September 10 2003 RussCon Report

Game Results
Ratings | FAQ
Meta Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
15 of us played 12 games, including new person Drew (friend of Matt). (There was once another Drew (friend of Brady's) at a couple RussCons.)
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san-franciskoDaniel was the first to correctly identify this board art from last week's contest: it is from the classic old SPI futuristic wargame After The Holocaust. Congratulations to Daniel, and also to Alfred who also correctly identified it not long after Daniel. I am not surprised both of them knew it! (Daniel wrote: "I am on a 4 day pass in Qatar. But if you ask a wargame question get a wargamer to answer.") So each of you guys can have a wargame from my collection next time you're here... sucks that you're both not in Austin... Also, MarkG and Whendy guessed it might be from a pirate game... arrrrh, ye scurvy landlubbers!

Whendy & I had a fun time in San Francisco visiting Sea Biscuit (including seeing the movie Seabiscuit). Several cool art museums and galleries, including a museum of comic art. Muir Woods with its beautiful huge peaceful redwood trees. Etc. Not counting the annual go congress (which is a different kettle of fish), this was my first real "fly to a fun place and hang out and sightsee" type vacation in 5 years, amazingly. Thanks to Sea Biscuit for hosting us! (And thanks Whendy for donating some Ghirardelli chocolate cherries to RussCon!)


A reminder: next Friday September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrrrh!

Game Results

Blokus4MarkH 3 Clayton 1 RussW -1 Ben -3
Tichu2( Ben MarkH ) 1 ( JimG MarkG ) -1
Exxtra5JimG 4 MarkH 2 RussW 0 Ben -2 Clayton -4
PuertoRico4Whendy 3 Marty 1 RussW -1 Clayton -3
Carcassonne3MarkY 2 Pauline 0 RussD -2
TooManyCooks4MarkH 2 MarkG 2 JimG -1 Ben -3
PuertoRico3Drew 2 Matt 0 JP -2
Othello2Clayton 1 MarkY -1
Blokus2RussD 1 Pauline -1
BalloonCup2RussW 1 William -1
BalloonCup2William 1 RussW -1
Ra4MarkG 3 Matt 1 Drew -1 JP -3

I foolishly didn't notice a place to put my 3-square-in-a-row piece at the end, costing myself 3 points and the game of Blokus!

In Puerto Rico, Marty and Whendy tied, and Whendy won the tiebreaker by just 1 point! I scored just 2 points lower than them, which was pretty cool considering the only production building I had was a small indigo plant (plus several corn plantations).

MarkY and Clayton played Othello hoping it had never been played at RussCon, but sadly for them, it has.

Balloon Cup is a nifty 2 player game. William observed that it has a totally silly complication that adds nothing tactic-wise and just causes confusion: after a tile is scored, you flip it over for its next scoring period. One side of the tile signifies that the player with the high score wins it, and the other side signifies that the player with the low score wins it. But you are allowed to play cards on either player's side of the tile. So this is equivalent to just saying the player with the high score always wins it, since in the other mode, you simply reverse which side you would play a given card on. Weird and silly. We couldn't think of any other game that has such an explicit complication that actually adds no depth or additional options to the game. Some games dictate that you should arrange cards or tiles in a certain way that doesn't materially affect the strategy but which makes it more convenient or easier to see stuff. But Balloon Cup's weird tile-flipping rule doesn't simplify; it actually increases confusion.


Rank Ratings:    
 3.4657 MarkH
 1.3863 MarkG
 1.3863 Whendy
 0.6931 Drew
 0.5108 JimG
 0.4055 MarkY
 0.4055 Marty
 0.4055 Matt
 0.0000 William
-0.4055 RussD
-0.6931 Pauline
-0.8109 RussW
-1.8971 Clayton
-2.4849 JP
-2.7726 Ben
Win Ratings:
 2.5494 MarkH won 3 of 4
 1.3863 MarkG won 2 of 3
 1.3863 Whendy won 1 of 1
 0.8109 Drew won 1 of 2
 0.4055 MarkY won 1 of 2
 0.2877 RussD won 1 of 2
 0.2231 JimG won 1 of 3
 0.0000 William won 1 of 2
-0.1054 Clayton won 1 of 4
-0.2877 Marty won 0 of 1
-0.5108 Ben won 1 of 4
-0.6931 Matt won 0 of 2
-0.6931 JP won 0 of 2
-0.7985 RussW won 1 of 5
-1.0986 Pauline won 0 of 2

MarkH is the Devil! MarkG and Whendy are Co-Vice-Devils. Drew is the Vice-Vice-Devil. MarkY and JimG are Co-Vice-Vice-Vice-Devils.

If you are confused how the ratings work, you could peruse the FAQ.

devil graph

Meta Game

Ed (friend of MarkH; Ed has never actually been to RussCon!) was the Meta Devil. Here is the Meta Game he mailed out:

Title: Break out of a Rut

So, you didn't do so well on Mark's "name that board" meta game? You probably need to break out of your rut and play something new. This week, points will be awarded for bringing or playing new games. In addition, you will be penalized for playing the ol' standbys.

Points will be awarded as follows:
+5 - Playing a game that has never been played at RussCon (any game not in Russ' database)
+4 - Playing a game published in 2003 *
+2 - Bringing a game published in 2003 *
+2 - Playing a game published in 2002 *
+1 - Bringing a game published in 2002 *
-1 - Playing a game published before 2001 *.
-2 - Settlers (any version)
-3 - Carcassonne (any version)
-5 - Tichu

* Year published will be determined by the "Year Published" field for games in the Boardgame Geek database (

1) You may gain points from multiple categories for each game played. (For example: Bringing and playing a 2003 release that has never been played at RussCon gains you 11 points.)
2) You may only gain points from a single game once for each category. Playing a game multiple times will gain you only one "play" award for that game.
3) Multiple plays for a new RussCon game will award points for all plays during the evening, not just the first.

Tie breaker: If there is a tie, the person with the lowest home, mobile or work phone number (without area code) will win. For example, 234-5678 will beat 345-6789. If a person has multiple numbers, they may use which ever one they want.

(Our Most Assiduous Reader may recall vaguely similar old Meta Games also designed to get people to play new games.) Thanks to Ed for designing and moderating a Meta Game for a gaming group he's never actually visited! Ed reckoned the meta scores as follows:

OK, here are the games with their publication year and what they were worth:
Balloon Cup (2003) 4
Blokus (2000) -1
Carcassonne (2000) -3
Exxtra (1998) -1
Othello (?, but before 2001) -1
Puerto Rico (2002) 2
Ra (1999) -1
Tichu (1998) -5
Too Many Cooks (2002) 2

There was only one game played multiple times by the same people (Balloon Cup), that game only counts once for those people.

With that, the scores were:
William 4
RussW 4
Whendy 2
Marty 2
Drew 1
JP 1
Matt 1
Clayton -1
JimG -4
Pauline -4
RussD -4
MarkG -4
MarkY -4
Ben -5
MarkH -5

Therefore the tie breaker must be used. Who ever has the lowest phone number between you and William wins.

Therefore William is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Secret of Elena's Tomb
Landmark Music, California
Friends of Dean Martinez, on the shore
28 Days Later, the soundtrack album
Type O Negative, Life Is Killing Me

Music that was published in 2003

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