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2004-01-21 RussCon Report

(RoboRally miniature painted by me long ago.)

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15 of us played 10 games.

thor's hammerJanuary 19, there was Monday night go-playing from 6:30 till 10 at Thor's Hammer (12626 Research Blvd, west side of 183, just a little south of McNeil, in the same strip center that once housed SimTex and which now has Serrano's, BB Rover's, etc.)... 17 people showed up, it was a success, and it will be an ongoing regular thing! Apparently a fee/donation of $2 is required/encouraged if you don't buy anything (they sell drinks/snacks as well as games/miniatures/comics); I'm not sure how that will work, at least the first meeting I didn't pay or buy anything. Beginners were there as well as advanced players, so a good opportunity for curious folks who live north and didn't want to make the drive down to campus for the Tuesday night meetings at Great Hall Games.

My go juju is getting reenergized from that, and I hung out a little on KGS with nehundo (where we played a 9x9 and chatted in Esperanto). KGS fully supports Unicode, but we had some trouble typing ĉapelitajn literojn initially; I eventually found that upgrading my 1.4.1 Sun Java to 1.4.2 solved the problem. Crossing the go and Esperanto streams led me to find some more Esperanto go links.

I also got myself a Zaurus SL-5600 Linux PDA (primarily to aid my language studying) and am in the painful early stages of getting it set up to do what I want. First step was getting display and input of Esperanto text; mission finally accomplished after a few hours of research and futzing about. Next is app development...

And once again we didn't notice it, but another RussCon anniversary passed in mid-January. RussCon is now 6 years old! Amazing.

Game Results

KillDrLucky 锤子 5Binkley 4 JP -1 Clayton -1 Matt -1 RussW -1
Tichu2( Ben William ) 1 ( JimG Matt ) -1
Tichu2( Ben Tim ) 1 ( MarkH Jeffles ) -1
Image3Jeffles 2 Tim 0 Ben -2
Blokus4Matt 3 RussW 1 Marty -1 JP -3
Elixir5Matt 4 William 2 Ben 0 Fina -3 MarkG -3
Manhattan3Justin 2 JimG 0 MarkG -2
RoboRally 锤子 6JP 5 Jeffles 3 Justin 1 Tim -2 Clayton -2 RussW -5
ZirkusFlohcati 锤子 4Jeffles 3 Justin 1 JP -1 RussW -3
Vampire 锤子 4Jeffles 3 Justin 1 JP -2 RussW -2

As a matter of curiosity on browser support, I wonder if most folks can see the UTF-8-encoded characters indicating (what I believe to be) the Chinese for hammer 锤子... if you can't, let me know... I notice my normally pleasing editor UltraEdit has trouble editing them.

In Kill Dr. Lucky, people were very shy about attempting to kill the old codger, so we ended up holding the entire deck among our hands, but eventually he was killed. Most of the failure cards had been used, and I made an attempt, feeling pretty sure I wouldn't succeed and worried that it might leave everyone so bereft of failure cards that the next attempt would succeed, before I got another turn, and sure enough that's exactly what happened as Binkley went right after me and murdered the old bastard.

In RoboRally, I was delighted to control the HammerBot, but it did not help my game, as I only made it to the first of five flags - most ignominious. JP won pretty handily after a slow start. Tim and I were stuck at the first flag shooting each other for a while. We played on a single board (Cannery Row) and one of the squashers was particularly deadly, killing both Tim and me on successive turns as we were conveyed beneath its harsh embrace. In the past we used to continue playing RoboRally to determine 2nd, 3rd, etc places, like a real race, but lately we have simply based the lower ranks on how many flags were reached, with lives remaining as a tiebreaker, and that is the system we used here.

Two new (to RussCon) games were played, Image and Elixir. Image had actually been sort of played before but aborted by William, when Zach brought it (and donated it to RussCon). It involves lots of knowledge of historical information. Tonight it was finally played, and Tim liked it a lot (Zach will be gratified to know, if Zach still reads the RussCon Report!) William brought Elixir, a wacky game that straddles the boundary between German style and party/social, which used to be played by the Great Hall crowd long ago but never before at RussCon.


Rank Ratings:    
 4.0943 Jeffles
 2.1972 Justin
 2.0794 Matt
 1.6094 Binkley
 1.3863 William
 0.2877 Ben
 0.1823 Tim
-0.4055 Marty
-0.6931 MarkH
-0.6931 JimG
-0.7340 Clayton
-0.9163 JP
-0.9163 Fina
-2.0149 MarkG
-3.6889 RussW
Win Ratings:
 2.9957 Jeffles won 3 of 5
 2.0794 Matt won 2 of 4
 1.6094 Binkley won 1 of 1
 0.7577 Ben won 2 of 4
 0.7056 JP won 1 of 5
 0.4700 William won 1 of 2
 0.3409 Justin won 1 of 4
 0.1054 Tim won 1 of 3
-0.2231 Fina won 0 of 1
-0.2877 Marty won 0 of 1
-0.4055 Clayton won 0 of 2
-0.6286 MarkG won 0 of 2
-0.6931 MarkH won 0 of 1
-1.0986 JimG won 0 of 2
-1.2685 RussW won 0 of 5

Jeffles is the Devil! Matt and Justin are are Co-Vice-Devils. Binkley is Vice-Vice-Devil. Then Ben and William. I am the Generous Angel!

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

I used GraphViz to generate the graph image.

devil graph

Meta Game

I was the Meta Devil and mailed out the following Meta Game:

Hammer Time

Since I just enjoyed the inaugural monday night go club at Thor's Hammer, this week's Meta Game is Hammer Time - earn a meta point each time you play a game that has a hammer in it. The word "hammer" could appear in the text, or a hammer could appear in the art. (E.g. the Hammerbot of RoboRally would count.) Note it with the game in the book or I might not know of the game's hammerosity. Each meta point is a ticket in the meta lottery, from which will be randomly chosen the Meta Devil, so playing even one game with hammers gives you a chance to, um, nail this one.


It was initially a challenge to think of more hammer games beyond my example of RoboRally, but I was pretty sure some Cheapass Game surely had a hammer, and we quickly remembered the Big Red Hammer! Later in the evening Jeffles noticed the cover art of Zirkus Flohcati, which then prompted me to realize that a game where you're hammering stakes into Vampires probably also has hammers... So we ended up finding four games with hammers! (I am also convinced that we surely have some historically themed games with construction that have hammers in the art, e.g. maybe the infamous "Bowelmeister" game of JP's...) Meta points earned were as follows:

4 JP RussW
3 Jeffles Justin
2 Clayton
1 Binkley Matt Tim

19 meta lottery tickets were thus earned. I generated a random number from 1 to 19 (assigning them sequentially as in the list above), which turned out to be 4, so JP is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

la muro

Evening's Soundtrack

The Beatles, Abbey Road
Big Black, The Hammer Party
Jan Hammer, Beyond the Mind's Eye
Classic Queen
Roger Waters, The Wall

Waiting for Maxwell's silver hammer to fall... Another of those pesky meta themes.

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