January 16 2002 RussCon Report

sea biscuit's cake

Game Results
Meta Party Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
18 of us played 18 games. So is new guy Zach/Zack spelled with an h or a k? I've seen both in The Book...
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This week was approximately the 4th anniversary of RussCon -- thanks to Sea Biscuit for bringing a home-made celebratory cake!

There are currently 154 people entered in the RussCon database, about 0.75 new persons/week. So there's been much turnover, and many one-timers, yet quite a few folks remain from the early days. Newcomers may not remember the days when there wasn't a table in the kitchen, or the hot weeks when my AC failed, or the time Jay shattered the 4 foot square sheet of glass because he thought it wouldn't break if he stepped exactly in the center of it, or our distinguished visitor from England, or the various philosophical mathematical debates and proposals about rating systems, or the game of Titan that lasted two RussCons, or that there was a time when Tichu had never been played at RussCon, or the time Squeaky said "This could very well be a Flash Gordon book", or the time Randy said, "I can't reach Climax!"

There weren't always cushions on the floor either; remember when we'd take turns lying on our stomachs so others could sit on our butts? Or the great dice shortage of '99, when we resorted to using the newspaper stock market pages to get random numbers. Or the early days when there was no CD player, and I provided musical entertainment by hand-farting. Or that unfortunate experimental game of live action Kill Doctor Lucky.

Clandestine will be here in a few weeks, on Friday February 1. Whendy is organizing a little birthday expedition for me... all are welcome; we'll be doing the Veggie Heaven dinner beforehand, then the early show, then perhaps over to Great Hall for gaming afterward. Stay tuned!

Some of us saw F.W. Murnau's Faust at the Alamo -- great silent film classic, and great performance of original score by Golden Arm Trio. In other movie news, 2001 is showing at the Paramount 2:00, 5:00, 8:00 Sat/Sun and 8:00 Monday/Tuesday. Russ sez check it out!

Ralph Nader will be speaking in Austin January 26, along with music by Patti Smith and Jackson Browne, plus Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower. Could be interesting! Info here.

Game Results

Cloud96Jeffles 5 Ben 3 William 1 Clayton -1 JP -3 Marty -5
WebOfPower3RussW 2 BobR 0 Dan -2
PigPile4Marty 3 Dan 1 BobR -1 Jeffles -3
Tichu2( JimG Ben ) 1 ( William Zach ) -1
Tichu2( William Jeffles ) 1 ( Ben Dan ) -1
RoyalTurf6Whindy 5 RussW 3 JP 1 Daniel -1 Clayton -4 MarkY -4
Bohnanza6RussD 4 BobR 4 Marty 1 Zach -2 JimG -2 JonathanC -5
Carcassonne5Daniel 4 JP 2 Whindy 0 RussW -2 Clayton -4
Metro3RussD 2 JonathanC 0 Zach -2
TajMahal5Carly 4 Marty 2 BobR 0 MarkY -2 JimG -4
Acquire5Whindy 4 RussW 2 JP 0 Daniel -2 Whendy -4
ZirkusFlohcati5Daniel 4 RussW 2 Whindy 0 Whendy -2 JP -4
VomKapBisKairo3Marty 2 JimG 0 RussD -2
WhatsThatOnMyHead4MarkY 3 JonathanC 1 Carly -1 Zach -3
Babel2Ben 1 Dan -1
WasSticht4Jeffles 3 Ben 1 William -1 Dan -3
QuoVadis4JP 3 RussW 1 MarkY -1 JimG -3
TallyHo2Daniel 1 Whindy -1

Lots of new games played: Royal Turf, Pig Pile, Vom Kap bis Kairo, Babel, Was Sticht... Also thanks to Jeffles for donating the game of Shark (which I'd just read good stuff about in Marty's Counter magazine; apparently it's a classic old game analogous to Acquire) -- we'll need to play Shark soon!

Royal Turf is a simple elegant Knizia betting game, in the spirit of Titan the Arena (players bet on horses and influence the horses' success). I liked it, except it took too long.

I played Babel with Brady a few Fridays ago at Great Hall Games, and it's a cool 2-player game which I'm glad to see finally got played at RussCon.

Vom Kap bis Kairo was a train-building card game I tried to read the rules for and found some vague ambiguities, and it didn't look very appealing to me. But Marty found a different translation and swears they all thought it was good fun.

Meta Party Game

Sea Biscuit was the Meta Devil. Here is the Meta Game he emailed out:
Okay, I forgot I'm the meta devil until Whendy reminded me last night. So this is the best I can do on short notice:

Tonight's metagame is Alphabet Soup. You earn 1 point for each letter of the alphabet which appears in the title of a game you play tonight. For example, if your only games of the night are Carcassone and Tichu, you will earn eleven points for {C,A,R,S,O,N,E,T,I,H,U}. The player with the most points wins. Ties will be broken by the number of letters of which you have at least 2 copies, and so forth.

Articles (e.g. "the", "die") DO count. Subtitles (e.g. "Cosmic Encounter: the game that breaks its own rules") and other stuff printed on the box DO NOT. Letters with an accent, umlaut, etc. count as their unaccented English-alphabet counterpart; characters without a clear English counterpart do not count. Digits don't count, and you can't spell out a number unless it's printed that way on the box. If a game has more than one title (e.g. a German and an English title), use the one that's printed on the box of the copy you're playing. Please record the full title of every game in the book (including articles and such).

And, since Russ suggested "something involving Stephenson's Rocket": you get an extra point if you get all of the letters in "Stephenson's Rocket", (regardless of whether you played the game itself). This extra point also applies to your score in every tiebreaking round.

Sea Biscuit learned a hard lesson about designing a Meta Game that's difficult to tally, and it took him quite a while after the gaming wound down to compute the winner (especially with JP laughing at him). His calculations found that Marty, JimG, & I tied with the most points, and by the tiebreaking criterion I was the winner!

One interesting tidbit was the discussion of whether Quo Vadis contains 1 u and 1 v, or 2 v's; Sea Biscuit ruled the latter since it is spelled Qvo Vadis on the box.

Evening's Soundtrack

Tori Amos, Strange Little Girl
Sarah Brightman, Dive
Edwyn Collins, I'm Not Following You
Dick Dale & his Del-Tones, The Best Of
Jeremy Enigk, Return of the Frog Queen

It's meta, of course.


Rank ratings:
 0.5000 Jeffles (4 games played)  
 0.4545 Ben (5)
 0.4444 RussD (3)
 0.4444 Whindy (5)
 0.4286 Carly (2)
 0.3636 RussW (6)
 0.3333 Daniel (5)
 0.2143 BobR (4)
 0.1579 Marty (5)
 0.0000 William (4)
-0.0400 JP (6)
-0.2667 MarkY (4)
-0.4000 JonathanC (3)
-0.5333 JimG (5)
-0.6000 Dan (5)
-0.6429 Clayton (3)
-0.7273 Zach (4)
-0.7500 Whendy (2)
New Win ratings:
 0.6667 Jeffles (4)
 0.5556 RussD (3)
 0.4286 Carly (2)
 0.3889 Daniel (5)
 0.3333 Whindy (5)
 0.0714 BobR (4)
 0.0526 Marty (5)
 0.0000 MarkY (4)
-0.0800 JP (6)
-0.0909 Ben (5)
-0.1364 RussW (6)
-0.2000 William (4)
-0.2143 Clayton (3)
-0.2500 Whendy (2)
-0.2667 JimG (5)
-0.4000 JonathanC (3)
-0.4545 Zach (4)
-0.5000 Dan (5)
Jeffles is clearly the Devil! Ben is Vice-Devil. RussD is Vice-Vice-Devil.


Astronomers Determine Color of the Universe

The IRS's cartoon history of taxes. So, like, who invented this tax thing?

Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about go, including quotes from occasional RussCon attendee JeffS. This article was prompted by the appearance of go in A Beautiful Mind.

Weird NJ.

citizens demand a new stadium
and more cream of alphabet soup