July 31 2002 RussCon Report

go problem courtesy of usgo.org

Game Results
Meta Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
Ratings | FAQ
15 of us played 13 games.
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Comicollage: daily ongoing comic jam with 7 artists and no planning ahead! There's a russ strip every Tuesday.
I make exquisite corpses at deepmachines.


Congratulations to Mindy and Chris who now have twins Jesse and Griffin! Not the first time RussCon people have had twins... maybe it's something in the boardgames.

Welcome back Matt from a long business trip.

The Kuro5hin contest was finally judged, and I tied for 2nd. If I wasn't about to leave for a 9-day vacation, I'd host the next one (since the winner tmoertel graciously passed the honor along to me or edwin), but I don't want to leave them dangling with me out of touch for 9 days.

As everyone knows by now, there will be no RussCon next week Wednesday August 7 since I'll be at the Go Congress (which, as everyone knows, is The Best Week Of The Year). There have been further hushed rumors Marty is hosting a Sans-RussCon that night. There are also furtive mumblings of a mysterious and provocative guest strip at Ko Fight Club next week while I'm gone.

Game Results

Drakon6Steve 5 William 1 RussW 1 BobR 1 JonathanC -3 RussD -5
Transamerica6Daniel 5 JP 3 MarkH 1 MarkY -1 Dan -3 Matt -5
PuertoRico3Daniel 2 Dan 0 MarkH -2
Carcassonne5Steve 4 RussW 2 BobR 0 JonathanC -2 Clayton -4
Babel2RussD 1 William -1
Babel2William 1 RussD -1
Drakon6William 5 Steve 1 JonathanC 1 Jason 1 BobR -3 RussW -5
Theophrastus4MarkH 3 MarkY 1 Matt -1 Dan -3
MasterLabyrinth3RussW 2 JonathanC 0 Jason -2
PuertoRico4JP 3 Daniel 1 Brady -1 Clayton -3
Can'tStop3Steve 2 William 0 MarkY -2
StarWarsEpicDuels2( Matt JP ) 1 ( Daniel Brady ) -1
Cathedral2JP 0 RussW 0

I picked up the Drakon expansion pack, which has 48 new tiles and a Drakon counter (the dragon can appear and move around the dungeon!). We played it twice, which is itself a good sign, and folks all seemed to give it a big thumbs up! The larger tile deck meant more variety of play -- several types of tiles might not even show up before the game is over. In neither game, for instance, did anyone steal a tile from anyone else. And the new tile types have some cool new ideas. Good fun and worth the 15 bucks. Also there was a priceless moment when William played a Steal Left tile which would ensure he could move onto it and win on his next turn, smugly taunting us about how no one could stop him, till the turn order got round to Steve, who calmly thanked him and moved onto the new Steal Left tile himself and won. Much merriment ensued!

There was a nail-biting game of Carcassonne in which a cathedral city started very early and kept growing and growing... eventually Sea Biscuit, Clayton, and BobR were all in it (each invested with 2 dudes, in fact!) so that if it completed they all would have gotten about 60 points or so... Steve and I were desperate to keep it growing and incomplete, but soon it only needed one tile to finish. Lucky for us it didn't, so we came in 1st and 2nd instead of 4th and 5th!

A wacky match of Cathedral which I wasn't sure how to score: in the first game, I made 2 different ridiculous blunders, including letting JP surround and remove the cathedral, which seemed huge, so I resigned, then said, well, I guess I'll play on, to which JP gracious assented. But spectators felt I had resigned. Anyway as it turns out I only lost the game by 6 points, which isn't insurmountable. And indeed in the 2nd game JP made an even more hideous blunder than I, letting me seal off about 80% of the board and removing the cathedral, so I let him take it back and we played on, but I still ended up winning that game by more than 6 points, thus winning the match, except I'd earlier resigned, but then recanted, and then JP took back his hideous move as well. Anyway JP & I didn't know how to score it, so I called it a tie (which is a no-op for the new ratings system, conveniently).

hall of shameA reminder: please write and spell clearly when recording game results, make the scores and ranks clear, and remember last initials for people with common names, thanks! This week, I razz JP for goobering up the Puerto Rico Devil Points. I know that he knows that your Devil Points are #players you beat minus #players who beat you, so in a 4-player game no one can get 4 or -4 Devil Points. At least I think that's JP's handwriting...

Meta Game

Steve was the Meta Devil. Here is the Meta Game he mailed out:
In order to get Russ in the mood for his upcoming trip, I have decided to go with a metagame loosely inspired by Go.

Game has black pieces: 1 point
Game has white pieces: 1 point
Game played on a rectangular grid (explicit or abstract): 1 point
Game played on a square grid (explicit only): 1 point (cumulative with rectangular grid point)
Game scoring based (at least partially) on control or ownership of areas of a board: 2 points

For a total of 6 points possible per game.

For the last 2 point bonus, the scoring must be based directly on the area of the board itself, not on resources collected from the area during play or other indirect means. The area based scoring may occur at any time during play of the game, it is not restricted to just the end of the game.

Ties broken in the favor of whoever played the fewest games. Further ties broken randomly in any matter Russ sees fit to break them.

I asked for this clarification:
I trust this means a rectangular grid that has equal number of rectangles along each of the 2 axes, rather than a grid made up of squares (but which might have different number of squares along the 2 axes).

(Non-go-players might not realize that the 19x19 grid of a go board is not made up of squares but of rectangles, i.e. a go board's "squares" are slightly longer in one direction)

which Steve confirmed:
Yes, I was referring to the number of units on each side, not the shape of those individual units (it would be too difficult in practice to determine if the printed board was perfectly square). Note that not every tile/intersection needs to be played on or used during the course of the game. To qualify as for the "square" point, the playing area must have a predetermined size at the start of the game with explicitly drawn boundaries, and the number of units in each dimension must be equal.

To qualify for the rectangular bonus, it is only necessary to show that the game play area is divided into a grid of units of equal size and shape which limit the playable moves in some way. Thus playing Tiddlywinks on a checkerboard would not count as the squares on the board would have no effect on the play of the game, but games like Drakkon would count, as the playable area is abstractly defined as the grid of squares where tiles may be placed even though the specific dimensions of the grid are indeterminate at the start of the game.

Steve was forced to make many rulings about how many meta points various games were worth, with much rules lawyerly debate occurring. There was lots of competition for meta points (perhaps not all intentional). Sadly, no go was played. Here are the games which earned people meta points (which are all of them except Babel):
Drakon 2 Steve William RussW BobR JonathanC RussD 
Transamerica 2 Daniel JP MarkH MarkY Dan Matt 
PuertoRico 3 Daniel Dan MarkH 
Carcassonne 4 Steve RussW BobR JonathanC Clayton 
Drakon 2 William Steve JonathanC Jason BobR RussW 
Theophrastus 2 MarkH MarkY Matt Dan
MasterLabyrinth 4 RussW JonathanC Jason 
PuertoRico 3 JP Daniel Brady Clayton 
Can'tStop 3 Steve William MarkY 
StarWarsEpicDuels 3 Matt JP Daniel Brady 
Cathedral 2 JP RussW 
And the winner is me:
RussW 2 4 2 4 2 = 14
JonathanC 2 4 2 4 = 12
Steve 2 4 2 3 = 11
Daniel 2 3 3 3 = 11
JP 2 3 3 2 = 10
BobR 2 4 2 = 8
Clayton 4 3 = 7
Dan 2 3 2 = 7
MarkH 2 3 2 = 7
MarkY 2 2 3 = 7
Matt 2 2 3 = 7
William 2 2 3 = 7
Brady 3 3 = 6
Jason 2 4 = 6
RussD 2 = 2
So I am the Meta Devil and will design the Meta Game for August 14 (2 weeks away), probably mailing it out after I'm back from the Go Congress (which is of course The Best Week Of The Year).

Evening's Soundtrack

The Beatles, white album
Black 47, Trouble in the Land
black tape for a blue girl, remnants of a deeper purity
The Murmurs, White Rabbit
Zebra, Zebra

It's another of those pesky meta soundtracks!


New Multiplicative Rank Ratings:    
 4.7230 112.5000 Steve (4)
 2.9957 20.0000 JP (4)
 2.6027 13.5000 Daniel (4)
 2.0149 7.5000 William (5)
 0.5754 1.7778 MarkH (3)
 0.2231 1.2500 RussW (5)
-0.6931 0.5000 BobR (3)
-0.8755 0.4167 Jason (2)
-0.9808 0.3750 MarkY (3)
-1.0986 0.3333 Brady (2)
-1.3863 0.2500 JonathanC (4)
-1.5041 0.2222 Matt (3)
-1.7918 0.1667 RussD (3)
-2.3026 0.1000 Dan (3)
-2.9957 0.0500 Clayton (2)
New Multiplicative Win Ratings:
 4.3175 75.0000 Steve won 3 of 4
 1.9095 6.7500 Daniel won 2 of 4
 1.8971 6.6667 JP won 3 of 4
 1.2040 3.3333 William won 2 of 5
 0.7985 2.2222 MarkH won 1 of 3
 0.5108 1.6667 RussW won 2 of 5
 0.2231 1.2500 Matt won 1 of 3
-0.1823 0.8333 RussD won 1 of 3
-0.5108 0.6000 Clayton won 0 of 2
-0.5878 0.5556 BobR won 0 of 3
-0.5878 0.5556 Jason won 0 of 2
-0.8755 0.4167 MarkY won 0 of 3
-0.8755 0.4167 Dan won 0 of 3
-0.9808 0.3750 Brady won 0 of 2
-0.9933 0.3704 JonathanC won 0 of 4

Steve is again the Reluctant Devil! I'll say this carries over to Aug 14 for the first RussCon after I'm back from the Go Congress. JP & Daniel are Co-Vice-Devils. Then William, then MarkH, then me. (Unusually well-behaved ordering there.)


Escher and the Droste effect

I recently enjoyed the wonderful graphic novel Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks; and here's an article by him about Alan Moore

Young women interested in bathing with Jesus can now have their dream come true.

thanks, steve, for trying to buck up my spirits, because i really wasn't looking forward to the go congress