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2005-01-12 RussCon Report

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20 of us played 14 games! Welcome Jack (SarahM's husband) who I know from Flipside and (many moons ago) Esperanto club.

I started formally studying Spanish this week (in a class). It seems quite a few RussCon folks know a little Spanish and are interested in learning more. Several of us had fun reading the local Spanish newspaper Rumbo together, and talked about meeting regularly as a little study group, where we'd read text together, practice some conversation, and so forth. If you are interested in this, let me know when would work for you. An obvious idea would have been just meeting an hour before RussCon, but Chad and Sarah (both of whom are interested) can't meet then. Sunday afternoon (e.g. 1 or 2pm) at Texspresso would be great for me, since I'm there at 3pm for Esperanto club anyway...

Those who are frustrated or upset that Bush is about to be inaugurated might be interested to know about events that day (Thursday, January 20):

Game Results

RicochetRobot3Tim 2 RussW 0 Ben -2
LostValley4Adam 3 Marty 1 KevinU -1 Jeffles -3
Drakon4ToddG 3 RussW -1 Jack -1 KevinU -1
Tichu2( JP Shari ) 1 ( Tim MarkH ) -1
Blokus4KevinU 3 RussW 1 Chad -1 ToddG -3
ZirkusFlohcati4TimG 3 SarahM 1 ToddG -2 Whendy -2
ZirkusFlohcati4TimG 3 SarahM 1 ToddG -1 Whendy -3
Medici5Tim 4 Matt 2 RussW 0 Clayton -2 Ben -4
Oltremare3JP 2 MikeC 0 MarkH -2
ZirkusFlohcati4William 3 JP 0 Clayton 0 Shari -3
DasZepterVonZavandor4Adam 3 MikeC 1 Whendy -1 Marty -3
Tichu2( SarahM KevinU ) 1 ( Jeffles Ben ) -1
Samurai4RussW 3 Chad 0 Matt 0 ToddG -3
Tayu2SarahM 1 Chad -1

Several new games were brought (I think all by Adam and/or Mike): Lost Valley, Oltremare, and Das Zepter von Zavandor. The latter is apparently like Outpost, but with fairies and kobolds!

Some old classics were played: Samurai (which I was pleased to do quite well at), and Medici (I'll take my 3rd place out of 5 and not complain).

Drakon, one of the love-it-or-hate-it games, seemed popular with the new folks I introduced it too. As I often mention (trying to convince the haters to give it another chance), it doesn't take as long with the expansion set, and has really varied play. E.g. in this session, no tile-stealing occurred (the only such tile played was immediately destroyed, in fact), and no "steal gold from another player" tile even appeared.

It is nice to see Tayu getting a resurgence of popularity in recent weeks. It is a great not-too-long 2-player game.


Rank Ratings:       
 2.7726 Adam
 2.7726 TimG
 2.1972 SarahM
 2.0149 Tim
 1.7918 JP
 1.5041 RussW
 1.3863 KevinU
 1.3863 William
 0.6931 Matt
 0.4055 MikeC
-0.2877 Jack
-0.6931 Shari
-0.6931 Clayton
-0.9808 Marty
-1.0987 Chad
-1.7916 MarkH
-2.0794 Jeffles
-2.4853 ToddG
-2.4853 Whendy
-3.4022 Ben
Win Ratings:
 2.7726 Adam won 2 of 2
 2.7726 TimG won 2 of 2
 2.0149 Tim won 2 of 3
 1.5041 JP won 2 of 3
 1.5041 KevinU won 2 of 4
 1.3863 William won 1 of 1
 0.8109 SarahM won 2 of 4
 0.4055 Shari won 1 of 2
 0.2355 ToddG won 1 of 5
 0.1823 RussW won 1 of 5
-0.2877 Jack won 0 of 1
-0.5108 Matt won 0 of 2
-0.5108 Clayton won 0 of 2
-0.5754 Marty won 0 of 2
-0.6931 MikeC won 0 of 2
-0.8630 Whendy won 0 of 3
-0.9808 Jeffles won 0 of 2
-1.0987 MarkH won 0 of 2
-1.2683 Chad won 0 of 3
-1.3216 Ben won 0 of 3

TimG and Adam are the Devils! Tim and SarahM are Co-Vice-Devils. Then JP. Ben 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

Meta Game

I was the Meta Devil and designed the following Meta Game.

There will be a surprise quiz at this week's RussCon for interested parties. The quiz itself is not a surprise, just the subject matter. Anyway, it will make sense. There you go.

américa central, el caribe, américa del surSo what was the quiz? After watching the excellent film Motorcycle Diaries a month ago, I became interested in learning South American geography better. Then this week I started taking a Spanish class, which already has us learning the geography of Central and South America. So the quiz was to identify the countries of Central and South America and the Carribean. (In class we were only concerned with the Spanish speaking countries, which leaves out a few, but the quiz listed all the non-tiny countries. We are also obliged to learn the capitals, but I didn't include that in the Meta Game.) A map (from my class, created from maps at the useful was supplied to meta participants with countries numbered 1 to 25. Intrepid souls gave me a list of their answers. Each correct answer is a lottery ticket in the drawing to determine Meta Devil, so one only needed to know one country to have a chance to win. Despite that, only 9 people entered, thus proving that people are afraid to appear foolish. Thanks to all who did give it a shot. Partly I was curious simply to see which countries people are familiar with and which are more murky.

I reckoned the lottery tickets earned as follows:

Some specific info for the almost-perfect players: Tim mixed up Guyana and Suriname. KevinU mixed up Nicaragua and Honduras. Clayton didn't know the 3 little Guayana-ish countries, nor Puerto Rico. Everyone else had much more major gaps in their knowledge (like I did until recently). Every country was correctly identified by at least one person. Brazil was the only one which everyone knew. It is perhaps ironic that only two people knew Puerto Rico (one of the most popular games of RussCon).

Somehow the lottery tickets earned seem to sum up to 115 while the number of correct answers for each country sum to 114. Oh well, close enough.

Randomly selecting a winner (with weights proportional to number of correct countries), it turns out that Ben is the Meta Devil and will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Huayucaltia, Horizontes
Inka Wayra, Magical Echoes from the Andes Vol. III
Inti-Illimani, Imagination
SAVAE, Guadalupe: Virgen de los Indios
Strunz & Farah, Primal Magic

Another of those pesky meta themes.

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