June 16 1999 RussCon Report

15 of us. Several fun new games were played. Devil Sea Biscuit was a no-show, on the one evening I didn't bother to compute the Vice-Devils, but we all pulled together and weathered this difficult crisis.

This RussCon Report will only mention Heroes of Might & Magic once.


Clandestine Alert:

Clandestine (excellent fun Celtic band out of Houston) will be at the Cactus Cafe in the UT Student Union in 2 Fridays (June 25). The show starts at 9, but judging from recent crowded shows, I suggest getting in line no later than 8:15 to ensure decent seats (or even getting in). Tickets should be under $10. I'll be doing the traditional dinner at Veggie Heaven (across the street from Dobie Mall, within walking distance of Cactus Cafe) at 7 beforehand if anyone cares to join me.


Game Results:

RichochetRobot 10 Jeffles 9 RussW 7 JP 5 JeffF 3 Alfred 1 Curt -5 Jay -5 Marty -5 Clayton -5 SteveZ -5
HighSociety 3 Jeffles 2 Steve 0 RussW -2
HighSociety 3 Jeffles 2 RussW 0 Steve -2
Hare&Tortoise 4 Bob 3 JP 1 JeffF -1 Alfred -3
ZirkusFlohcati 3 Jeffles 2 Steve 0 RussW -2
GhostParty 7 Alfred 6 RussW 4 Jeffles 2 JeffF -1 Steve -1 JP -4 Bob -6
Tayu 3 Jeffles 2 JeffF 0 Alfred -2
Elfenland 6 Marty 5 Clayton 3 Curt 1 SteveZ -1 Fred -3 Jay -5
Bluff 3 Alfred 2 JeffF 0 Jeffles -2
ZirkusFlohcati 5 Jay 4 SteveZ 2 Curt 0 Marty -2 Brady -4
Tutanchamun 3 Jeffles 2 JeffF -1 Alfred -1
Wettstreit 4 JP 3 RussW 1 Steve -1 Bob -3
Medici 5 Brady 4 SteveZ 2 Curt 0 WendyWhe -2 Marty -4
Raj 5 RussW 4 Alfred 2 JeffF 0 JP -2 Jeffles -4
Tayu 2 Jeffles 1 Steve -1
Hare&Tortoise 5 Marty 4 Brady 2 WendyWhe 0 SteveZ -2 JP -4
DurchDieWueste 3 Marty 2 Brady 0 SteveZ -2
Tikal 4 Curt 3 Alfred 1 RussW -1 JeffF -3

Jeffles was the undisputed winner this evening, winning 7 games. Too bad he won't be here next week to be the Devil. (Mr. Impulsive is going to Minnesota now, or at least that's the plan as of this writing. I figure there's a decent chance he'll show up next week explaining how he's gotten a new job in Austin or something.)

Alfred brought the new German game Ricochet Robot which several of us had been curious about. It turns out to be nothing like RoboRally, except that people either love it or hate it. It has the neat property of working with any number of players. We all study the board trying to find a way to get a robot to reach a goal in a small number of moves, and bid smaller numbers. After a minute, the lowest bid gets to demonstrate their sequence (often embarrassing themselves in the process). So we started with 10 players, and after a few minutes half of them had abandoned the game! At a high level, it reminds me of an old Avalon Hill game I played long ago with WendyWhi and DaveB at SimTex, where we're all looking at a board trying to find how to maximize a score from a dice roll. (What was that called? Some astrological theme to it.)

JP's game Wettstreit is interesting. You're building a city with various types of buildings, and can also try to destroy others' buildings. We discovered midway through we were doing something wrong; when a building is destroyed, it should go to the BOTTOM of the smaller deck, not the top. This makes more sense, and makes me want to play it again. It does apparently have a rather strong positive feedback (rich get richer) system where you can only sabotage the enemy player(s) with the least number of shields in their city. On the other hand, someone with more shields might have less income (since shield buildings are different from income buildings), so maybe that's ok.

Alfred's game Tikal is cool, and worthy of its game of the year nomination (or so it seems after playing it once). Some notes about it now that I've read the rules myself this morning:

1. You need a dude per each level of temple uncovered (not just per treasure taken).
2. You may only cap 2 temples per game!
3. Teleport is only between camps, not from an arbitrary hex.
4. The clockwise neighbor of the last auction winner is indeed the next bidder, just as I'd suggested.
5. They do have a score tiebreaker, just so you know.

1-3 we were doing wrong, 4 we did right by coincidence.

And don't get me started about not being told "An exchange may not be rejected." But I'm not bitter. Really!


Evening's Soundtrack:

Bauhaus, The Sky's Gone Out
The Flaming Lips, Clouds Taste Metallic
Jean Michel Jarre, Oxygene
Michael Nyman, Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs
The Wind in the Rigging (A New England Voyage)

The fourth and final installment in the elemental theme set. It's finally finished -- air today, gone tomorrow!


Rank ratings:
 0.5000 Jeffles (10 games played)
 0.3548 RussW (8)
 0.1935 Alfred (8)
 0.1429 Brady (4)
 0.0000 Marty (6)
-0.0345 JP (6)
-0.0400 Curt (5)
-0.0968 JeffF (8)
-0.1429 Clayton (2)
-0.2143 SteveZ (6)
-0.2500 WendyWhe (2)
-0.3125 Steve (6)
-0.3333 Jay (3)
-0.5000 Bob (3)
-0.6000 Fred (1)

New Win ratings:
 0.5313 Jeffles (10)
 0.2857 Marty (6)
 0.1111 Jay (3)
 0.0833 Bob (3)
 0.0714 Brady (4)
 0.0645 Alfred (8)
-0.0400 Curt (5)
-0.0690 JP (6)
-0.0968 RussW (8)
-0.1429 Clayton (2)
-0.2000 Fred (1)
-0.2143 SteveZ (6)
-0.2500 WendyWhe (2)
-0.2581 JeffF (8)
-0.3750 Steve (6)

Jeffles is the Devil, plus he wins the Dedicated Award. Ironic that he won't be here for the next few weeks!

Alfred, Brady, Marty, RussW are all Co-Vice-Devils.


"Star Wars" despots vs. "Star Trek" populists:

A cool David Brin article:



Tikal is the most important and largest of all Mayan sites. It is located in the midst of an impenetrable jungle in northern Guatemala. The Mayans lived in Tikal from 600 BC to 900 AD, but little is known of the civilization that thrived there for 1500 years. As of this writing, only a small fraction of the site has been excavated and investigated. Now modern gaming geeks can pretend to loot and exploit this ancient heritage.