robo rally [updated August 2000]

    9-13   13-17 

   Maryland 3  

Bradley Johnson, IL

2000 Champion

2nd: Jason Levine, NY

3rd: Victor Hutcherson, MD

4th: Daniel Lawall, VA

 5th: Tamara McGraw, SC

 6th: Steve Cuccaro, MD
Event History
1991    None      -
1992    None      -
1993    None      -
1994    None      -
1995    None      -
1996    None      -
1997    None      -
1998    None      -
1999     Daniel Lawall      40
2000     Bradley Johnson      41
AREA Ratings
 1    Bradley Johnson      5197
 2    Dallas Hoag      5100
 3    Steve Cuccaro      5086
 4    Victor Hutcherson      5086
 5    Daniel Lawall      5086
 6    Jason Levine      5086
 7    Tamara McGraw      5086
 8    Brian Stallings      5086
 9    Mark Geary      4980
10    Mark Houde      4980

AFL-CIO it ain't ...

The Robo Rally tournament was bigger and better than ever - well, one person bigger anyway. Not only did we have one more person than last year, (it would have been two if one of my assistant GM's had not decided to go destroy the world in the Tyranno Ex finals ), but all eight of the games used had painted miniatures, including one first edition set with arrows painted on so you could tell which way the ambiguous robots were facing. Despite the brutality of the first flag on most boards, (nearly every player lost one of their three robot lives at my table) the majority of first-round games finished in just over three hours. Even the one table with six players, including the GM, managed to finish up in three and a half hours. One item which came up during the first round was whether or not the mechanical arm should be included in a tournament game. Many players believe being able to touch the checkpoints from an adjacent space to be a significant advantage. Particularly since the generally accepted ruling is that touching checkpoints in this manner does not update your archive, allowing for the infamous teleportation by death tactic (i.e. touching a flag, then killing yourself to teleport to a previous archive closer to the next flag). As a house rule, I require archive updates when using the arm, and as it is only one of 26 option cards, if a player is willing to make the effort to get this option, more power to them.

Despite the best efforts of those at his table, defending champion Daniel Lawall managed to make the final game this year as did another of last years' finalists Brad Johnson. By coincidence, each of them managed to randomly draw the same robot they had in last year's finals. Also by coincidence (or perhaps not, one can never be sure) three members of the so called Greenville Mafia (they were the ones with the blue polo shirts which read, oddly enough, Greenville Mafia) made the finals this year. One of them using my long-standing (hey, it's been two years now) rule of allowing the runnerup of any game in which the winner will not go on (for scheduling or other reasons) to advance.

Despite the fact that players cannot affect each other on the first turn of the game, four robots were lost in the first four turns, including two of Brian Stallings'. Amazingly enough, Tamara Mcgraw, our only female finalist, and eliminator of yours truly, managed to get past the first flag with no damage. Steve Cuccaro's Squashbot was the first to make it to the first flag. Brad Johnson's Twonky, pulled ahead by the second flag and was able to maintain his lead (at times marginally, for the remainder of the game). On turn 15, Brian's final robot was pushed into a pit, and by turn 25 Carl Sykes had retired and Steve Cuccaro's last robot fell into infinity.

On turn 26, our leader, Brad Johnson found his way to the final flag, followed two turns later by Jason Levine's Twitch. Including the first round, this was Jason's third time playing the game. A real battle took place for third, as Daniel's Hulk X-90 touched the final flag one register phase behind the Trundlebot of Victor Hutcherson. Sadly for Tamara, Daniel managed to give her Spinbot a shove off the board early in turn 29 that kept her out of the race for third.

One of the things I like most about GM'ing this game is that it's almost as much fun to watch as it is to play. Several people gathered around the finals to watch and some who had friends in the running stayed quite some time. All in all it was a fun year, several players asked if they could get copies of the boards used in both the first round and the finals to try out on their gaming groups at home and I directed them to my web site,

 GM      Marc F. Houde  [2nd Year]   201 I St SW #623, Washington, DC 20024   (202) 554-3124

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