[Fletcher Free Library Gaming] RoboRally and the Influences of Meterology on Board Games

This past Saturday was my first time back to the Fletcher Free for board games in some time, due to the travails of real life. While I wanted to get back into the swing of weekend gaming, which has been growing nicely since its inception in November, that Saturday also happened to be the nicest, warmest, most glorious weekend day northern Vermont has seen in quite possibly ever. So it was with a torn heart that I went out of the light and into the high halls of the Fletcher’s original wing.

Alex appeared shortly after I and we got in a game of Girl Genius, a flipping, spinning, matching symbols card game based on the webcomic by Phil and Kaja Foglio. This was one of the very first games I bought when I got into the hobby in 2002. It’s seen a lot of wear since then; mostly because it’s a solid two player game, but also because it was the game I brought along when I studied abroad in London. It suffered more from the transportation than use there, but I did get in one session at a monthly game day at the university or college near Elephant and Castle in south London. I can’t remember the name of the institution, unfortunately.

Anyway, while we played Girl Genius, Greg arrived, and then shortly thereafter, Sascha. With four, we got in most of a game of Dominion before Dean arrived. We moved on to yet another game, this time RoboRally, which I hadn’t played in over a year, having last broken it out for Geek Week in 2009.

RoboRally is one of those games I wonder if anyone ever actually finishes. I’m sure there are dedicated players out there who see a race through to its conclusion, but in the three or four times I’ve played, the end condition tends to be someone needing to leave or everyone agreeing it’s time to play something else.

This time, I even made a point of choosing a short, relatively uncomplicated race course. With five players, it seemed reasonable we might actually finish the course by the end of the afternoon. Then Munk showed up, and Sarah after him. They both readily hopped in, as RoboRally is forgiving that way. The struggle to catch up with the rest of the pack compensates for a new entrant’s robot having less damage and programming quirks.

With a smaller race course and that many robots on the loose, there was a sufficiently amusing amount of nonsense. For my own part, I showed off time and time again I have real problems telling left from right in time-sensitive situations. Specifically, Twonky spent three or so whole turns spinning in place on an archive and repair spot. This was good in that he got some nifty new options installed, but fell behind in the race itself.

The lure of the gorgeous day outside finally got to me around 3:00. We’d taken a break for parking meter refills and when the suggestion came up to switch games to get Orson into the mix, who had arrived not long ago,  I decided to take the changeover as an opportunity to go enjoy the sun and unseasonably warm temperature.

Unfortunately, the whole group decided to go as well as that point. I feel responsible for that. I really didn’t think everyone would elect to go as well. In retrospect, I can imagine everyone else thinking, “Hey, he’s going outside to enjoy the sun. Why would we stay indoors?” It was an interesting lesson in group dynamics and what it takes for a group to become self-sustaining. Apparently, it takes weather worse than the first 80˚ F day in Burlington, Vermont since early September 2009. So it goes.

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