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2004-02-11 RussCon Report


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16 of us played 14 games.

The Mardi Gras banner was gone, which means Jeffles owes me a dollar.

I recommend Don't Drown which was held over until February 17.

Game Results

Crokinole2Marty 1 MarkG -1
CarcassonneCastle2RussW 1 Clayton -1
Cartagena3MarkG 2 Clayton 0 RussW -2
Tichu2( Ben Fred ) 1 ( Whendy MarkH ) -1
HookOrCrook4William 3 RussW 1 MarkG -1 Clayton -3
ZirkusFlohcati4RussW 3 Clayton 1 William -1 RussD -3
Crokinole2( Clayton RussW ) 1 ( RussD William ) -1
AgeOfSteam5JimG 4 Jeffles 2 Marty 0 JeffF -2 KevinU -4
Attika4Ben 3 Fred -1 MarkH -1 Whendy -1
Vampire4Fred 2 RussW 2 Clayton -1 Whendy -3
RicochetRobot2Ben 1 MarkY -1
Attika4Jeffles 3 JeffF -1 JP -1 JimG -1
Crokinole2( Ben MarkY ) 1 ( Whendy RussW ) -1
VeryCleverPipeGame2Jeffles 1 JP -1

I'm surprised I enjoy Crokinole since I'm normally not much into dexterity games.

I had a delightful game of Carcassonne the Castle in which I was 2 points short of having double the score of Clayton. Everything kept going my way: I got most of the chips on the score track, I got the keep bonus, I finished a 36 point tower. This game rules!

The Very Clever Pipe Game looks interesting but has only been played once before at RussCon, on 1998-04-29 ... JP won that game (against Tim, William, and Alfred) but lost this time (to Jeffles).


Rank Ratings:       
 3.4657 Ben
 2.7726 Jeffles
 2.0794 RussW
 1.3218 JimG
 1.0986 Fred
 0.6931 Marty
 0.2877 William
 0.0000 MarkG
 0.0000 MarkY
-0.9808 JeffF
-0.9808 JP
-0.9808 MarkH
-1.3863 Clayton
-1.6094 KevinU
-2.0794 RussD
-3.0603 Whendy
Win Ratings:
 3.4657 Ben won 4 of 4
 2.0794 RussW won 4 of 7
 1.8563 Jeffles won 2 of 3
 1.3218 JimG won 1 of 2
 1.0986 Fred won 2 of 3
 0.4700 Marty won 1 of 2
 0.4055 William won 1 of 3
 0.1178 MarkG won 1 of 3
 0.0000 MarkY won 1 of 2
-0.2231 KevinU won 0 of 1
-0.5108 JeffF won 0 of 2
-0.9808 JP won 0 of 2
-0.9808 MarkH won 0 of 2
-0.9808 RussD won 0 of 2
-1.6740 Clayton won 1 of 6
-2.3671 Whendy won 0 of 4

Ben is the Devil! Jeffles and I are Co-Vice-Devils! MarkY won the rare and coveted Extra Average Award.

The partial order contains an unusually large total ordering within it this week!

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:

Pop Quiz

Inspired by a recent conversation, the Meta Game this week will be a pop quiz. The subject of the quiz is not known to you in advance: this is inspired by curiosity by how much people know about the particular topic. (Whendy may be able to guess the subject, in which case she is urged not to study for it.) To encourage participation, each correct answer will be a lottery ticket for being the Meta Devil, so even if you know you're not going to get a high score, you still have incentive to play. And to further encourage participation, you can explicitly decline participation in the lottery for being Meta Devil.

I supplied blank maps of the US. The quiz was simply to write the name of each state, without agonizing and of course without using other materials to help.

Not surprisingly, those with predilection for history and wargaming found the quiz quite easy and were surprised that I might think anyone would have problems identifying all 50 states, just as a math geek might be incredulous that plenty of people can't perform algebraic manipulations, or a good speller might not understand why others make frequent typos. So hopefully this is an eye-opening experiment which helps people realize that what seems trivially easy for you isn't necessarily easy for everyone! Out of 12 people taking the quiz, 6 scored 50: congratulations Clayton, Fred, JeffF, JimG, KevinU, Marty. The other scores were 49, 45, 44, 44, 42, 22. (I also received some informal feedback by email from 2 other folks not present during RussCon, one of whom (Moloch) got them all, and one of whom reversed Alabama and Mississippi, mislabelled NJ as Delaware, and reversed VT and NH.)

I had a theory that certain states were more frequently confused: Wyoming and Colorado are adjacent nondescript rectangles; Vermont and New Hampshire are adjacent and similarly shaped (albeit tapered in opposite directions). I also figured that all the states touching the Pacific would be identified correctly. And Texas, of course. My theories were confirmed. There were some additional surprises. Apparently Wisconsin is a tricky one. And poor tiny Delaware was forgotten by 3 of us, and misassigned by 1 of us to Connecticut and West Virginia, and misassigned by another of us to (apparently) Long Island. (And one person who got Delaware right had initially written it in Vermont.)

Sincere thanks to everyone who did the quiz, especially those who didn't know all the states easily, and thus gave the interesting data on what states were harder! Based on the quiz results, the "problem states", from most difficult to least difficult, are:


Thanks to Ben, MarkY, and Whendy for helping me score the quizzes... it was a pain! (And some quizzes were very messily filled in, so I found additional glitches when going over them later...)

The number of correct answers was one's proportional chance of winning the Meta Game. The winner was William, who is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

American Gothic Compilation, Vol. 1
American History X, Original film score
Black 47, Home of the Brave
David Bowie, Young Americans
Supertramp, Breakfast in America

Another of those pesky meta themes!

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