June 30 1999 RussCon Report

16 of us. Co-Devil Sea Biscuit arrived minutes too late to join my marathon doubled income FerroPampas game at the dining table. Sea Biscuit did bring a newcomer Dawn (though she seemed vaguely familiar). :-)


Culture News:

"Picasso at the Lapin Agile", the comedy by Steve Martin, is at St. Ed's. I'm going Friday night at 7:30 with JP, Wendy, Dawn, Sea Biscuit, Clayton. (Get there via the Woodward from I-35, just north of Ben White; head west for a longish block, then take the first right into St. Ed's; the theater will be straight ahead up on a hill. If you've not been there, I recommend looking at a map.) Since the play's at 7:30 not 8, there are no dinner plans.

Genitorturers perform at Dessau Music Hall (far northeast Austin) Saturday night. I'm going with Lance, and maybe Wendy, JP, EricB.

Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic in Luckenbach (near Fredericksburg) all day Sunday. I'm carpooling with Tim, Alfred, and maybe Sea Biscuit.

Last Friday's Clandestine concert was fun as always. They'll be back in September for 2 nights, with a new CD!


Game Results:

QuoVadis 5 JP 4 Doug 2 JeffF 0 Alfred -2 Fred -4
Wettstreit 4 Fred 2 Bob 2 Doug -1 JP -3
RicochetRobot 4 JeffF 3 Alfred 1 JonathanC -1 Dawn -3
Wettstreit 4 Bob 3 JP 1 Fred -1 Doug -3
Can'tStop 4 Dawn 3 JonathanC 0 Alfred 0 JeffF -3
FerroPampas 5 RussW 4 Harry 2 KevinH 0 Clayton -2 Marty -4
MississippiQueen 5 Dawn 4 Tim 2 JonathanC 0 Alfred -2 JeffF -4
DurchDieWueste 5 JP 4 Doug 2 Bob -1 JonathanB -1 Fred -4
UnionPacific 6 RussW 5 Tim 3 JeffF 1 Marty -1 Alfred -3 KevinH -5
Money 5 KevinH 4 Harry 2 WendyWhe 0 Doug -2 JP -4
Exxtra 5 Tim 4 Marty 1 KevinH 1 WendyWhe -2 JeffF -4
Tayu 2 RussW 1 Alfred -1
Tayu 2 RussW 1 Alfred -1
LostCities 2 JeffF 1 Marty -1
Money 3 JP 2 WendyWhe 0 KevinH -2
Tayu 2 RussW 1 JonathanB -1
Tayu 3 RussW 2 JonathanB 0 JP -2

We tried the recently proposed variant of Ferrocarriles Pampas, where payouts were doubled. I ended up running away the game (final score $390, next highest was $310, then $256.) Part of this was simply because I built Central out of Buenos Aires, and no other companies started developed there, so I was able to grow Central's value and income easily by getting most branches out of Buenos Aires. But there was still a problem with people running out of money from building track, so others then got more shares. The doubled payouts definitely encouraged more trackbuilding. E.g. I was frequently perfectly content, as the majority holder of Central, to pay for Central's track all by myself. However, it seems the real problem with the game may be the initial lucky instability in who runs out of money and who doesn't, and whether some people get to buy more shares cheap. I.e., the rich get richer; too much positive feedback. So we thought of a second idea: keep the standard payouts, but instead simply start everyone with more money, enough so that you never run out, and everyone simply bids what they feel the true market value of a share is. So that's what we should try next time. (I believe this would be a worthy idea for many bidding games that suffer from the rich-get-richer problem. This puts the emphasis on making an intelligent bid instead of doing gamey things to try to hold onto your money longer so you can bid cheaper when everyone else is out of money.)

Next I played Union Pacific (Curt wasn't here, but luckily Marty has a copy too!) for the second time, and won this time. It's a cool little game, albeit with a definite element of luck. E.g. we had 2 of the 4 payouts occur with only 2 stock cards between them! And all 3 of the last ones occurred very late in the game, while the first one came almost immediately after the top 6 cards.

Next I finally got to play Tayu, the beautiful expensive stone placing game that is co-owned by Alfred and Marty. It reminds me of Twixt and Scrabble (without the words). Starting in the center, we alternate placing tiles to try to get canals running to the east and west sides, or the north and south sides. Your score is the product of the 2 sides' number of connections. E.g. if I get 3 to the north and 2 to the south, then my score is 6. We got to play the 3 player version, which has a cool concept: the 3rd player acts as a spoiler, trying to hold the 2 normal players' scores to below a threshold. The person who bids the lowest threshold gets to be that spoiler "flood" player. That's a neat idea that could make other 2 player games into a 3 player game. Very cool game, and not just because I won all 4 games. :-) Although we decided that the flood player, if eliminated, would come in last, it might make more sense to say they're ranked according to how many opponents they keep below the threshold (effectively treating their bid as their score). Otherwise, the flood player will always be first or last, never second. JP was the flood player, by the way, and bid 19. For the first half, it looked very bleak for me & Squeaky, like we both might end up with scores of 0, but finally I managed to break 19 and eliminate JP. Squeaky and I had to quit hurting each other, since JP was already hurting us!


Evening's Soundtrack:

Artificial Joy Club, Melt
Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Red Hot Chili Peppers, One Hot Minute
Skunk Anansie, Paranoid & Sunburnt
Stabbing Westward, Wither Blister Burn & Peel

Music for summer! Have a happy July 4th.


Rank ratings:
 1.0000 RussW (6 games played)
 0.6923 Tim (3)
 0.5000 Harry (2)
 0.4000 Dawn (3)
 0.4000 Bob (3)
 0.0909 JP (7)
-0.1000 JonathanC (3)
-0.1053 KevinH (5)
-0.1111 Doug (5)
-0.2000 WendyWhe (3)
-0.2500 JeffF (7)
-0.2857 JonathanB (3)
-0.3571 Marty (4)
-0.3810 Alfred (7)
-0.5000 Fred (4)
-0.5000 Clayton (1)

New Win ratings:
 1.0000 RussW (6)
 0.6000 Dawn (3)
 0.4000 Bob (3)
 0.2273 JP (7)
 0.1538 Tim (3)
 0.0000 KevinH (5)
-0.0417 JeffF (7)
-0.0714 Fred (4)
-0.2500 Harry (2)
-0.2500 Clayton (1)
-0.2857 Marty (4)
-0.3000 JonathanC (3)
-0.3000 WendyWhe (3)
-0.3333 Doug (5)
-0.3333 Alfred (7)
-0.4286 JonathanB (3)

Wow, I am definitely the Devil again, having played and won 6 games. Trains and Tayu agreed with me. Tim and Dawn are Co-Vice-Devils.


Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas...