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These are the rules for the Geek-o Challenge.

Do read over this document, especially before the additional information about the specifics of the gameplay. A lot is different.

OBJECT

The object of the game is to get your robots through the gates on the north end of each of the five rooms.

The winner will be the player who uses the fewest turns to get through all five rooms.

HOW THE BOARD WORKS

Players are dealt a hand of cards, whose size will vary inversely with their two robots' damage. All players compose a program of equal length for each robot in secret and submit it. The remaining cards, if any, are discarded.

The robots perform their programs in stages, alternating between robot movement and mechanisms on the factory floor that can affect the robot's movement.


The stages are reported on the web site as follows:

First, a graphic depiction of the current room and all robots' positions is displayed. Below that, a table describing the events of the stage appears.

NAME

In the first line of the table are the player's robots' names.

MODE

The second line displays the operating mode of each robot.

When the game starts, all robots appear on their starting square. Unlike the regular game, robots are never virtual. It is far less likely that a robot will be destroyed in the first room, and this is where robots always originate.

ROBOT MODES

CARDS

On the third line, the cards active for that stage are revealed. There are seven kinds of cards: FWD1, FWD2, FWD3, RVS1, LF90, RT90, and UTRN. There are also RVS2, RVS3, IDLE, SLF1, and SRT1 cards, but they are only available after the proper upgrades.

Cards are dealt from a pre-set deck. All players have the same opportunity to get cards. The additional cards available after reaching two upgrade stations are dealt in from the beginning. If these cards appear among the cards a player is dealt, but the player cannot use them at this time, they are removed and the first cards in the deck that they can use are added instead.

MOVEMENT CARDS

There is an electrified fence around the perimeter of the entire board. If a robot moves to leave the board, whether because of their program or if moved by other robots or board mechanisms, the robot will lose 2 HP and will encounter an obstacle.

PUSH

The next line lists what the outcomes of the cards are.

Robot movement and turning reports are exactly as in regular BotWars.

There are some items on the board that can affect a robot (or vice versa) as it moves.

MECHANISMS, PART 1

Robot interaction and "obstacles" are exactly as they are in regular BotWars.

MECHANISMS

There will be new mechanisms in these rooms that you will not have encountered before. Figuring out how they work is part of the challenge. In some cases they work very simply, and in others they are more tricky. In all cases, your job is not necessarily to figure out how the devices work, but to get past them, open the gates and get both your robots through them.

MECHANISMS, PART 2

COMBAT

Robots are not armed with lasers at the beginning of the game. The only robots on the board (in the first room, at least) are your own two robots, so no lasers are needed. However, there may be an opportunity for a robot to gain a laser as an option later on.

HIT POINTS

Hit points and destruction are exactly as they are in regular BotWars.

Damage is as it is in regular BotWars, with these exceptions: Damage fuses registers and prevents your robot from receiving new cards. If a robot's program is long enough to reach a fused register, then any fused registers immediately after that are carried out regardless of the length of the other robot's program.

The ninth register is fused first, then the eighth, and so on for each point of damage. Unused (empty) registers that get fused are filled with the first viable card from the top of the unused deck.

If one of your robots is destroyed, the other robot may complete its turn. It takes a robot one turn to pass through a room that it has already completed. During such a turn, that robot is out of player control, and will not receive cards during those turns. The program for the other robot may be of any length.

For example, if a robot is destroyed during the third room in the series, the replacement robot will take two turns to catch up from its starting point in the first room. A robot destroyed in the first room will be available for programming immediately.

Players have an endless supply of robots, but remember that both robots must be ready to leave a room before the next room opens up, so don't waste them.

CHECKPOINTS

Wrench squares do not act as checkpoints in the Geek-o Challenge. They can only be used to repair damage.

IMPROVING YOUR ROBOT

After this, the next stage begins, starting with a depiction of the board as it now stands.


END OF TURN

After all stages are completed, a final graphic showing the state of the board at the end of the turn appears, then the table covering the end-of-turn actions. They are:

NAME

The robots' names on line 1.

MODE

The robots' modes on line 2.

ROBOT MODES

REINSTATE

If a robot's mode was "destroyed" the robot will be reinstated in the indicated square in room number one.

UPGRADES

The fifth line may not appear. It lists the upgrades stations a robot has visited, if any, and the extra card types it can use.

IMPROVING YOUR ROBOT

OPTIONS

The sixth line may not appear. It lists whatever options, if any, robots have accumulated. Options cannot be sacrificed in place of taking a hit of damage.

IMPROVING YOUR ROBOT

REBOOT

Finally, a review of HP is given. At this point it is announced whether a player wishes to reboot.

A reboot takes an entire turn, but restores all HP. While your robot is rebooting, it cannot execute a program, cannot fire its laser, and cannot interact with a checkpoint. Other robots may still push it, and lasers can damage it. If your robot is damaged during a reboot, you will be missing the usual amount of HP on the turn after. If a robot takes on enough damage to fuse registers, those registers are randomly filled when the robot comes back online. Options and checkpoints are still intact for the player. If a player's robot is rebooting, it receives no cards for that robot, and the other robot's program may be of any length.

An additional table may be added at the end if any robot has fused registers. This is for reference so that all players can see what cards are in those registers easily.

SUBMITTING A TURN

For each turn, the GM will send out your HP, fused registers, if any, and cards.

Send back a program for each robot, and declare whether or not you want to one of your robots to reboot for the turn after. If it matters to you which of two similar program cards (i.e., two FWD1's) should come first, please specify by number. If not, they will be ordered as they appear in your hand.

If you have an option, you should also say at what point you would like to sacrifice it in taking a point of damage. Default is at HP 6.

Turns should be submitted no later than five days from the day the GM sends out cards. The GM will take up to two days to compile the turn, ask questions, and accept corrections.

ENTRY FEE

To be able to play in the Geek-o Challenge, you must submit an original 7x7 board for use in the regular game. You can use any of the board elements provided for in Rules 3.0. I reserve the right to refuse a design as an entry fee if I decide that it cannot or should not be used. (A 7x7 board consisting of nothing but open floor is going to be rejected, for example.) Anything that is interesting will be accepted; I'm not going to be a harsh judge.

ROBOT MODES

A robot can be real or destroyed.

Robots spend most of the game in real mode. This means the robot is physically in the game, and can completely interact with the board and everything on it.

Immediately after reinstatement, whether at the beginning of the game or after a player's robot was destroyed, a robot is virtual. Virtual robots interact with the board and its mechanisms, but not with other robots. This includes pushing other robots and being pushed, shooting other robots and being shot. A virtual robot is still affected by board elements including board lasers. Virtual robots can take on damage. Virtual robots become real as soon as they end a stage alone in their square, but only after one complete turn has passed since that robot's reinstatement.

If a robot loses all its hit points, the robot becomes destroyed, and cannot carry out the rest of its program. The robot is removed from the board immediately. It will be reinstated in room one at the end of the turn.

Reinstated robots retain any upgrades the previous robots had, as well as any options.


MOVEMENT CARDS

FWD1, FWD2 and FWD3 move the robot forward in a straight line the indicated number of squares. RVS1, RVS2, and RVS3 move the robot backward the indicated number of squares, without turning around.

LF90 and RT90 rotate the robot in place 90 degrees to the left and to the right, respectively. UTRN rotates the robot 180 degrees. None of these three cards moves the robot at all.

IDLE allows a robot to stand still for a stage.

SLF1 and SRT1 allow a robot to move one square to the side without turning.

The cards also have a unique number assigned to them. This determines the order in which the actions should be performed. Larger numbers happen first. In general, the bigger the movement, the earlier the action happens.


MECHANISMS 1

The mechanisms on the board in this section are in effect at all times, even during the robot movement part of a stage. They may take effect even in mid-manoeuvre. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of the board mechanisms of this type that you will be encountering during the Geek-o Challenge.

WALL

Walls block robots' movement; robots may not pass through them. A robot in the square depicted above could not move into the square to the west. The wall operates on both the square it is in and the square next to it; a robot in the square to the west of the one depicted could not move into the one depicted.

ELECTRIC FENCE

The electric fence blocks robots' movement; robots may not pass through it. A robot in the square depicted above could not move into the square to the west. The fence surrounds the board, but sections of electrified fence may also appear on some boards. If a robot comes in contact with the electric fence, it takes 2 HP of damage.

SWITCH

Switches activate other board mechanisms. Switches can get flipped whenever a robot moves into the switch's square, or some other mechanism which puts pressure on the floor, like a crusher, pushes on it.

The green switch depicted above is a simple pressure switch. Pressure switches should be off at the start of a game. Once they get flipped to "on", they never flip again. This switch can activate drawbridges and teleporters, which see below.

The red switch is a toggle switch. It can get flipped "on" and "off" as many times as necessary. This kind of switch can be used to activate or deactivate a teleporter. trap door or blaser.

ELECTRIC EYE

Electric eyes act like toggle switches, turning things on and off. Instead of being flipped by pressure, however, they react to a laser striking them. Electric eyes are wall mounted, and only a laser aimed into the eye perpendicular to the wall will activate the switch. Electric eyes can be used to activate or deactivate a teleporter, trap door or blaser. (When the eye is off, it will glow red, as the one depicted does, and when it is on, it will glow green.)

PIT

If at any time your robot moves into a square that contains a pit, the robot falls and is destroyed.

TRAP DOOR

A trap door is a pit that is covered by a hatch that opens and closes. If a robot is standing on the hatch when it opens, it falls through and is destroyed.

DRAWBRIDGE

At the beginning of the game, drawbridges are raised. They can be lowered by pushing the switch associated with the bridge. The location of that switch, in r#c# format, will be written in the square.

When a drawbridge is raised, it acts exactly like a pit, except from the direction where the bridge itself is. From this one direction, robots act as though there is a section of wall. (For example, if a robot tried to enter the depicted square from the north, it would encounter an obstacle. If the robot approached from any other direction, it would fall into the pit and be destroyed.) Raised drawbridges block laser fire. When a drawbridge comes down, it looks and acts like empty floor space.

TELEPORTER

If at any time, your robot moves into a square that contains an active teleporter, the robot automatically moves to the next active teleporter. If there is the robot had not finished moving when it teleported, it completes its move in its new location.

The order of the teleporters is determined by the alphabetical order of their colours, with Z looping back to A. Deactivated teleporters do nothing, and are skipped in determining teleporter sequences. Occupied transporters are also skipped in determining teleporter sequences. If, for example, teleporter B has a robot in its square, and a robot enters teleporter A, that robot moves to teleporter C, or the next unoccupied, active teleporter. If none exists, the robot does not teleport.

Note that a robot must move into the square with the teleporter. If a robot turns in place in a square with an active teleporter, it does not also teleport. If a robot is in a square containing a teleporter that is activated under it, the robot also does not move.

GATE

Gates block movement. If there is more than one gate in a room, then a robot in a gate square is locked until the other gate is also occupied and cannot move. A gate must be open before a robot can enter such a square.


MECHANISMS 2

The mechanisms on the board in this section take effect only after robots have moved because of their collective programs in a given stage. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of the board mechanisms of this type that you will be encountering during the Geek-o Challenge.

CONVEYOR

Conveyors act as in regular BotWars.

PUSHER

A pusher moves robots one square away from the wall on which they are mounted. Pushers are marked with numbers which indicate the stages during which they are active.

In the case where two pushers are trying to move robots into the same square, neither robot moves.

If a pusher would push a robot into a stationary robot, then the second robot gets pushed if possible. If it's not possible, neither robot moves. If a pusher would push a robot into the electric fence, the robot does not move and take 2 HP of damage.

GEAR

The first two gears rotate robots 90 degrees in the direction indicated. The third one rotates a robot 180 degrees.

CRUSHER

Crushers destroy robots. Crushers are marked with numbers, indicating the stages during which they are active.

LASER TURRET

Lasers and blasers do damage to robots. If by this time, a robot is standing on a square where a laser on the board would hit it, then it loses one hit point for every such laser. If another robot stands between a blue laser turret and your robot, your robot does not take damage. Blasers act exactly like regular lasers, but they are connected to a switch somewhere on the board, and can be turned on and off. Blasers have red turrets.

If your robot takes on laser fire, your column of the table will say so, for example, "-1 HP".

BUZZSAW

Buzzsaws do 1 HP of damage to any robot that occupies its square while it is spinning. During every stage, the buzzsaws get assigned a random number between 0 and 1. If that number is greater than .75, then the buzzsaws activate and spin. A buzzsaw is shown above both inactive and active.


IMPROVING YOUR ROBOT

Robots can be improved in several ways.

If a robot ends a turn on a green wrench square, it can repair damage: one HP for every wrench in the icon in the square.

Two-wrench squares cannot be used to get options.

If a robot ends a stage on a red armoury icon, it can get a preset option. These are specific to the square and not randomly assigned. Options cannot be sacrificed in place of taking a hit of damage.

If a robot ends a stage on a blue computer icon, it can get an upgrade. Upgrades are used to improve robot manoeuvrability.

Once a robot has received two upgrades from two different rooms, the robot can use the improved card sets:

A robot can be upgraded so that it can use more than one set, but robots will be dealt a card neither of them can use.