April 23 2003 RussCon Report

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Meta Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
19 of us played 13 games, including new guy Kiet (friend of Justin).
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Comicollage: daily ongoing comic jam with 7 artists and no planning ahead! There's a russ strip every Tuesday.
I make exquisite corpses at deepmachines.


This Report is later than normal since JP convinced me to go to Houston for a go tournament, and then Sunday we rushed back for an Austin Esperanto meeting at 3pm. It didn't help that on the way back along I10 we failed to notice the 71 exit and didn't realize we'd missed it until we hit Flatonia. By then it looked best to keep going and exit at Luling to turn north up 183 to Austin, adding roughly 30 miles to our trip, which was less than what it would be to backtrack. So we made the Luling exit onto 183, thinking at least now we couldn't go wrong since it's 183 all the way to Austin. Imagine our surprise after another 20 minutes or so when we hit I10 again. It seems JP somehow got off 183 and we were heading west parallel to I10 and rejoined it. So now it was just a short way to exit on 123 (if I recall) and go north to San Marcos and hit I35. Naturally the entrance ramps to I35 in San Marcos were closed for miles, and I35 itself was moving very slow due to construction, an accident, and god knows what else. Finally we got cruising on I35, till we hit Austin and it was a standstill, so we exited Riverside to head west across town and north up Mopac (the meeting was moved late in the week from Borders Westgate to be at Texspresso on Anderson)... All in all it was impressive we were only a half hour late for the Esperanto meeting, which turned out to be a fun friendly bunch of people and quite enjoyable.

Mail Call: I have heard from Randy, who reports that despite the Iraq war he is still safely living in the United Arab Emirates (where Our Most Assiduous Reader will recall he teaches math to nubile young college women) and has also become interested in Esperanto due to my recent obsessive babblings about it (he's also learning Italian!). And those on the mailing list know we got word from Daniel, who's stuck in a tent in Kuwait playing Puerto Rico a lot. Meanwhile, I got a letter in Hungarian from Jeffles whose traveling about for his birthday (probably in Lojbanistan by now).

The Texas Showdown on May 3 is a conglomeration of various progressive/liberal causes, at least some of which I suspect many folks are interested in. I plan to check it out.

Ok, the Great Mailing List Question has been settled, partly by more people voting "nay", and partly by PJ generously offering to set it up at place.org with privately viewable archives. PJ's got that pretty much set up and we've both done some testing and tweaking, but I've been so fricking busy that I'm not sure everything is fully set up yet the way I envision... hopefully in the coming week this will get finalized. Stay tuned for an official announcement. Multajn dankojn al PJ!

Game Results

Exxtra4Allen 3 Steve 1 Fred -1 Ben -3
Lifeboat6Marty 5 JimG 3 MarkH 1 Dan -1 JP -3 RussW -5
Cosmic4Allen 3 Dudley 1 William -1 Deborah -3
CarcassonneTraders2Matt 1 Clayton -1
PuertoRico5JimG 4 RussW 2 MarkH 0 JP -2 Dan -4
Bluff5JP 4 MarkH 2 JimG 0 Dan -2 RussW -4
Blokus4RussD 3 RussW 0 JP 0 Dan -3
Citadels5Allen 4 Kiet 2 William 0 Matt -3 Justin -3
Tichu2( Ben Harry ) 1 ( Fred Steve ) -1
Tightrope4Kiet 3 Allen 1 William -2 Justin -2
Bluff3William 2 Kiet 0 Justin -2
CarcassonneTraders3Matt 2 RussD 0 JP -2
Can'tStop3William 2 Justin -1 Kiet -1

JimG brought a new card game Lifeboat which is sort of in the spirit of Cheapass Games, in that it has cheap components with fun art and flavor text. Indeed as low budget components go, I thought these were very nice indeed. The darkly humorous theme is 6 survivors in a lifeboat, fighting (often each other) for survival. I really wanted to like it. I really did. But it had clunky murky rules (at least as Jim explained them, heh), certain highly variable luck in secret goal cards at the start of the game, plus it lasted too long. The fact that it's possible for everyone to die (and indeed looks rather likely to me) doesn't bother me (there's still a victor, and it's possible to win even if you die and some others survive). The core idea and theme of the game is sound. I got the feeling it was the first design by some enthusiastic creative amateurs who didn't do enough playtesting.

It had been several months since I last played Puerto Rico, so I was rusty. Plus Dan and I kept distracting ourselves by singing ridiculous songs, so I was pretty surprised and pleased to come in second. Meanwhile MarkH figured out the trick to William's puzzle box meta prize and kept removing the marble and putting it back into the mysterious wooden box.

Blokus continues to delight and enchant. I had a silly brain fart at the end which caused me to lost a couple points and tie for 2nd with JP instead of having 2nd by myself. Oh well.

The new Carcassonne Traders expansion seems to be getting popular. I feel a certain resistance to it since it seems to add a lot of additional chrome and scoring and length, but enough people are telling me it's cool that I guess I will try it out eventually.


New Multiplicative Rank Ratings:  
 4.7875 120.0000 Allen (4)
 2.5257 12.5000 JimG (3)
 1.7918 6.0000 Marty (1)
 1.6740 5.3333 Kiet (4)
 1.3863 4.0000 RussD (2)
 1.0986 3.0000 William (5)
 0.9808 2.6667 MarkH (3)
 0.8755 2.4000 Matt (3)
 0.6931 2.0000 Harry (1)
 0.4055 1.5000 Dudley (1)
-0.2877 0.7500 Steve (2)
-0.6931 0.5000 Ben (2)
-0.6931 0.5000 Clayton (1)
-1.0986 0.3333 Fred (2)
-1.0986 0.3333 JP (5)
-1.3863 0.2500 Deborah (1)
-2.7081 0.0667 RussW (4)
-3.1135 0.0444 Justin (4)
-3.9766 0.0188 Dan (4)
New Multiplicative Win Ratings:
 4.0943 60.0000 Allen won 3 of 4
 1.7918 6.0000 Marty won 1 of 1
 1.5686 4.8000 Matt won 2 of 3
 1.3987 4.0500 William won 2 of 5
 1.2040 3.3333 JimG won 1 of 3
 0.9808 2.6667 RussD won 1 of 2
 0.6931 2.0000 Harry won 1 of 1
 0.5108 1.6667 JP won 1 of 5
 0.4055 1.5000 Ben won 1 of 2
 0.3522 1.4222 Kiet won 1 of 4
-0.2877 0.7500 Deborah won 0 of 1
-0.2877 0.7500 Dudley won 0 of 1
-0.6286 0.5333 MarkH won 0 of 3
-0.6931 0.5000 Clayton won 0 of 1
-0.9163 0.4000 Dan won 0 of 4
-0.9163 0.4000 RussW won 0 of 4
-0.9808 0.3750 Fred won 0 of 2
-0.9808 0.3750 Steve won 0 of 2
-1.3218 0.2667 Justin won 0 of 4

Allen is the Devil for the 2nd week in a row! Marty and JimG are Co-Vice-Devils! Matt, William, RussD, Kiet are Co-Vice-Vice-Devils.

Meta Game

Deborah was the Meta Devil. Here is the Meta Game she mailed out:

This Wednesday the meta game will be "Tourette's Tunes".

The rules are very simple. To earn points you must simply break into song throughout the evening. Of course, nonsense lyrics, cursing, and general spastic behavior will earn you extra points! (Insert your own visual of Dana Carvey's SNL "Geek, Dweeb, or Spaz" character singing his heart out!)

Point Scale:

Singing one lyric and one verse:
solo 2 points
group 1 point

Singing the entire song:
solo 6 points
group 3 points

Raunchy, nonsense, or offensive lyrics earn an extra point per song. (Think Nick Cave, Eminem, or your favorite rap or thrash group!)

Keep track of your own points. Russ can break any ties with a random method of his choice.

Within a short while of this being mailed out, I got emails like:

man i wish i could be there for that! (moloch)
Oh, man I wish I was going to be there. I would *rule*. (Jay)
I think I got the spastic behavior part down pat! (Dan)
Now THIS is a meta-game worth showing up for! :) (JeffS)

This reminds me of my cow-orker Tony's story of he and friends finding a French wine named Tourette's, so they bought it for a party and cursed uncontrollably.

Anyway, Deborah apparently was the first to sing (tucked away back in the Tichu Room where the rest of us couldn't hear her!) So Dan and I opened with a bit of our traditional hobbit favorite and then lit up the place like a silmaril the rest of the night, including a popular Beatles medley with classics like Strawberry Fucks Forever, Sgt. Fucker's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and (the most popular) Let It Fuck. ("When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Fucker comes to me...") Keeping score and calculating a winner was an intractable accounting problem, but it seemed widely agreed Dan and I had won the most points. It was then observed by our adoring fans that although Dan and I had both sung for most of the evening, Dan had done more spastic behavior than I, and therefore surely earned more meta points than me. So Dan is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Hamlet, Music from the Motion Picture
Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Michael Nyman, Prospero's Books
William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
Tromeo & Juliet

No one seemed to know that April 23 is Shakespeare's birthday!

In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, I leave you with a winning entry from a Washington Post contest to write instructions for something in the style of a famous person:

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

-- by William Shakespeare
(Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)

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