January 24 2001 RussCon Report


News: Top Ten Game Results!
Game Results
Meta Party Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
16 of us played 18 games.
RussCon Mailing List Subscription Info
RussCon Report Archives
Previous Report
Next Report
RussCon Info
Russ Zone
Ko Fight Club
Big Ones coloring contest!
Comicollage: daily ongoing comic jam with 7 artists and no planning ahead! I'm Tuesday.


Thanks for the floor pillows that were brought this week! Goodness.

Other big news is that I am taking a job with United Devices, which looks to be a pretty nifty place to work, plus I may be playing a small role in curing cancer, so hey! How cool is that?

But you're probably saying "That's great, but what does this mean to me, the valued RussCon Customer?" (I can hear you saying it now.) Two things: we'll need to start ending RussCon sooner again (more like midnight than 1 or 2am), and the RussCon Reports will almost certainly stop appearing so promptly on Thursday, because I'll be, like, working and stuff... engineering software, curing cancer, and like that.

Ok, the favorite game ballots have stopped coming in, so here are the results! There was not a simple way to cut off at 10, so here are the top 17 games. I've sorted by votes, with ties broken by number of distinct people voting for a title: (Update later in the evening: one ballot was lost in my inbox; apologies to Clay and thanks for pointing out the error! Here are the correct results: essentially the change is that Roborally moved up several slots, and Vampire makes it onto the top 17 list...)
Euphrat & Tigris153
Settlers of Catan134
Durch Die Wueste74
Age of Renaissance41
Frank's Zoo33
Ghost Party32
Zirkus Flohcati32
Union Pacific32

Here are all the games which received votes:
Age of Renaissance41
Battle Cry11
Big City11
Can't Stop22
Cosmic Encounter22
Drunter & Drueber22
Durch Die Wueste74
Euphrat & Tigris153
Formula De11
Frank's Zoo33
Ghost Party32
Hare & Tortoise11
Hat Trick11
High Society11
By Hook Or Crook22
Lost Cities11
Mississippi Queen21
Modern Art11
Res Publica11
Ricochet Robot11
Schotten Totten11
Settlers of Catan134
Stephensons Rocket11
Titan the Arena11
Und Tschuess21
Union Pacific32
Web of Power22
Zirkus Flohcati32

I also received a vote of weight 10 for Iron Dragon from Mike, but he's just trying to make me crazy. The most cheeky voting came from JeffF. If you want to see how people voted, look here.

Game Results

Vampire4Tim 3 Clayton 1 Dan -1 RussW -3
WebOfPower5Marty 4 Daniel 2 Vince 0 Carly -2 Bob -4
Carcassonne3JP 2 Dan 0 Tim -2
Carcassonne3RussW 2 Clayton 0 Matt -2
Hare&Tortoise5JonathanC 4 JeffF 2 Bob 0 RussD -2 Daniel -4
SpyAlley5Daniel 4 RussD 1 JonathanC 1 JeffF -2 Bob -4
Attila4Matt 3 JP 1 Brady -1 Dan -3
Aladdin'sDragons5Jeffles 4 Vince 2 WendyWhe -1 Marty -1 Carly -4
Acquire4Clayton 3 Tim 1 RussW -1 Alfred -3
Zero3Alfred 2 RussW 0 Tim -2
Carcassonne5JP 4 RussD 2 Brady 0 Bob -2 Marty -4
TitanArena3Alfred 1 RussW 1 Tim -2
Settlers4Carly 3 Dan 1 Matt -1 JeffF -3
Frank'sZoo4Carly 3 Dan 1 JeffF -1 Matt -3
LostCities2Alfred 1 RussW -1
Targui4WendyWhe 3 Dan 0 Jeffles 0 Vince -3
Bluff7Matt 6 Jeffles 4 RussW 2 Alfred 0 Carly -2 Daniel -4 JeffF -6
Euphrates3Bob 2 JP 0 Brady -2

carcassonneWe had 2 games of Carcassonne going in parallel at the table... there was a meta race to finish since the first winner of each game title would receive a free meta card. The honor of a Carcassonne meta card fell to Tim.

We had one of those unusual Acquire games where there were several safe chains and none of them reached 41 hotels. This led to running out of tiles from the cup! My experience is that it's much more common to have a chain reach 41 hotels.

In Zero, Alfred scored Zero in both the first 2 rounds! Alfred's reign of terror continued as he pulled off a tie with me in Titan the Arena, then proceeded to thrash me in Lost Cities and a side game of 9x9 go. (I'll point out that the latter was a 4 stone game, however...)

bluffIt's good to have Bluff back. We broke out extra dice to play a 7 player game, which came down to Matt vs Jeffles each with one die left.

Meta Party Game Results

Matt was the Meta Party Devil. Here is the meta party game he emailed out:

     This meta game is based on an idea from R. Wayne Schmittberger's _New Rules for Classic Games_. At least I think it is - I can't seem to find my copy, so I'm going on memory.

     This game is played with regular playing cards. The object is to trade cards with the other players to maximize your score. The catch is that most of the scoring rules are initially unknown to you, and you can trade knowledge as well as cards.

     There are ten scoring rules. The first is:

     Rule 1) Each number card (2-10) is worth its value in points.

     The other 9 rules are initially a mystery, but each rule will be known by at least one player.

     * When you arrive, you get six cards and knowledge of three scoring rules at random.

     * When you win a (non-meta) game, you may draw an additional card *or* rule. Really short games, like "Brawl" or "RoShamBo" don't count.

     * You may trade cards and rules with other players at any time, and I recommend a short trading session after each (non-meta) game is played.

     * When you propose a trade, you may choose to reveal the identity, suit, or rank of the cards you're proposing to trade, or the rule number of the rules you're proposing to trade, but any information you reveal must be true.

     * Any deals that involve future actions ("I'll give you a card later") are unenforceable and discouraged.


     "I'll trade you the King of Spades, a heart, and Rule 8 for a club and a rule I don't already have."
     "I'll trade two cards for an 8."

     * Cards may not be discarded, but they can be given away if someone agrees to accept them. You may not give away a rule for free.

     * When you trade a rule, you just trade knowledge of the rule. I'll provide a sheet to jot the rules on as you learn them.

     Some sample rules might be:

     A) Kings are worth 15 points, Jacks are worth 5.
     B) If you have any black cards, your red cards are worth negative points.
     C) A three card run (4-5-6, J-Q-K) gets a 10 point bonus per run.      D) If you have an ace, face cards of that suit are worth 2x points.

     Remember, all 10 scoring rules are used to score the game at the end, whether you know them all or not. The rules will not contradict each other, but might modify each other in certain conditions (see B and D above).

     * When you leave, write down your cards on your rule tally sheet and give the sheet to me (or Russ, if I have to leave for some reason).

     * Highest score wins. In the case of a tie score, the person with the most cards wins. If there's a tie there as well, the person with the lower Devil Point score wins.

     * I'm not eligible to win.

To play this game well took a fair bit of time and negotiation. Several folks really got into sharing rules. Here are the complete rules (which were rapidly pieced together by several players thanks to a high volume of trading, quicker than expected by Matt):
Basic rules (affect a single card)
* If you have an Ace, all your 9's, and 10's (of any suit) count as zeros.
* For each King, your odd numbered cards in that suit (3,5,7,9) are worth negative points.
* Kings are worth 5 points, Queens are worth negative 10 points.
* Aces are worth 5 points, Jacks are worth negative 10 points.
* For each 2, your other number cards (3-10) in that suit are worth 2x points.

Special rules (affect sets of cards)
* If you have more than three number cards (2-10) in any suit, only the lowest three count (the other number cards are worth 0x points).
* For each set of A-K-Q-J (suits are unimportant), you get a 35 point bonus - each card can only count towards a single set.
* For each red suit, if nobody has more cards than you in that suit, you get a 20 point bonus (40 points theoretically possible).
* For your longest run of three or more number cards (2-10) in the same black suit, you get a bonus equal to the number of cards times the value of the smallest card (for example, 4-5-6-7 of Spades is worth a bonus 4x4=16 points).

Matt computed the scores as follows:
Sea Biscuit16

So Daniel is the Meta Party Devil and will email out next week's Meta Party Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Curve, Chinese Burn
Sinead O'Connor, The Lion and the Cobra
Rongchun Zhao, Master of the Erhu
He Zhan-Hao, Selected Orchestral Works
Some Chinese pop music CD which has no English identification

Of course many people noted a Chinese thing happening, but were baffled how Sinead fit into this. January 24 2001 was the Chinese New Year, beginning the Year of the Snake! Would it have helped if I included The Doors' first album? I bet not.


Rank ratings:
 0.6364 JP (4 games played)
 0.6250 JonathanC (2)
 0.6154 Jeffles (3)
 0.5000 Clayton (3)
 0.2857 WendyWhe (2)
 0.1765 Matt (5)
 0.0833 RussD (3)
 0.0714 Alfred (5)
 0.0000 RussW (7)
-0.0833 Marty (3)
-0.0909 Vince (3)
-0.1000 Carly (5)
-0.1111 Daniel (4)
-0.1176 Dan (6)
-0.1667 Tim (5)
-0.3333 Brady (3)
-0.4444 Bob (5)
-0.5000 JeffF (5)

New Win ratings:
 0.3750 JonathanC (2)
 0.3636 JP (4)
 0.3529 Matt (5)
 0.2857 WendyWhe (2)
 0.1667 Marty (3)
 0.1538 Jeffles (3)
 0.1500 Carly (5)
 0.1429 Alfred (5)
 0.1250 Clayton (3)
 0.0556 Daniel (4)
-0.1053 RussW (7)
-0.1111 Bob (5)
-0.1667 Tim (5)
-0.2500 RussD (3)
-0.2500 JeffF (5)
-0.2727 Vince (3)
-0.3333 Brady (3)
-0.3529 Dan (6)
JP is the Devil! Sea Biscuit is Vice-Devil. Then Matt, Jeffles, WendyWhe. I win the Dedicated Award.

It occurs to me that the new card table diminishes the glory of being the Devil. Perhaps we should say that a ranking Sub-Devil may stake out the card table. Make it so, Number One.


Here's a nifty weird music video from a Brazilian electronic band Golden Shower. It's a trip through retro Atari 2600 game land with a fun modern reference thrown into the imagery.

The Japanese Engrish candy page has lots of food that would have fit in at last week's Meta Party Game.

Physics inside a Microwave Oven includes some short movies of various objects being microwaved. I was astonished at what happens with a grape! Seriously pyrotechnic mysteries of physics!


Ride the snake,
Ride the snake
To the lake,
The ancient lake, baby
The snake is long
Seven miles
Ride the snake
He is old and his skin is cold