June 7 2000 RussCon Report

18 gamers, 17 games, 3 different kinds of chocolate junk food.


Another Dangerous Virus Alert:

There is another email virus floating around. We recently received an email with the following subject and body:

Subject: Warning! New Virus!

This is the Honor System virus. Please forward this message to everyone you know, then delete a random selection of critically important files from your system.

As a public service, the RussCon Management is alerting all readers that if you receive this email, DO NOT follow its instructions! As usual, this virus can only damage Windows systems, so Mac users can ignore this warning. (Mac users have no critically important files on their systems. Nyah!)


Gaming at ArmadilloCon:

ArmadilloCon (Austin's annual sf con) is August 18-20, and like the last couple years, there will be a gaming room. Marty's been in charge in the past but he's not going to be here this year, so I am filling in this year. If anyone would like to help me out, please let me know. (Sea Biscuit & Dawn?) You would probably get cheaper admission to the con for volunteering and maybe some sort of freebie. Duties consist of hanging out, playing games, teaching rules to newbies, answering rules questions, helping keep game results, making new friends, having fun... kind of like RussCon, but for a whole weekend. And without the soundtrack. Oh, and there's more than one table.

If anyone cares to loan some games for the event, that would be appreciated too. (As far as I know, no games were lost/damaged in past years.) We'll want to focus on shorter RussCon style games, eschewing Civ and ASL, since most of the folks drop in for short bursts and do lots of other stuff at the con too like panel discussions, readings, art show and auction, live music and dance, etc.




I'm interested in drawing classes. If anyone can recommend any, let me know. I was all psyched to take a class at the ACC campus conveniently located a few blocks from my house, but it was already full.

To see why I am in dire need of art class, check out the cartoon I just drew and put on my web page (currently located at http://russw.freeservers.com, and always accessible via http://www.blackfreighter.com), based on a bit of conversation I overheard last night. :) Merchant of Venus fans might enjoy it. Perhaps I will draw more RussCon-inspired comics.


Game Results:

Survive 4 BobR 3 Jeffles 1 Matt -1 Dan -3
Downtown 6 Clayton 5 JP 3 RussW 1 PJ -2 Allen -2 Jerrie -5
SaveDrLucky 4 Carly 3 JonathanC -1 Mindy -1 Susan -1
HatTrick 5 ChrisH 4 Jerrie 2 RussW -1 JP -1 Susan -4
Aladdin'sDragons 5 Marty 2 Jeffles 2 Matt 2 Dan -2 BobR -4
Cosmic 6 Daniel 5 PJ 3 Carly -1 Allen -1 Mindy -1 JonathanC -5
WebOfPower 5 Marty 4 Matt 2 Dan 0 BobR -2 Jeffles -4
Tightrope 5 Jeffles 4 Daniel 2 JonathanC 0 Carly -2 William -4
MitListUndTucke 4 ChrisH 3 Susan 1 JP -1 RussW -3
Zero 5 William 4 Daniel 2 Jeffles 0 Carly -2 JonathanC -4
SchottenTotten 2 William 1 Allen -1
Ohio 4 JP 3 Susan 1 ChrisH -1 RussW -3
Ohio 4 JP 3 ChrisH 1 Susan -1 RussW -3
Andromeda 5 Marty 4 BobR 2 Matt 0 Allen -2 PJ -4
Vampire 4 Daniel 3 RussW 1 Jeffles -1 Carly -3
Guillotine 5 JP 4 ChrisH 2 PJ 0 Susan -2 Matt -4
Bluff 5 William 4 RussW 2 Matt 0 Daniel -2 PJ -4

Downtown is a vaguely Metropolis-like game we hadn't played in a while. It's good but not great. Being the only site owner in an efficient zone really rakes in the bucks!

JP & I wanted to play Hat Trick again and continue to feel it's a good interesting strange trick-taking game despite its seeming randomness. We then proceeded to confuse ourselves by playing Mit List Und Tucke. Playing 2 different nonstandard wacky trick-taking games one right after the other can be very entertaining. I might as well have drunk a bottle of wine. The most I scored in any round was 6. Actually, newbies Susan and Chris spanked me and JP both, proving that previous experience must be a serious disadvantage in Mit List und Tucke. I ended up with a score of 18, JP 36, Susan 66, and Chris 86. A sound thrashing indeed.

I then proceeded to humiliate myself further in Ohio, a very nice short Knizia card game that has Dalmuti/Frank's Zoo style trick-taking. Except we all have the same set of cards; there's no randomness; so maybe it's more of a Raj/High Society auction game! I believe I ended the second game with a score of -24. (Winning scores are around 50 or 60.) I think I understand it well enough to score nonnegative next time I play, which I would like to do.

Meanwhile, in Tightrope, a most excellent game where you DO want a low score, Jeffles managed to pull off a perfect 0 for his overall score! I believe that's a first. Clearly he is a well-balanced individual, despite rumors to the contrary.

Marty bought a new copy of Vampire to replace his mysteriously vanished copy, and we played it. There are some games (like Hat Trick or Schotten-Totten) with graphic design which is not good for color-blind people. The cards in this one are hard even for non-color-blind people! But it's certainly a good fun short game. I like the cleverness of the final scoring. You're collecting sets in 6 different colors. At the end, the player(s) with the lowest number of points in each color throw away their points in that color. If someone has no points in a color, they count as the lowest (and thus save the sweating person with the lowest positive number). So you can bring out a tiny set, gambling that at least one person won't bother with that color, but if everyone does, then your set is worthless. It's yet another clever Knizia game.

In Bluff, PJ pulled a Marty and lost all 5 of his dice at the start.


Evening's Soundtrack:

The Beatles, White Album
Nine Inch Nails, The Fragile
Pink Floyd, The Wall
The Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
The Who, Tommy

Double albums in celebration of Bob & Katie's new twins, Rory Haag Kirk and Quinn Corley Kirk, born Friday June 2. Too bad Bob was the Devil this week and couldn't make it, but I suppose the birth of your first 2 children is a reasonable excuse to miss RussCon.

Speaking of CDs, on Friday June 9 Waterloo Records & Video is donating 10% of all sales to the Save Our Springs Alliance.


Rank ratings:
 1.0000 Clayton (1 game played)
 0.8333 Marty (3)
 0.5294 ChrisH (5)
 0.5000 JP (6)
 0.5000 Daniel (5)
 0.3846 William (4)
 0.0909 Jeffles (6)
-0.0435 Matt (6)
-0.0667 BobR (4)
-0.2400 RussW (7)
-0.2500 Mindy (2)
-0.2632 Carly (5)
-0.3000 Susan (6)
-0.3182 PJ (5)
-0.3333 Jerrie (2)
-0.4000 Allen (4)
-0.4545 Dan (3)
-0.6250 JonathanC (4)

New Win ratings:
 1.0000 Clayton (1)
 0.8333 Marty (3)
 0.6154 William (4)
 0.3182 JP (6)
 0.2500 Daniel (5)
 0.2353 ChrisH (5)
 0.0909 Jeffles (6)
-0.0526 Carly (5)
-0.1304 Matt (6)
-0.1333 BobR (4)
-0.2222 Jerrie (2)
-0.2273 PJ (5)
-0.2500 Mindy (2)
-0.2500 JonathanC (4)
-0.2667 Allen (4)
-0.2800 RussW (7)
-0.3000 Susan (6)
-0.4545 Dan (3)

Clayton pulled off the rare and dangerous Brady Maneuver! You must play more than one game to be Devil, so Marty is the Devil. JP is Vice-Devil, then ChrisH, then William, then Daniel, then Jeffles. I win the Dedicated Award.


Another Silly Contest:

There have been frequent requests lately (pretty much all from the same person, hi Daniel!) to show a cumulative ratings list from all RussCon games for the past 2.5 years. When I do this, I can also make a table of how many times each game was played.

So Daniel will have to wait another few days, because this prompts another contest:

What were the 5 most-played RussCon games over the past 2.5 years? Email me your list (with the most played game first). Your score will be the number of insert/delete operations of game titles I must do on your list to make it correct. Low score wins a lavish prize consisting at the very least of extreme fame and glory. A perfect zero wins the Balanced Jeffles Bonus Award. (I have no idea what that is, but I'm sure Jeffles can help me out with this one.) Contest ends in a few days when I get around to putting these cumulative records up at the website.

For bonus points, how many recorded games are there? And how many distinct titles have been played?



BobR (and anyone else who needs a copy of Survive rules) should go here:

Carlton Sherwood Frappingsworth, Emotional Tampon:

Sluggy Freelance is one of the more popular webcomics, and rightly so:

The Society for Unraveling the Eyeless Blonde Conspiracy:

"AdCritic.com was created for those who find advertising more than just an annoyance between TV shows." I don't watch television these days, but I can keep my finger on the pulse of pop culture and watch significant pop artistic artifacts of our times like the deeply sophisticated whassup commercials at this site, run by folks who seem to really like commercials.

Speaking of consumerist marketing, William recently saw for sale a clear plastic bag with a rubber ball and some rubber bands. The purpose of this consumer toy is to make your own rubber band ball. It comes with complete instructions on this task and costs $5. What a bargain! If you find yourself unduly swayed by advertising, get an antidote at Adbusters:

Here's a story about anti-spammer hacking:


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