Octopus's Garden Issue Thirty-Four

Current Issue
Back Issues
Other stuff
Last issue
Next issue
Search site


HELLO, good evening and welcome to issue 34 of Octopus's Garden, the subzeen with its very own waiting lists. An html version of this subzeen is available on the Web at http://www.manorcon.demon.co.uk/octopus/index.html. It's also sent to the TAP mailing list, which you can join automatically by sending the message 'subscribe tap' to majordomo@igo.org. The message 'unsubscribe tap' sent to the same address will get you off the mailing list.

"MILLARD FILLMORE" Endgame Statements revisited

Conrad von Metzke (11 Jan 1999) writes:

This is a directive.

You will run another game. You may wait a bit if you must - job and wife and house and all, you may take an appropriate time to let them all settle in - but then you will run another game. You may choose the map, but you will run another game. Is that clear? Thank you.

Another item: Berry's reference to "restriction rules" means simply that in America we allow players to enter any races at all, without limits, whereas in Britain they mostly follow David's old stodgy limit of 4 races max. per round. The only modification I can recall from RIANNA, apart from those games which I ran, was that some GMs would vary the limits just a bit depending on the map, viz. with 36-destination maps it was 4 per round, with 42-dest. it was 5 per, and with 52-dest. it was 4-of-6 and then 7-of-10. But the unlimited-entry rule is an Americanism, brought about by a discussion among Jim Goode, Eric Brosius and myself in the old PEDRO IN THE RAIN FOREST.

We like it - but then, what do we know, we're just unwashed colonials....



((Well, as a shameless Conrad toady, I can'st but obey, and you will find a couple of waiting lists below for your edification.))

((At the risk of sounding like a bad sociology lecturer, I wonder if the preference for unlimited entries is a reflection of the cultural differences between America and Europe. America is the land of 24-hour copy shops, breakfast at Taco Bells, and "have it your way at B-K!" As such, unlimited entries in Railway Rivals racing rounds is a natural extension. Given that entering all the races in a round is nearly always a mistake, you could even link it to the US Constitution, which gives every US citizen the right to be as assine as they want, but makes them bear the consequences. I'm not quite sure exactly where that actually *is* in the American constitution, but it's probably not far from the bit about right to privacy and the right to stockpile "cop-killer" bullets.))

((Of course, the increasing Coca-colonisation of Britain continues apace, and I actually found myself in a 24-hour supermarket the other week. Just as long as they don't start trying to change our "Enter any 4 races from 7..."))


Right, well my original intention was to have another game on Railway Rivals Map IX (Iowa Prairie Development). I personally like this map, as the special rules subvert a lot of the normal conventions of Railway Rivals. (Basically, it is an attempt to reflect the fact that in Iowa, and I suspect most of the Mid-West, it wasn't a case of building railway lines between towns. More a case of building railway lines through the countryside and the towns would grow up around them.) However, David Watts seems to think that the map doesn't work very well in postal play, and it has been replaced by a more conventional map of Iowa, with fixed towns. So, we have two other maps for your consideration:

If you want in on either of these lists, contact me at octopus@manorcon.demon.co.uk.

I will also be looking for stand-bys for both the above games, but we'll get the lists filled first before we worry about that. Houserules are on the web at http://www.manorcon.demon.co.uk/octopus/rr.html, but are pretty much standard British rules (20/10 scoring, enter 4 from 7 races), except I use stand-bys. We won't bother with gamefees or deposits for either of these games.

I will leave the waiting lists here for the moment for TAP people to have first dibs. For newcomers, the TK map is probably a bit more "novice-friendly" than TT, but neither have any special rules (unlike the Iowa map). I'll then try recruiting via other e-mail R.R. g.m.s, and then via Usenet if necessary.

9.30 p.m. Budget Statement
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, outlines his taxation and spending plans for the year ahead.
9.35 p.m. True Lies
1995 film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis

-- BBC-1 Television schedule, 9th March 1999.

Obviously someone in the BBC scheduling department has a sense of humour.


"For everything there is a season; a time to tear down and a time to build," sang the Byrds, quoting from Ecclesiastes chapter 3. Well, old Ecclesiastes knew his stuff, at least as far as the British Postal Games Hobby is concerned. The stones have been gathered together, and it's time for another round of discussion on hobby recruitment. Thanks to the wonders of the web, I don't have to retype any of the discussion, as it is all online at http://www.onelist.com/arcindex.cgi?listname=ukpbm. I feel that the discussions overall are moving in a positive direction, and the fact that a lot of the ideas aren't original is irrelevant. The key issue is finding people to actually do things, and so far this latest round seems to be doing rather better than previous efforts of this type in this regard.

A lot of the argument centres around what right the group has to do all of this. Firstly, it should be noted that the people most vociferous in wanting to know who gave them permission are also those most strongly opposed to the concept of hobby organisations anyway. The hobby is fundamentally an anarchic structure, in the very best sense of that term, a freely-associated group where every man, in Napoleon's words, carries a Marshall's baton in his knapsack. If the group wanted to recruit more people for their own zines, this would be their own business. The fact that they are prepared to share the fruits of their labour with the Hobby at large is to be commended. It's not as if they are getting in the way of or duplicating any existing effort - even the flyer in the game box appears to have fallen by the wayside. The idea that you need "permission" to recruit fresh people to the hobby is about as tenuous as the idea that you need "permission" to start a zeen.

The only other thing I can usefully contribute to the debate at the moment is to clarify some of the issues around the old Hobby Development Fund (HDF). Manorcon received half of the HDF money when Richard J. Walkerdine wound up the HDF. Richard wound it up not because of any lack of funds, but because there was no interest in spending it. We held the money within Manorcon's account, but kept it segregated as a "Hobby Development Reserve," i.e. not a separate fund, but still "earmarked" in some sense for hobby development. In fact, over the next couple of years, the Manorcon committee funded a few hobby development efforts that approached us for money. We didn't bother accounting for this in public in the way RJW had, or trying to replenish the funds, mainly because we thought there was no interest. In the end, we were in the business of running a convention, not the HDF. By the time I left the Manorcon committee, we had basically spent all but a small amount of what had been the HDF money. What Midcon did with their share I have no idea ; however, it should be noted that when RJW handed the money over, he put no conditions on what we could or should do with it. I assume he would have had no problem with it if we had just ploughed the money into the convention, which after all would have been "hobby development" of a sort (bearing in mind that "hobby development" isn't necessarily synonymous with "hobby recruitment").

That said, the setting up of a new Hobby Development Fund, with Nick Parrish as treasurer, is an excellent development. My only concern would be to echo Stephen Agar's comment in Spring Offensive that the key lesson to be learned from the previous HDF is that raising the money isn't the problem - finding people with the time and energy to spend it effectively is. Of course, at the moment, my free time with respect to the hobby is pretty much taken up by this subzeen, so I'm hardly in a position to talk.

Search this site powered by FreeFind