Wednesday August 12 RussCon Report

I have returned from the 1998 US Go Congress, which was held at St. John's College in Santa Fe. A week of dorm living, cafeteria food, and nonstop Go: bliss! I won the 13x13 tournament, and also won the 7 & 8 kyu division of the US Open. (Last year I was 8 kyu and also won the 7 & 8 kyu division; this year I was 7 kyu. I'd better be 6 kyu after this, or it's going to start looking suspicious!) There were many pro players giving lectures and game analyses, and vendors sold books and other loot. I also hiked around in the beautiful mountains, went on a day trip to see Indian ruins and Los Alamos, and went to see The Magic Flute and Salome at the open air Opera. All in all a wonderful vacation. Other RussCon folks who went included JP, JeffS, Kevin, and JimC. That goober EricH was going to be there, but trivial matters at the office prevented his appearance. Next year the Congress will be in San Francisco. Anyone who plays Go should be there -- anything else would be madness!

For those who haven't heard, Hasbro is buying Avalon Hill and Microprose. The effect on boardgames is very worrisome. The effect on computer games is less clear.

Marty reports that in my absence Medici and Iron Dragon were played, both won by Tim! Congratulations on the Medici victory, and as for Iron Dragon, well, the less said, the better. It was a sad thing to enter that so-called game into the game database. Both results are added to the ratings database, but not included in the August 12 ratings. Speaking of which:

On Wednesday August 12 there were 12 of us!

Ken was the Devil and chose to play a "real game", namely Successors: The Battles For Alexander's Empire. The good news is it only lasts 5 turns at most. The bad news is each turn takes a couple hours. Anyway, 4 of us played it until midnight when Ken won an early victory (relatively speaking) due to using his Jedi mind tricks to make James suicidally attack him. For Jay & me, it was our first time, and we came in 3rd and 4th. (I was hurting from early on when James used his Jedi mind tricks to make me foolishly attack Ken!) It's a neat game which I'll have to play a few times before I grok the strategy of, not unlike Age of Renaissance.

Meanwhile, Marty and Brady each won a game of Euphrates.

The Settlers 2 player card game is now out in an English edition. JeffF beat Marty in a game of that. Previously I'd not been including 2 player games in the RussCon ratings, but I've gone ahead and included this result.

JonathanC & Dawn brought the new Cthulhoid boardgame Cults Across America. Tim won that. I'm interested in playing it! I almost bought it Sunday at Dragon's Lair, except I was already spending more than I'd ever spent on a batch of games stocking up on Avalon Hill games (for obvious reasons, thanks a lot, Hasbro...).

RussW won 2 games of Titan the Arena, the 2nd win being a joint victory with Doug. These were both 3 player games. Normally we've been playing it with 5. Like Medici, it actually works with varying numbers of players and really plays differently depending on the number.

James won Settlers.

Thus RussW won 2 games; Ken, James, Marty, Brady, JeffF, Tim & Doug each won 1.


Evening's Soundtrack:

Angel Heart (soundtrack)
J.S. Bach, Three Keyboard Concertos
Bettie Serveert, Palomine
Nirvana, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
Smashing Pumpkins, Adore


Evening's Ratings:

Rank ratings:
 0.6667 James (2 games played)
 0.5000 Ken (2)
 0.4000 Brady (2)
 0.1429 Tim (2)
 0.0000 RussW (3)
 0.0000 JeffF (3)
 0.0000 JP (4)
-0.2500 Doug (3)
-0.2500 Dawn (1)
-0.2500 JonathanC (1)
-0.3333 Marty (3)
-0.6667 Jay (2)

Win ratings:
 0.6000 RussW (3)
 0.5238 Tim (2)
 0.5000 James (2)
 0.5000 Ken (2)
 0.4545 Brady (2)
-0.0769 JeffF (3)
-0.2308 JP (4)
-0.2308 Doug (3)
-1.0000 Dawn (1)
-1.0000 JonathanC (1)
-1.0000 Marty (3)
-1.0000 Jay (2)

This leads to the rather simple and pretty partial order:

RussW Ken  Tim
  \    |    /
   \ Brady /
    \  |  /
  Dawn = JonathanC

This gives some nice examples of how the ratings work:

James and Ken each won a 4 player game and lost a 4 player game, thus they have identical win ratings. They each came in 2nd in their other 4 player game. But Ken shared his 2nd place (in Settlers) with Brady, hence Ken's rank rating is lower than that of James, so Ken < James.

I (RussW) had the best win rating, but my rank rating was hurt badly by coming in last in Successors. (I even lost Alexander the Great's body, sheesh! I felt like such a klutz!)

Note that in the partial order RussW & Tim & Ken all have
(#levels below - #levels above) = 7
(#players below - #players above) = 7
which is why I've drawn all 3 at the same vertical position: they're tied!

Anyway, that frequent Devil James is The Devil again. We have a 3-way tie for Vice-Devil among RussW, Ken, and Tim. So there might be heavy competition for the dining table next week, but James gets first dibs.

See you next week (Wednesday August 19), and don't let Hasbro buy you!