July 28 1999 RussCon Report

Again, 15 of us. A lot of new games played this week, plus some standard favorites of course. Welcome new folks Jerrie and Matt. Sadly this is Randy's last RussCon for a while as he returns to teaching math in the Middle East.

Remember, NO RUSSCON NEXT WEEK! Marty has set up alternate gaming on Monday August 2, at the Dobie Mall Food Court. Show up at 7 or later, just like RussCon. Alfred will guest-write the Report in iambic pentameter. Or maybe Marty will write limericks. I don't know. The following week, Wednesday August 11, RussCon resumes as usual.

Did you get to see the space shuttle at 10:03 Tuesday night? The point of light zooming across the sky leaving a bright contrail was quite impressive and pretty.


Winsome Games has Good Customer Service:

I emailed Winsome Games for some Colorado Rails rules clarification. They responded quite quickly and helpfully, and even offered to snailmail me a newer deck of mine contract cards which are better designed (with little maps on the card to help you locate the mine, as in their game Ferrocarriles Pampas) to speed play! Cool beans!


The Mystery of Irma Vep:

Wendy & I both highly recommend seeing The Mystery of Irma Vep, a fun Charles Ludlam play that is running at Zach Scott through August. When I get back I'll organize a group outing (if enough of us go, we should be able to get a group discount). We've both seen 2 previous productions of this play, both quite fun. It's a comedy, sort of a spoof of classic old horror movies. 2 actors play a bunch of different characters, with virtuoso quick costume changes etc. Some very fun stuff, and even the occasional spooky bit. Kind of like an irreverent Call of Cthulhu adventure. This time around it stars Martin Burke and Joe York, both quite good actors, so I think this will be terrific. If you're interested, please email me if there are dates good or bad for you. It runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights at 8, and Sundays at 2:30, through August 29.


Game Results:

Dorada 4 JeffF 3 Alfred 1 RussW -1 Jay -3
RoboRally 6 Clayton 5 JeffF 2 JP 2 Jay -3 Tim -3 JonathanB -3
Transsib 5 Bob 4 KevinH 2 RussW 0 Alfred -2 Jerrie -4
Bluff 4 JP 3 JeffF 1 WendyWhe -1 Clayton -3
Canyon 5 Bob 4 Alfred 2 JeffF -1 JP -1 WendyWhe -4
Tayu 2 Brady 1 JonathanB -1
Euphrates 3 JP 2 JeffF 0 Alfred -2
Bluff 4 JeffF 3 JP 1 Alfred -2 JonathanB -2
ColoradoRails 4 Matt 3 Randy 1 KevinH -1 RussW -3
Streetcar 4 JP 3 RussW 1 Matt -1 Randy -3
Dampfross 4 Randy 3 RussW 1 JP -1 Matt -3

Dorada is an old German game from Ravensburger (Ghost Party, Master Labyrinth) that Jeff found for $3 at Goodwill. It was fast (20 minutes) and kind of fun and clever. Good filler.

In preparation for the upcoming Puffing Billy tournament (which will probably be around the last weekend of August unless I hear more feedback), we played a lot of new (to RussCon) train games:

Transsib took a long time with 5 of us. I'm not sure if it will go quicker once people are familiar with it; it's one of those games with nonobvious strategy the first time you play it. The premise is cute, though. Most railroad games have players being a railroad, or being investors in railroads. In Transsib, players are Russian mobster passengers on a train. There are only 2 elements of chance: the player order each round, and the price of vodka!

Colorado Rails went too slowly, but that will be fixed when I get the newer cards from Winsome that have little maps printed on them like Ferrocarriles Pampas! We spent half the time tediously searching the map for mines. Or I can prepare a gazetteer to aid in mine location.

Streetcar is one of the early Mayfair German imports. It had been unjustly shelved at my house for the last 1.5 years since some people didn't like it. I've played it twice this past week and everyone who played it enjoyed it. So there.

Four diehards played Dampfross (aka Railroad Rivals) from 2 until 4am... it is pretty cool, even if Matt did let Randy have northwest Ireland all to himself. :-) The premise seems to be that we're all eccentric millionaires building tracks so that we can then race each other to various cities. Wacky premise, but fun game play. It definitely has some interesting strategy, and the maps (there are 4) are way prettier than most train games.


Members Only Clarification:

If I recall correctly, last week we played Members Only incorrectly. A heat does not last 3 rounds. Rather, a heat lasts until everyone only has 3 cards left.


Evening's Soundtrack:

John Harbison, Ulysses' Bow
King Crimson, In the Wake of Poseidon
Mozart, Symphonies 40 & 41 "Jupiter"
Purcell, Dido and Aeneas
Styx, The Grand Illusion

Classical mythology.


Rank ratings:
 1.0000 Bob (2)
 1.0000 Brady (1)
 0.4000 JeffF (6)
 0.3913 JP (7)
 0.2500 Clayton (2)
 0.1429 KevinH (2)
 0.1111 Randy (3)
-0.1111 Matt (3)
-0.1250 RussW (5)
-0.1875 Alfred (5)
-0.6000 Tim (1)
-0.6667 JonathanB (3)
-0.7143 WendyWhe (2)
-0.7500 Jay (2)
-1.0000 Jerrie (1)

New Win ratings:
 1.0000 Bob (2)
 1.0000 Brady (1)
 0.5000 Clayton (2)
 0.1739 JP (7)
 0.1111 Randy (3)
 0.1111 Matt (3)
 0.1000 JeffF (6)
-0.2000 Tim (1)
-0.2500 Jay (2)
-0.2500 Jerrie (1)
-0.2857 KevinH (2)
-0.2857 WendyWhe (2)
-0.3125 RussW (5)
-0.3125 Alfred (5)
-0.3333 JonathanB (3)

Bob is the Devil (in 2 weeks, not next week). Brady pulled a Brady Maneuver (unsurprisingly), so is disqualified from Devilhood (you must play more than one game).

Vice-Devils are Jeff, JP, Clayton.

JP wins the Dedicated Award.


"I can't reach Climax!" Randy ejaculated as he laid track in Colorado Rails.