August 25 1999 RussCon Report

14 of us, including the long-lost WendyWhi, who's making a habit of disappearing for a long time, then returning with radically different hair.


Puffing Billy Train Tournament This Weekend!

Stop by Stately Russ Manor this coming Saturday or Sunday, from noon until we get sick of it in the evening both days! Play 4 different titles to be eligible for free LaserQuest! Or play just a few games for fun. All trains, all the time on RussTV. Thanks to Alfred and Kevin for bringing several new train games this week which we can try out this weekend! (But we still don't have a copy of Uncle Happy's Train Game...)

It shall also soon be time to start planning the second RussCon LaserQuest outing. It will almost certainly be a monday night since that worked last time and is their preferred night for renting the place to groups. So let me know if you'd like to do it, and if you have a preference on which monday night in the next couple months.


Fight AI Redux?

There are hushed rumors of the Fight AI project being revived. At least one onlooker was heard to utter "Cool!" I've written a prototype tournament director and simple AI player in Eiffel. It's all quite primitive at this point, but a game has been run. (First MISER_PLAYER beat second MISER_PLAYER...) If there is still interest in folks making their own AI, let me know. Since I doubt everyone else will be coding in Eiffel, we could try COM or use simple text files to permit the tournament director program to invoke the various player programs. COM would of course be the more upscale trendy way to do this, and faster at runtime, but has a higher initial learning curve (for me anyway). The goal is to have a standalone tournament director that can invoke independent AI players written in whatever language the authors want, either as executables or as COM components (or whatever else bright ideas someone comes up with).

For those unfamiliar with Fight, go to The rules are quite short (Cheapass gives them away free printed on a business card)!


Game Results:

HighSociety 3 Bob 1 WendyWhi 1 Marty -2
Rheinlaender 3 Bob 2 Marty 0 WendyWhi -2
TakeItEasy 3 Marty 2 WendyWhi 0 Bob -2
Europa 5 KevinH 4 Jay 2 Jerrie 0 Clayton -3 William -3
Can'tStop 4 KevinH 3 Jay -1 Jerrie -1 Clayton -1
LetzteParadies 4 Marty 2 WendyWhi 2 William -1 Bob -3
Dampfross 5 RussW 4 Steve 2 JP 0 WendyWhe -2 Alfred -4
Raj 5 Steve 4 RussW 2 Alfred 0 JP -2 Jay -4
Tayu 3 JP 2 RussW 0 Steve -2
Ra 5 Bob 4 KevinH 2 WendyWhe 0 Marty -2 William -4
Hearts 4 Marty 3 WendyWhe 1 William -1 Brady -3
LostCities 2 RussW 1 JP -1
LostCities 2 JP 1 William -1
LostCities 2 JP 1 William -1
LostCities 2 William 1 RussW -1

Kevin (the Devil) staked out the dining table with Europa, the political game with the giant baby on the cover. He traded Dampfross to Alfred for Europa. Personally I like Dampfross a lot, and it has a much better cover.

We've been playing Tayu with a homebrew rule to minimize setup time. There's one tile revealed on the table, and on your turn you may either use that tile, or draw a random one from the bag. Seems to feel analogous to standard Tayu, and saves the trouble of setting up the big block of tiles at the start.

William finally got people to play Hearts. And he's hooked on Lost Cities, so we played a lot of it. That's a good 2 player game by Knizia. Check it out if there are 2 of you waiting between games! It seems I'm better than JP, who's better than William, who's better than me...


Evening's Soundtrack:

Talking Heads, Fear of Music
Talking Heads, Remain in Light
Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues
Talking Heads, Naked
Run Lola Run, original motion picture soundtrack

The last 2 movies I've seen were Stop Making Sense and Run Lola Run. I recommend them both. Stop Making Sense is the acclaimed Talking Heads concert documentary by Jonathan Demme from 1984. Seeing it again on the big screen made me nostalgic for 15 years ago. Run Lola Run is a very clever interesting movie with a cool soundtrack (thanks to William for the loan of the CD).


Rank ratings:
 0.8182 KevinH (3 games played)
 0.5000 RussW (5)
 0.4000 Steve (3)
 0.1875 Marty (6)
 0.1538 Bob (5)
 0.1111 WendyWhi (4)
 0.0769 JP (6)
-0.0909 WendyWhe (3)
-0.1429 Jerrie (2)
-0.2727 Jay (3)
-0.5000 Alfred (2)
-0.5714 Clayton (2)
-0.5882 William (7)
-1.0000 Brady (1)

New Win ratings:
 0.5455 KevinH (3)
 0.3077 Bob (5)
 0.2000 Steve (3)
 0.1875 Marty (6)
 0.1667 RussW (5)
 0.1111 WendyWhi (4)
 0.0769 JP (6)
-0.2500 Alfred (2)
-0.2727 Jay (3)
-0.2727 WendyWhe (3)
-0.2857 Clayton (2)
-0.2857 Jerrie (2)
-0.3333 Brady (1)
-0.3529 William (7)

Wooo, for 2 weeks in a row Kevin is the Devil! Russ, Steve, Bob are Co-Vice-Devils. Brady has pulled off the eponymous Reverse Brady Maneuver. William wins the Dedicated Award.


New Contest: Pick a Job for William:

William writes:

"In the next RussCon report could you add a little note at the end saying that I will be unemployed as of Labor Day weekend?

"Mention the fact that I'll have lots of free time to play games and.... that at the end of the month of September I plan to be job hunting, so if anyone has ideas/suggestions I would love to hear them."

(Wendy has already suggested he become a real estate agent. I've often suggested he enter the lucrative field of lettering comic books, since he's got great handwriting.)


And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself -- Well... how did I get here?