two a turn for
20+ turns) with an impressive four declared for Turn 4 though
only three robots were alive to take advantage of them. There
was also a turn where Bill Navolis's Hammerbot survived being
pushed three times in the same turn while riding the cannery
Yet another first for this year, in every round, the starter
board from the new Avalon Hill/Hasbro Edition of the game was
used. However, rather than have every player pick a different
spot to start, players were allowed to pick any start space they
liked. If it happened they did not pick one that someone else
did, then they started the game right off as a real robot. (Otherwise,
they started virtual as in the past.) We have not used this board
in the past, as the rules provided with it, give an inherent
advantage to whoever selects their start space first. Our slight
modification makes this a non-issue, so this board will likely
make future appearances.
In discussing things with some of my veteran players, many
of whom GM their own events, and the assistant CD, I am considering
going to three heats next year. Much like myself, it seems most
of them only get to play this game at WBC so providing more opportunities
for all of us seems like a good idea. Next year I might even
remember to put all of the requested information on the GM form.