August 15 2001 RussCon Report


Game Results
Meta Party Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
19 of us played 16 games. 19 was certainly more manageable than the previous 2 weeks' recordbreaking crowds!

For some reason I kept calling Brad "Gary": apologies! :)

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Comicollage: daily ongoing comic jam with 7 artists and no planning ahead! There's a russ strip every Tuesday.


I have been playing lots more go lately (online at KGS) and enjoying it. Several of us saw the play Corpus Christi, which I enjoyed, but it had some problems. Also saw sneak preview (thanks Whendy) of The Deep End which was an enjoyable suspense/mystery.

Game Results

6Nimmt6Brad 5 BobR 3 PJ 1 Whendy -1 Bob -3 Fred -5
Metro6JP 4 Clay 4 Steve 1 RussW -1 Clayton -3 Dan -5
NuclearWar6Fred 5 Bob 3 BobR 1 Ben -1 Brad -3 PJ -5
Tayu2Robby 1 Allen -1
Zero4William 3 Bob 1 RussD -1 Fred -3
Cartagena5Dan 4 Clay 2 Fina 0 PJ -2 Ben -4
Carcassonne5JP 4 RussW 2 Brad 0 Clayton -2 Steve -4
Letras3Allen 2 BobR 0 Robby -2
FormulaMotorRacing4PJ 3 Clay 1 Marty -1 Dan -3
Hare&Tortoise4Bob 3 RussD 1 William -1 Fina -3
Tightrope4Dan 3 William 1 Fina -1 RussD -3
Dampfross3JP 2 RussW 0 Brad -2
Zero3Allen 2 RussW 0 PJ -2
Capital4PJ 3 Allen 1 ( Marty RussD ) -1 Bob -3
Zero3Allen 2 RussW 0 PJ -2
Tichu2( Whendy Dan ) 1 ( Fina William ) -1

Yet more Metro being played. Tile placing goodness. Could it be the next Carcassonne?

Tichu also continues its reign of rules-translation terror. I must also mention a game played over the weekend wherein JeffS & I beat Whendy & KevinT (after seeing the play Corpus Christi); on the final round, Jeff & I scored 125 points while Whendy & Kevin scored -225. It was a beautiful thing.

Sea Biscuit wasn't here for our weekly Stephensons Rocket tradition, so we played Dampfross, another fine train game, instead. I am sure Sea Biscuit wishes he had been here to join in.

carcassonneCarcassonne. Mmmm.

I hadn't played Zero in a while. Allen achieved a zero in the first round and stayed ahead. I always do mediocrely at Zero.

It seems Marty dropped out of Capital to go see midnight movie, and RussD took over, hence their being scored as a team.

A reminder: please write and spell clearly when recording game results, make the scores and ranks clear, and remember last initials for people with common names, thanks! Please be clear about Jonathans, Wendys, Bobs, and Tims.

Meta Party Game Results

JP was the Meta Devil! Here is the somewhat verbose game he mailed out:
Loaded Undercut is based on Douglas Hofstadter's game, Undercut. Hofstadter's Undercut is supposed to be just a two player game, but I am adapting it to allow for several players, and include the meta-nature of the meta-game.
Here's how the original Undercut works:
A game consists of several rounds.
In each round, each player secretly bids an integer between 1 and 5, inclusive, then reveal.
If the numbers do not have a difference of one, each player gets the number they bid in points.
If the numbers *do* have a difference of one, the player with the lower number gets his own number, as well as that of the other player. The player with the higher number gets nothing. Hence the name, Undercut. Ending conditions vary. (play X rounds, or to Y points, etc...) Winner is the player with the greatest sum of points from each round. Hofstadter also had a version where one player could pick between 1 and 5, and the other could pick between 2 and 6. This might sound like an advantage for the 2-6 player, but it's actually hard to tell which is better because of undercutting potential.
Hofstadter describes this game and several related ones which are also cool in his article, "Undercut, Flaunt, Pounce, and Mediocrity: Psychological Games with Numbers", which appears in his book Metamagical Themas.

Loaded Undercut rules:
When an ordinary RussCon game finishes, all the players from that game who are playing the meta game should play a round of Loaded Undercut.

Each player in a round of Loaded Undercut secretly picks an integer between 1 and 5, inclusive, and adds their rank value (I'll explain that in a minute) to that number. This is their bid. Players then simultaneously reveal their bids. PlayerA undercuts PlayerB if PlayerA bid 1 less than PlayerB.
1) If a player is undercut, they score no points.
2) If a player is not undercut, they get their bid in points.
3) If one or more players (GroupA) undercut one or more other players (GroupB) (and are not undercut themselves), GroupA divides the sum of GroupB's bids among themselves equally, rounding up, and adds this to their own bids.

Each player gets a "rank value" based on their position in the RussCon game they just finished. (Not based on how bad they smell. That would be a "rankness value".)
If they finished last, their rank value is 0, second to last is 1, and so on, adding 1 for each improvement in rank.
Do not include people who aren't playing the meta game.
People who tie get the same value as each other.
No values are skipped.
People on the same team act as one player, and they each get the full amount of points they score for their one bid.

If RussW placed first in Six Nimmt, Brady second, Carly third, Jeffles and Marty tied for fourth, and I was last, I would get 0 rank points, Jeffles and Marty would each get 1, Carly 2, Brady 3, and RussW 4. Now let's say Brady didn't want to play the Meta-game, then Carly, Marty, Jeffles, and I would stay the same, but RussW would now get 3. That means RussW could bid 4-8, I could bid 1-5, etc...

Now let's say RussW bids 7, Carly 5, Jeffles 6, Marty 5, and myself 2.
RussW and Jeffles are undercut, so they get 0 points. Carly and Marty are the big winners here, racking up 8 points each, 5 for their own bids, and 3 each for undercutting Jeffles, then splitting him. My wussy safe bid of 2 earns me 2 points.

The person with the highest sum of scores wins. I will arbitrarily decide on tiebreakers if needed.

Extraneous Notes:
I don't like that this game rewards playing lots of games, but the only simple methods I could think of for scoring that didn't reward playing lots of games rewarded playing one game, doing well and then quitting, which seemed worse.
I do like the dynamics of large vs. small games. If there are more people, your highest possible score goes up, but your chance of getting 0 goes up as well.
Note that if there is only one player in a game who is playing the meta game, they can rack up 5 points with impunity.
As I am also the devil, it is my duty to propose as many Hofstadter games as I can. ;)Weighted Undercut would probably have been a better name, but loaded was a more, well, loaded term.
Could I *please* use a consistent spelling for M374-G4M3.

This Meta Game might have secretly been a "come up with the most longwinded explanation" meta-meta-game, and it required JP to explain it to people repeatedly in person, but I think it actually was pretty simple and elegant and worked fine. PJ is the winner, with 28 metapoints! So he is next week's Meta Devil, and there are rumors he's had an idea for a Meta Game for a long time now, so I look forward to seeing it.

Evening's Soundtrack

Concrete Blonde, Bloodletting
Pink Floyd, The Final Cut
Shonen Knife, The Birds and the B-sides
Slaughterhouse 5, Wide Open
The Smiths, Meat is Murder

It's meta. I'm such a cut-up.


Rank ratings:
 0.9091 JP (3 games played)   
 0.6000 Allen (5)
 0.5833 Clay (3)
 0.3333 BobR (3)
 0.2000 William (4)
 0.0667 RussW (5)
 0.0526 Bob (5)
 0.0000 Dan (5)
 0.0000 Brad (4)
 0.0000 Whendy (2)
-0.1667 PJ (7)
-0.2308 Fred (3)
-0.3333 Robby (2)
-0.3333 Marty (2)
-0.3333 RussD (4)
-0.3333 Steve (2)
-0.4545 Fina (4)
-0.5556 Ben (2)
-0.5556 Clayton (2)
New Win ratings:
 0.9091 JP (3)
 0.4000 Allen (5)
 0.3125 Dan (5)
 0.2308 Fred (3)
 0.1667 Clay (3)
 0.1250 Brad (4)
 0.0417 PJ (7)
 0.0000 William (4)
 0.0000 Whendy (2)
 0.0000 Robby (2)
-0.0526 Bob (5)
-0.2222 Ben (2)
-0.2500 BobR (3)
-0.3333 Marty (2)
-0.3333 RussD (4)
-0.3333 Steve (2)
-0.3333 Clayton (2)
-0.3636 Fina (4)
-0.4000 RussW (5)
JP is clearly the Devil! Allen is Vice-Devil. (I am confident he will disavow all knowledge of how that was possible.) Amazingly, Whendy has won the Extra Average Award 2 weeks in a row, a very rare feat indeed.


The Secret Connections between "Fight Club" and "Calvin and Hobbes" REVEALED!

Somewhat inexplicable Swedish (I think) Flash weirdness. This is a neat-o electric slot car racing kit simulation implemented with Shockwave! It also take you to a weird surreal tour of a cartoon house.

Cut it out!