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2005-02-16 RussCon Report


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17 of us played 11 games!

Jeffles assembled a medium-sized (or large) icosohedron in my living room, to play Ico. More pictures can be seen here.

Spanish: 2pm Sunday at Texspresso on Anderson Lane (by Alamo Drafthouse Village) is the weekly basic informal Spanish RussCon study group... so far it consists of me studying Spanish at Texspresso, but feel free to join me. :)

Game Results

Ico3JP 2 Jeffles -1 MikeC -1
Tichu2( Ben MarkH ) 1 ( Adam KevinU ) -1
CarcassonneCity3Tim 2 Clayton 0 RussW -2
TrainsportAustria4Marty 3 SarahM 1 MikeC -1 Jeffles -3
Blokus4Adam 3 MarkH 0 Clayton 0 RussW -3
Bluff4RussW 3 William 1 Adam -1 Clayton -3
Ico4Tim 3 Fina -1 Jeffles -1 Whendy -1
TakeItEasy4Tim 3 Jeffles 1 Fina -1 Whendy -3
WhatsThatOnMyHead5SarahM 3 MarkY 3 Ben -1 KevinU -1 Chad -4
Rigamarole2( William Whendy Clayton ) 1 ( RussW Jeffles Fina ) -1
Boggle4Chad 3 MarkY 0 Ben 0 KevinU -3

Jeffles made a giant Ico set (perhaps inspired by William recently bringing his standard sized set, which sadly has a broken joint). This artistic icosohedral creation is apparently actually the medium sized one, for he plans to create a much larger one for Flipside. Or, if you prefer marketingspeak, this one is the large one, with the supersized one still to come. It is odd how this quirky little game Ico has reappeared in my life due to various friends. If I recall correctly, my ex-Kinesoft-cohort JeffW knows the guy who created the game.

I just received a complimentary copy of a new edition of Rigamarole, the social/party game we've played a few times, so we gave this new set a try. It feels very similar to the first edition. For gamer geeks like us, there are a few annoying ambiguities in the rules (which explain that you're not supposed to rules-lawyer - naturally we regarded that as cheapout cop-out to justify unclear writing on a few of the cards!) However there is some undeniable fun in the game, once you get into social/party game mode. It can't be taken seriously as a competitive game. E.g. Fina/Jeffles/Russ's team was way ahead, but in the final challenge, if you fail it, the other team gets to try it, thus snatching victory unexpectedly even though they were fairly far behind score-wise. Their final challenge was impressively played - we thought we'd stump them with the question (find a food in 60 seconds with a tough list of ingredients for them to guess). Jeffles picked a soda, reasoning that it would be clear it was a soda, but hard to guess which one out of the many diverse brands that people have brought to RussCon. As soon as Jeffles read the list, Wendy immediately said "I think that's Sprite" and she was right, thus gaining victory for the Clayton/Wendy/William team!

The Bluff game had an exciting finale, with William and I each down to one die. I rolled a one. He started the bidding with a star, and did his usual williamlike patter about whether he was telling the truth or not. I pondered: if he is telling the truth, then I should raise to two ones. If he is lying, then I should call. I could glean nothing from his williamlike patter, so I decided to just randomly decide if I thought he was lying or not. I gave it 50/50 either way, and ended up deciding he was telling the truth, so I raised to two ones. He looked speechless a moment, and revealed that, amusingly, he had lied but actually had a one, so my raise was still good, and I won! This led to a discussion of optimal play and how it seems like the endgame of Bluff should be mathematically solvable without too much trouble.

After the regular games wound down, we played a couple of social "figure out what the game is" type games. First William started the game where you pass a pair of scissors to the person on your left, saying "This is open" or "This is closed", and he tells you if you're right or not, until someone deduces what's going on (since it doesn't seem based simply on whether the scissors are open or closed). I remembered having seen this trick years ago, but couldn't remember what the secret was, and it took some of us a while to figure out, but eventually very demonstrative clues were given...

Then Sarah proposed the psychiatrist game, which I'd never heard of before. It was pretty cool. Kind of cross between a "figure out what the game is" game and a truth-or-dare game. A few people (in our case 2, but preferably 3) start out as "sick", and the rest of the players are psychologists who simply ask them questions until they figure out what's going on, in which case they join the sick and are interviewed by the remaining psychologists. It is meant as a fun social excercise more than a deductive challenge, and you are encouraged to try roleplaying a psychologist asking general questions, rather than obsessing about "figuring out the rules of the sickness" or whatever. It could be fun to play as an exercise in another language, too...


Rank Ratings:       
 3.8712 Tim
 1.3863 Marty
 1.3218 SarahM
 1.0986 JP
 1.0986 William
 0.9163 MarkY
 0.6931 MarkH
 0.4055 Ben
 0.2877 Adam
-0.2231 Chad
-0.6931 Clayton
-0.8110 MikeC
-0.9808 Whendy
-1.3863 Fina
-1.7916 RussW
-2.3666 KevinU
-2.3666 Jeffles
Win Ratings:
 3.8712 Tim won 3 of 3
 1.3863 Marty won 1 of 1
 1.0986 JP won 1 of 1
 0.8755 Chad won 1 of 2
 0.6286 SarahM won 1 of 2
 0.6286 MarkY won 1 of 2
 0.4055 William won 1 of 2
 0.4055 MarkH won 1 of 2
 0.4055 Adam won 1 of 3
 0.1178 Whendy won 1 of 3
 0.0000 RussW won 1 of 4
-0.1054 Ben won 1 of 3
-0.2877 Clayton won 1 of 4
-0.6931 MikeC won 0 of 2
-1.2683 Fina won 0 of 3
-1.4917 KevinU won 0 of 3
-1.9618 Jeffles won 0 of 5

Tim is the Devil! Marty is Vice-Devil. JP and Sarah are Co-Vice-Vice-Devils. Jeffles is the Generous Angel.

An unusually tall thin ratings graph 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

Whendy was the Meta Devil and mailed out the following Meta Game:

Okay, here's another way to look at familiar things. This is list is about familiar elements at RussCon. Can you guess what they are? You have until noon the Wednesday of next week to email me with your guesses, or until 9pm the night of RussCon next week to hand me a written/printed response.

The person who correctly figures out the most wins. If there are multiple winners, we'll decide among them using some random method of Russ's choice. Meta points earned are lottery tickets in the drawing to see who is Meta Devil.

  6. I CALL HIM: "WOW"

Various folks supplied answers to Wendy. These are all anagrams of people who have been to RussCon. (Dan Becker, Clayton Hunter, Jerrie Marchand, Jim Gutt, Fina Kelly (should be Kelley), William Chow, Ben Hardekopf, Sarah Miller, Martin Hoff, Jeff Sumner, Russ Williams, John Paul Rodman, Matt Cohen, Tim Snyder, Wendy Wheeler.) I was the only one to get them all; since Jerrie comes infreqently, no one but me knew her last name. Although several others got almost all of them right, I ended up being randomly chosen as the Meta Devil, so I will design next week's Meta Game!

Evening's Soundtrack

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Music from the motion picture soundtrack
The Breeders, Last Splash
Hole, Teenage Whore
Rasputina, Thanks for the Ether
Timbuk3, A Hundred Lovers

twin peaks breeders hole rasputina timbuk3

This seems to be becoming a biannual Valentine's theme!

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