Octopus's Garden Issue Forty-One

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HELLO, good evening and welcome to issue 41 of Octopus's Garden, the subzeen with its very own cross-game press war. 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@diplom.org. The message 'unsubscribe tap' sent to the same address will get you off the mailing list.


Mike Barno writes:

Hi, and a good day to you,

Thanx for the quick OG turnaround. I can see how it can be easier to be prompt when you select a scope and publishing medium that are good for you. Two copies: one e-mail to the players list and one to the whole TAP subscribership? The extra message space isn't a problem for me but some people's old computers or e-mail servers might not want to be fed two. Shouldn't be a problem unless you try attaching huge files. For example you might want to be careful if you get hooked up with software for building RR maps. It would be very convenient if you could send us maps with all the current rail systems, especially if we could send you orders by drawing track and telling our software to "Send Orders" to your e-mail for your software to read. A risk is that it also means more chances for lost-in-transmission attached files, more volume even if the message is only e-mailed once, and other assorted potential tech problems. (You can tell I'm not a very modern corporate worker because I didn't say "issue" when I meant "problem".)

((This is one of my worst faults now that I'm working in IT. I just can't bring myself to say the "p" word. Everything is always an issue, or, if I'm really upbeat that day, an opportunity.))

((The reason I send an adjudication both to the players and to the list is three-fold :

  1. I'm not sure all the players are actually on the TAP mailing list.
  2. A vague sense of "I'm the g.m., I should be sending this to the players rather than relying on a third party process I don't control."
  3. The version sent to the players is slightly different, in that I append the players' e-mail addresses, as well as my own postal address and phone number in case of emergencies.))

((I have been thinking vaguely of an R.R. map drawing program for several years, but I've never really got any further than that. Given that RR maps consist of fairly standard elements (hex grid, towns, hill hexes, river sides), it should be possible to develop a very compact format of page description languague or the like (RRIF for Railway Rivals Interchange Format?) which could be expanded into a full map by the appropriate software at the other end. The main issues are probably copyright-related rather than technology. Although if Spire Games can be persuaded to release some of the rights to Railway Rivals rather than play "dog in the manger," even this may not be insurmountable.))

Mike Barno writes:

The present-day USA legacy of slavery includes not solely poverty but in some individuals in most places, and in most individuals in some places, a very real refusal to treat black people as fully human and fully citizens.  Of course the people who actually implemented plantation slavery and traded in slaves are the ones to hold responsible for those acts. But when someone today won't give selected others an even break because of ancestry, only that person can be blamed today. Whether it's "Ain't never been a spade that wasn't a criminal or a welfare cheat," or "An Indian is nothing but a red nigger," or "Whitey fucked my people and he fucked me all my life so I'm gonna take some back," people still make new problems today that don't have anything to do with slavery except racial animosities so strong that people substitute them for thought. Whenever you start thinking that people are getting more nearly past that sort of thing, something occurs to disillusion you such as Kosovo or the guy getting dragged to his death behind a truck for being black.

Round 3 -- "William Rufus de Vane King" -- RR 1701 TT

Railway Rivals Map TT (Leapfrog)

GOOCH, brown: Conrad von Metzke
3a) (I72) - I73 - Eaglescliffe [+6] ; I73 - I74 ; 3b) (Newcastle) - D55 ; (Newcastle) - G56 ; 3c) D55 - Wylam [+6]. =43+12=55
BLUES, blue: Berry Renken
3a) (E65) - E67 - F67 ; 3b) (F67) - F69 - H70 ; 3c) (H70) - I71; (Annfield Plain) - B59 - Consett. =41
TURN, green: Rip Gooch
3a) (Newcastle) - F57 ; 3b) (F57) - D58 - C58 - B58 ; 3c) (B58) - A59 - Consett [+6] - A61. =50+6+1[P]=57
PEAT, pink: Richard Weiss.
3a) (K73) - Middlesborough [+6] - M73 - Redcar [+6] ; 3b) (Newcastle) *LEAP green* [-1 T] I55 - K54 - K53 - Blyth [+6] ; 3c) (K53) - K52. =36+18-1[T]=53

Note the RR number from Tony Robbins. Rolls for Round Four : 3, 3, 5. Could you all let me have Round Four orders by FRIDAY, 17th SEPTEMBER, 1999 to Peter Sullivan, octopus@manorcon.demon.co.uk


PEAT-TURN: Where is Teeside (SE extremity of map?). BLUES is too cleandestine to deal clandestinely with me, so I blew in to Stockton. Hopefully that GOOCH didn't use those tacky leapfrog moves to tie me into Middlesborough and Redcar.

GENEVA: Teeside is basically Stockton, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Eaglescliffe on this map, with West Hartlepool and Darlington on the fringes. (Darlington has effectively become more a part of Teeside since the latest local government re-organisation detatched it from the rest of County Durham.)

TURN: Very risky if I've misjudged the odds, but I think they're in my favour! I'm betting you guys will be either fighting over the Southern extremities or trying to break into my Northeastern stronghold. There is a tempting leap in that direction if anyone dares to use it! What are the odds it won't be there next round?

TURN - BLUES & PEAT: The split at Durham looks suspiciously tidy. See my press from Round 2.

TURN - GOOCH: In one fell swoop ... Will you become mired in the heavy industrial sector or will your lungs fill with the crisp, cool moorland air? It is possible that I have actually visited more of the places on the map than our esteemed GM. The sector you are exploring at present is my least favourite. Too many oil refineries and chemical factories. For the rest, I recommend a brief stay virtually anywhere. The area remains virtually undiscovered. Only the sound of the occasional American romance novel enthusiast on the trail of Catherine Cookson or the frantic call of a Scandinavian shopper in search of a bargain can be heard above the song of the wind as it plays through the frame of a long-abandoned pit wheel.

GENEVA : That's quite poetic, really. Not sure if there are any active deep-mine coal pits on this map these days. There's still a certain amount of strip mining going on, however.

GOOCH : Now. I've thought of a fascinating way to inject some real extra interest in this game. Each turn, you will hop in the car and drive to one of the towns you've never been to, and give us an in-depth cultural report. For Turn 4 your assignment is:
Start driving....

GENEVA : Well, Bellingham I have actually driven through, as it is at the southern tip of Kielder Water. No distinguishing features to speak of except a hotel called The George and a road bridge that is so narrow it is alternate traffic only.

Round 2 -- "John C. Breckinridge" -- RR 1702 TK

Railway Rivals Map TK

BOURBON, violet : Mike Barno
2a)  (N20) - O21 - P20 - Bowling Green [+6] ; (K20) - J19 ; 2b)  (J19) - Columbia [+6] ; (Bowling Green) - T22 - T23 ; 2c)  (T23) - V24 - W24 - Z25. =20+12=32
BLUES, blue : Berry Renken
2a) (M38) - Johnson City [+6] ; (D25) - C25 ; 2b) (C25) - C24 - E23 ; 2c) (E23) - E22 - D21 - D20 - G19. =26+6=32
REDNECK, red : Neil Hopkins
2a) (Clarkesville) - L14 ; 2b) (L14) - L11 ; 2c) (L11) - Dyersberg [+6] ; (L10) - K10 =44+6+1[T]=51
CUDZU, green : Richard Weiss
2a) (U33) - W32 - X32 - Z31 ; 2b) (Z31) - Lexington [+6] - B80 - Frankfort [+6] ; (B80) - D81 ; 2c) (Lexington) - A85 - B84; (D81) - E81. =26+12=38
TSR, orange, Andrew Glynn
2a) (N21) - S19 ; 2b) (K31) - K33; (S19) - S16 [-1 R] ; 2c) (S16) - S15 - T14 - T12. =26-1[R]=25

Note the RR number from Tony Robbins. Please show "known" payments to other players in orders. Rolls for Round Three : 3, 4, 5. The deadline for Round Three orders is FRIDAY, 17th SEPTEMBER, 1999 to Peter Sullivan, octopus@manorcon.demon.co.uk


DR. RICHARD W to Philosopher Mike: "Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well pleases," is a statement I used to believe in fully. I am an ardent probabilist and "free choice" type. However, I no longer know such/believe. Given sufficient capacity, everything possible in the rigorously controlled situation could be known fully, including the past of each, and the organism's doing MIGHT be determined and therefore predictable. Thus, the World/Universe/Gaia might be determined and what appears to be free choice of consciousness might not be. Ant colonies can be replicated, including their complexity by programming only a few simple rules into electronic simulations (other examples available)

BOURBON to REDNECK: How about you take ALL the cities and we just take the state-line scraps?

MIKE to DEMON.CO.UK: How about conditional press: Would you accept press conditional on whether Richard has written press while medicated, going so off-the-wall as to be incomprehensible to most "normal" people?

GENEVA: Conditions which involve a judgement call by the g.m. are a no-no, I fear. I mean, what you migh consider mad rantings by Rip might be perfectly explicable in the light of the scoreline Newcastle United 1, Sunderland 2...

MIKE to QUACK-ADMINISTRATOR RICHARD: Don't get me wrong, my own press sometimes makes less sense (on the surface) than other times. But when opponents refuse to work with you because of it (e.g. Columbus Chill), perhaps adjustments are called for. <abuse abuse abuse> <neverendabuse>

MIKE BARNO to RIP GOOCH: Broad Gauge! Broad Gauge!! (I just want to see what your "more bizarre than usual" builds might look like.  I'm a fan of bizarre game orders.)

MIKE to PETE: How many numbered communities have you visited on THIS map? I believe my total is zero. I've had GMs from Memphis and Clarksville but never attended any cons there or anything. Remarkable considering I could put my marker (just for gaming cons, not general travel) on something like 31 US cities, a couple of non-city hexes, and a couple of Canadian cities (though not Toronto/Scarborough, the most popular in recent years). I've never been further off the continent than tourist boats off Cape Cod. With the relative convention activity levels of the North American and UK/Euro postal-based hobbies, some people have probably topped my total by good margins by now. I attended no cons for five years while in Yellowstone Park, then I've gone to four of them in the last year-and-a-half; but those were at only two sites and one of those had hosted previous cons.

GENEVA: Well, I've been to Memphis, as an unscheduled stopover on the way to Dixiecon in 1994, but that's all. I shall regale you with all the details if you remind me again, so you'd better keep schtum.

REDNECK: How many songs contain references to the towns on this map then? I can think of 'Take the last train to Clarkesville' and 'Chatanoogoo Choo Choo' for a start, but are there any others.

GENEVA: This is something I have been contemplating myself. You've missed out Memphis (many times), and I'm sure Nashville, although I can't think of a song at the moment. Bear in mind I am out of range of the sort of radio station that plays "all kinds of music - Country AND Western..." Anyone fancy coming up with a canonical list?

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