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2004-09-01 RussCon Report


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18 of us played 17 games! Welcome new guy Adam, part of the shadowy MarkH/Marty organization, and bearer of fresh baked cookies. Marty also stopped by, but sadly had no time to stay and play games, due to some crazy talk about "studying" or something.

Jeffles paid a surprise visit from Houston, and hopes to relocate to Austin soon.

Game Results

Tichu2( MarkH Ben ) 1 ( Jeffles Tim ) -1
AufHellerUndPfennig4William 3 Daniel 1 TimG -1 ChrisH -3
6Nimmt6JimG 4 ToddG 4 Clayton 1 Fred -1 EricE -3 Adam -5
PuertoRico3Adam 2 Fred 0 Clayton -2
RicochetRobot3Jeffles 2 Ben -1 Tim -1
Acquire4JP 3 Whendy 1 MarkY -1 RussW -3
Can'tStop3Tim 2 Jeffles 0 Ben -2
6Nimmt4Whendy 3 ChrisH 1 Daniel -1 TimG -3
Ra4MarkH 3 JimG 1 Adam -1 Fred -3
ZirkusFlohcati5Whendy 4 Daniel 2 ChrisH 0 TimG -2 ChrisH -4
Guillotine4MarkY 3 Daniel 1 ChrisH -1 TimG -3
Settlers3MarkY 2 EricE 0 ToddG -2
Mu4Adam 3 Jeffles 1 Ben -1 JimG -3
CarcassonneHunters4William 3 JP 1 RussW -1 Clayton -3
WebOfPower3Daniel 2 JP 0 RussW -2
Rummikub4MarkY 3 Clayton 1 Whendy -1 William -3
RicochetRobot4JP 3 Jeffles 1 MarkY -1 RussW -3

My winning streak is over. Last place in Acquire, next-to-last in Carcassonne Hunters, last in Web of Power, last in Ricochet Robot... my powers are weak!

During Ricochet Robot some discussion arose about the practice of figuring out in advance what chits are left and precomputing routes for them, so that as soon as the new target chit is revealed, you call out "Seven!" or whatever without even looking at the board. JP and Jeffles do it; MarkY and I find it annoying and frustrating, although it is of course perfectly legal and not truly cheating. JP and Jeffles themselves agreed that it seemed unfortunate. The spirit and intent of the game seems to be all starting to seek a route simultaneously, not precomputing them. We discussed ideas like not flipping all the chits at the end, e.g. stopping at 14 chits instead of doing all 17, but that doesn't really solve it. Keeping the chits you've won turned face down instead of visible might help (making it harder to know or remember what chits remain as targets). Also I suggested simply choosing from among all the chits every time (keeping score via some other mechanism instead of by holding chits), and either playing a fixed number of rounds (e.g. 17) or until someone reaches a pre-agreed score (e.g. 5). Perhaps we will try one of these ideas.


Rank Ratings:    
 3.1781 JP
 3.0603 MarkY
 2.9957 Whendy
 2.1972 Daniel
 2.0794 MarkH
 1.3863 William
 1.2164 Jeffles
 0.2877 Adam
 0.1178 JimG
 0.0000 ToddG
 0.0000 Tim
-0.9163 EricE
-1.2164 Ben
-1.6740 Fred
-1.7916 Clayton
-2.9957 ChrisH
-3.8728 TimG
-4.2759 RussW
Win Ratings:
 3.2958 MarkY won 3 of 5
 2.4849 William won 2 of 3
 2.4204 Whendy won 2 of 4
 2.0794 JP won 2 of 4
 2.0794 MarkH won 2 of 2
 1.7918 Adam won 2 of 4
 0.6931 ToddG won 1 of 2
 0.5232 JimG won 1 of 3
 0.0124 Daniel won 1 of 5
 0.0000 Tim won 1 of 3
-0.4054 Ben won 1 of 4
-0.5754 Jeffles won 1 of 5
-0.8110 EricE won 0 of 2
-1.0862 TimG won 0 of 4
-1.0987 Fred won 0 of 3
-1.2683 RussW won 0 of 4
-1.3093 ChrisH won 0 of 5
-1.3863 Clayton won 0 of 4

MarkY and JP are Co-Devils! Whendy and William are Co-Vice-Devils. Tim wins the rare and coveted Extra Average Award. Clayton, ChrisH, and I are 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

I was the Meta Devil and designed the following Meta Game:

That Damn Tichu

I was horrified to notice that that damn Tichu game has been played 250 times now at RussCon, inexplicably surpassing all other games. How could this travesty have occurred? Who is responsible for this outrage? The winner of the Meta Game this week will be the Loyal Citizen who has the most knowledge of these diabolical corrupters and can thus help the RussCon authorities bring them to justice.

Before RussCon, send an email to me (or during RussCon give me a note) which lists your top 5 suspects for who has played the most Tichu at RussCon as of this moment, thus contributing to this virulent epidemic that plagues our fair land. Also tell me your top 5 suspects for the 5 highest-rated Tichu players at RussCon, for those who excel at such perfidy must pay for their insulin. The number of names correct (i.e. in the top 5 of each category) is your Meta Points (i.e. you can get from 0 to 10 points.) Ties go to whoever has played the fewest games of Tichu, further ties to whoever has the lowest Tichu rating...

Here are the answers I received (in order of receiving them). I present the suspect lists in the order given to me. Note that Sideshow Bob is not an actual RussCon Bob. Note that multiple merry pranksters included my name in their lists. Note that Ben is a very suspicious character. Note that Whendy is in denial about how much she has played Tichu. Note that Tim might actually be Fred or someone else who handed me their unsigned list of answers and then I cleverly forgot who they were, but it doesn't matter since they didn't win.

MetaplayerAnswers for most frequent Tichu playersAnswers for best Tichu players
WhendyBen MarkH William Dan MartyJimG Dan Ben Marty MarkH
JimGBen William MarkH Marty JimGBen William Dudley Marty MarkH
DanBen MarkH Whendy William DanBen MarkH Whendy William RussW
JPBen MarkH William Whendy SideshowBobBen MarkH William Whendy SideshowBob
JefflesBen William Whendy JP RussDJeffles JeffF Dan Ben JP
MarkGBen MarkH Whendy JimG DanBen MarkH Whendy JimG Dan
JayWilliam Marty JP Jeffles RussWWilliam Marty JP Jeffles RussW
WilliamBen JimG MarkH Marty WilliamJimG Ben William Marty MarkH
MarkYBen JimG William MarkH MartyBen MarkY William Jeffles RussW
MarkHBen MarkH Whendy William JimGBen William MarkH JimG Marty
BenBen MarkH William Whendy JimGBen MarkH JeffF JimG William
TimBen MarkY William JeffF WhendyBen MarkY JeffF William RussW
MattBen Dan Whendy MarkH WilliamDan Ben JeffF MarkH MarkG

Collating the information, to examine the collective wisdom of crowds, we see:

Voted frequent playerVoted strong player
  • 12 Ben William
  • 10 MarkH
  • 8 Whendy
  • 6 JimG
  • 5 Marty
  • 4 Dan
  • 2 JP
  • 1 JeffF Jeffles MarkY RussD RussW SideshowBob
  • 12 Ben
  • 9 MarkH William
  • 5 JimG Marty
  • 4 Dan JeffF RussW
  • 3 Jeffles Whendy
  • 2 JP MarkY
  • 1 Dudley MarkG SideshowBob

In fact, here is the actual true data (as computed before this evening):

The 5 most frequent offendersThe 5 who most use their powers for evil
  • Ben played 164
  • William played 104
  • MarkH played 84
  • Dan played 80
  • Whendy played 65
  • 6.9315 Steve won 18 of 26
  • 5.5452 Clay won 11 of 14
  • 5.5452 Jeffles won 12 of 16
  • 4.8520 JeffF won 14 of 21
  • 3.4657 MarkG won 11 of 17

Thus the combined wisdom of the mob proved pretty good for detecting the most frequent players, getting Ben, William, MarkH, and Whendy, while only really overlooking Dan somewhat. The strongest players were more difficult to catch, with only Jeffles and JeffF (who is, of course, a f*&^$%@ Russcon game God!) and MarkG being barely detected, and elusive suspects Steve and Clay getting away scot-free. Points earned by each Metaplayer in both categories are reckoned as follows:

MetaplayerAnswers for most frequent Tichu playersAnswers for best Tichu players
Whendy4 Ben MarkH William Dan Marty0 JimG Dan Ben Marty MarkH
JimG3 Ben William MarkH Marty JimG0 Ben William Dudley Marty MarkH
Dan5 Ben MarkH Whendy William Dan0 Ben MarkH Whendy William RussW
JP4 Ben MarkH William Whendy SideshowBob0 Ben MarkH William Whendy SideshowBob
Jeffles3 Ben William Whendy JP RussD2 Jeffles JeffF Dan Ben JP
MarkG4 Ben MarkH Whendy JimG Dan0 Ben MarkH Whendy JimG Dan
Jay1 William Marty JP Jeffles RussW1 William Marty JP Jeffles RussW
William3 Ben JimG MarkH Marty William0 JimG Ben William Marty MarkH
MarkY3 Ben JimG William MarkH Marty1 Ben MarkY William Jeffles RussW
MarkH4 Ben MarkH Whendy William JimG0 Ben William MarkH JimG Marty
Ben4 Ben MarkH William Whendy JimG1 Ben MarkH JeffF JimG William
Tim3 Ben MarkY William JeffF Whendy1 Ben MarkY JeffF William RussW
Matt5 Ben Dan Whendy MarkH William2 Dan Ben JeffF MarkH MarkG

Thus the total scores are:

Matt got his answers to me just in the nick of time, snatching victory from Jeffles (who would have won the tie-break among the three people earning 5 meta points), so Matt is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game! (Pretty unjust, considering evil Matt didn't even come this week, so we couldn't play Saint Petersburg! There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth every time someone came in who wasn't Matt.)

Evening's Soundtrack

Rasputina, Thanks for the Ether
Rasputina, Transylvanian Regurgitations
Rasputina, How We Quit The Forest
Rasputina, The Lost & Found
Rasputina, Frustration Plantation

I just got their latest album a few days ago! Rasputina is definitely my favorite Victorian corset cello rock group.

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