April 8 RussCon had 14 people, 3 gaming tracks, 8 games played!
3 new folks showed up: JeffW, Jason, JonathanB. (Hmm, the J Brigade.)


Soda can/bottle request: please rinse 'em out and toss plastic bottles into the box in pantry. You can leave cans by the sink, or crush them yourself and toss into box. This way they can be recycled rather than trashed. Thanks!


For some reason, we were all playing slower than normal... The final game of the evening, El Grande, was ended after 6 instead of the normal 9 turns, and a 6-player Condottiere that looked like it would never terminate was also ended arbitrarily at the end of a round and victory determined by current holdings.

Too many long agonization phases. Perhaps we should break out the timer again as per EricH's suggestion during RoboRally last week...


Again, several new games (new to RussCon, anyway) were played: Ghost Party, Ben Hurt, and Condottiere.


James won Medici.

Alfred & Jay tied for victory in Montgolfiere. (Woo-hoo, a rare joint victory! Alfred applied the sophisticated Black Baron AI system, i.e. random play. Montgolfiere is a subtle game which punishes thoughtful play.)

RussW cruelly abused newbies in Euphrates again.

Doug won Settlers.

JP won Ghost Party. ("Hugo... Hugo... Arise from your bloody grave!" A fun silly Ravensburger (German) game which nonetheless has some strategy. Sort of a Haunted Musical Chairs game.)

Jay won Ben Hurt. (Cheap Ass chariot racing! The poor man's Circus Maximus?)

Alfred was the winner of 6-player Condottiere by mutual consent with 3 of the needed 4 contiguous cities. (It's a game of conquering cities in Italy with some interesting weird card play implications. It appears that the greater the number of players, the more likely the game will never end as people hold back their cards hoping to have others run out before them in the round. Plus if you're close to winning, it's very easy for 5 other players to knock you back down.)

James won the 6-round El Grande.


Ratings for the evening:

Rank ratings (e.g. 3rd place is better than 4th):
 0.53 James
 0.46 JP
 0.46 RussW
 0.40 Jay
 0.08 Doug
 0.00 Alfred
 0.00 JonathanB
 0.00 Ken
-0.26 Tim
-0.38 RussD
-0.42 Marty
-0.67 Brady
-0.67 Jason
-1.00 JeffW

Win ratings (only winning matters):
 0.64 Alfred
 0.64 Jay
 0.53 James
 0.38 RussW
 0.34 Doug
 0.33 JP
-1.00 Brady
-1.00 Jason
-1.00 JeffW
-1.00 JonathanB
-1.00 Ken
-1.00 Marty
-1.00 RussD
-1.00 Tim

At the previous few RussCons, there was always someone with a perfect +1 on both lists (thanks to the Brady Maneuver, where someone plays just one game and wins it). There is no obvious unique overall winner this time. James was the highest ranker, while Alfred and Jay were both the most winning. One's intuition is probably that the devil(s) should be one (or more) of James, Alfred, and Jay. It all depends on what a "reasonable" way of combining rank and win ratings is.

Now I consider the partial ordering defined by combining the rankings in the natural way:
Define Joe >= Bob if Joe did at least as well as Bob in both ratings.
Define Joe > Bob if Joe >= Bob and not Bob >= Joe.
Define Joe = Bob if Joe >= Bob and Bob >= Joe (i.e. both their ratings are equal.)

(The mathematically inclined can easily verify that this defines a partial ordering...)

E.g., JonathanB = Ken since their rank ratings are both 0 and their win ratings are both -1. (They therefore share the Extra Average award for the evening. Alfred also had a rank rating of 0, but his actually winning a game disqualifies him for the Extra Average award.)

E.g., Jay and RussW are incomparable since RussW's rank rating is better than Jay's, but Jay's win rating is better than RussW's.

Here's a diagram of the partial ordering for this week (view it in a fixed width font!):

        Jay   RussW
        / \    / \
  Alfred   Doug   JP
        \    |   /
   JonathanB = Ken
       Brady = Jason

I think this is a cool way to look at it. Note that people who won no games will always form a total ordering at the bottom (they all have win ratings of -1).

Jay and James are the only 2 people who had no one > them. Therefore, one could call it an overall joint victory. Neither is > the other.

Or one could argue that James is > one more person than Jay is (James > 11 people, Jay > 10 people) so James is the victor.

One could also argue that James is the only one on the highest level (if you assign levels in the obvious way: JeffW is level 0, Jay is level 7, James is level 8).

(Note that it's possible that Joe > more people than Bob, yet Bob is at a higher level than Joe. It's a happy coincidence this time that James is higher level than Jay and also > more people than Jay.)

So James is surely a devil. Jay might be a devil... only his exorcist knows for sure. What do you think? Is having no one > Jay sufficient to make Jay an overall winner, or are you swayed by the metrics of # people one is > than or one's level? On the one hand, the 2 metrics make James seem more devilish than Jay. On the other hand, if James really were more devilish, then you'd expect James > Jay instead of the pair being incomparable as they are.

JeffW executed the dangerous Reverse Polarity Brady Maneuver (playing only one game and coming in last) -- that can't be healthy.


See you next week, Wednesday April 15 (aaaack, it's Tax Day!), 7pm.