robo rally [updated October 2007]  

2007 WBC Report   

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Scott Buckwalter, MD

2007 Champion

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Event History
1999     Daniel Lawall      40
2000     Bradley Johnson      41
2001     Jeff Ribeiro      44
2002     Jeff Cornett      42
2003      Brad Johnson      71
2004     Brad Johnson      61
2005      Bill Dyer      65
2006     Brad Johnson      56
2007     Scott Buckwalter      66


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Brad Johnson       IL    06    152
  2.  Scott Buckwalter   MD    07     40
  3.  Jeff Cornett       FL    02     40
  4.  Jeff Ribeiro       NH    01     40
  5.  Dan Lawall         VA    00     39
  6.  Tamara McGraw      VA    04     30
  7.  Bill Navolis       MD    06     29
  8.  Rich Shipley       MD    07     28
  9.  Jason Levine       NY    01     26
 10.  Brian Schott       MD    07     24
 11.  Cliff Ackman       PA    06     24
 12.  George Seary       NY    01     24
 13.  Steve Cuccaro      MD    06     21
 14.  Ken Samuel         VA    06     20
 15.  David des Jardins  CA    03     18
 16.  Alex Henning       CT    07     16
 17.  Jonathan Tivel     VA    04     16
 18.  Dan McGowan        ME    01     16
 19.  James Kendrick     UK    07     12
 20.  Tom McCorry        VA    04     12
 21.  Clyde Kruskal      MD    03     12
 22.  Rodd Polsky        PA    02     12
 23.  Vic Hutcherson     MD    00     12
 24.  David Davis        OH    99     12
 25.  David Kyle         PA    99      9
 26.  Carl Sykes         SC    07      8
 27.  Ralph Gleaton      SC    04      8
 28.  Jeff Power         MI    01      7
 29.  Josh Githens       SC    06      6
 30.  Kevin LeRow        MA    99      6
 31.  Nick Henning       CT    03      6
 32.  Pat Mitchell       DE    03      3

2007 Laurelists

Brian Schott, MD

Alex Henning, CT

James Kendrick, UK

Carl Sykes, SC

Rich Shipley, MD

Past Winners

Daniel Lawall, VA

Brad Johnson, IL
2000, 2003, 2004, 2006

Jeff Ribeiro, NH

Jeff Cornett, FL

Bill Dyer, IL

The finalists have the prize in sight as the wood awaits the winner.

Casualties of War ...

Pondering the past and future ...

Every year, I find myself wondering how to start doing the writeup for the tournament and this year is no exception. In the past, I have fallen to writing a blow-by-blow account of the Final, reconstructed from the copious notes I've taken while watching the game, once again, from the sidelines. Fortunately, I find RoboRally to be almost as much fun to watch as it is to play. The careful study of my blow-by-blows would reveal things like the fact that three of six players managed to stay virtual for the first three turns, and nine robots were crushed into widgets in cannery row over the course of ten turns, or that we had more options taken in this Final than in any previous year (six), or even that four-time champion Brad Johnson didn't even make it to the semi-finals this year.

You might also deduce that some of the walls printed on the board are hard to see, and this occasionally causes some player to program their robot as if the wall wasn't there. This can be a particular problem when using the large red flags provided in the original basic version of the game. The small green flags provided in the armed and dangerous expansion are much better. The new flags from the Hasbro version of the game, while better than the large red, and quite cool in their own right, are not quite as good for this purpose as their transparent yellow color sometimes blends with the yellow wall color.

Speaking of the new version of the game brings up some interesting questions. As most of the people who play the game know, there were some significant rules changes. The most, we'll say interesting, is the removal of virtual robots and the addition of a starting board. I understand the reason for the rules changes. Virtual robots are one of the hardest things to understand about the game (although the resulting returning to the board when killed rules are possibly more difficult) and they tend to limit player interaction for the first turn or two. The problem is that the start board is inherently unfair -- since players start in different positions in relation to the first flag.

Unfortunately, over the course of time, as the older sets get, well, older, and the newer ones become more common, and newer rules better known, it seems likely that we will have to at least think about incorporating some of these changes into the tournament. I am certainly willing to entertain suggestions, to that end, as to how to make things like the start board fair.

 GM      Marc F. Houde  [9th Year]   3785 Browntown Rd, Front Royal, VA 22630   NA

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