May 14 2003 RussCon Report

Game Results
Ratings | FAQ
Meta Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
18 of us played 11 games, including new guy JeffJ (brought by Matt), whom I know from long long ago in the early days of SimTex! Harry's wife Becky and son Thomas John were also here for the first time in a while.
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As you may recall, a majority of people voted not to use yahoogroups and instead to set up our own majordomo mailing list archive. The mailing list has now been set up and activated at; thanks PJ for setting a password protected browsable archive and interface for changing your subscription options. The main practical upshot of this for most people now is that the email address to post emails has changed; instead of russcon ĉe, it is now russcon ĉe! (You do know ĉe is Esperanto for @, right?) will be easier to remember and less confusing than, I hope. I guess we will leave the active for a short transitional period in case there are any unforeseen issues with this change. Other details: since the archive is password-protected, email addresses in posts should be safely concealed from spambots harvesting them. And the list is configured so that nonmembers may not post to it, so we should be protected from spammers posting. What is your password, you may wonder? At the bottom of the administration screen, enter your email address to get to a screen which has an option to email you a reminder of your password (which was randomly generated when you were subscribed to the list). You may then change your password to something you'll remember better. (Don't pick a lame password like "russcon".)

Aspiring Esperantists might want to attend the Austin Esperanto club's meeting Sunday May 18 at 3pm at Texspresso on Anderson. Also I have found Ek, a nice open source Windows keyboard driver to let one directly enter the non-ASCII Esperanto letters into any Unicode-capable program.

Game Results

Settlers4JimG 3 Tim 1 JeffF -2 Fina -2
Tichu2( Dan Ben ) 1 ( MarkH Marty ) -1
FreshFish25RussW 4 BradS 2 Steve 0 Matt -2 JP -4
Exxtra3Fina 2 MarkH 0 Ben -2
Can'tStop3Ben 2 MarkH -1 Harry -1
CarcassonneHunters4RussW 3 Fina 1 William -1 Clayton -3
Guillotine3Fina 2 Clayton 0 RussW -2
AgeOfSteam4JonathanC 3 JeffF 1 JimG -1 JeffJ -3
Carcassonne3Clayton 2 RussW 0 Fina -2
Bluff4JonathanC 3 JeffF 1 RussW -1 Clayton -3
Amun-Re4JP 3 Matt 1 Steve -1 BradS -3

There is an ambiguity now in the game title Fresh Fish, as Our Most Assiduous Reader will recall a few years ago there was a popular trilogy of games including Rotten Fish, Fresh Fish, and some other fish-related game... They were played somewhat often at RussCon, but not in recent memory. I guess I'll call this new Fresh Fish "FreshFish2". It is nothing like the early fish games. This Fresh Fish is quite interestingly bizarre. It involves playing tiles on a grid to try to connect 4 different producer tiles to your own 4 consumer tiles (e.g. dock to fish store, game factory to game store, etc.) and the peculiar nature of the game results from the notion that some of the tiles are road tiles, all of which must end up being one contiguous road network, and every non-road tile must touch a road tile. Thus as the game proceeds certain unplayed grid spaces become determined that they must be roads. This has 2 ramifications: the first is that tactics are nonobvious in your first game, which is fine, though it means the first game can be slow and frustrating and confusing. The second is that we often found ourselves logically debating whether a space now had to be a road or not; as soon as a space is determined, you must put a road tile on it. It's an unusual amount of what I'll loosely call abstract mathematical reasoning and proof required to carry out the game mechanics. I suspect with non-newbie players that part would go faster and more reliably. There is some debate whether the game itself is good or not. I am up for trying it some more.

Age of Steam is, I'm told, a new one in the tradition of Dampfross (and thus Lancashire Railways). It looked (upon quick glance) to have 18xx style hex/track tiles, and appeared to last longer than the average RussCon game, and that's all I know.


New Multiplicative Rank Ratings:   
 2.7726 16.0000 JonathanC (2)
 1.4917 4.4444 RussW (5)
 0.9808 2.6667 JimG (2)
 0.8109 2.2500 Fina (5)
 0.6931 2.0000 Ben (3)
 0.6931 2.0000 Dan (1)
 0.4055 1.5000 Tim (1)
 0.1178 1.1250 JeffF (3)
-0.2231 0.8000 JP (2)
-0.2877 0.7500 Matt (2)
-0.4055 0.6667 William (1)
-0.4055 0.6667 Harry (1)
-0.4055 0.6667 Steve (2)
-0.6931 0.5000 BradS (2)
-0.6931 0.5000 Marty (1)
-1.0986 0.3333 MarkH (3)
-1.3863 0.2500 JeffJ (1)
-1.6740 0.1875 Clayton (4)
New Multiplicative Win Ratings:
 2.7726 16.0000 JonathanC won 2 of 2
 1.8971 6.6667 RussW won 2 of 5
 1.3863 4.0000 Ben won 2 of 3
 1.2164 3.3750 Fina won 2 of 5
 1.1632 3.2000 JP won 1 of 2
 1.0986 3.0000 JimG won 1 of 2
 0.6931 2.0000 Dan won 1 of 1
 0.1178 1.1250 Clayton won 1 of 4
-0.2877 0.7500 Tim won 0 of 1
-0.2877 0.7500 William won 0 of 1
-0.2877 0.7500 JeffJ won 0 of 1
-0.4055 0.6667 Harry won 0 of 1
-0.5108 0.6000 Matt won 0 of 2
-0.5108 0.6000 Steve won 0 of 2
-0.5108 0.6000 BradS won 0 of 2
-0.6931 0.5000 Marty won 0 of 1
-0.8630 0.4219 JeffF won 0 of 3
-1.5041 0.2222 MarkH won 0 of 3

Oh sad irony that Sea Biscuit is the Devil, but we shall not see him around RussCon for a while due to his culinary exploits in San Francisco. I am the Vice-Devil. Ben and JimG and Fina are Co-Vice-Vice-Devils (and I believe JimG said he'd be absent for a while as well, alas.)

Meta Game

JimG was the Meta Devil. Here is the Meta Game he mailed out:

"In a hole, there lived a hobbit."

And for the meta game, you are a hobbit, whose task is to journey to a certain mountain to dispose of a little trifle! Here's how you make that journey.

At RussCon, there will be a map of Middle Earth (ICE version from MECCG) available. This map will allow you to chart your journey to Mt. Doom, which is the object of the meta game. You will "move" to your destination via "site" cards, a deck of which will be provided on the piano.

Here's how you obtain site cards:

a) As you arrive, pick 5 site cards. Feel free to check them against the map to determine where they are located. Each card shows the name of the region the site is located in, to help (a little, I'm afraid, if you aren't very familiar with the game!) in finding it on the map.
b) At the conclusion of each game you play, you may draw (2+ the number of players you beat) additional site cards.
c) Trade cards with other players. Whatever deal you can work is fine with me.
d) Answering the question below correctly allows a one time draw of an additional number of cards equal to the answer (you must verify answer with me):
"What is the magic number? Why, its equal to: the number of different mountians Bilbo visited + the number of different mountains Frodo visited + the number of different mountains Gollum visited!" (NB: in each case, the visit must have been mentioned in a Tolkien novel, and a character's visits may be to the same mountain as other characters).

Here's the way to use them:

Form a consecutive path of site cards to Mt Doom starting from either Lorien, Rivendell or Bag End, using one card per region. No regions may be skipped, and only one site card per region is necessary to move through the region.

In place of obtaining a given site, a pair of Havens (two of the same of either Rivendell, Lorien, Grey Havens or Edhellond) may be used as a wild card for any site. You may use as many wild card pairs as necessary, but must start at a site you actually have (only Bag End is not a haven).

The winner is the player who makes the journey. In case of ties, completing the journey from Bag End > from Rivendell > from Lorien. If further ties occur, player having an actual Mt. Doom card as part of his/her path wins. If further ties occur, player having the most actual cards of the following in their path wins: Moria, Dead Marshes, Barrow Downs, Amon Hen. Players must verify their paths we me or Russ.

The Road Goes Ever Onward, Down from the Door Where It Began! Fare Well!!

The cards and map which Jim supplied were quite pretty and interesting looking. He says the CCG is fun but rather complex and requires a bit of an investment to really get into, alas.

Anyway, there were apparently 2 competitors who completed the journey: Fina and Matt. However Fina was the only one to make it all the way from Bag End, so Fina is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Amy Atchley, Speeding
Run Lola Run, original motion picture soundtrack
Jane Siberry, The Walking
Supertramp, Brother Where You Bound
Roger Waters, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking

The road goes ever on...

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