Dec 16 RussCon Report

23 of us again, the sign of the Illuminati. Welcome back to DaveB, my ratings theory correspondent, gone from RussCon for far too long. We also had newcomer Rohan. And Fred, who I think was also here a couple weeks ago, right...? (You know RussCon is getting big when I don't even meet everyone who shows up!)


Games played:

Samurai 4 JeffF 3 RussW 1 Clayton -2 Jay -2
LastChance 4 Clayton 3 RussW 1 JeffF -1 Jay -3
LastChance 4 RussW 3 Clayton 1 Jay -1 JeffF -3
MedievalMerchant 6 Ken 5 James 3 KevinH 1 Tim -1 Harry -3 Rohan -5
Acquire 6 Daniel 5 JonathanR 3 Laurie 1 EricH -1 JonathanC -3 Brady -5
Samurai 4 William 3 Marty -1 Steve -1 JP -1
Samurai 4 Marty 3 Brady -1 JonathanR -1 Daniel -1
MedievalMerchant 6 William 5 Steve 3 Daniel 1 JonathanR -2 Marty -2 Brady -5
RoboRally 7 JeffF 6 RussW 4 JonathanC 2 JP -1 Rohan -1 Tim -4 Jay -6
LastChance 4 JonathanC 3 JP 1 RussW -1 KevinH -3
Samurai 3 JonathanC 2 William 0 RussW -2
Successors 4 DaveB 3 Doug 1 James -1 Fred -3
DurchDieWueste 5 Daniel 4 Brady 1 JonathanR 1 Marty -2 JP -4
Loewenherz 4 Rohan 3 Ken 1 Harry -1 JeffF -3
Samurai 4 RussW 3 JP 1 DaveB -2 Doug -2

Samurai was clearly the game of choice. Indeed there were 2 concurrent games of it going at one point! That's a rare occurence for any game. It is a pretty neat and clever German game, and the pieces are made of a cool black shiny substance that's sort of like plastic or hard wood and is probably an alien carapace or leftover uranium waste. It also uses a nifty final scoring mechanism. Like Euphrat & Tigris, you are collecting victory points of different types (3 in this case, not 4 like E&T). Then, in order to be eligible to win, you must have more than anyone else in at least 1 of the 3 categories. Thus in a 4-player game, at least one person is out of the running right there. If someone has more than anyone else in 2 of the categories, they win. Else we have a tie, which is broken by adding up the number of pieces in your other 2 categories! If there's still a tie, add up all your pieces. Interesting and weird, but it works! Basically you want to collect lots of points, of course, and in at least 2 of the 3 categories. You can afford to blow off one category. (Unlike E&T.)

Last Chance, another "family game" brought by Devil Jeff, was a fast and fun clever little game that combines the lucky dice action of Yahtzee with good bidding strategy and probability estimation. I recommend it. Check it out. Marty says he's seen it real cheap at MacFrugal's.

After several weeks without, we finally got to play RoboRally again, the game people either love or hate. Clearly a lot of us love it since there were 7 players! To make it quicker, we just used 3 flags. To cancel that out (for some reason), they were set far apart...


Important Samurai rules clarification:

Last week, people were playing Samurai wrong. The game ends as soon as the last piece of any of the 3 categories is taken, not when all the pieces are taken. This makes a BIG difference!

For ratings purposes, it seems reasonable to say that people who don't have a plurality in one of the categories (and are hence ineligible right off the bat) all tie for last place, then the other(s) get ranked 1st, 2nd...


Thank you!

This is the largest most successful ongoing gaming group I've ever had the privilege to be a part of. Indeed, we're coming up on the One Year Anniversary. RussCon wouldn't exist without people participating. So thanks to everyone who's come and played a game, brought a newly released game or an old forgotten classic, brought a goofy dog of a game for nostalgia value, brought a game they designed, brought a new gamer, explained rules, debated strategy, supplied food or drink, helped clean up, donated a lamp or plexiglass or web skills, brainstormed ratings systems, argued an interesting rules lawyer problem, recorded a game result legibly, guessed the musical theme, spread news and rumors, made us laugh, etc.... That's why I keep hosting RussCon! (To the despair of my neighbors, no doubt.)

To all the folks who generously and unexpectedly gave me Quo Vadis and Bohnanza -- thank you very much indeed! I'm touched. You all are cool.


Evening's Soundtrack:

The Beatles, the white album
Big Black, Songs about Fucking
Blackend: The Black Metal Compilation, Volume 1
White Mansions: A tale from the American Civil War 1861-1865
Zebra, Zebra

This of course was the natural followup to last week's colorful theme...


Rank ratings:
 0.8000 William (3 games played)
 0.7500 Ken (2)
 0.5294 Daniel (4)
 0.3913 RussW (7)
 0.2500 James (2)
 0.2500 JonathanC (4)
 0.2500 Steve (2)
 0.2222 Clayton (3)
 0.2000 Laurie (1)
 0.1667 DaveB (2)
 0.1111 JeffF (5)
 0.0588 JonathanR (4)
-0.1333 Marty (4)
-0.1667 Doug (2)
-0.2000 EricH (1)
-0.2105 JP (5)
-0.2143 Rohan (3)
-0.2500 KevinH (2)
-0.4545 Tim (2)
-0.5000 Harry (2)
-0.5882 Brady (4)
-0.8000 Jay (4)
-1.0000 Fred (1)

Win ratings:
 0.6522 William (3)
 0.6414 JonathanC (4)
 0.5935 Daniel (4)
 0.5385 Ken (2)
 0.5000 DaveB (2)
 0.4157 Rohan (3)
 0.3636 JeffF (5)
 0.2000 Clayton (3)
 0.1004 RussW (7)
 0.0976 Marty (4)
-1.0000 James (2)
-1.0000 Steve (2)
-1.0000 Laurie (1)
-1.0000 JonathanR (4)
-1.0000 Doug (2)
-1.0000 EricH (1)
-1.0000 JP (5)
-1.0000 KevinH (2)
-1.0000 Tim (2)
-1.0000 Harry (2)
-1.0000 Brady (4)
-1.0000 Jay (4)
-1.0000 Fred (1)

William is clearly the Devil! He gets to stake out the dining table next week. I believe Daniel and Ken are tied as Vice-Devil; tie-breaker is # games played, so Daniel gets priority in the event Devil William doesn't appear. (Sorry, Ken, but Daniel makes those entertaining Devil sound effects.)

Fred pulled off the rare and dangerous Reverse Brady Maneuver. I award myself the Dedicated Award for playing 7 games.


Cultural News:

The chilling sociological film to see is American History X. This drama is set in the culture of white supremacist skinheads, and the acting is fantastic, the story intense, and the issues quite relevant and significant. Edward Norton plays a former skinhead gang member who's just gotten out of prison; he wants to keep his younger brother Edward Furlong from making the same mistakes. It deals with the bigger social issues as well as the effects on one family. It simultaneously makes you hopeful and hopeless about bigotry in America. Very thought provoking and moving.

The heartwarming holiday play to see is A Christmas Carol at Dougherty Arts Center. This is a well-done and moving production. Although low-budget, it even manages to pull off a few special effects. Michael Stuart is quite fun as Scrooge. If you're in the mood for this nostalgic classic, you should go check this out.


Holiday News:

Yes, there will be holiday RussCons. People have been asking about Christmas and New Years. Dec 23 and Dec 30 I will be in town and hosting Wednesday night gaming as usual. See you there!


Bad News:

Mr. Bryan P. of Seattle, Washington writes:

Well, I definitely won't be able to make it for RussCon on the 30th. :( My sister is in a big hurry to get back to Wichita so I'll only be in Dallas for 2 or 3 days. Woe is me.

Bryan "The RussCon Ovum" Parker


I'm back in the USSR