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2004-12-08 RussCon Report

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14 of us played 12 games! (Whendy was here for a while but didn't play a recorded game.) Curiously JP wasn't here. I believe this may be only the 2nd RussCon JP has missed (other than go congresses).

Once Upon A Mattress will be performed soon, with several people I know in it. Saturday, December 11 at 8pm; Sunday, December 12 at 3pm. I'm going Saturday night - perhaps I will see you there!

No one expressed a preference for the timing of the White Elephant gift exchange, so by imperial decree, I say there shall be two White Elephant gift exchanges, the best of both worlds! So this coming Wednesday December 15 (the 22nd would be too close to Christmas and probably low attendance) interested people bring a White Elephant gift! Just like offices and Christmas parties do before Christmas every year. (If you don't know how this works, here is the process. The gift can be valuable and exciting, or cheapass and silly. The only requirement is it be a wrapped gift that you think will be fun or funny or cool or whatever.) And then we'll do it again after New Years, as we've done in the past for several years in the RussCon immediately after Xmas, so you can unload a lame gift you got over the holidays.

Game Results

Attika4RussW 3 Jeffles 1 Tim -1 Clayton -3
JefflesCrazyRussConRumors4Jeffles 3 RussW -1 SarahM -1 William -1
Tightrope5MarkH 4 Ben 2 Marty -1 KevinU -1 PJ -4
CarcassonneHunters3Clayton 2 Fina 0 Tim -2
CarcassonneCastle2Tim 1 Clayton -1
Tichu2( KevinU Marty ) 1 ( Ben MarkH ) -1
SaintPetersburg4SarahM 3 RussW 1 Jeffles -1 William -3
Tayu2RussW 1 Jeffles -1
Attika3SarahM 2 KevinU -1 JimG -1
ZirkusFlohcati2Tim 1 Clayton -1
Tichu2( SarahM Jeffles ) 1 ( Ben William ) -1
Attika4JimG 3 RussW -1 Fina -1 KevinU -1

Jeffles's latest crazy game design was RussCon Rumors, which was a variation of Clue, but without the map movement, so you can simply suggest on your turn. And Jeffles made fun cards with RussCon dignitaries, such as me and Jeffles. The suggestions were to be phrased in terms of a rumor, e.g., "I heard a rumor that JP lost a game of Settlers because he was obsessed with anime." The prototype cards were a bit rough, but funny, and we all thought this game should be developed further with cleaned up cards. And it would be fun to customize for other groups, e.g. the Gathering of Friends.

Jeffles and I played Tayu, eventually reaching the point where Jeffles resigned since it was mathematically impossible for him to catch me. Handy when a 2-player game has that property. :) I really like this game and am glad to have finally played it again after so long.

Attika continues to be the hot new game, apparently displacing Saint Petersburg from that coveted title.


Rank Ratings:    
 2.8904 SarahM
 1.9095 RussW
 1.3863 Jeffles
 0.9808 JimG
 0.9163 MarkH
 0.4055 Marty
-0.1178 Tim
-0.2877 KevinU
-0.2877 Fina
-0.6931 Ben
-1.6094 PJ
-1.6740 Clayton
-2.3666 William
Win Ratings:
 2.8904 SarahM won 3 of 4
 1.2164 RussW won 2 of 5
 0.9808 JimG won 1 of 2
 0.9163 MarkH won 1 of 2
 0.8109 Jeffles won 2 of 5
 0.6931 Tim won 2 of 4
 0.4700 Marty won 1 of 2
-0.2231 KevinU won 1 of 4
-0.2231 PJ won 0 of 1
-0.5754 Clayton won 1 of 4
-0.6931 Fina won 0 of 2
-1.2683 William won 0 of 3
-1.6094 Ben won 0 of 3

SarahM is the Devil! I am the Vice-Devil. JimG and Jeffles are Co-Vice-Vice-Devils.

Another unusually tall thin graph this week. I ponder if there is any deep significance to a player like KevinU, who could be viewed as a bottleneck or choke point in the graph - everyone is either above him or below him; there are no players incomparable to him. That is also trivially true of SarahM of course.

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 designed the following Meta Game.

Wednesday's metagame will be a word game. I'll bring a card with a number of words on it. The goal is to connect these words (in any order) by applying a series of transformations to them. Legal transformations are:

1. change a letter of the word
2. add a letter to the beginning or end of the word
3. remove a letter from the beginning or end of the word
4. reverse the word

However, the transformation must result in another legal word. Legal words are basically any word that can be found in an English dictionary that isn't an abbreviation, acronym, or properly capitalized.

Example: suppose the words are [apex bat tape]. One solution might be:

* bat
* tape
* apex

The winner is the one who connects the most words on the list together consecutively; ties are broken by who used the fewest words to do so; further ties are broken randomly. To clarify the winning condition: if there are ten words and you connect 2 of them together in one chain and 4 of them together in another chain your score is 4, not 6.

For scoring purposes, I'll count as legal any word that I recognize or that I can find in the dictionary at Russcon. You're welcome to look up a word to make sure it's in the dictionary, but not to use the dictionary to find words to use. If you use a non-legal word, then the two list words linked by the non-legal word count as disconnected.

Turn in your answers to me before you leave Russcon. I'll score them before I leave myself.

At RussCon, Ben presented a list of 10 words: ban yam evil grope flames pin dame baked drawer regard.

Seven intrepid souls submitted word chains to Ben. Ben reckoned the scores as follows (these are the number of intermediate words, not counting the 10 mandatory words in the chain):
54 Jeffles
28 William
27 Tim
25 RussW
23 PJ
22 Marty
21 JimG

Everyone noticed: drawer reward regard. I'm not sure there were any other universally used subchains. JimG's winning entry was:

evil live love glove grove grope rope ope open pen pin pan ban can cam yam dam dame lame flame flames flakes lakes bakes baked baker raker rawer drawer reward regard.

(I note in passing that "ope" has "Whoa, that's actually in the dictionary? Cool!" written all over it.) So JimG is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game! (It may involve the White Elephant gift exchange if desired, or may be totally independent, either way!)

Evening's Soundtrack

Antietam, rope-a-dope
Marillion, Real to Reel
Sinéad O'Connor, I do not want what I haven't got
Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
The Refreshments, Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy

Meta titles.

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