The Board Game Master:Part Two
The Board Game Master, Part 2
Previously in The Board Game Master...
We met our main protagonist, an Eventide Blumaroo from Roo Island named Roobina. She was an incredibly cunning and skilled strategist who loved games that required logic, deception, and strategy. She would meet up with a group of her friends and play for hours, almost always winning by a large margin. Eventually her friends tired of her constant winning and her best friend Mazey pulled her aside for a conversation. Mazey brought up the fact that Roobina never loses, and how it discourages the rest of them, but also how she could be doing so much better and growing more as a competitor by challenging others. Mazey convinced Roobina that it was time to compete in the big leagues, to go for actual competitions. Roobina felt like this was a good idea, but she was somewhat unsure of herself. She saw her friends encouraging her and listened to their wisdom, and watched their resilience when they lost to her and continued on, and this was her motivation. She decided to enter a few competitions and after many wins, she decided to enter a preliminary competition for Kacheekers, Geos, and Armada. This is where we left off.
"You got this Roobina, we're here for you," said Mazey, standing with a group of Roobina's closest friends. "You are going to do amazing today."
Roobina smiled. She has been waiting for this day for years, and after spending the last few months dominating local competitions, she felt confident here. She was at the preliminary qualifying round for the Kacheekers, Geos, and Armada championships.
The way these championships work require you to win a set of preliminary matches in the respective games. That top ten in each will receive an invite to the final championships. Thousands compete every year and very few make it through. Some people only come to compete in Geos, while others are here solely for Kacheekers or Armada, but there are a select few that believe they have what it takes to excel in all three. Those Neopians are after the "Triple Crown", a special prize that has never been won. To achieve it, you need to win the final championship for each game in the same year. There have been great players who have won them in separate years, including some competitors this year, but no one has achieved all three consecutively. Roobina wants to be the first.
"I'm ready," said Roobina, as she made her way to the first Kacheekers match. She would have to compete in five rounds of each game, elimination style against her opponents. One loss means she is out of the tournament and may not qualify. Her speed of play and number of moves will also be factored in to her final score. "Let's get it started!"
Roobina sat down across from her first opponent, a timid Green Krawk with a nametag that read "Marty". She reached out to shake his hand and he returned the shake, but with a much clammier hand. Roobina could tell he was terrified and she knew to use that to her advantage. Confidence is key and if you can intimidate an already weak opponent he won't be making the best moves. She quickly outsmarted him early in the game, claiming piece after piece, until he was backed into a corner. Marty tried to make a last ditch effort to salvage some points for his final score but Roobina claimed his last piece and took home the win. She was now going to move on to round two.
Round two was up against a Quiguki Quiggle named Polly, she did really well her first round and was sure to be a challenge for Roobina. She had a Quiguki Doll with her, most likely for luck, and was brushing its hair before the match started. Roobina was doing her best not to get nervous, she knew she couldn't let anything shake her. It was still so early in the day and she had won thousands of games, this was going to be like any other for her. She settled in and Polly made the first move. The game was going long, neither of them could make any headway against each other, both skillfully moving around the board. When Roobina cornered Polly, Polly made a move elsewhere on the board to corner Roobina, and it continued like that for most of the game. At one point there were only three pieces left for either competitor, and Roobina took a risk. She moved one of her pieces where it could easily be claimed by Polly, and Polly took the bait. This moved her piece into a perfect position for Roobina to claim the last three and take the win.
Roobina had some time to kill before the next match and went to sit with Mazey.
"That last one almost had me," Roobina spoke nervously, shaken a little bit even though she had won. "She was really, really good, and it was only the second round. I still need to win three more to qualify for Kacheekers...and this is just the first game. I don't know how I'm going to get through Geos and Armada too!"
"You're going to get through it by getting through it," Mazey spoke matter of factly. "The only way out is through. You are a good game player, and so you are just going to play to the best of your ability. These are the best players in the world, and so are you. Stay confident, stay calm, and keep thinking as well as you have these last two games."
Roobina nodded and headed off to her third match. This time it was against another Blumaroo, his name was Randoo. This match went very smoothly for Roobina. Randoo played sloppily, almost as if he was distracted by something or not totally paying attention. She knew he played like this in his previous matches, but wasn't sure why. She kept a focused eye though, in case this was part of his strategy and that he was trying to trick her. She made quick work of Randoo though and soon he was bumped out of the competition.
Roobina's confidence had been renewed since her match against Polly and propelled her into her fourth match, against a very young Baby Kougra. She was suspicious, as this Kougra named Ellie had managed to make her way through the previous three rounds. She knew not to underestimate her young opponent and play just as hard as she could. It turns out that Ellie is a Kacheekers prodigy, and was the top qualifier for last year's Kacheekers final tournament. Now that she's had a year to compete, she was even better. Roobina had to fight hard in this match, getting off to a rough start and losing three pieces before she could even claim one of Ellie's. It was starting to look uncertain for Roobina and she started to wonder if she had banked enough points for skill so far that she may qualify for the Wildcard place in the finals. She tried to force these ideas out of her head and focus on the task at hand, beating this baby at a game made for grown ups. Roobina slowly started evening out the battlefield, eventually overtaking the Kougra and claiming victory with only one piece left on the board. She let out a sigh of relief and shook her opponents paw. She felt bad for beating Ellie, she knew how much the youngster had trained and how disappointed she would be after her performance last year, but Roobina knew that this was part of the game. There can only be one winner.
And with that she entered round five. At this point there were only twenty competitors left. Ten of them would progress, and the other ten would have to hope their score was high enough for one of the two wildcard spots.
Roobina sat across from her final Kacheekers opponent of the day. A Royal Flotsam by the name of Gerald. He had a high and mighty attitude, clearly from money. He had been bragging earlier in the day to Roobina and her friends how much money he had spent on training and lessons throughout his life and how his parents basically raised him to win the Triple Crown. It was his first year competing, just like Roobina, and he had made it to round five. Roobina studied his previous games and saw that he had some major luck on his side and so she was confident. His opponents hadn't been nearly as skilled as hers and so she knew she had a leg up. She smiled kindly at him and they shook hands, they game started. Within minutes, Gerald had his last piece claimed by Roobina and looked back at his parents, devastated.
"How is this possible," Gerald shouted, with tears in his eyes. "I worked so hard for this!!"
"Good game," replied Roobina. "You are a very skilled player to get this far and it was an honor to go up against you."
Roobina was being polite, Gerald had played an incredibly sloppy game. It wasn't about how much money you dropped into teachers and training if you didn't have an eye for the game. Some people just have brains wired for this, and they dedicate more time than money into getting better. The key to succeeding at anything is practicing well, perfect practice makes perfect. If you practice things poorly, you'll never improve. Gerald may have gotten the best teachers, but he let that get to his head and he thought that would buy his way to victory.
And with that, Roobina became a tournament competitor for Kacheekers. Check back next week to see how she will do at the Geos and Armada preliminaries! Will she be able to qualify for all three?
To be continued…