April 15 RussCon report

There were 8 of us. Perhaps Tax Day kept some away. (I know it kept Jim away from Go club the night before. Some people have no sense of priorities!) Sadly, the expected return of Evan did not occur due to his visiting family in Houston.



RussD won a 6-player Medici soon after saying the game was completely opaque to him; think how well he'll do after he understands it!

Brady won Euphrates.

RussD & Ken then allied for a joint victory in Cosmic Encounter, which gave William his first Cosmic fix at a RussCon.

JP won Entdecker.

Ken viciously abused Euphrates newbies this week, crushing them gloriously.



Finally, JP introduced us to Fight!, a Cheapass game which is so cheap, they give it away free on a business card! You can also find it on their website (www.cheapass.com), which has some other free games too.

Each game only lasts about 15 minutes. JP won 4 games, Marty won 2, Brady won 1. I ignominiously never did better than the median rank, demolishing my ratings for the evening. It's a fascinatingly clever little game; in terms of the gameplay to rules text ratio, it's one of the best games I've seen.

Here are the complete rules:



The Cheapass Game that fits on a business card!

Players: 2-6

Playing Time: Two minutes and up.

Object: To run everyone else out of coins.

To Begin: Each player starts with one quarter, two dimes, three nickels, and four pennies. Determine randomly who will go first. Thereafter, play proceeds to the left.

On Each Turn: Play one coin from your pile into the middle of the table. You may then take change from the table, up to a penny less than the value of the coin you played. For example, if you play a dime, you can take out up to nine cents, if there are nine cents to be taken.

To Win: Be the last player with any coins left.

Strategy: Watch the pennies, and try to lose as little money as possible each turn. Don't spend your quarter if you can only take out ten cents. Try to force your opponent to do exactly the opposite. Take away his pennies so he has to make lousy change. Good luck!

The Cheapass Games Secret Web Site (c) 1997 James Ernest and Cheapass Games.



Rank ratings:
 0.55 RussD
 0.45 Ken
 0.27 Brady
 0.26 Marty
-0.03 JP
-0.17 JonathanC
-0.29 RussW
-0.44 William

Win ratings:
 0.76 Ken
 0.68 RussD
 0.54 JP
 0.30 Marty
 0.08 Brady
-1.00 JonathanC
-1.00 RussW
-1.00 William

The partial ordering (of the pairs of ratings) is:

Ken, RussD (incomparable)
Brady, JP, Marty (all incomparable)

Ken and RussD were > all other players, but incomparable to each other. They are on the same level and have the same number of players below them in the ordering. Therefore, they are both Devils of equal stature (so their Cosmic alliance was symbolic of greater things to come). William is the Angel (but he's happy since he got to play Cosmic!).



It has been suggested by some that the fantastic honors and riches bestowed upon RussCon winners are in fact not all that impressive. Ken even ungratefully observed that the financial rewards for being the Devil are the same as for being the Angel. (Perhaps Tax Day had Ken resentful that tax liabilities for prizes received are the sole responsibility of the winner.)

It also sometimes happens that 2 games are about to start, and both want the dining table. Therefore, to solve 2 problems with 1 brilliant solution, I present a new system of rewards for Deviltry:

The Devil(s) from one RussCon get to sit at the dining table for all their games at the next week's RussCon, and they get to pick the game to be played at the table (as long as there are players willing to play it -- total of at least 4 players). If there is more than one Devil, they must sort out any game choice disagreements themselves. If a Devil arrives late and a game is already using the table, then tough noogies for the Devil. If the Devil is free when the table game finishes, then the Devil can take over the table. To be eligible for Devilhood, one must have played more than one game that evening. If weird cases arise making it not obvious how to determine who the devil(s) actually are, I am final arbiter. Offer not valid in all states. Sorry, Tennessee!

So congratulations, Ken and RussD: you can stake out the dining table next week!



There's no RussCon May 6 (the first Wednesday of May). Your host will be at Computer Game Developer's Conference, courtesy of Kinesoft, proud sponsor of the 1998 RussCon Games.

There will be RussCon at 7pm on Wednesday April 22 and April 29 as usual.

See you there!