November 5 2003 RussCon Report

Roaron Construction can meet your rut elimination needs
Game Results
Ratings | FAQ
Meta Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
12 of us played 7 games. Some blasts from the past were ChrisH (whom I saw at last weekend's Celtic Fest and barely recognized, as he's looking much more clean-cut and domestic with 2 kids than he used to, ha!) and Carly (who's moving to NC soon).
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halloween funHalloween was fun, and so was the Celtic Festival, where I also ran into some RussCon folks (including Allen & Beth, Matt, Justin, Fina, Whendy, ChrisH & Mindy, RussD & Pauline, and I think I saw MarkG), yay. And the weather was much better than last year's 40-degree cold rain all during the Celtic Fest weekend! There were a couple bursts of intense storms sunday but otherwise quite pleasant. I have noticed that the afternoons at the Celtic Fest seem more low-key, and then it gets more intense and rocking at night. My favorite was the Killdares who did a great night-time set, just like last year's (which had got them mentioned in an Austin Chronicle Top Ten Roadshows of 2002 list). The Rogues also did a high-energy fun set each evening, with their two bagpipers and heavy percussion (plus occasional rocking out on electric bazouki!) Even though some of my favorites like Jiggernaut and Maggie Drennon weren't there this year it was still good fun with lots of great music. (And at least I got to hear a bit of Maggie on Halloween itself...)

Sabaton la 8-an de novembro okazos la TutTeksasa Kunveno, por ĉiuj teksasaj esperantistoj!

There will also be a total lunar eclipse Saturday night.

And Houston Go Club is hosting a weekend tournament November 15 and 16.

I've sold more of my games to RussCon friends. (Allen, Fina, JimG, Robby still need to pick theirs up, nudge nudge.) If anyone else is interested, here is the current list. Also if anyone wants some of these vinyl records for your listening pleasure, I'd be happy to pass them along, and I'm going to go sell the rest when I get off my lazy ass and do it. And those 2 butt monsters are gone, baby, gone, a fine white elephant birthday gift for a friend at work!

Game Results

DenOfThieves4MarkY 3 Matt 1 ChrisH -1 Carly -3
Alhambra6MarkH 5 RussW 3 Whendy 1 Ben -1 Clayton -3 JP -5
Rummikub3Whendy 2 RussW 0 MarkH -2
Can'tStop3JP 2 Clayton -1 Ben -1
NewEngland4MarkY 3 ChrisH 1 Carly -1 Matt -3
DenOfThieves4Matt 3 RussW 1 William -1 JP -3
Alhambra6JP 5 Marty 3 William 1 RussW -1 Matt -3 MarkY -5

Thanks to the Meta Game there were quite a few new games played:

I finally got to play Alhambra again, twice! This might be the hot new game as both sessions of it had the full 6 players. Interesting stuff about the game: it has money you use to buy city tiles, but the money comes in 4 different types, and each you must spend the right type of money for a given tile (offhand I can't think of other games that have this concept), and you don't get change (analogous to High Society or a few other games). You're living in your own private Carcassonne*, wherein you place your tiles forming a personal Alhambra city, and the sides of the tiles must match (clear or wall). Scoring is based on getting the most tiles of a given tile color (there are 6), kind of like Acquire, Union Pacific, etc. There are 3 somewhat unpredictably timed score periods, based on payout cards in the 2nd and 4th fifths of the money card deck (like Union Pacific). I plan to play more of this fun game. There were a few gripes about it not being very interactive, but I wasn't bothered by that.

Den Of Thieves is a wacky card game wherein players simultaneously choose one of their thief cards (from their "den") which will be active that turn and then sequentially reveal and resolve them. You're trying to end a turn with at least 10 gold. All sorts of chaos can ensue (including counterfeit coins being created!). It reminded us of games like Citadel, Drakon, Give Me The Brain, Fluxx, Groo, etc. Enjoyable, but hard to do much serious planning or analysis, it seemed like. Some pretty funny moments, especially when William kept playing a card that forced JP, Matt, and I to all write a number from 1 to 4, then William would name a number, and he'd steal 2 gold from any of us who had written that number; over and over again he never did guess any of our numbers, ha! Your powers are weak, old man! Anyway, I'd play it again.

Rummikub is an old "non-gamer game" that's got tiles (that function like 2 decks of ordinary playing cards plus 2 jokers) and is a rummy melding type game, wherein you're trying to get rid of your tiles first, or (failing that) end with as few points on your rack as possible. Whendy & I played it long ago with some of her relatives. It's a fun diversion, and had never been played at RussCon before.

New England is a new Alan Moon game, about which I essentially know nothing.

Of course, playing Can't Stop made JP, Clayton and Ben become Big Fat Losers in the Meta Game.

*That's an 80s song reference, silly.


Rank Ratings:          
 1.3863 Whendy
 1.0341 RussW
 0.9808 MarkY
 0.9163 Marty
 0.6931 MarkH
 0.0000 ChrisH
-0.1178 William
-0.2877 JP
-0.5108 Matt
-0.6931 Ben
-1.3218 Clayton
-1.7918 Carly
Win Ratings:
 2.5903 MarkY won 2 of 3
 2.4204 JP won 2 of 4
 1.3863 MarkH won 1 of 2
 0.9163 Whendy won 1 of 2
 0.6286 Matt won 1 of 4
-0.1823 Marty won 0 of 1
-0.4700 William won 0 of 2
-0.5754 ChrisH won 0 of 2
-0.5754 Carly won 0 of 2
-0.5878 Ben won 0 of 2
-0.5878 Clayton won 0 of 2
-1.0578 RussW won 0 of 4

MarkY and Whendy are Co-Devils! JP, MarkH, Marty, and I are Co-Vice-Devils!

This was an unusually weird partial order this week, in which I was only 1 step from the top (hence a Vice-Devil) yet also at the bottom (hence an Angel, along with Clayton). This sort of pathology might lead me to contemplate new methods of deciding Devil- and Vice-Devil-hood; I've had an idea for an algorithm I could program the ratings program to do. Except that would take work and stuff.

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

devil graph

Meta Game

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


We are in a rut, playing the same games over and over.

I was shocked and disappointed that Alhambra, the game that won the Spiel des Jahres for 2003, has never been played at Russcon. We're not playing new games or a variety like we used to:

New games played (games played before 1999 count as new):

2000 100
2001 98
2002 54
2003 35

Games played more than once:

2000 100
2001 102
2002 89
2003 65

This metagame encourages you to get out of your rut and play new games or old favorites.

For each game played that has never been played before at Russcon:

For each game played that either:

For each pre-2003 game played that has been played once this year:

If you play any pre-2003 game that has been played more than once this year:

Please note the person who brought the game in the Book. If the person cannot be determined, or if the game was at Russ' already, say so.

The eligible person with the most metapoints wins. Ties are broken by number of new games brought, then by played games brought, then by random chance.

For reference, here are the pre-2003 games played more than once during the past year:


the puny list of 2003 games played:


and the pre-2003 games that have been played once this year:


(Russ, feel free to correct my list using the master database - I grabbed my info from the Russcon reports.)

I was lazily happy to let Matt's list of games count as official for the Meta Game.

Matt accomplished his mission, and a fine mission it was! New games were played in abundance (2 meta points each for Den of Thieves, Rummikub, and New England, which had all never been played before; 1 meta point for Alhambra, which had been played once before, just last week). Matt brought several new games also, and thus earned more meta points. Ben also noted that the rules of this Meta Game implied that there could be no winner (if everyone played a "rut" game and was thus disqualified) (to which Matt replied "No, no!... well, yeah...") The final meta scores were something like the following (I didn't bother doublechecking very carefully since it's clear who the winner is!):

So Matt is again the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Clandestine, Music From Home
Maggie Drennon, self-titled
Jiggernaut, In Search of More
Six Mile Bridge, Across The Water
Widening Gyre, Reel Shadows

Celtic bands which sadly weren't at the Celtic Fest last weekend!

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