June 11 2003 RussCon Report

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Evening's Soundtrack
21 of us played 18 games. Big crowd again finally, including newcomer Katy (though she seems familiar to me, yet I don't find previous Katy entries in the database...)
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Ko Fight Club Check out my webcomics.
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.


Dan brought his latest creation, a Campanile Dice Tower. Most impressive! Many folks had fun trying it out with single dice or groups of dice making ringing and clunking sounds as they tumbled down the tower.

This weekend I'm off to Houston for an unusual family gathering... Sunday is Father's Day as well as my brother's 40th birthday, and my mom is hosting a lunch for all of us and various other family friends. My parents have been divorced for decades but get along ok when they chat occasionally, but there's not been a gathering like this in I don't know how long.

The Italian Job is a pretty decent caper film, although I didn't love it. It may help popularize small cars again, which would be a good thing, though.

Game Results

Blokus4Clayton 3 Robby 1 Katy -1 PJ -3
TajMahal4JP 3 Marty 0 MarkG 0 MarkY -3
Transamerica4Pauline 3 Justin 1 Fina -1 RussD -3
MysteryOfTheAbbey4Matt 3 Steve 1 Dan -1 RussW -3
Tichu2( Ben Whendy ) 1 ( Fred MarkH ) -1
Chrononauts3Robby 2 Clayton -1 Katy -1
Exxtra4Ben 3 MarkH 1 Whendy -1 Fred -3
Clans4MarkY 3 MarkG 1 PJ -1 JP -3
Hare&Tortoise4William 3 Robby 1 Steve -1 Katy -3
ParisParis4Fina 3 Matt 0 RussW 0 Dan -3
DasAmulett3PJ 2 JP 0 MarkG -2
DasAmulett3PJ 2 MarkG 0 JP -2
Carcassonne4RussD 3 Pauline 1 Clayton -1 Justin -3
UndTschuess4RussD 3 PJ 1 Justin -1 MarkG -3
Caesar&Cleopatra2RussW 1 Fina -1
Tichu2( Steve MarkY ) 1 ( Matt William ) -1
TallyHo2RussW 1 JP -1
Bluff6PJ 5 MarkY 3 Justin 1 MarkG -1 RussD -3 William -5

I really wanted to like Mystery of the Abbey. It's a murdery mystery game analogous to Clue, with a Name of the Rose sort of theme and pretty components. Unfortunately, the suspect cards are continually being passed among players, so keeping track of meta information seems unwieldy at best and useless at worst. And the game has asking an arbitrary question as a central mechanic, but frequently the questions seemed useless (and can be refused anyway). (The rules specifically note that any question is legal to ask as long as the answer doesn't involving naming specific suspect monks. This naturally led to much mirth as we considered forcing people to answer questions like "Matt, have you ever had grouop sex?" or "Dan, do you like the smell of your own poop?") It ultimately boiled down to sheer luck too at the end as I knew it had to be 1 of 2 suspects and I had 1 chance to make an accusation which, if correct, would give me the win, and if wrong, would make me have last place. 50% chance. I guessed wrong. Woohoo. Finally, the game took too long. Maybe it would go faster once people are familiar with it. Sadly, I don't feel compelled to find out. (Though the "truth-or-dare" style of play might be amusing...)

Paris Paris, on the other hand, was a great little German game in the classic simple elegant short tradition. It's mostly a placement game; Dan compared it to Web of Power. Nice clean system with interesting choices and good suspense as to who's really winning.

I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't cruelly mock JP for the 2nd round of our Tally Ho game (the first round of which was pretty close: JP beat me by 5 points)... in the 2nd round, I killed 7 of his 8 hunters, both lumberjacks, about 15 ducks and pheasants, and JP only managed to kill 2 trees. It was estimated (but not bothered to formally count) that I won by somewhere between 70 and 90 points... The most lopsided Tally Ho score I've ever witnessed. Such exquisite sweet victory!


New Multiplicative Rank Ratings:
 2.6027 13.5000 PJ
 2.0794 8.0000 Ben
 1.9095 6.7500 Robby
 1.7918 6.0000 Pauline
 1.6094 5.0000 MarkY
 0.6931 2.0000 Matt
 0.6931 2.0000 Steve
 0.5754 1.7778 Clayton
 0.4700 1.6000 RussD
 0.2877 1.3333 Fina
 0.2877 1.3333 Whendy
 0.0000 1.0000 RussW
 0.0000 1.0000 Marty
-0.2877 0.7500 MarkH
-1.0986 0.3333 William
-1.0986 0.3333 Justin
-1.7918 0.1667 JP
-1.7918 0.1667 Dan
-2.0794 0.1250 Fred
-2.1972 0.1111 Katy
-2.3671 0.0938 MarkG

New Multiplicative Win Ratings:
 3.1259 22.7812 PJ won 3 of 6
 2.3026 10.0000 RussD won 2 of 4
 2.0794 8.0000 Ben won 2 of 2
 1.6094 5.0000 MarkY won 2 of 4
 1.0986 3.0000 Pauline won 1 of 2
 0.8109 2.2500 RussW won 2 of 4
 0.6931 2.0000 Clayton won 1 of 3
 0.5232 1.6875 Robby won 1 of 3
 0.5108 1.6667 William won 1 of 3
 0.4055 1.5000 Matt won 1 of 3
 0.4055 1.5000 Fina won 1 of 3
 0.4055 1.5000 Whendy won 1 of 2
 0.1178 1.1250 Steve won 1 of 3
-0.2877 0.7500 Marty won 0 of 1
-0.4055 0.6667 JP won 1 of 5
-0.5754 0.5625 Dan won 0 of 2
-0.9808 0.3750 MarkH won 0 of 2
-0.9808 0.3750 Fred won 0 of 2
-0.9808 0.3750 Katy won 0 of 3
-1.0454 0.3516 Justin won 0 of 4
-1.8563 0.1562 MarkG won 0 of 6
devil graph

PJ is the Devil, as the spiffy graph makes clear. Ben and RussD are Co-Vice-Devils. Then Robby, Pauline, and MarkY. Then Matt, Clayton, and RussW. MarkG is the Genererous Angel. Our Most Assiduous Reader will notice I'll be experimenting with the layout to incorporate the two tables of ratings and the partial order graph.

Meta Game

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

Having spent a good chunk of the week-end at the Texas Folklife Festival, I'm ready to celebrate the diversity of traditional folk music. We will play 5 mystery CD's of traditional music from my (truly vast) collection of world music recordings. Each CD will contain music from a different country, and whoever is able to identify the most countries wins the metagame. 5 points will be awarded for each correct identification, and 1 point for each neighboring country incorrectly guessed as the real location. Each entry is limited to 10 guesses, and only 2 incorrect guesses will be allowed to count for points for each bordering country. (In other words if one of the countries was Russia, and you guessed Korea, Moldavia, Finland, Germany and Kazakhstan, you would only get 2 points, not 5.) I reserve the right to be somewhat arbitrary about what constitutes a neighboring country in the case of island nations but I will be favorably inclined towards related ethnicities.

This was an enjoyable change of pace. Mark made 5 custom mix CDs with various music from the 5 countries. It was also funny how much Mark overestimated our knowledge of folk music from around the world. ("The language in those songs is obviously Basque." "Uh, yeah, of course...") Only 3 of us even felt confident enough to submit entries!

Justin earned 1 point for guessing: Congo, Brazil, Russia, Panama, Singapore, Iran, China (1), Egypt, Argentina, Germany.

Matt earned 2 points for guessing: Canada, UK, Vietnam, Mali, India, China (1), South Africa, Malaysia (1), Indonesia, Micronesia.

I earned 12 points (!) for guessing: Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Romania, Spain (5), Brazil, Japan, China (1), Haiti (5), Dominican Republic (1).

Clearly this was a lot of music unfamiliar to most of us! I correctly identified Spain by chance, since the CD I was thinking was possibly from Spain was in fact from Madagascar!

The 5 countries actually represented were: Spain, Sweden, Madagascar, Burma, Haiti. I feel proud to have gotten Haiti right (and its neighbor Dominican Republic), and the Burmese music sounds Japanese or Chinese (China borders Burma). The Madagascar was totally confusing to me: I was thinking Spanish or South American. The Swedish was interesting: at one point I actually thought it might be scandinavian, but other times it sounded Celtic or Middle Eastern. The actual Spanish music had bagpipes, and Fina and I both thought it was Celtic... Speaking of bagpipes, it seems Mark plays bagpipes, so I suggest they be played at RussCon sometime, perhaps as part of a future Meta Game next time Mark is Meta Devil! Meanwhile, I am the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game.

Evening's Soundtrack

Traditional folk music of Spain
Traditional folk music of Sweden
Traditional folk music of Madagascar
Traditional folk music of Burma
Traditional folk music of Haiti

Another of those pesky meta themes, of course!

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! i'm not gonna have a 20 inch pink tower.
i mean, i'm not gonna have another 20 inch pink tower.