March 17 1999 Sans-RussCon Psuedo-Report

Sheesh, where was everybody?
What, you couldn't come back from your Spring Break vacations to come to SansRussCon?
Well, actually, I guess the turnout wasn't that bad. We had 10 people.

10 Players, 9 games.

We met at Dobie Mall. Marty neglected to take into account SXSW when he foolishly claimed the parking would be good during Spring Break.
Other than that, I thought the Dobie location worked rather well.
Especially since I didn't have to worry about whether I should stop for food before hand, and there were ample tables.

Laser Quest!
A reminder quoted from the last RussCon notice:
And don't forget Laser Quest is Monday March 22! Try to get there at 8:15, or 8:30 at the latest. It's in the parking lot of Highland Mall, on the north side. Bring $20 including ones, since the cost will be between $10 and $20 per person depending on how many of us show up.

Several RussCon goers (RussW, Jeffles, WendyWhe, and myself) attended the play Frankenstein in Love, as advertised in the last RussCon Report. I really enjoyed it, and phhbbbbttt, to all of you who didn't go.


Game Results:

Trumpet 5 JeffF 4 Jay 2 Clayton 0 Marty -2 Jonobie -4
Res Publica 4 Jonobie 3 JeffF 1 Marty -2 Jay -2
Durch die Wuste 3 JP 2 Bob 0 Clayton -2
Palmyra 3 JeffF 2 Jay 0 Marty -2
Katzenjamer Blues 6 Jeffles 5 Jay 2 JeffF 2 JP -1 Bob -3 Marty -5
Katzenjamer Blues 6 Marty 5 Bob 3 JP 1 Jay -3 JeffF -3 Jeffles -3
Cheops 5 Jeffles 4 JeffF 2 Bob 0 JP -2 Marty -4
Durch die Wuste 5 Jeffles 4 JP 2 Brady 0 JeffF -2 Bob -4
Palmyra 4 JP 3 Bob 1 Jeffles -1 William -3

Marty brought a spiffy new Italian game by the name of Palmyra. Most people didn't seem to like it, but I thought it was quite cool. There are three commodities, and there are tracks which determine the price of each commodity based on how far they are from the city of Palmyra. It has some really interesting market manipulation, and some cool, unusual game mechanics.

I continue to suck at Cheops. I'm beginning to think the most important factor in the game is controlling when and how it's going to end. I keep getting bogged down in silly plans to acquire points.


Evening's Soundtrack

I couldn't figure out what the theme for the music was. They were mostly themes from TV shows, or commercials, but there was at least one song rendered incomprehensible by our guest performer, Jay. I guess we'll just have to wait for Russ to elucidate.


Warning: These are dubious results since they are based on my interpretation of Russ's description of his system, and were computed as a part of my ongoing crusade to understand Excel.
Does anyone out there know Excel really well? Anyone have a clue how to navigate MS help files?

Rank Ratings:
 0.4286 Jeffles (5 game(s) played)
 0.2222 JeffF (7)
 0.2174 JP (6)
 0.0000 Brady (1)
-0.0526 Jay (5)
-0.1304 Bob (6)
-0.1429 Jonobie (2)
-0.3333 Clayton (2)
-0.4348 Marty (6)
-1.0000 William (1)

New Win Ratings:
 0.5238 Jeffles (5)
 0.2857 Jonobie (2)
 0.0435 JP (6)
 0.0370 JeffF (7)
 0.0000 Marty (6)
-0.2500 Brady (1)
-0.2609 Bob (6)
-0.2632 Jay (5)
-0.3333 Clayton(2)
-0.3333 William(1)

There's even a relatively simple graph:

          /   |   \
         /    |    \
        /     |     \
      JeffF  JP    Jonobie
       |  \ / |    /  /
       |   X  |   /  /
       |  / \ |  /  /
     Brady   Marty /
      / \      |  /
     /   \     | /
   Jay   Bob   |/
      \   |    X
       \  |   /|
       Clayton |
           \   |

Thus, Jeffles is the clear devil.
Using (# people you're above - # above you) and # of games, Vice devils have the ordering: JeffF, JP, Jonobie.
Unfortunately, this nice simple result only serves to complicate matters, since it's unclear what should happen with the devil from last week. I have a feeling it will sort itself out, but if not, I'm sure Russ will make a fair and equitable decision.
JeffF gets the dedicated award. He even stayed for the last game, but didn't play in it. I think this might have had something to do with needing a ride.

I am including the equations I used to compute these numbers, mostly so that Russ can tell me if I got it right.

              (# of opponents you beat) - (# of opponents who beat you)
Rank Rating = ---------------------------------------------------------
                              (Total # of opponents)

New Win Ratings uses the same formula as the Rank Ratings, except that all non-winners are treated as having tied.

The way that the New Win Ratings function seems a little odd, but I can see a weird, twisted sort of logic to most of it.
Being a sole winner in a game, always increases your score, the amount depending on how many people were in the game.
Losing in a game with a sole winner is a bit more complicated.
Let's say your score is currently positive, losing a large game will bring your score down more than losing a small game.
Let's say your score is -0.5 (the lowest a New Win Rating can be if you have played in no 2 player games, and no games with joint winners)
Now, losing a large game will bring your score up more than a smaller game.
In fact, it's possible that losing a game can increase your New Win Rating more than *winning* a game. If you currently have lost 3 3-player games, your New Win Rating is -3/6. If you then win a two player game, your new New Win Rating is (-3 + 1) / (6 + 1) = -2/7. If, instead, you had lost one 9-player, it becomes (-3 - 1) / (6 + 9) = -4/15.
This seems *very* counterintuitive for the behavior of a "Win" Rating, but I guess I can deal with it if everyone else can. I just wanted to point it out.


This seems like a good place to plug my new Missionaries and Cannibals game. I wrote it around Christmas time, but I've never gotten around to evangalizing it. It's based on the eponymous logic puzzle, and cannibalizes Survive! for parts. I will bring Survive!, and a printout of the M&C rules to the next RussCon if anyone is intersted. Keep in mind that it is just pre-alpha, but for those of you who suffered through my last attempt at making a game, it's a *lot* more playable than that attrocity.
For those of you who don't know the Missionaries and Cannibals logic puzzle, here it is. Try it.
Three missionaries, and three cannibals want to cross a river. They are all on the same side, with a boat that holds two people. If there are ever more Cannibals in one spot than there are Missionaries, then they will eat the Missionaries. How can they all cross without anyone getting eaten? (If a boat is at one shore, it's considered to be the same place as that shore for eating porpoises.)
"The shortest distance between two puns is a straight line."

Well, I've enjoyed being your SansRussCon Reporter for this week. I hope I have provided a product with a level of quality close to what you have come to excpect and depend upon in your RussCon Reports. I have tried to imbue it with the same language and passion that is the hallmark of the RussCon Report. I have certainly gained a better apprciation of all the hard work that goes into making these. It's a real pain in the ass. I certainly wouldn't want to do it every week, even if I had Russ's spiffy little stat making program.

"Will I drown in the sweat of this chemical dream
With far to much blood in my alcohol stream?"
--Another Fine Mess, SKYCLAD.