May 10 2000 RussCon Report

16 of us, including newcomer Paul and long-lost ChrisH. There was murky ambiguity over whether Dan was Devil (since he was Devil from the last RussCon at my house 3 weeks ago) or JeffF (since he was Devil from last week's SansRussCon), so they both agreed to play Taj Mahal at the dining table, narrowly averting a duel to the death.

Allen & I had an enjoyable long surreal 12 days in Los Angeles hanging with gameworld, a cool bunch. Good thing I was there on business not pleasure since L.A. seemed a pretty scuzzy city to me, although architecturally interesting due to the incessant variety. On one block you might see a Victorian bungalow next to a crappy 1950s tract home next to a bombed out warehouse next to a decaying shack. We did take a cheezoid expedition to Medieval Times. (Remember that scene in The Cable Guy?) This place is RenFest meets Las Vegas. I especially liked the fog machines and authentic medieval disco laser lights. We cheered on the Blue Knight who was doing great until his downed opponent rose up with his dying breath and stabbed our champion, making an unprecedented duel to the death of both combatants. Now I own an authentic medieval blue paper crown. Anyway, my Star Venture venture is official now.

Jay has already predicted my future:

"Money, fame, recognition. Glittering prizes and endless compromises. A meteroic career profiled in leading industry pubs. Then the moral and mental decay. A segment on 'A Current Affair'. Interviews with Montel and Jerry. The direct-to-paperback celebrity bio remaindered after six days. Eventually found in a cheap motel in Laughlin, Nevada with two teenage hookers and some expensive German sex toys, high on Janitor in A Drum and toner solvent.

"Russ Williams, his life and times as a game developer."

Marty was out of town recently too, at Alan Moon's Gathering of Friends. He says it was cool, like a 180 person week-long RussCon. He brought back some new games from that, some of which were played tonight (but many new games were played tonight, so I don't remember which ones are from GoF!)


Game Results:

SchottenTotten 2 RussW 1 David -1
GruselWusel 5 David 4 William 2 RussW -1 JP -1 Allen -4
TajMahal 5 Tim 4 JeffF 2 Marty 0 Dan -2 BobR -4
MitListeUndTucke 5 JP 4 RussW 2 David 0 William -2 Allen -4
StephensonsRocket 4 Daniel 3 Bob 1 WendyWhe -1 Clayton -3
Manhattan 4 Clayton 3 Daniel 1 Bob -1 WendyWhe -3
MerchantsOfAmsterdam 5 BobR 4 Marty 2 Dan 0 JeffF -2 Paul -4
Zero 5 JP 4 RussW 2 Allen 0 William -2 David -4
Guillotine 3 Bob 2 Daniel -1 WendyWhe -1
Can'tStop 4 Marty 3 Dan 1 JeffF -1 Paul -3
Drahtselakt 5 Allen 4 JP 2 ChrisH 0 RussW -2 Marty -4
BigCity 4 Daniel 3 Dan 1 William -1 David -3
Ex&Hopp 6 Marty 4 ChrisH 4 JP 1 RussW -1 Allen -3 William -5
I played a lot of little German card games tonight.

Schotten Totten is a good short 2-player card game. Well worth checking out.

GruselWusel is a fast timed game of visual pattern recognition. The Halloween theme which attracted my attention. There are 8 dice which we all initially thought had identical faces, all showing a jack-o-lantern. No, they are subtly different (orange or yellow mouth, orange or yellow eyes, smile or frown mouth, stem left or right...). There's a deck of cards with the same subtly varied art. A timer starts and a free-for-all frenzy of visual cortex activity and dice grabbing occurs. For some reason Allen totally sucks at it (scoring no points and complaining "This is the worst Halloween ever!") and David rules (easily trashing the rest of us). Maybe it's an age/reflex thing. I don't expect this one to get played much.

Mit Liste und Tucke is a trick-taking game that William despises because it violates the usual trick-taking conventions of "you must follow the lead suit if possible" and "whoever wins the trick gets all the cards" and "whoever took the last trick leads the next one". JP & I liked it. It is a little confusing, like the first time you play Mu.

Zero is definitely a popular game. Simple, elegant, fun, fast. What more can you want? Other than a night in an expensive German brothel, I mean.

Drahtselakt is a cool game with a tightrope balancing theme. Players bid on successive value cards from 1 to 9, sort of like High Society or Raj. The cards give + and - values. High bidder gets +n, low bidder gets -n. You want your net score at the end of a round to be as close to zero as possible. Your overall score is the sum of the absolute values of each round's score, and lowest total score wins the game. Taking a really big +/- value early in the round is not at all bad because there's plenty of time to counter it. Very nice game. And if you end a round with a perfect zero, then you may change a score from a previous round to zero! That let Allen go from distant last place to a last minute victory! I will definitely play this one more.

Ex & Hopp is a fun card game with a lot of luck and diplomacy. The really cool thing about it is the inexplicable theme; the card art has all sorts of strange things like toilets, birdcages, airplanes, and who knows what else. We can't make heads or tails of what the theme is! But the gameplay is fun. I think the negative tile values are a bit harsh, though.


Evening's Soundtrack:

The Aquabats, The Return of
Dick Dale & His Del-Tones, The Best of
The Doors, L.A. Woman
No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom
Red Hot Chili Peppers, One Hot Minute

El Lay So Cal, baby.


Rank ratings:
 1.0000 Tim (1 game played)
 0.5455 Daniel (4)
 0.4762 JP (5)
 0.4444 ChrisH (2)
 0.2500 Marty (5)
 0.2500 Bob (3)
 0.0455 RussW (6)
 0.0000 BobR (2)
 0.0000 Clayton (2)
 0.0000 Dan (4)
-0.0909 JeffF (3)
-0.2500 David (5)
-0.3333 Allen (5)
-0.4000 William (5)
-0.6250 WendyWhe (3)
-1.0000 Paul (2)

New Win ratings:
 1.0000 Tim (1)
 0.3750 BobR (2)
 0.3636 Daniel (4)
 0.3333 ChrisH (2)
 0.3333 Clayton (2)
 0.2000 Marty (5)
 0.1905 JP (5)
 0.0000 Bob (3)
 0.0000 David (5)
-0.0476 Allen (5)
-0.2273 RussW (6)
-0.2727 JeffF (3)
-0.2857 Dan (4)
-0.2857 Paul (2)
-0.3000 William (5)
-0.3750 WendyWhe (3)
Tim pulled a Brady Maneuver. Alas, you must play more than 1 game to be the Devil.

Daniel is Devil, BobR is Vice-Devil, JP is Vice-Vice-Devil, then ChrisH, then Clayton. I win the Dedicated Award.



International Belt Sander Drag Race Association. Here you'll find all the news from the fast paced world of the IBDA:

Wendy was an adorable beagle. I was a turtle. What animal were you in a past life?

I'm one of the few people who's never actually seen the insanely popular wazzup commercials on TV, but I know of them through the web...

Matrix wazzup:
Detonate also has a cute comic strip spoof of the Matrix and other such things.

Elian & Bill Gates wazzup:


William: I don't remember the title. It was Marty's Knizia game.
Russ & Allen simultaneously: Well, that narrows it down!