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2004-09-08 RussCon Report

antarctic rails

Antarctic Rails, a russcon game

Thanks to Clayton for help with compositing the scanned art! Bonus points to anyone who identifies the two games used as source art for Antarctic Rails. Thanks to Jay for giving me one of them years ago. Our Most Assiduous Reader might enjoy seeing a more detailed version of the game map. Thanks to Matt for asking "Is there an Antarctic Rails game?" in the first place.

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14 of us played 12 games! Welcome Jason who used to come to RussCon long ago as Jayson; my ex-cow-orker Jason who never comes is now renamed JasonW to make room for Jason. Due to such renamings, future historians will have a hard time piecing together the RussCon years.

Game Results

Carcassonne3RussW 2 Clayton 0 Whendy -2
TooManyCooks4Ben 3 ChrisH 1 Tim -1 JP -3
Vampire5Clayton 4 ChrisH 2 KevinY 0 JeffS -3 Whendy -3
SaintPetersburg4Tim 3 JP 1 Adam -1 RussW -3
NewEngland4Marty 3 Matt 1 Jason -1 Ben -3
Can'tStop4Adam 3 Tim 0 RussW 0 JP -3
SaintPetersburg4KevinY 3 William 1 JeffS -1 Clayton -3
Cloud93Jason 2 Matt 0 Ben -2
6Nimmt5Marty 4 KevinY 2 Whendy 0 JeffS -2 Clayton -4
RicochetRobot6Tim 5 RussW 2 JP 2 Ben -1 Adam -4 ChrisH -4
SanJuan3KevinY 2 JP 0 Matt -2
SaintPetersburg3RussW 2 William 0 Clayton -2

Besides the fact that it kicks ass, Saint Petersburg was also popular for meta reasons. My first game of the night I lost because I was lame and didn't acquire enough aristocrats. For meta reasons I was tempted to play San Juan, but the Saint Petersburg pull was too strong! My second game was exciting - it definitely feels different with 3 players, and everyone tends to get a lot more cards. William and I both ended with 8 aristocrats. Conventional wisdom says buying buildings isn't as good as aristocrats, but I bought a buttload of (mostly low-cost) buildings, taking advantage of the carpenter workshop discount (which I used to mock, but the damn thing saved me about 10 rubles this game!) and the second row discount and the duplicate card discount, and it seemed to be a good thing. Of course it's still also important to get aristocrats, especially when you bought Marinskij's theater (1 ruble income per aristrocrat at a nice discount!

Incredibly, Tichu was finally not played!

It should be noted that when deciding what game to play, someone asked "How is New England?" and a bunch of people all simultaneously answered "Cold!"


Rank Ratings:    
 3.1781 KevinY
 2.9957 Marty
 2.7726 Tim
 1.3218 RussW
 0.6931 Jason
 0.4055 William
 0.0000 ChrisH
-0.1178 Adam
-0.6931 Matt
-1.3863 Ben
-1.8560 JP
-2.0152 JeffS
-2.0152 Whendy
-2.4853 Clayton
Win Ratings:
 2.9957 Marty won 2 of 2
 2.6027 Tim won 2 of 4
 2.0386 KevinY won 2 of 4
 1.4396 RussW won 2 of 5
 0.9163 Adam won 1 of 3
 0.8109 Jason won 1 of 2
 0.5108 Ben won 1 of 4
 0.2877 Clayton won 1 of 5
-0.6931 William won 0 of 2
-0.6931 ChrisH won 0 of 3
-0.7340 JeffS won 0 of 3
-0.8517 Whendy won 0 of 3
-1.0987 Matt won 0 of 3
-1.4507 JP won 0 of 5

Marty and KevinY are Co-Devils! Tim is the Vice-Devil. I am the Vice-Vice-Devil.

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 designed the following Meta Game:

Evil Matt presents the following metagame, in an attempt to become Good Matt once again:


In this metagame, you want to travel around the world... in games!

You receive metapoints for playing games that represent actual places in the world:

* For each game you play where the title contains a geographic name ("Princes of Florence", "Vom Kap Bis Kairo"), receive one metapoint. Adjectival forms ("Australian Rails") count.

* For each game where the title is entirely composed of a geographic name ("St. Petersburg", "New England", "Africa") receive two metapoints.

Then, multiply the number of metapoints you received by the number of continents represented by the game names/places you visited. Russ gets final say over which place is on which continent.


Mississippi Queen (North America) 1
Goa (Asia) 2
Scotland Yard (Europe) 1
St. Petersburg (Europe) 2

Total = (1 + 2 + 1 + 2) * 3 = 18

In addition, receive one bonus metapoint for each qualifying game you bring to Russcon!

Ties broken by most continents visited, then by number of 2 point games played. If everyone ties, Russ selects at random from the attendees.

Bon Voyage!

I was stuck with reckoning the scores, and here are the results of my deliberations:

The relevant games played are as follows:
Carcassonne = 2, Europe
New England = 2, North America
Saint Petersburg = 2, Europe
San Juan = 2, North America

Some other geographically titled games that were discussed as candidates to be played during the evening: Goa, Mississippi Queen, Puerto Rico, Manhattan, Alhambra (it's a place as well as a thing, although the title arguably refers to the thing not place), Transamerica, Cartagena (which refers to Spain, not Colombia, as has sometimes been thought at RussCon) and various train games. Matt also speculated as to the existence of Antarctic Rails.

I reckon the scores as follows. Note that it was murky trying to keep track of every qualifying game brought (and there's a fair number of geographically titled games just sitting around my living room brought by various people over the years), so I'm just adding the bonus points for qualifying games brought that I know were actually played: Adam and Matt both brought Saint Petersburg (and both copies were in play simultaneously, woot!), Clayton supplied Carcassonne, Matt also brought New England and San Juan (I believe). The metapoints earned by players from playing those four games, multiplied by their continents covered:
KevinY (SJ, SP) (2+2)*2 = 8
JP (SJ, SP) (2+2)*2 = 8
Clayton (C, SP, SP) (2+2+2)*1 + 1 (C) = 7
Matt (NE, SJ) (2+2)*1 + 3 (NE, SJ, SP) = 7
RussW (C, SP, SP) (2+2+2)*1 = 6
William (SP, SP) (2+2)*1 = 4
Adam (SP) 2*1 + 1 (SP) = 3
Whendy (C) 2*1 = 2
JeffS (SP) 2*1 = 2
Tim (SP) 2*1 = 2
Marty (NE) 2*1 = 2
Jason (NE) 2*1 = 2
Ben (NE) 2*1 = 2

Only JP and KevinY were efficient enough to cover 2 continents. Damn that temptress Saint Petersburg for swaying me away from the San Juan game! The chain of tiebreaking leads to random choice; so as is my tradition, I consulted my traditional tiebreaking die from my original edition of TSR's Dungeon! KevinY is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

RussCon's own Dan Becker, Living in Austin (a compilation disk of local musicians) (1, North America)
Boston, Boston (2, North America)
Akbar Khan, Jan Ul Hassan, Tafu, A Flavor of India (1, Asia)
Nirvana, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (1, North America)
Rasputina, Transylvanian Regurgitations (1, Europe)

(1+2+1+1+1)*3 = 18 meta points.

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