November 26 2003 RussCon Report

feliĉan dankofeston
Game Results
Ratings | FAQ
Meta Game Results
Evening's Soundtrack
9 of us played 7 games (exactly half the numbers of last week!)
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Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays... I certainly enjoyed taking the week off from work (using some vacation days as well as the Thanksgiving holiday). Last week I forgot to report on this dorky candy wrapper supplied by William. Ha! Thanks to all who bring food, games, and good cheer to RussCon!


Game Results

Blokus4RussW 3 JP 1 Clayton -1 Ben -3
Bluff5Clayton 4 RussW 2 Fina 0 JP -2 Ben -4
Kahuna2MarkY 1 MarkG -1
Tichu2( William MarkY ) 1 ( MarkG Ben ) -1
Tightrope4William 3 MarkG 1 MarkY -1 Ben -3
Acquire5JP 4 RussW 2 Whendy 0 Clayton -2 Fina -4
Alhambra6MarkY 5 RussW 3 William 1 JP -1 Whendy -3 Clayton -5

Yay, I managed to place all my Blokus pieces, and even placed the singleton last!

Maybe one day we'll play Alhambra with a smaller number of players to see if it feels like it has more skill then - with 5 or 6 players it feels like you can't plan much and only get to make very local decisions in reaction to what has happened between your turns. But the game is nonetheless enjoyable, as proven by the fact that we keep having 6-player games of it since so many people want to play! Deep, rich irony.


Rank Ratings:    
 3.6889 RussW
 2.7726 MarkY
 2.3671 William
 1.0341 JP
-0.9163 Whendy
-0.9808 MarkG
-1.2809 Clayton
-1.6094 Fina
-5.0752 Ben
Win Ratings:
 2.8904 MarkY won 3 of 4
 1.8971 William won 2 of 3
 0.9163 JP won 1 of 4
 0.9163 Clayton won 1 of 4
 0.7577 RussW won 1 of 4
-0.4055 Whendy won 0 of 2
-0.4463 Fina won 0 of 2
-1.4917 Ben won 0 of 4
-1.6740 MarkG won 0 of 3

MarkY and I are Co-Devils! William is Vice-Devil. JP is Vice-Vice-Devil. Clayton and Whendy are Co-Vice-Vice-Vice-Devils.

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

devil graph

Meta Game

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

Turkey Day Russcon Meta-game

As a lad, one of my favorite activities was wasting hour after hour playing pinball. For you young 'uns, it involved manuevering a ~1" dia. steel ball with 'flippers' through various channels and alleys and hitting various electromechanical switches to score points. If you scored enough points, you won a free game ("Not a game of chance" printed on most machines to ward off the moral police), usually denoted by a loud knocking sound from the machine. You could also win by a "match", wherein the machine generated a (supposedly) random number at the end of a game, and if it matched the last digit of your score, you also won a free game (sweeet!).

So, tonight's game is an attempt to "match" your score to a random number to score meta-points, with a small twist or two. A 10- or 20-sided die will help, else, find some playing cards (all from the same deck!!) and remove one each of 2 through 10 and an Ace (10 is a zero for meta-game purposes).

At the start of a game, generate a random # from 0-9. This is the match number. At the end of your game, you score meta-points equal to the number of players in the game (+1 if you win the game) if the last digit of your score "matches" the random number.

Important: Before checking for a match, divide your score by the lowest increment of scoring used in that game, e.g.,

Acquire would divide your final cash by 100;
Tichu would divide your team's final score by 5;
Puerto Rico would divide your score by 1 (technically), etc., etc.

This obviously leaves the player with the opportunity to "adjust" his/her score to match the number via game play. So be it!

Further chance to score: at game's end, if you did not match the random number, you have the opportunity to match the last digit of your actual score by rolling/drawing your own random number. Further, you can "spend" previously earned or about to be earned meta-points to try and improve your odds. For every meta-point spent, you can turn two numbers (predesignate before selecting your random number, of course!!) into your number (eg, if your score ended with 6, you could spend 1 point and designate 4 and 5 to be 6's, too). Limit 3 meta-points per attempt, limit one attempt/game played.

Yes, your meta-score could be negative if you can't roll dice for shit, like me...

Russ "Rayburn" Williams will adjudicate all disputes and settle ties. +2 meta-points to the first person to indicate why his name is such for the evening...

Well, of course we had dice capable of generating numbers from 0 to 9: are we not gamers? JP and I pondered the strategy of whether to spend meta points to increase the probability of matching. It seems the answer is that it's only worthwhile if you're going to gain 6 or more meta points (e.g. winning a 5 player game, or playing in a 6-player game). 5 is a break-even point: if 5 meta points are at stake, it makes no difference. If 4 or fewer are at stake, you hurt yourself by spending meta points to increase the probability. Some sample calculations (EG=Expected Gain):

# points to gainEGEG if spend 1EG if spend 2EG if spend 3
33 * 1/10 = 0.33 * 3/10 - 1 = -0.13 * 5/10 - 2 = -0.53 * 7/10 - 3 = -0.9
44 * 1/10 = 0.44 * 3/10 - 1 = 0.24 * 5/10 - 2 = 0.04 * 7/10 - 3 = -0.2
55 * 1/10 = 0.55 * 3/10 - 1 = 0.55 * 5/10 - 2 = 0.55 * 7/10 - 3 = 0.5
66 * 1/10 = 0.66 * 3/10 - 1 = 0.86 * 5/10 - 2 = 1.06 * 7/10 - 3 = 1.2
77 * 1/10 = 0.77 * 3/10 - 1 = 1.17 * 5/10 - 2 = 1.57 * 7/10 - 3 = 1.9

Allen was first to respond with the "Rayburn" answer, earning 2 meta points, but no more since the lazy slacker didn't come to RussCon. The list of all meta points earned is as follows:
10 = 4+3+3 JP
8 = 5+3 William
5 = RussW, MarkY
2 = Allen

So JP is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Tori Amos, Crucify
The Flaming Lips, 1984-1990
Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin, BBC Sessions
Encomium, A Tribute To Led Zeppelin

Nun ĝi estas jara tradicio, kiel Steve rimarkis lastan jaron, kaj nur Clayton rimarkis ĉi tiun jaron.

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