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2004-06-16 RussCon Report

scribblerized beethoven

Scribblerized Beethoven

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11 of us played 9 games! Why such a low turnout? Who can say... I guess we were the second stringers!

Great Hall Games is moving next week (around June 22 and 23) to 5501 North Lamar (a block south of Koenig)! Their new gaming area will be much bigger than the one in their (soon to be ex-) Dobie location.

Game Results

Crokinole2( JP JimG ) 1 ( KevinY Tim ) -1
SanJuan4KevinY 3 JimG 1 Tim -1 JP -3
Crokinole2( Ben KevinY ) 1 ( Tim JP ) -1
TicketToRide5KevinU 4 Ben 2 Clayton 0 RussW -3 MarkH -3
TicketToRide4JimG 3 Clayton 1 KevinU -1 RussW -3
TicketToRide5William 4 KevinU 2 JimG 0 Clayton -2 RussW -4
WhatsThatOnMyHead4JP 2 MarkY 2 Ben -1 KevinY -3
Crokinole2( MarkY Ben ) 1 ( KevinY JP ) -1
RicochetRobot5MarkY 3 RussW 3 JP 0 KevinU -2 KevinY -4

Crokinole's popularity continues, and Clayton brought a new game Ticket To Ride which also proved popular - it's rare that we play a new game (that takes an hour or more to play) three times in a row! I came in frickin' last place every time. I suck at the game, but I like it. It's a railroad track building game, vaguely analogous to Moon's other game Union Pacific, or the venerable Trainsport series, which I also sucked at hideously when I first started playing them (back in the first year of RussCon, 1998).

After 3 terrible defeats in Ticket To Ride, I was happy to play Ricochet Robot and tie for first. MarkY won the last chip, catching up to me; I was hoping either of the Kevins would get it, and KevinU actually had a shorter route than MarkY's but he miscounted it and bid 7 instead of 8, alas.


Rank Ratings:        
 2.4849 JimG
 2.3026 MarkY
 1.6740 Ben
 1.6094 William
 1.2040 KevinU
-0.2877 Clayton
-0.9163 MarkH
-1.3863 JP
-1.7916 Tim
-2.3026 KevinY
-2.9957 RussW
Win Ratings:
 2.3026 MarkY won 3 of 3
 1.6094 William won 1 of 1
 1.5686 JimG won 2 of 4
 0.5878 KevinU won 1 of 4
 0.4700 Ben won 2 of 4
 0.1823 RussW won 1 of 4
-0.2231 MarkH won 0 of 1
-0.5108 KevinY won 2 of 6
-0.7340 Clayton won 0 of 3
-0.7985 JP won 2 of 6
-1.6740 Tim won 0 of 3

MarkY and JimG are Co-Devils! Ben and William are Co-Vice-Devils.

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

KevinY was the Meta Devil and designed the following Meta Game (which I dub the 2nd rate meta game):

1 metapoint for placing 2nd in a two player game.
2 metapoints for placing 2nd in a game with over 2 players.
Tie breaker: Every win is worth -1 points.

This game caused an unusual amount of lively responses and punnish second-guessing on the mailing list...

It isn't specifically stated that the Meta Devil will be the player who scores the SECOND-highest number of points, but that seems apt, so I beseech Russ to declare it so.
-- Allen Varney

To which I replied:

It shall be so.

But thinking about tie-breaking for this proposal makes my head hurt.

E.g. Alf has 10 points and Bert and Charlie both have 9. So we need to tie-break Bert and Charlie. Under the original proposal, whoever won the fewest games will win the tiebreak. The spirit of the new proposal would be that whoever won the second fewest games wins the tiebreak.

Now what if Alf and Bert have 10 points and Charlie has 9. Is Charlie the meta devil (since he has 2nd highest number of points) or do we tie break between Alf and Bert to see which of them is first place and which is second place? I'm thinking the latter.

Of course if tiebreaking doesn't resolve it, then we revert to the usual random choice (perhaps using my meta game tiebreaking die from my original edition of TSR's Dungeon!)


Ok, this Meta Game did indeed turn out to be very confusing to moderate, mostly due to Allen's deceptively simple suggestion, which made things rather weird! Notice Allen's suggestion says "second highest number of points" and Kevin's original rules said "second place", which is not necessarily the same thing...

(By the way, one tangential simple clarification, unrelated to Allen's proposal, was treating teams as a single player for devil points (as usual at RussCon), so Crokinole has 2 people who get 1st place and 2 people who get 2nd place.)

The subtler confusion arose with ties: when we began computing meta points at the end of the evening, we discovered that games with a tie for first place raise the usual ambiguity of "Are there 2 1st place people and then a 3rd place person (and there is no 2nd place person), or do you have two 1st place people and then a 2nd place person?" Depends on your precise definitions; both certainly are reasonably common. Computed the first way (where JP earned no meta points for Ricochet Robot and Ben got no meta points for What's That On My Head, because they were both 3rd place after the two 1st place tie victors) gave a 7-way tie with 2 meta points each for Ben, Clayton, JimG, JP, KevinU, KevinY, and Tim. Computing the second way gave Ben and JP 4 meta points each. (At the time we got confused and were then thinking in terms of Ben and JP as the winners then, when in fact the other 5 were the 2nd place meta players under that interpretation - see, it's confusing!) So either way, tiebreaking was needed: Clayton and Tim earned 0 victories (best for tiebreaking); KevinU earned 1; Ben, JimG, JP, and KevinY earned 2 wins. So under the first interpretation of "no second place if 1st place tied", we find that technically there are no legal candidates for meta devil since there was a tie in first place of meta points, and even if we fudge that and say it's one of those 7 who earned any points at all, there is no second place player under the tiebreak measure (since 2 people got the best number (0) of victories). Under the second interpretation of "second place is next best one, regardless of number of first place winners", we have a 5-way tie and KevinU has the sole 2nd place best meta tiebreak score (1 victory) after Clayton's and Tim's "perfect" 0 victories. Since a clear unambiguous winner is much better than no winner, we'll go with the second interpretation!

To summarize: Ben and JP got 4 meta points, tying for 1st. Clayton, JimG, KevinU, KevinY, and Tim got 2 meta points, tying for 2nd. So those 5 are candidates to be meta devil. Looking at who got lowest number of victories to tiebreak, we see that Clayton and Tim got 0 wins, tying for 1st; only KevinU got 1, so he's the unique second place tiebreaker, and thus wins the second-rate meta game and will design next week's Meta Game! Whew! If there is still some mistake in the analysis, tough noogies!

Evening's Soundtrack

Beethoven, Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (complete) (5 CD set)

I very much enjoyed The Saddest Music In The World (and today June 17 is its last day, so if you're at all interested, I recommend you get over to the Dobie at 6:50 or 9:30). While watching it, I was struck by one beautiful melancholy sequence that had some classical music I knew I'd heard before but couldn't place it. I thought it might be Beethoven, and a little googling later confirmed it; in fact it was the second movement of the seventh symphony. I wanted to get it, and I found a nice 5-CD bargain pack with all 9 symphonies for the price of one CD, so cool!

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