|23 of us played 15 games. Welcome new person Helen. (Helen is only the 2nd RussCon name to start with H. Since JP donated his New Zealand stamps to me, if someone wants a New Zealand 40c Gandalf and Saruman stamp, I'll pass it along to the first person to email me correctly identifying the other RussCon H name. Wow, I feel like Monty Hall!)||
There will be another Austin peace rally and march on Saturday April 5.
Also: Sunday April 6 there will be a performance art sort of protest/demo thingie. The event will take place in the grove of trees on the E side of Lamar, just south of San Gabriel (which is the street South of 29th). It is designed to be seen by the passengers of passing cars. The entire piece will occur over a 5 hour period on Sunday, from 12-5. More info in the email I received about it.
If you're going to Houston this weekend, Houston Go Club will be hosting a go event in Houston this weekend as part of the Japan Festival in Hermann Park. And there is the upcoming April 26 Houston tournament.
Reminder that Allen will be hosting a big birthday party at his place April 12 from 2pm onward. I encourage you to go because it should be fun, and so I can atone for saying terrible cruel vile things about Istanbul!
As mentioned in last week's RussCon Report, there are occasional problems with the russcon mailing list (with mail being delayed or lost). Plus it's hosted by Marty's friends at cws.org and Marty will be moving away soon. So I'm considering moving the mailing list to yahoogroups. I am on many yahoogroups mailing lists (for webcomics, software, games, etc.) and personally am happy with them. The benefits we would gain include:
The drawbacks are that emails have an advertisement appended, and that it might be a brief hassle for you getting set up if you're not already on any yahoogroups lists (I'm not sure whether it's a hassle now or not). If I make this move, I should be able to move all the existing email addresses over to yahoo, so in theory it should be pretty simple and transparent. Possibly the only real change from your point of view would be that to post messages to the russcon list, you would email them to a different email address.
So far I've heard one "yes" vote, with a question about whether the russcon message archives would be private on yahoogroups. (Yes, they would.) Anyone else have question or concerns? If not I will probably do the changeover sometime in the next week or so.
|Blokus||4||JonathanC 3 RussW 1 Allen -1 Fina -3|
|Tichu||2||( MarkH Ben ) 1 ( JimG TimG ) -1|
|Entdecker||3||Carly 2 JeffF 0 JP -2|
|Hive||2||MarkG 1 Helen -1|
|Tichu||2||( Whendy Steve ) 1 ( Dan Fred ) -1|
|Exxtra||6||Ben 5 MarkH 3 JimG 1 MarkY -1 William -3 TimG -5|
|Evo||3||Helen 2 MarkG 0 Justin -2|
|Tichu||2||( JeffF JP ) 1 ( Ben MarkY ) -1|
|Settlers||6||William 5 Steve 3 MarkH 1 Carly -2 JimG -2 Fred -5|
|Istanbul||5||( Allen PJ ) 4 Clayton 2 Fina 0 RussW -2 JonathanC -4|
|ZirkusFlohcati||5||Carly 4 William 2 MarkY 0 RussD -2 Steve -4|
|WebOfPower||4||RussW 3 RussD 1 Carly -1 Steve -3|
|Guillotine||5||Carly 4 Steve 2 MarkY 0 RussW -2 RussD -4|
|Blokus||4||JP 3 RussW 1 Justin -1 RussD -3|
|Ra||4||JP 3 MarkG 1 Helen -1 Justin -3|
We got to introduce more folks (Allen and Justin) to the wonderful game Blokus. Yay. This really is a brilliant elegant fast abstract strategy game.
Istanbul is Allen and PJ's homebrew game, last played 2001-10-03. This playtest session saw improved spiffy prototype components, but it played slowly (about 2.5 hours; Allen was expecting it to be 1 hour) and we had various rules confusions/ambiguities/uncertainties. Hopefully we gave useful feedback! Having pondered it some more, here's my personal take on Istanbul: I felt too much at the mercy of the cards (including some very powerful special effect cards) and didn't have enough control or ability to make long term plans; I felt I was always just reacting to the immediate situation and cards I was dealt. I enjoy that in a short fast simple game like Guillotine, but it's not good for 2.5 hours. The theme is building monuments in Turkey that may last from ancient times to modern times, through a dozen eras of invaders who often ruin a lot of monuments. I think building things is enjoyable and emotionally satisfying for many players, and it's a good game theme. But the monuments are very fragile as the game stands, and it's hard to build many, and it becomes increasingly cost-ineffective to rebuild them, so instead of satisfaction at a collection of long-standing monuments, you mostly have a frustration as your monuments keep getting destroyed. (Having a much larger number of build chits available in each era could help these issues a lot.) Any monument with colored cards in it seemed very likely to be doomed, so the only clear way to have a chance of an ancient monument surviving till the end (and thus scoring big points) is to build it with white cards, and it's pure luck whether you get any of those early on. And even then you need a special museum card to keep opponents from adding a colored card "improvement" to your monument. Poor Sea Biscuit spent several turns with no monuments at all. There are a lot of special bits of rules chrome that seemed to never come into play, or that didn't seem to add play value in proportion to the additional rules complexity generated. E.g. practically no trading or use of "licenses" (special effect of some monument cards) occurred or taking a card from a neighbor monument. A game it reminds me of is Credo, another historically themed game with a fundamentally appealing theme and core idea and lots of cards, but a variety of weird special (and occasionally unclear) rules and lengthy game play and a feeling of just reacting to the cards you are dealt. (Take all this critique with a grain of salt as Allen and I have different tastes as to the balance of simplicity vs chrome and pure gameplay vs simulation.) Istanbul's basic theme and core gameplay ideas seem sound and interesting to me. Having the final wave of invaders be modern tourists is a cute touch. I personally feel like there could be a simple elegant game struggling to emerge, but that's my bias.
Dropping one advisor in Italien during my last turn earned me 12 points and victory in Web of Power. Woot!
Chumbawamba, English Rebel Songs 1381-1914
Black 47, Fire of Freedom
Bobby Horton, Homespun Songs of the Union Army
Pink Floyd, The Final Cut
i pity the fool