The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Robot Rollcall

As part of my ‘bridge restart,’ I’ve been playing online on Bridge Base. Anyway, this weekend they had free “Robot Race” tournaments. Each table has one human and three copies of GIB. Play as many hands as you can in some time (25 minutes) and highest total points wins. This isn’t duplicate, so each table gets its own hands.

To make it more interesting, the human player gets a good hand every deal (a solid opening hand or better each time). So you are much more likely to declare, and your bidding/play is more important than the robots. GIB plays a fairly standardish system, but sometimes makes odd calls.

But it does play quickly. I seem to be able to get 10-12 deals done in 25 minutes. I’m not sure it’s real bridge, but it’s a pretty reasonable facsimile (and it does let you practice your declarer play opposite opponents who pay attention). And, without having to worry about partner’s pesky feelings, the stacked deck aspect is fun. I don’t think I’d pony up money for the experience, but I’d play free robot races again. And not just because I won the 2nd one I entered (with 5,000 points and 49 entrants).

Update: I see from the BridgeBase notes that the human player isn’t given an opening deal … instead you get the best hand dealt. Presumably you swap with the original recipient. So while that doesn’t guarantee an opening hand, it’s pretty close and it would make counting interesting when you get an 11 point hand.

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Written by taogaming

July 14, 2008 at 9:34 am

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