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2004-04-14 RussCon Report

verda stelo

Thanks to ex-cow-orker greg for the little cloisonné green star pin. In this glamorous photo, Russ models a fashionable vintage t-shirt from the mid 90s, designed by the prestigious Avalon Hill, whose timeless styles always impress with their understated elegance.

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10 of us played 11 games. Much lighter turnout! Maybe it's that crazy daylight savings stuff or something.

If anyone has experience they'd like to share about arranging conferences at a hotel, let me know. I am currently involved in trying to locate a hotel downtown to host the US Esperanto Congress in Austin in summer of 2005, a weekend-long event with perhaps 100 people. (Downtown seems ideal since one can easily walk to so many different things for fun: music, bars, dancing, art galleries and museums, the capitol, Town Lake, etc. The main issue now is whether I can find a suitable hotel that will not cost too much.)

Game Results

CarcassonneCastle2JP 1 RussW -1
Drakon2RussW 1 JP -1
Drakon2RussW 1 JP -1
Drakon2RussW 1 JP -1
Tichu ★
2( MarkH Fred ) 1 ( Ben Whendy ) -1
Carcassonne2KevinU 1 Clayton -1
Exxtra3MarkH 2 Fred 0 Ben -2
Bluff ★
6MarkH 5 Clayton 3 Whendy 1 KevinU -1 Fred -3 Ben -5
RicochetRobot4KevinU 3 RussW 1 Ben -1 RussD -3
Transamerica ★
5JP 4 William 1 KevinU 1 Clayton -2 RussW -4
PuertoRico3JP 2 Fred 0 Clayton -2

JP whooped my ass handily by 25 points in Carcassonne Castle, but then I got revenge 3 times in a row with 2-player Drakon! I think I only played 2-player Drakon once before, with Dudley. Apparently I'm good at it! Drakon is definitely quite different with only 2 players, because once someone starts to get ahead, you can't count on teaming up several players against them. Like those 2 games I had with Dudley, these were much faster than multiplayer, though again the last one took longer than the first 2 (which were quite fast). Also, again there was a situation where I worried we might be in a repetitive ko situation (looping around each stealing a tile from the other), but JP broke the ko to move onto a tile switcher tile. I want to play more 2-player Drakon, it's rather interesting and different. Meanwhile, Kevin and Clayton played 2-player regular Carcassonne, which I recommend, especially to those who think regular Carcassonne has too much luck and not enough control in its multiplayer form.

On a whim, I tried Ricochet Robot again. Normally I avoid this sort of "We're all competing simultaneously in real time to pattern match etc" kind of game (e.g. Gruesel Wuesel, Set, etc.) but for some reason I thought I'd give it another shot. The first few rounds I was totally sucking as usual, but then my brain began to get into the groove a little, and I started actually succeeding in finding the shortest routes for the robots. It was actually rather exciting, and I ended up achieving second place, probably only because Ben was getting weary as the game went on instead of getting warmed up like I was. Anyway, it was a pleasant illuminating experience.


Rank Ratings:     
 3.5835 MarkH
 2.0794 KevinU
 1.3218 JP
 0.2877 William
 0.1823 RussW
-0.2231 Fred
-0.4055 Whendy
-1.3863 RussD
-1.5686 Clayton
-3.9890 Ben
Win Ratings:
 3.5835 MarkH won 3 of 3
 1.6740 KevinU won 2 of 4
 1.3218 JP won 3 of 6
 0.8755 RussW won 3 of 6
-0.2231 William won 0 of 1
-0.2877 RussD won 0 of 1
-0.3001 Fred won 1 of 4
-0.8755 Whendy won 0 of 2
-1.5041 Clayton won 0 of 4
-1.5686 Ben won 0 of 4

What a simple easy devil graph this week...! MarkH is the Devil! KevinU is Vice-Devil! JP is Vice-Vice-Devil. Then me and William. Ben is the Generous Angel.

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

I was the Meta Devil and emailed out the following Meta Game:

La Verda Stelo

A year ago I started learning Esperanto (after a brief flirtation with Lojban), and it has proven to be a wonderful thing indeed: I never imagined I'd become competent at another language, using it daily to communicate with people in countries around the world, discussing all sorts of topics, even planning a trip to China. As you may know, Esperanto culture sometimes uses a green star as a symbol. (See for an example.) So this week's Meta Game theme is la Verda Stelo!

My initial thought was to give meta points for playing games which have a green star. However, a bit of investigation revealed that the green star is a surprisingly elusive graphic element in RussCon games! So that would apparently be too strict a requirement... hence I decided to give a meta point for playing a game which has both green and a star (but it doesn't have to have a green star)...

Further, for each RussCon game which actually has a green star, the first person to demonstrate this on Wednesday evening will earn 3 meta points, and anyone who plays the game earns 2 meta points instead of the usual 1.

If you wear something with a green star, earn another meta point.

Note to rules lawyers: "star" means the actual 5-point regular geometric figure, not a more generalized star (e.g. 4-pointed or astronomical art, etc.)

verda stelo aŭ ne?Of course rules-lawyering occurred. William suggested putting green star stickers on all the games. And MarkH got very insistent that the Bluff board included a green star: see for yourself: clearly the star is yellow, and happens to have a teal/green outline. I almost got suckered in by his jedi mind tricks, till everyone else agreed with me that Mark was smokin' crack, and he should feel lucky I even considered that teal color to be green in the first place (if Whendy and I actually agree that some color is teal, it's probably teal), giving a meta point just for having green and stars (but not for the rare and coveted green star).

Indeed, no game with a green star was discovered or revealed by anyone aside from that lame-ass Bluff contention by Mark. And only I wore a green star (my spiffy little Esperanto cloisonné pin). The games played which had green and stars (but not green stars) were Tichu, Bluff, and Transamerica. So meta points earned were as follows:

2 Ben Clayton Fred KevinU MarkH RussW Whendy
1 JP William

A big tie! 7 people earned 2 meta points. I didn't specify tie-breaking mechanisms, so I used the usual unspoken meta-meta-convention of random selection among the tied players. Thus was randomly selected Ben! So Ben is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Green Day, 1039/Smoothed Out Happy Hours
Green Day, Kerplunk
Green Day, Dookie
Green Day, Insomniac
Green Day, Nimrod

Havu verdan tagon!

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