Tugby time!

And they're off! Tugby sees two teams of little tugboats engaged in a rugby-like game
And they’re off! Tugby sees two teams of little tugboats engaged in a rugby-like game

“Ever heard of Tugby?” Nber Medici, co-owner of the Hollywood Estates and keen sailing enthusiast asked me early on a Sunday morning (well, early SL-wise!).

“Tugby? What’s that?” I asked her by way of reply.

Handing me a landmark with a grin, Nber said, “rugby with tugboats, every Sunday, 08:00 SLT! Come along if you’re interested!”

And the Red team gains possession of the puck - not the covering move by one of the reds to block the advancing Greens
And the Red team gains possession of the puck – not the covering move by one of the reds to block the advancing Greens

Well, I’m admittedly not into rugby (no men on bikes or in fast cars!), but the description intrigued me, so come 8:00 am, Maya and I hopped across to Santa Cruz and the Tugby arena (there’s actually a spectator’s stand on the neighbouring region of Dutch Harbor that offers a good view of the playing area) to find out what it is all about.

In sort, Tugby is exactly as Nber describes – a kind of rugby with little tugboats. Players are divided into two teams – Red and Green – and each proceeds to their end of the playing area. When the boats are set (one player per boat), the game float, or puck, is dropped, and then it’s a race to get to it and then push it across the other team’s goal line. Each time a goal is scored, the team return to their respective goal lines, ready for another puck to be dropped into the centre of the arena, and the game resumes until one team scores the required number of points to win.

The Greens mount a strong defence on their goal line!
The Greens mount a strong defence on their goal line!

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, like rugby, there’s a lot more involved than running with the ball; tactics play a considerable role, making sure you don’t get so far ahead of team-mates  they can’t support you, working with the other tugs on your team to block those with the puck from making headway, forcing “scrums” in which control of the puck can be wrested from the opposition and, when the way is clear, being prepared to make a charge for the goal line while keeping control of the puck with your boat.

The rules to the game are straightforward (the first being to have fun), and anyone is welcome to join a competition, which I think lasts for an hour, and a number of matches, although the nuances of that were lost on me, as I too busy chasing boats and trying to get pictures! Tugboats are free of charge from the arena rezzer, and Nber is on-hand to both organise things and referee games as they are played.

Watching a game from the spectator stand: Maya and I with Wippie and Burt
Watching a game from the spectator stand: Maya and I with Wippie and Burt

Not only is this a team based game, but there are also individual tables as well, based on the number of games played and points earned, with tables and results available at the Tugby section of the Starboards Yacht Club’s website.

Matches have been going on for several years, and the original system was designed by Joepie Korobase (scripting and tug boats), with Yasmine (youaintseenme) more recently having updated the system and automated parts of it, such as the scoring and puck spawning.

A Tugby scrum up close!
A Tugby scrum up close!

Watching the matches was fun, even while trying to grab snapshots. From the commentary and comments, it was clear those taking part were having a lot of fun, and I think it fair to say Maya and enjoyed ourselves as we witnessed the games unfold from our perch atop the spectator tower. Who knows; next time we might even try our hands at driving a boat each, if there’s room on either team!

Related Links

Note that if you’d like to try your hand with a Tugby boat outside of a match, the clubhouse offers a vendor where you can grab a boat any time and try it out. You can also join the Tugby group at the clubhouse and be kept advised of events.

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8 thoughts on “Tugby time!

    1. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve flown over the arena dozens of times (although never when it has been in use), and thought “I wonder what that’s all about?” but never bothered investigation by boat. So I do wonder how much else is going on in SL right under our noses that is creative, fascinating and fun, but we’re simply unaware of …

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  1. Well, lets be honest, it hard to check land when flying, unless you go really low:)
    But yes, there is so much happening ins Second Life at all times that one can not even try to be aware.

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