News Results Ratings Meta Soundtrack Links

2004-04-21 RussCon Report

tiu saĝas, kiu movas la robotojn bone

Previous Next Archive
russcon home taglibro kofc cc


14 of us played 11 games.

The big news this week is that Daniel is back from Iraq! One of the first questions most of us asked is whether he is back for good; luckily the answer is yes (as far as he knows - of course one is never sure if the government will send him back), so hopefully he will be a RussCon regular again and regale folks with his stories. I don't want to steal his thunder, so I'll just say that he has some rather interesting surreal anecdotes to tell about his ridiculously long time spent over there, including meeting some key figures in the conflict. Welcome back Daniel, it is good to hang out with you again!

Our Most Assiduous Reader may have noticed that I've started playing with digitally signing my email. I'll see how it goes and whether this really seems ready for primetime or not.

Game Results

ArkOfTheCovenant4JP 3 Clayton 1 RussW -1 MarkH -3
Guillotine2Fina 1 MarkY -1
Transamerica3JP 2 Fina 0 Clayton -2
RicochetRobot4MarkH 3 MarkY -1 Ben -1 RussW -1
Exxtra4RussW 3 MarkH 1 Ben -1 MarkY -3
ArkOfTheCovenant3Marty 2 KevinU 0 Whendy -2
PuertoRico4Fina 3 Daniel 1 JP -1 Clayton -3
Mu5Daniel 4 Whendy 2 KevinU 0 Marty -2 Ben -4
Bluff8JP 7 KevinU 5 Daniel 3 William 1 RussW -1 Clayton -3 Whendy -5 Fina -7
WhatsThatOnMyHead4Jeffles 2 Ben 2 MarkY -1 Matt -3
RicochetRobot6Jeffles 5 RussW 3 MarkY 0 KevinU 0 Ben -3 Matt -5

It's kind of weird (after years of avoiding the game), but I enjoyed Ricochet Robot enough last week that I wanted to play it twice tonight. And I even finally got to play against Jeffles in the second game of the evening. Jeffles is apparently considered one of the masters (along with Tim), and I came in second - almost tying Jeffles, woot! During the first game this evening, MarkH pointed out that we were playing wrong. (Or more properly, I'll say "wrong", with finger-quotie-marks.) The RussCon tradition for the game (so I was taught by Ben and others last week) is that when 2 people call out the same bid, the first caller gets to attempt the route first, which seems reasonable, since the point of the game is finding good routes quickly. But in the rules as written, it is quite different: "In case of equal bids, the player who is behind in the game (has the fewer chips) has precedence." (They don't specify what should happen with ties.) So we played that way, and it sucks! It encourages you to not bother calling out a bid if you are ahead, until the very last second of the timer, because then if another player figures out the route, they'll just get to do it before you. (There is a clear psychological phenomenon that when you know something is possible, you become more likely to find it.) It also led to silliness like MarkY immediately calling out "one hundred" just to start the timer. Most importantly, it devalues skill and equalizes everyone, continuing nudging the trailing players to higher scores to catch up. We literally ended with a 4-way tie, all 4 of us having 4 chips, and the final 17th chip totally determined the winner. Most of us agreed this was lame. So we're going to continue with the other system, which rewards people for finding routes quickly, which does seem the point of the game, after all. (And in case 2 players call a bid at the same time, then we'll let the losing player have precedence.)

Whenever I discover that we have been playing a game "wrong" (i.e. not following the rules; in this case, I'd argue that the Ricochet Robot rules were wrong themselves), I read the rules to see what else might have been overlooked. In the case of Ricochet Robot, it appears we didn't mess up anything else; however there are some weird things in the rules. For instance:

I found as well as another online Ricochet Robot Training Page and Ricochet Robot Challenge. (Can you tell I'm into this game now?) I encourage folks who feel intimidated by the game to give it another shot, since I too used to feel intimidated but now I think it's cool. (One curious thing about RicochetRobot is that people can join after the game started or drop out before the end, without really messing up the game. E.g. in tonight's second game Matt played briefly then quit. The tradition seems to be to record such partial players in The Book.)

More rules violations occurred in Ark of the Covenant when Marty told Kevin and Wendy that you earn 9 points for a completed temple, and 5 for an incomplete one, and that scrolls on a city tile add 2 points (before doubling a completed city and to an incomplete city at game end), and that you can move the Ark 6 spaces! That was a high score inflation game! (Temples actually earn 7 or 3 points, scrolls are 1, and you can move the Ark 5 spaces.) Never trust Marty on rules - he's a madman, out of control, I tell you!


Rank Ratings:       
 4.1589 JP
 2.7081 Daniel
 2.4849 Jeffles
 1.3863 RussW
 1.2528 KevinU
 0.4055 Marty
 0.4055 MarkH
 0.2231 William
 0.0000 Fina
-1.6582 Whendy
-2.5257 Ben
-2.7726 Clayton
-2.7726 MarkY
-3.1781 Matt
Win Ratings:
 4.2767 JP won 3 of 4
 2.4849 Jeffles won 2 of 2
 1.5404 Fina won 2 of 4
 1.1882 Daniel won 1 of 3
 0.8755 Marty won 1 of 2
 0.8109 MarkH won 1 of 3
 0.4951 RussW won 1 of 5
-0.1335 William won 0 of 1
-0.2877 Ben won 1 of 5
-0.7621 Whendy won 0 of 3
-0.8755 Matt won 0 of 2
-0.9445 KevinU won 0 of 4
-1.1144 Clayton won 0 of 4
-2.1440 MarkY won 0 of 5

JP is the Devil! Then Jeffles and Daniel. Then Fina, Marty, and me.

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

Ben was the Meta Devil and emailed out the following Meta Game:

Legend attributes the Tao Te Ching to a wandering sage named Lao Tzu. Others attribute it as the work of a group of scholars who collected, edited, and wrote down the result of a long oral tradition. Just about everyone agrees, however, that it contains advice of timeless wisdom.

My question is, what timeless wisdom for the ages is contained at Russcon, just waiting to be unleashed on a grateful world? To find out, I've devised the following meta-game.

Write down something that you consider wise advice (serious or not), preferably in a style reminiscent of the Tao Te Ching. You can either send it to me via e-mail (in which case you need to send it by 12:00pm on Wednesday to make sure I get it in time), or bring it with you to Russcon. You can submit multiple entries. Any entry that has an accompanying translation in Chinese (kanji, not a romanization) gets a bonus of 3 meta-points.

At Russcon, people can view the entries and either award them a meta-point (if they agree that it is, in fact, timeless wisdom for the ages), or a negative meta-point (if they think it's not deserving of the label 'wisdom'). They do this just by writing down a '+1' or '-1' on the entry. You can give entries 0 meta-points by just not writing anything down for that entry.

Before I leave for the night, whenever that is, I'll total up the meta-points for each entry. The entry with the most meta-points wins the meta-game. Ties are broken randomly.

To give you some inspiration, here is a link to a collection of translations of the Tao Te Ching:

And here is an interpretation of the Tao Te Ching using modern English slang:

Who knows -- maybe someday scholars will be studying this compendium with as much fervor as they study the Tao Te Ching today!

Various timeless nuggets of wisdom were revealed; here they are, with the meta points earned by each. (And On the list, my title phrase "timeless nuggets of wisdom" itself received 1 meta point, heh.)





Thus there was a tie for 5 meta points between Whendy's popular potty-mouth aphorism and my popular kingmaking aphorism. Ben rolled a die to tie-break and found that I am the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

He Zhan-Hao, Selected Orchestral Works
Rongchun Zhao, Master of the Erhu
some chinese pop music Jay gave me a long time ago which has no printed English identification
Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever

Chinese music! Ok, Wu-Tang Clan is stretching it, I admit.

tiu saĝas, kiu movas la robotojn bone Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!