The Board Game Master:Part Three
The Board Game Master, Part 3
Previously in The Board Game Master...
Our dedicated gamer, Roobina, fought hard and fast through the Kacheekers preliminary qualification rounds. She went up against five challengers of varying degrees of difficulty and was able to fight her way to the top, defeating them all. She was surrounded by the support of her friends, especially her best friend Mazey, and had to check her emotions at the door when one opponent's loss tugged on her heartstrings. That was only the first day of battle for her. In this week's story, she'll be going up against ten more opponents between Geos and Armada. Let's see how she does.
Armada is a more complicated game than Kacheekers. It involves creating ships and overtaking your opponent's ships across the game board. Whichever player has the most ships on the board when every square is full is the winner. Roobina has always loved this game, it has the most strategic elements of all three. There are always many moves you can make, and it is not always clear what the right one is. It involves a lot of thinking ahead, predicting your opponent's moves, and adapting if they start overtaking you.
Roobina's first match of the was against a Tyrannian Meerca with a nametag that said Fitzy. She had a piercing look in her eyes, like she was here to sweep the competition. Roobina gave back the same look as they shook hands and the match began.
"Interesting moves," said Fitzy after Roobina claimed one of her ships. They were about a quarter of the way through the game board at this point. "Might want to be careful though."
With that, Fitzy claimed three of Roobina's ships.
"Good move," replied Roobina. She was unsure if Fitzy was bluffing and trying to scare Roobina into not taking risks on the board, but she knew she had to in order to win. Playing defensively in Armada is a losing battle, your opponent will just keep seizing the squares.
The match was heated, giving Roobina a thrill like she rarely had playing against her friends or in the small tournaments around her hometown. Matches like this were why she wanted to compete at this level to begin with. Her brain went into overdrive and she started making all the moves she knew she needed to and was able to overtake Fitzy, beating her by a comfortable margin. And with that, she was off to round two of Armada!
Round two was against a Pink Kacheek who wasn't wearing their name tag for some reason. Roobina made incredibly quick work of them and it was almost not a fair fight, Roobina wondered if this was why the Kacheek removed their nametag, to save them the embarassment.
Roobina had a break before round three and went to hang out with Mazey a bit and drink a cup of hot Borovan, the warehouse they played in was chilly today.
"You are doing amazing," said Mazey. "I knew you could do it!"
"Thanks, I really appreciate you being such a supportive friend," replied Roobina. "Have you been participating in any games to pass the time?"
Mazey smiled gently, a little suspiciously but Roobina didn't pick up on it. "Here and there! It's been fun, just for fun."
The bell rang and Roobina returned to the play floor to compete in her third of five rounds. She was going up against a finalist from last year, Yorzo the Alien Aisha. He was known as a strong player, possibly telepathic to beat his opponents. It didn't help much since he didn't win last year, but he got quite far in the final tournament for Armada and Kacheekers. It was a tough match between the two, eventually with Roobina winning by three ships. This was a much tougher day for her than her Kacheekers match, which she assumed. Armada has much more strategic, grown up competitors. A lot of people think of Kacheekers as a kids game and don't get too involved.
With Yorzo defeated, it was time for round four. Roobina was exhausted at this point and wasn't really thinking as strongly as she usually does. Playing one intense game of Armada after another is tiresome. She pressed on though and was lucky to go up against a pretty easy opponent, a young Robot Grundo who was also competing for his first time. Roobina made quick work of him, almost wondering how he made it this far in the preliminaries. It's possible he got a lot of easy opponents, but it is also possible he was experiencing the same fatigue as she was.
And with that boost of confidence, she was able to triumph over round five and qualify for the Armada final tournament! Now all she had to do with qualify for the Geos tournament and she would have a real shot at the Triple Crown.
Geos is a game of strategy but also a game of mystery. You need to make four shapes on on the board using the game pieces before your opponent can. You play on the same game board, but their moves are a mystery to you. You can't overlap pieces and you can "bomb" their pieces, but you never know where they are placed. It is strategic but it is also a lot of luck and intuition, and feeling out your opponent to predict their movements and trying to stay away from them. Some people play the outside of the game boards, while others only play the interior, and many players use the same combinations of moves every time to stay consistent. Because of this, Geos competitors are not allowed to watch each other compete because it could mess with the strategies.
Roobina was as confident as she could be under these conditions and breezed through the first three rounds. Round four, however, was tougher. She triumphed and move onto round five...
"Aghhhh," exclaimed Roobina! "You got me again!!"
Her opponent, a Halloween Kiko named Riley, was decimating her pieces by bombing her almost every move. He seemingly wasn't placing any pieces anywhere but over hers and destroying her chances. It was an uncommon strategy and she didn't know how he was managing to get all these moves right, but he was.
"Sorry," sneered the Kiko.
Roobina was running out of options and places to go, she didn't know at this point how she could make all four shapes when she had only just completed one. She had no idea the progress of her opponent, but assumed he wasn't much better off due to the fact he's been all over bombing her.
"Victory goes to Riley," the announcer chimed out. Roobina was in a state of shock. Surely the game couldn't be over...how did he make all his pieces?
"Good game," Riley said smiling at Roobina. She reached her hand out to shake, but she was speechless. She saw her dreams of the Triple Crown fading. She walked away from the table and tracked down Mazey.
"Hey, how'd it go," Mazey asked.
"Not great, I lost in the fifth round," Roobina replied, sulking.
"Maybe you'll still get to qualify as the wildcard, maybe you banked enough points in earlier rounds," said Mazey, trying to cheer her good friend up.
"Eh," shrugged Roobina. "Even if not, this is only my first year competing. Maybe I can at least get one trophy from Kacheekers or Armada in the finals..."
"Don't get too down now, they are about to announce the wildcards, let's go see who made it," Mazey grabbed Roobina's hand and led her through the crowd that was gathered for the announcement.
"As you all know, we score each round by points and the two players who have lost in this round with the highest overall score will get to advance with the winners," the announcer said. "It is just as much an honor to play well consistently and lose occasionally as it is to win every round, so we think it is just as deserved for these players to move to the final Geos tournament. This year's two wildcard spots go to..."
The whole room was waiting, tension in the air so thick you could cut it with a knife.
The room erupted with cheers, Roobina felt a sense of relief when she heard her name! The announcer continued.
Roobina's eyes shot wide open and she looked over at her best friend, who was jumping up and down cheering.
"Mazey!? I didn't know you entered!??!" Roobina felt weird, she was supportive of her friend but shocked that she had competed in secret.
"Well....yeah...err...I liked Geos so I thought...why not," said Mazey, still grinning from ear to ear.
"Wow..." Roobina was feeling overall uneasy about this recent development. She didn't realize Mazey was so good at Geos, but she also realized the two of them have never played that together. Mazey always recommended other games like Dice-A-Roo...but Mazey did like games of luck, so it made sense.
And that is how we'll leave our two competitors. Roobina in a state of shock and Mazey in a state of elation. Roobina will first have to battle her way through the Kacheekers and Armada tournaments next week, and the following week we will see how the Geos final tournament goes, and will Roobina have to face off against her best friend? Will she be able to take home all three trophies, or none at all?
To be continued…