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2004-02-04 RussCon Report

feliĉan naskiĝtagon al mi de whendy

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15 of us played 18 games, including new guy Ed (famous for winning a Meta Game despite having never attended RussCon before) and JoshC (visiting friend of MarkY).

This RussCon happened to coincide with my birthday, so it wasn't hard to predict that some birthday stuff might happen. Thanks to Whendy for baking the go-themed carrot cake! (With black and white m&m's as go stones.) (Whendy also brought Mardi Gras decorations, which were festive even if not quite timely. And they were the subject of a bet Jeffles made with me, and he will owe me $1 next week, biyatch!) And thanks to William who brought birthday pies. I was also treated to a fun lunch by cow-orkers, and the waitress gave me a free dessert, so I ended up having way more dessert food today than I normally am used to...! Thanks to Clayton as well for a nifty musical gift! And thanks to my family for birthday phone calls. And I'd like to thank the academy.

I finished the first version of my language learning flash card program for my PDA and had my first UT informal class in Mandarin. I've started planning my summer travels, which normally just include the US Go Congress, but this summer I'm planning to also include 2 Esperanto congresses in British Columbia (while also visiting friends in Seattle and Portland) and Beijing, in an insane month-long globetrotting voyage to Seattle/Portland/Sidney, Beijing, Rochester... (Gasp, that means no RussCon for several weeks in a row!) If anyone has advice to offer about traveling to Beijing, feel free...

Also in case anyone was wondering, keenspace has been horked for over a week, hence the lack of updates at kofc and comicollage.

And perhaps the biggest news lately is that RussD and Pauline are now married! Congratulations and best wishes!

Game Results

Cartagena4RussW 3 Clayton 0 Whendy 0 Fred -3
Flaschenteufel4MarkH 3 JP 1 Jeffles -1 Ben -3
DasAmulett4JP 3 William 1 MarkY -1 JoshC -3
RicochetRobot3Jeffles 2 JP 0 Ben -2
Can'tStop4Ben 3 Jeffles -1 William -1 JP -1
Tichu2( Ben Whendy ) 1 ( Marty Fred ) -1
CarcassonneCastle2MarkY 1 JoshC -1
MagnaGrecia4EdR 3 Marty 1 MarkH -1 KevinU -3
Crokinole2( EdR KevinU ) 1 ( Marty Ben ) -1
QuoVadis5Clayton 4 RussW 2 Jeffles 0 KevinU -2 Fina -4
QuoVadis5Jeffles 4 RussW 2 KevinU 0 Fina -2 Clayton -4
PuertoRico5Fred 4 Fina 2 Clayton 0 Whendy -2 RussW -4
RicochetRobot4MarkY 3 William 1 JoshC -1 Marty -3
Crokinole2( MarkY William ) 1 ( JoshC Whendy ) -1
Crokinole2MarkY 1 Whendy -1
Carcassonne5JP 4 Jeffles 2 RussW 0 Fina -2 Clayton -4
Bluff5MarkY 4 William 2 RussW 0 Whendy -2 Clayton -4
Crokinole2Jeffles 1 JP -1

I enjoyed the very close tense endgame of Cartagena, where it looked like we were all on the verge of victory for several rounds. My victory was a fun way to start my birthday evening, but it ended up being my only win for the night!

Flaschenteufel is some new tricktaking card game MarkH brought, which is inspired by a Robert Louis Stevenson short story "The Bottle Imp". And that's about all I know about it!

Ed brought a Crokinole set for Marty, and it ended up being rather popular. It was played 4 times (quite unpredictably)! It's a dexterity game of flicking disks across a smooth surface toward a target hole. Apparently it has been around for a while, originating in Canada in the 1800s.

During the Puerto Rico game, Whendy predicted that Fred would win, possibly tied with Clayton, then Fina, then me, then Whendy in last place. (This of course was part of the traditional ritual of people arguing over who was going to come in last place.) A friendly wager on our relative positions won me $2. I also wagered $1 with Jeffles that the Mardi Gras banner would be gone next RussCon, which sounds like easy money for me unless I totally space out and leave it up there.


Rank Ratings:      
 4.6697 MarkY
 3.4012 Jeffles
 2.4204 JP
 2.0794 EdR
 1.9095 William
 1.1632 RussW
 0.9808 MarkH
-0.4700 Fred
-1.0986 Ben
-1.3863 KevinU
-2.0794 Whendy
-2.3026 Fina
-2.3671 Marty
-3.1781 JoshC
-3.2189 Clayton
Win Ratings:
 4.7875 MarkY won 5 of 6
 2.3795 Jeffles won 3 of 7
 2.0794 EdR won 2 of 2
 1.3218 JP won 2 of 6
 1.0986 MarkH won 1 of 2
 0.6931 Ben won 2 of 5
 0.6286 Fred won 1 of 3
 0.4292 Clayton won 1 of 6
 0.2706 RussW won 1 of 6
-0.0408 KevinU won 1 of 4
-0.3930 William won 1 of 5
-0.8926 Fina won 0 of 4
-1.4271 Whendy won 1 of 6
-1.9617 Marty won 0 of 4
-1.9617 JoshC won 0 of 4

MarkY is the Devil! Jeffles is the Vice-Devil. EdR and JP are Co-Vice-Vice-Devils. Then MarkH, me, and William. Clayton and JoshC are both Generous Angels.

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

I used GraphViz to generate the graph image.

devil graph

Meta Game

Matt was the Meta Devil and mailed out the following Meta Game:

I won't be at Russcon tomorrow, so this is a metagame that you need not be present to win (although it might help).


In this metagame, the goal is to predict the future.

To enter, make any or all of the predictions of future events below. For each topic, you may make any number of guesses up to the number shown.

For each prediction that you get correct, receive one metapoint. If there are several right answers (because of ties), you get only one metapoint per prediction.

If nobody successfully predicts an event, the "closest" prediction counts as correct if there is one. For instance, if you are asked to predict the number of hats worn to Russcon, and the right answer is 4, the guess closest to 4 (perhaps 3 or 5) counts as correct if nobody guesses 4. Similarly, if nobody guesses the Devil correctly, guessing the Vice-Devil will count as correct.

Most metapoints wins, with ties broken by whoever made the fewest predictions. Further ties broken randomly. Russ is the arbiter of all rule ambiguities.

The predictions:

Submit your guesses to Russ <> (not me!) by email or on a piece of paper at Russcon. Email entries will be accepted before Russcon starts or, for those not at Russcon, up until Russ calculates the winner. Paper entries must be written right away and handed in (10 minutes at most) right after you arrive at Russcon.

Only 4 people (Clay, Matt, me, William) made predictions (which made me sad since it would have been fun to see more, but which made me happy since Matt sneakily stuck me with the task of moderating the results):

Correct Answer (& who got it) Clay Matt RussW William
How many games will be played? 18 (William) 10, 12 12 14 16 10 12 16 16, 18, 21
How many people will attend? 15 (Matt, RussW) 13, 17 10 12 15 13 15 18 12, 16, 19
What game will be played the most times? Crokinole Carcassonne, Vampire Tichu CarcassonneCastle Tichu CarcassonneCastle Puerto Rico, Carcassonne
What game will have the largest number of players? Quo Vadis, Puerto Rico, Carcassonne, Bluff (everyone got Bluff) Bluff, 6 Nimmt Ricochet Robot, Bluff Ricochet Robot Bluff Ricochet Robot, Bluff
Who will be the Devil? MarkY RussW, JP, Jeffles RussW JP Jeffles RussW JP Jeffles Tim Ben Russ W., William, JP, Matt, Mark H.
Who will be the Generous Angel? JoshC, Clayton (RussW) Whendy, Jeffles, William Whendy :) RussW Clayton Whendy JP Jeffles Wendy Wheeler, Wendy Wheeler, Wendy Wheeler, Wendy Wheeler, and Wendy Wheeler.

So I won with 3 correct predictions; Matt and William got 2; Clay got 1. I hope MarkY doesn't feel dissed that no one predicted he might be the Devil! Crokinole and JoshC were of course unpredictable surprises. I was surprised Ricochet Robot got played, but with so few people. I do thank Clayton for not letting me down in his Generous Angelhood!

I imagine there may be protests that JoshC is "the" Generous Angel and Clayton is not, since looking at the partial order graph, more people beat JoshC than beat Clayton (specifically: KevinU, William, Fina, Whendy, Marty are above JoshC but not above Clayton). (The fact that Clayton appears physically higher in the visual representatio of the graph is purely an artifact of GraphViz's choices of layout.) Anyway, this made me ponder that "Generous Angel" is a bit murky. I believe I have always consistently interpreted it to mean anyone who has no one below them in the partial order. The term has never been formally defined; it first appeared 1998-05-20, when EricH first earned the title. Certainly "Generous Angel" has been shared by several people in past weeks, e.g. recently on 2003-10-08.

So I am the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Clandestine, The Ale is Dear
Clandestine, The Haunting
Clandestine, To Anybody At All
Clandestine, Music from Home
Jen Hamel, Fine Small Storm

Happy birthday to me - some of my favorite happy music!

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