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2004-08-11 RussCon Report

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14 of us played 12 games! Welcome back to long-lost me (RussW), back from Portland, Seattle, Sidney (Canada not Australia!), Beijing, Rochester... Also, speaking of world travelling: thanks RussD for the postcard from Malaysia!

38 Days Later: I'm back from my vacation, and my blog has some trip reports (translated to English by my ex-cow-orker Greg for your English reading enjoyment). In a nutshell, it was a very excellent vacation with some intense cool stuff. Also I have assembled a photo gallery for your viewing pleasure. Thanks to JP for doing 3 Reports while I was gone (even if he did wimp out on the 4th one!) The 5th week of course JP was also gone due to the US Go Congress, which, incidentally, is now officially downgraded a little bit to The Second Best Week Of The Year, since The Best Week Of The Year is now la Universala Kongreso de Esperanto!

Great Hall Games moved a few weeks ago to 5501 North Lamar (a block south of Koenig), and now it seems Dragon's Lair is also changing locations for their Austin and Round Rock stores both.

Game Results

EinfachGenial4KevinU 3 RussW 1 Clayton -1 BD -3
Crokinole2JP 1 TimG -1
RicochetRobot6RussW 5 Tim 2 KevinU 2 BD -2 TimG -2 SarahM -5
Tichu2( Ben Dan ) 1 ( MarkH Tim ) -1
Crokinole2Dan 1 Ben -1
Bluff6KevinU 5 RussD 3 Clayton -1 Ben -1 Tim -1 Pauline -5
EinfachGenial4MarkY 3 SarahM 1 RussW -1 TimG -3
Zero4MarkH 3 Ben 1 SarahM -1 KevinU -3
Cloud94SarahM 3 KevinU 1 MarkY -1 Ben -3
Frank'sZoo4Ben 3 MarkY 1 SarahM -1 KevinU -3
RicochetRobot4KevinU 3 MarkY 0 Ben 0 SarahM -3
Acquire3Tim 2 RussW 0 Clayton -2

38 Days Later, I played Einfach Genial as my first game at RussCon. Yep, it's a good one. Then it was pleasing to play Ricochet Robot and win, even with the master Tim in the game (though admittedly he joined after we'd already played a few chits).

I wasn't surprised to see Tichu is still played at RussCon...

We had one of those games of Acquire where it was clear from very early on what the final rankings would be: Tim and I kept benefitting from mergers while Clayton got nothing, and Tim was always getting the first place bonus.

I'm still curious to play La Strada even though I know some folks wrote me to say they just thought it was so-so. (Hint hint, nudge nudge to anyone who owns a copy!) Also I recently got to play St Petersburg (outside of RussCon) and enjoyed it.

OK, I just noticed a beat-up old box of TSR's Divine Right downstairs! What a nostalgia blast! I opened it to look inside and reminisce... thinking "Wow, it would be cool to play Divine Right again after, what, 25 years..." and I find that the counter tray contains counters for SPI's Sorcerer, not TSR's Divine Right! What's up with that?


Rank Ratings:     
 2.7081 KevinU
 1.7918 RussW
 1.3863 Dan
 1.3863 MarkY
 0.9163 RussD
 0.6931 JP
 0.6931 MarkH
 0.6931 Tim
 0.1823 Ben
-1.7271 Clayton
-1.7916 Pauline
-1.8971 BD
-2.1973 SarahM
-2.5903 TimG
Win Ratings:
 3.5190 KevinU won 3 of 7
 1.3863 Dan won 2 of 2
 0.8109 RussW won 1 of 4
 0.6931 JP won 1 of 1
 0.6931 MarkH won 1 of 2
 0.5232 MarkY won 1 of 4
 0.3410 Ben won 2 of 7
 0.0533 SarahM won 1 of 6
 0.0409 Tim won 1 of 4
-0.1824 RussD won 0 of 1
-0.1824 Pauline won 0 of 1
-0.4700 BD won 0 of 2
-0.8754 Clayton won 0 of 3
-1.1632 TimG won 0 of 3

KevinU is the Devil! Dan and I are Co-Vice-Devils. Then JP, MarkH, MarkY. TimG is 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

Also if you're curious about the previous 2 weeks, for which no reports were written, here are summary graphs for them:

devil graph
devil graph

Meta Game

KevinU was the Meta Devil and designed the following Meta Game:

It's getting close to the time for "The Games". I've thought it's unfortunate that finishing fourth, out of the medals, is often considered to be a failure. So this week's metagame aims to change that.

Bringing a food/drink item: four points per item
For the purposes of this metagame, food items that are groups (cookies, packs of pop, etc...) will be considered as one item.

Finishing fourth in a game: four points
If multiple people/teams are tied for fourth, all tied players get four points.

For tied places in games, I will use the system used in golf for determining place:
All tied players are considered to be tied for the highest place, but the extra unoccupied places are not filled.

Egs: 1, 2, 2, 4; 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 6

There will also be a quiz to test your knowledge of Olympic underdogs. Big points here.

The person who finishes fourth in the final point standings is next week's Meta Devil.

If a tie exists for fourth, it will be broken by random draw. For ties here, the tied players are considered to occupy all the tied places. So in the second example above, the three players tied for third would also be tied for fourth (and fifth), and the random draw would be among those three. (Yes , I remember the dilemmas from the "2nd rate Meta game", as Russ called it...)

Since there were no Reports for the 2 previous weeks, I note for the record that the previous Meta Game was designed by MarkG:

Once again I find myself meta-devil around the week of the Go Congress.

Last year the game was:

  • One point awarded for wearing something with "Go" or "GO" printed on it.
  • One point for bringing a snack (with enough to share) with a label containing the letters "GO" consecutively (case doesn't matter) so dried mangos would qualify.
  • One point for bringing a game with the letters "GO" consecutively (case doesn't matter) in the name. The game must be clearly labeled - so you can't bring a deck of cards and claim it's "Go Fish".
  • One point for each different game played with 3 or more players which has the letters"GO" consecutively (case doesn't matter) in the name. (So playing 5 games of Go Fish still only gets you one metapoint.)
  • Once again, I will be providing the ambient music. Two points for figuring out how the music fits in with the theme. (I'm handicapping myself on this one so I can't be accused of "conflict of interest").

But since that's been done, this year we'll reverse things, and the magic letter combination is "OG". Since I am under a time constraint (Leaving early Friday to record a new CD), I will not provide ambient music, (I hear cheers from Mark Hamzy), but I will award a meta-point for each CD brought with the consecutive letters "OG" in the title. Only one CD will be accepted of any individual group by any individual participant (so don't bring your entire 3 Dog Night collection).

And the Meta Game before that was designed by Marty:

Send seven answers in each of the following three categories to me personally -- not to the Russcon list -- by midnight Eastern Time on Wed, July 28th. My email address is I will then score the game and send results next Monday (or Tuesday at the latest). You may NOT turn in your results at Russcon this coming week since I will be unable to attend.

YOUR GOAL is to give answers that match the answers given by as many other players as possible.

1) NAME a game which has a physical component with the same name as the game.

2) NAME a famous Architect.

3) NAME a food with a place (country, city, region, ...) name (noun or adjective form) in its name.

Don't communicate with other players about possible answers. This means, for one thing: don't inadvertently send your answers to the Russcon list by simply replying to this message. (Important so repeated!) Send your answers to

Each answer will score one point for everyone (including yourself) who listed it except that any answer which only you list will score ZERO points. Each answer must match at least one other person to score.

If you have rules questions, please send them just to me and I'll reply to the list if appropriate.

Answers must generally match exactly although spelling mistakes and such are not counted against you. The general (horse) does not match the specific (mustang).

Credit to Aaron Fuegi for coming up with the categories.

My only comment on those Meta Games is that I was pleased to see Peking Duck appeared in the list of foods...

KevinU reported the results as follows:

I don't have all the numbers with me, I left them with Russ, but BD is this week's meta-devil.

His score of 5 on the African countries, combined with two fourth place finishes gave him 13 points.

TimS had the high score of 42 out of a possible 54 countries. Someone else got 30 something correct, and then numerous people were in the 8 to 10 range, and one of them had a couple fourth place finishes also.

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

Evening's Soundtrack

La Ĉina Muziko, de la 89a Universala Kongreso de Esperanto
Circus Contraption, Our Latest Catalogue
Dolcxamar, Lingvo Intermonda
Jay (Chinese pop/rap)
Kajto, Masko

Muziko de mia vojaĝo

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