Feb 24 1999 RussCon Report

There were 20 of us. Marty continues his quest to own all Reiner Knizia games: he brought 3 new acquisitions (Res Publica, Honey Bears, and Mole Hill).

What's in a name? We have yet another unusually tall Jeff. This new Jeff has last initial S. Inconveniently, JeffS of go club and occasional RussCon appearances already exists. Conveniently, JeffS the Second has graciously revealed his nickname Jeffles.

The quest for JonathanR's nickname continues; Marty avers that it shall be Slippery since no nickname sticks on him. I'm adopting a wait and see attitude.


Laser Quest News:

It's official! We own the whole place for 3 games (the fabled Triple Quest --- oooh, aaah) Monday March 22. The time will be 8:30pm, not 7:00 as previously suggested. This allows Tim & Jonobie to play. They were among the folks who explicitly emailed me saying they wanted to play, so I'm happy to start later for them, especially since by definition RussCon people don't have a problem with staying up till 11pm on a weeknight.

Let's try to get there around 8:15 to allow for unexpected delays. (They have arcade games and air hockey to play.) If you get there late, you might not get to play the first game.

Here's the list of 20-odd (or 20 odd) people who've told me they are coming:
Me (duh!)
Jay (who doesn't have to pay since he was the Settlers champ)
Eric & Laurie
Sea Biscuit (& Dawn?)
Rohan (& friends?)
Squeaky & Kara
JeffF & Jonobie
Jennifer & Steven

I believe additional people are interested. Please let me know if you are. Also let me know if you're on this list but are not going to come after all. Feel free to invite select friends, but please let me know if you're going to, and how many. RussCon folks get priority over people I never heard of, in the event we get close to the limit.

There is a "soft" limit of 30 people for our fixed fee. Then there's a "hard" limit of 38 people, where each person over 30 adds another $4.17 to the price. (I'm not kidding, they really said $4.17 for each additional person. They're zany!)

I have put it on my credit card. We will divide the total fee among us evenly. I'll round the cost per person up to the nearest dollar to keep things simple, and then I'll have a few bucks leftover for the RussCon treasury to do something RussCon-like with. If possible, bring $19 in cash with you; I believe the per-person cost will be somewhere between $10 and $19. If you have $19 with you, there will be no difficulties with trying to make change.

Please bring cash to the place, or to RussCon the following week. Don't make me send Guido the Enforcer after you.

Laser Quest is located in the parking lot of Highland Mall, to the northeast of the mall. It's housed in what used to be the Highland Cinema.


Games played:

ResPublica 4 RussW 3 JP 1 Ken -1 Marty -3
Rainbows 4 Laurie 3 Peter 1 EricH -1 Harry -3
ModernArt 5 James 4 Jeffles 2 Bob 0 JeffF -2 Clayton -4
ResPublica 5 Ken 4 JP 2 RussW 0 Marty -2 Doug -4
Fossil 5 JonathanR 4 Daniel 2 Harry 0 Tim -2 Alfred -4
Elfenwizards 6 RussW 5 JP 3 Jeffles 1 Marty -1 JeffF -3 Doug -5
Entdecker 4 EricH 3 Peter 1 Harry -1 Laurie -3
ElGrande 3 James 2 Bob 0 Ken -2
ElCaballero 4 Daniel 3 Tim 1 Alfred -1 JonathanR -3
Samurai 3 James 2 Bob 0 Ken -2
HoneyBears 5 Marty 4 Doug 2 Jeffles 0 RussW -2 JP -4
Samurai 3 James 2 Bob 0 Ken -2
Entdecker 4 Daniel 3 Brady 1 William -1 JonathanR -3
HoneyBears 5 RussW 4 JP 2 Jeffles 0 William -2 Marty -4
Can'tStop 4 William 3 Jeffles 1 RussW -2 JP -2
MoleHill 2 JP 1 William -1
MoleHill 2 JP 1 RussW -1
MoleHill 2 RussW 1 William -1
MoleHill 2 JP 0 RussW 0
Acquire 4 Bob 3 Doug 1 James -1 Brady -3

The Rainbows scores were 140, 125, 120, 105. The new Rainbows cumulative score distribution:

165 (Russ)
140 x2
125 x2
120 x3
110 x7
100 x11
85 x2
-10 (William)

Res Publica was interesting (albeit slow in the early turns). You trade cards to get a set of 5 and make a settlement. Settlements give you additional cards, which you trade to get a set of 5 and make a city. The rules for trading led to frequent semantic confusions, but the game seemed to work ok.

I found Honey Bears to be quite a great little game. Fast, simple, fun, yet with some strategy as well. Gotta love a game with colored bears racing from the beehive back to the bear cave.

The 3rd new Knizia game Mole Hill is a pure strategy game for 2 players, and very clever. As usual, JP dominates that sort of game. If 2 of you are between games and don't want to play Kahuna (another good 2 player game), definitely check out Mole Hill. It has the flavor of Twixt or go.

I finally got to play Elfenwizards and enjoyed it, though it went slow, due to a combination of there being many newbies, and there being Doug and JP both in the game!

I believe it has been statistically proven that if James, Bob, and Ken play a 3-player game, James will always win and Ken will always come in last.


Medieval Merchant and Superman Wisdom from Tom:

It appears that Medieval Merchant is one of those games where people continually screw up the rules.

James forwarded the following, from Tom:


In a message dated 2/20/99 12:44:32 AM Eastern Standard Time, xxxxxxxx@xxxx.xxxxxx.xxx writes:

<< The ruling you missed in Medieval Merchant is 4B and is located on the top left column of page 5 -

"Only 1 branch may be built in each town.

The player adds one to his influence score by moving his influence marker one space."

There is even a picture that illustrates the effects of adding a town to the map. In this game influence points are victory points. >>

Hey guys, I'm forwarding this answer from Tom which does show that we do get one point for each town. This certainly changes the strategy a bit as towns are somewhat important now.


That this is surprising surprises me, insofar as I recall towns being worth a point (correctly, it seems) the few times I played the game. But I also recall every time it's played it seems like people discover some rule that was being done wrong.

Tom also contributes the following rebuttal to Brady's argument that Superman can kick Batman's ass:

> Moreover, Superman can fly back in time and woo Batman's mother away from
> his dad long enough before he could be born. I'm sure he could think of that.
> Imagine: Batman shoot's the kryptonite bullets. In self-defense, Superman
> races back in time to prevent his assailant from being born!

If I understand this argument, Brady is proposing 1) That time travel is possible and 2) That Superman can withstand the entry and exit of the time dimension.

If given 1) then it is in no way certain that 2) is possible given that Superman's powers are derived from the gravitational and solar forces of our yellow sun. Once leaving the dimension of current time he would most likely be crushed by the forces of travel in the "4th dimension".


Evening's Soundtrack:

A special event: the X&Y Trilogy, all 5 CDs worth...!

The Black Blood

This is the cybernetic opera trilogy produced and performed by the Vortex theatre group over the past 3 years. Lance & I saw the marathon performance of all 3 in one Sunday a few weeks ago.


Rank ratings:
 0.8000 Daniel (3 games played)
 0.6923 James (5)
 0.3333 EricH (2)
 0.3333 Peter (2)
 0.3077 RussW (9)
 0.2308 Bob (5)
 0.2000 Jeffles (5)
 0.1538 JP (9)
 0.0000 Laurie (2)
-0.1429 Tim (2)
-0.1667 William (5)
-0.2000 JonathanR (3)
-0.2308 Ken (5)
-0.3000 Marty (5)
-0.3333 Brady (2)
-0.3750 Doug (4)
-0.4000 Harry (3)
-0.5556 JeffF (2)
-0.7143 Alfred (2)
-1.0000 Clayton (1)

New Win ratings:
 0.6923 James (5)
 0.5000 Daniel (3)
 0.3462 RussW (9)
 0.3333 EricH (2)
 0.3333 Laurie (2)
 0.2000 JonathanR (3)
 0.0000 Ken (5)
 0.0000 Marty (5)
-0.0769 Bob (5)
-0.0833 William (5)
-0.1538 JP (9)
-0.2222 JeffF (2)
-0.2500 Jeffles (5)
-0.2500 Doug (4)
-0.2500 Clayton (1)
-0.2857 Tim (2)
-0.2857 Alfred (2)
-0.3000 Harry (3)
-0.3333 Peter (2)
-0.3333 Brady (2)

James and Daniel are Co-Devils! Eric is next in succession, then me. JP & I share the Dedicated Award for playing 9 games.


High-Velocity Potato News:

You'll want a fast connection to view these astonishing films of vegetable explosive destruction.



No RussCon on Wednesday March 17!

I will be out of town.


Beware the flaming eye!