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Subject: our first shot on "Capture The Flag" rss

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Gregor Jochmann
Germany
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Last monday's games evening was great. To be honest, it usually is, but this time it was something special nonetheless . We had scheduled to play one of my absolute favourites - RoboRally. As we were 4 players, i suggested a team variant. I have never played a non-racing RoboRally game before, and i was curious how it would work out. Here is what we did:

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-Capture The Flag-
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In this variant, the teams struggle to bring a flag back to their home corner square. The teams start in opposing corners of the board. The flag is initially placed in the center of the game board (We used only a single board which was good for 4 players, for more players you should take 2 boards). The flag can be picked up by stopping on it or passing over it. It is possible to steal the flag from the robot who carries it by pushing or pressing that robot into a wall. If the robot who carries the flag dies, the flag goes back to its initial position.

We used PitMaze, a quite challenging board with many walls, pits and some conveyors. There were not too many ways to get to the flag, and the board looked like having lots of potential for shooting, pushing and comedy deaths. After a short discussion we agreed on the "shoot first, ask later" laser mode, providing potential for friendly fire.

Additional rules modifications:

- We gave every robot the recompile option: Everyone was allowed to take one damage and receive a new (reduced) hand of programming cards. I can really recommend this, it removes some degrees of frustration while still beeing well-balanced.
- we played with my custom option cards.

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-A story of mayhem and self-sacrifice-
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The opposing team (Sandra and Ralf) got a good start - that is: they managed not to mess up their teammates plans in the beginning. My robot came out all guns blazing with Miriams bot (teammate) standing just in line to get roasted. Three damage in the first two rounds were enough to change our initial plan of her going for the flag. She managed to maneuver into a small corridor corner to powerdown, blocking a the way for Ralfs bot which was heading in that direction. She barely survived - poweroff with 4 registers locked.
So now i was racing Sandra for the flag, dancing on a curved conveyor belt. Sandra fell into a pit and i could reach the flag. Ralf utilized his laser again five times in a row - Miriam powered back on with a register locked with a random card. Of course, she died the turn after that and now Ralf was chasing me. The route I originally wanted to take was now blocked by him, so i had to escape into another direction, jumping back onto the one long conveyor belt, which took me into the wrong direction.
After some tries i managed to leave the conveyor at the desired position, but i had taken some recompile hands and decided to power down, as i needed a "move 3" to continue. That allowed Sandra to approach and shoot me while i was helpless. At least she did not take the flag away and powered back on with ~5 cards. Of course the hand did not include the desired move 3, but at least I managed to push her off the board... just one move before heroically jumping into the nearest pit. What an incredibly amazing suicide cool
With two players dead, the flag back in the middle and 1.5 hours gone in breeze, Miriam suggested changing the board. We choose an easy, open board with a lot of oil and a conveyor belt moving around the center region (Machine Shop from Crash&Burn). The positions of the surviving robots were copied to the new board and the mayhem continued. Everyone could reach the center region within two or three turns. Sandra and me (both having 9 cards to generate our programs) headed for the middle while the other two fought a harsh laser duel somewhere else. Sandra reached the flag first, but my next move pushed her off at the conveyor belt, leaving me with the flag and her severely damaged with a useless remaining program. I set out for the base, passed a powered-down Ralf-bot and completed the homerun a turn later. Touchdown baby! *doestheroborallydance*

My robot

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-review-
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To everyone who likes RoboRally: You absolutely MUST try this. I have never had so much interaction in a RR game before. This variant does not suffer from the leader-runaway problem. Every player is involved, there is hardly a turn one can do without thinking about the other robots. Our first board had quite some strategic potential.
This was simply put the best RR experience I have ever had, and the other players liked it a lot as well.
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Simon Lundström
Sweden
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Now who are these five?
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Capture the Flag is fun indeed. I've used a variant where there are 2 flags: opponent's and yours. They start on the teams' respective home base. The rules are as follows:

* One team places 2 bases, the other team chooses home base.
* If a robot ends a phase on opponent's flag, he picks up that flag.
* If a robot ends a phase on his own flag, the flag teleports back to their home base.
* If a robot with a flag is pushed, he drops the flag on the space from which he was pushed.
* If a robot with opponent's flag ends a phase on his home base, that team wins.
* Friendly fire is on.
* Home base is a full repair if you end your turn there.
* Enemy base is no repair at all.

This is nicely playable on 2 people.
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Gordon Stewart
United States
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Gregor,
Nice session report and interesting variant.
Always curious as to which boards are best; interesting idea to change boards mid-game.
Next time would you start with “Machine Shop”?
Now I have to get some expansions….
You mentioned customized option cards; can you post them?

Simon’s capture the flag has neat ideas too!
Hope he posts some session reports and compares boards.

Capt Yid 3/6/08
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Gregor Jochmann
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Hi Gordon,

no, i would not want to start with "Machine Shop", it is a bit too easy. We picked it afterwards simply because we wanted to end the game in less than three hours

Some samples of the customized cards were in the image link from the session report, if anyone wants the full set just send me a GeekMail.

Here is the link again:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/298536
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Gregory Wong
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I love playing Capture the Flag variants. Unfortunately, I can never get enough people to play the variant. I played it once with six players (3 per side). I got to be designated a hunter-killer, so my job was to go around and pick up as many options as I could and shoot them all over the place. We were using the old Wizards of the Coast version of the game with all of the options. I was firing missiles and drones everywhere.
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Joe Grundy
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Gregor thanks for a great session report.

Could you please clarify... "It is possible to steal the flag from the robot who carries it by pushing or pressing that robot into a wall."
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Gregor Jochmann
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Joe:

i wanted to say that it is possible to steal the flag without actually pushing the robot. If the field behind the robot is blocked (by a wall or whatever), you still get the flag when trying to move onto that robots square (even if the pushing is prevented).
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Knock knock open up the door it's Riel
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Nice report! I think I'm going to try this soon.

What sort of board would you recommend? Because I hate hate hate Pit Maze... there's just too many walls, very few places where you can actually cross the board and little room to shoot or push each other. My favorite board is Exchange, but that would probably be too open and easy for Capture the Flag, right? I have made dozens of custom boards; what would make a good Capture the Flag board?
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Gordon Stewart
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Gregor,
Just realized you are the one who sent me the zip files of custom RR cards; thanks a lot!
Love the thoughtful quotes on the program cards; especially good that they are formatted to print from a .doc file!
Been having trouble opening the option cards that are in .xcf files.
Eventually hope to finish making a compact travel version for long trips (more opportunities to play your capture the flag) using your cards.
-Gordon
 
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Gregor Jochmann
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purplewurple wrote:
Nice report! I think I'm going to try this soon.

What sort of board would you recommend? Because I hate hate hate Pit Maze... there's just too many walls, very few places where you can actually cross the board and little room to shoot or push each other. My favorite board is Exchange, but that would probably be too open and easy for Capture the Flag, right? I have made dozens of custom boards; what would make a good Capture the Flag board?


My recommendation would be to just pick any board you like and try it. Open boards (like the one we switched to after struggling with Pit Maze) will probably lead to more homeruns, which should be considered when deciding on when or how the game should end. My suggestion would be to award points for homeruns and just end the game after a certain period of time (2 hours).
Easy boards will probably have even more interaction, as no player has to spend several turns trying to get back to where the action is.Please post a session report here when are done

I have not played RR since that session, but I am really burning to try it again.
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