November 19 2003 RussCon Report

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Evening's Soundtrack
18 of us played 14 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.


kukoThis was Carly's last RussCon before she moves east... she even brought a tasty chocolate cake for the event, to say so long and thanks for all the RussCons, which was nice; thanks! By odd coincidence I then ran into Carly at lunch the next day at Kerbey Lane. Eerie! Good luck in North Carolina!

jpIn other news, JP did some major hair cutting action. And long-lost Crash (who I was delighted to learn is a bit of a language geek) reappeared after being trapped in gamedev crunch mode hell.

Last weekend JP & I did indeed both play hooky and skipped the Houston Go Tournament and went to Allen's party (don't tell Beth) instead. It was fun hanging out chatting and gaming, and I liked the short animation Fastfilm which was very delightful and creative. Thanks Allen for an enjoyable time!

Mi kaj mia kolego Leto ankoraŭ tradukas ĉe userfriendly, kiu amuzas. (Mi tradukas en Esperanton, kaj Leto tradukas en la tokiponan!)

I've sold more of my games to RussCon friends. If anyone else is interested, here is the current list. Also if anyone wants some of these vinyl records for your listening pleasure, I'd be happy to pass them along, and I'm going to go sell the rest when I get off my lazy ass and do it, which might be next week since I'm taking the whole week off of work, yay.

There will be RussCon As Usual next Wednesday November 26, the day before Thanksgiving. Probably a lighter turnout, but hey, the games must go on.

Game Results

Alhambra6Marty 5 JP 3 MarkG 1 Whendy -1 Tim -3 RussW -5
UnionPacific5MarkY 4 MarkH 2 Carly 0 Clayton -2 Matt -4
Tichu2( JimG Fred ) 1 ( Ben William ) -1
Can'tStop4JimG 3 Ben 0 MarkH 0 Clayton -3
Rummikub4Whendy 3 RussW 1 MarkG -1 ( Tim JP ) -3
Exxtra4Fred 3 JimG 0 Marty 0 Ben -3
Drakon4Tim 3 RussW 0 William 0 JimG -3
TajMahal5Matt 4 Whendy 2 Marty 0 JP -2 Carly -4
BigCity5MarkY 4 Clayton 2 MarkH 0 Crash -2 MarkG -4
Alhambra6JimG 5 RussD 3 RussW 1 Tim -1 William -3 PJ -5
Carcassonne3MarkY 2 Crash 0 Clayton -2
NewEngland3Matt 2 MarkG 0 JP -2
Cathedral2RussW 0 PJ 0
Guillotine2MarkY 1 Crash -1

2 games of Alhambra, yay! I have yet to do very well in this game, but I enjoy it. There seems to be a consensus that (at least with a large number of players) there is a lot of luck, but the process/experience of playing it is nonetheless interesting and enjoyable.

Tim and JP played as a team in Rummikub, and they took bizarrely long before they actually were able to bring out a meld. Or maybe it's just the old proverb about a mob being stupider than an individual. Anyway, it was weird, their rack was overflowing, and we almost actually ran out of tiles, which I've never seen happen before.

Drakon hadn't been played in a while. It's a risky game because it seems to arouse strong feelings of persecution, resentment, and anger. Anger leads to hatred, and hatred leads to the dark side! Perhaps that's why Drakon hadn't been played much lately, even though I like the game itself: like Diplomacy, it seems to often bring out some strong emotions. As often happens, this game ended with a kingmaking situation. The situation was that JimG had 2 gold, William & I both had 3, and Tim had 4. On my next turn, I would move onto a 2-gold tile and win, unless William played a tile that would let Tim prevent that. He couldn't in fact play anything that would mess with me, but he could play a 2-gold tile onto which Tim could move and win before me. That is a good example of the sort of kingmaking situation that can start big debates. William played the tile to let Tim win. In my mind, this was perfectly justified kingmaking because it meant that William tied for 2nd place, whereas if I had won instead of Tim, William would have finished in 3rd place. However in William's mind, this was perfectly justified kingmaking because he was bugged at me for stealing 2 tiles from him earlier, instead of 1 from him and 1 from JimG, and since he just wanted to punish me, he would have made Tim win instead of me regardless of whether it improved his rank or not, which would be a more controversial form of kingmaking. (Some folks argue that if you are in a kingmaking position and neither choice changes your own outcome in the game, then etiquette dictates that you should "step aside" and let things take their natural course rather than interfering.) Anyway, the whole thing of "did Russ pick on William, and was it mean of him if he did" led to long debate afterward, about weighty controversial matters like whether one should just be playing for victory and high rank, or also for the enjoyment of the other players, as well as game design/psychology conundrums like whether you can have a good time in a game even if you've been smacked down. This seems to be a much more emotionally charged issue than, e.g., the question of, whether one should play for victory or high rank.

PJ and I had a thoroughly delightful and dramatic game of Cathedral. In the first game I made a ridiculous blunder and let him form a huge territory, removing the cathedral in the process. I felt lucky to lose that game by only 8 points. So I had to win the 2nd game of the match by 9 points to win the match: this would only happen if PJ made a hideous blunder, but he was playing simply and solidly... but luckily for me he eventually erred and let me cut off a piece in a territory. The neutral spaces were few, so that we couldn't even fit all our 1-square pieces into them, and had to put some in our own territories, which is unusual. All my pieces fit easily, but PJ had a tough problem. We counted his territory and found that if he could cover every square of it, his remaining unplaced pieces would be 8 squares, so it was worth it to agonize and try to fit the pieces optimally... and eventually he found a way! So the match ended up being a tie! Very fun.

MarkY and Crash played 2-player Guillotine (not normally done) and actually used up the entire Noble deck. I think the final score was something like 59 to 46 or some such huge scores.


Rank Ratings:        
 5.0106 MarkY
 2.4849 JimG
 2.0794 Fred
 1.7918 Marty
 1.7918 Whendy
 1.0986 Matt
 0.9163 RussD
 0.6931 MarkH
-1.0986 RussW
-1.2040 Tim
-1.3863 Crash
-1.6094 Carly
-1.6094 William
-1.7272 MarkG
-1.7918 PJ
-2.0794 Ben
-2.2618 JP
-2.4849 Clayton
Win Ratings:
 5.0106 MarkY won 4 of 4
 3.2958 JimG won 3 of 5
 2.4849 Matt won 2 of 3
 2.0794 Fred won 2 of 2
 1.2809 Marty won 1 of 3
 0.9808 Whendy won 1 of 3
 0.7340 Tim won 1 of 4
-0.1823 PJ won 1 of 2
-0.1823 RussD won 0 of 1
-0.4463 Carly won 0 of 2
-0.7340 MarkH won 0 of 3
-0.9400 RussW won 1 of 5
-1.0986 MarkG won 0 of 4
-1.0986 JP won 0 of 4
-1.1394 Clayton won 0 of 4
-1.1632 William won 0 of 3
-1.2685 Ben won 0 of 3
-1.3218 Crash won 0 of 3

MarkY is the Devil! (He won all 4 of his games even!) JimG is Vice-Devil. Fred and Matt are Co-Vice-Vice-Devils. Marty is Vice-Vice-Vice-Devil.

Another interesting odd looking partial order this week! I conversed with Ben a bit about alternate ways of determining Devilhood, rather than starting at the top of the graph and going level by level (all the people who have no one pointing at them are Devil, then the people who only have Devils pointing at them are Vice-Devils, and so on.) An obvious alternate idea I've been pondering which Ben also mentioned is to simply use the measure of "# people you did better than - # people who did better than you" (where "X better than Y" means you can follow arrows from X to Y in the partial order graph), analogous to computing devil points for a single game. Maybe one of these days.

If you are confused how the ratings work, you could peruse the FAQ.

devil graph

Meta Game

JP was the Meta Devil. Here is the Meta Game he mailed out:

A Year in the Life

I was talking with RussW and Jeff Shaevel recently about things we're doing now that we wouldn't have expected a year ago. I'm curious what changes have happened in other RussConers lives.

Each participant should list what they feel have been the most significant changes in their lives over the last year. Anything you want to submit is fine, but I'd suggest you try to keep it short.
For example:
Billy got his tongue pierced, found a new girlfriend, became a scuba instructor, and ate meat for the first time in 12 years.

Email write-in submissions are acceptable.

Submissions should have your list on the front, and your name on the back and must be submitted by 8:30.

At 8:30 we start the second phase: Anyone who wants may look at the lists and do two things:
1) Guess which list belongs to which person. One point for each correct guess. (I suspect most of these will be easy.)
2) Vote austrailian style on the set of changes you think were most significant.
Life-changes submissions will be scored devil point style based on the result of this vote (I.e. your devil points = # people you beat - # people who beat you) except that you can't score less than 1.

Most points wins, ties broken randomly.

I will not make guesses so that I can administrate, but I will participate in the rest of the game.

JP emailed the results; the upshot is that Daniel clearly had the biggest life change in the past year, but (due to gaining points in the guessing portion of the Meta Game) JimG is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Apocalyptica, Inquisition Symphony
Hell Comes To Your House
Radio Werewolf, Songs for the End of the World
Timbuk3, A Hundred Lovers (which includes the apropos song "Legalize our Love")
Type O Negative, World Coming Down

As you probably know, the Massachusetts State Supreme Court recently legalized same-sex marriage, and predictably the Christian right is frothing at the mouth, apoplectically predicting all sorts of dire consequences like the wrath of god and wild orgies. I thought some of the reactions were pretty hysterical, heh.

I don't grok why the "Defense of Marriage" and "Marriage Protection" goobers think that permitting more people to marry is going to destroy marriage. "Gosh honey, I thought I loved you, but since those 2 guys next door got married, I guess you and I will have to get divorced now." Idiots.

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