Octopus's Garden

Issue Fifty-One

1st October 2000

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HELLO, good evening and welcome to issue 51 of Octopus's Garden, the subzeen with its very own post-semi-century special lettercol. 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.

Letters to the Sub-Editor

((Last time I said "I'm not sure exactly what neo-Luddites are"...))

Chris Hibbert writes:

There was an article 5 years ago in Wired that answers the question. Kevin Kelly, editor of Wired at the time, interviewed Kirkpatrick Sale, a self professed Neo-Luddite. Read the article for an idea what he believes. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.06/saleskelly.html

Round 12 -- "William Rufus de Vane King" -- RR 1701 TT

Railway Rivals Map TT (Leapfrog)

36) (11-@1) Alnwick - Any Port
PEAT 20+4 (Blyth) ; TURN 10-4 (Blyth).
Running: GOOCH 299 ; TURN 265 ; BLUES 258 ; PEAT 256.
37) (22-44) Haltwhistle - Crook
TURN 20-4 ; GOOCH +4.
Running: GOOCH 303 ; TURN 281 ; BLUES 258 ; PEAT 256.
38) (35-24) Whitley Bay - Allendale
GOOCH 20-3-2+4 ; TURN 10-4+2; BLUES +3.
Running: GOOCH 322 ; TURN 289 ; BLUES 261 ; PEAT 256.
39) (45-15) Bishop Aukland - Morpeth
BLUES 20-1-1-2+2+1 ; TURN 10-2+1+1 ; PEAT 0-1-1-1+2+1 ; GOOCH +1.
Running: GOOCH 323 ; TURN 299; BLUES 280 ; PEAT 256.
40) (53-34) Chester-le-Street - Wallsend
PEAT 20-2+3 ; BLUES 10-3 ; TURN +2.
Running: GOOCH 323 ; TURN 301; BLUES 287 ; PEAT 277.
41) (64-55) Stockton - Sunderland
GOOCH 20+3 ; PEAT 10-3 ; BLUES 0 .
Running: GOOCH 346 ; TURN 301 ; BLUES 287 ; PEAT 284.
42) (@2-61) Any Port - Darlington
GOOCH 20-1+1 (Middlesbrough) ; BLUES 10-1-1-3 (Middlesbrough); TURN +3 ; PEAT +1+1.
Running: GOOCH 366 ; TURN 304 ; BLUES 292 ; PEAT 286.
    b/f 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 final
GOOCH Conrad von Metzke 299 - 4 19 1 - 23 20 366
BLUES W. Andrew York 258 - - 3 19 7 0 5 292
TURN Rip Gooch 259 6 16 8 10 2 - 3 304
PEAT Richard Weiss 232 24 - - 0 21 7 2 286
    1048 30 20 30 30 30 30 30 1248

In Race 40, PEAT specifically ordered to use TURN's track to Wallsend rather than his own track - made no difference to the final order. Congratulations to Conrad, and my thanks to all the players for playing. Special thanks to W. Andrew York for taking over as stand-by for Berry Renken. Please can you let me have any further game-end statements by FRIDAY, 20th OCTOBER, 2000 to Peter Sullivan, octopus@manorcon.demon.co.uk


PEAT - ALL: Race 40, could be three of us with equally short track losing out to a lucky Brown. I'll take rentals, however, as compensation for the competition.

GOOCH: A very strange round. Red (pink) is likely to have a wonderful time with excellent races, but he's in last place and could only win if absolutely everything went his way at once. Blue's races are awful, green's hardly much better, but then mine aren't much either.

I think my chances are actually fairly good, but of course I may have just jinxed myself. But I think I have three advantages, any one of which may prove telling: (1) I come into the round with a reasonable margin; (2) I have the chance, as does anyone, to have stunning luck in all my races; (3) In several of the races, any entrant is going to have to pay me a bit in rental. The last is probably equivalent to the revenue I'd gain if only I had a decent fourth race.

The one thing about this game that I can't really factor (presuming I took the trouble of an exhaustive analysis, which is utterly unlike me) is the effect of Rip's voluntary missed turn. I think and suspect that it may have provided me with a bit of an edge, because my strongest competition in the 20s towns is of course Rip, so in that turn he effectively gave me a free pass in a couple of places. It would probably help me assess this point if only I'd bothered at the time to take note of how well I actually did in that turn...

Rip will confirm that early on in the game I predicted that BLUES would win. And he may yet. But if he doesn't, I'll be honest; I cannot fathom why. His is clearly the strongest track overall. I can only believe that his position is the result of red and green ganging up to duplicate most of his lines, thus giving him no clear uniqueness to translate into "automatic" wins (or lots of track for which others will consistently pay rent). I also like red's track very much. I'm not much taken with green's, but the current scores seem to belie my opinion. As to my own line, I do wish I'd pushed a little harder into the northeast, but otherwise it suits me quite as it is. I would particularly mention that I purposely built a bit "off-centre" along the coast, using the logic that the shorter route south would be duplicated by more than one other player, and it is pleasing to note that I was correct - my less-than-shortest north/south line has had some solid payoffs.

This was fun, and it's very much the fault of the other players for being such good friends and strong competitors, and also in VERY large part the fault of Peter who is one damned fine GM and Overall Good Person (advt.). I hope we can make this the beginning of some kind of series; I would kill, or at least maim, to be a part of such pleasure.

PS: If I lose, please delete the part about how you're a wonderful GM....

Peat - Green's Turn to Be Green: Lookie here, an excellent use for your build we've fussed over previously. Now you have the shortest track for Race 36, ahem, that is, of course, if you pay me 4 in rentals! Congratulations on your clairvoyance (just teasing. Please do smile).

TURN: I commented last time that this was the first time I could ever recall building in Round 11. This was because I had a unique opportunity to get within 4 hexes of all of the remaining towns and give myself the best chance possible of covering all the probabilities. As it turned out, the toss of a coin negated the builds. I could've entered all 7 runs at a pinch! Now pure luck comes into play. The point at which RR falls just a tiny bit short of the perfect game. A close one will be resolved by die-rolls. I could win, I could come third. We'll see.

A brief comment on the strategy. My network covers the most ground, and I am very pleased with the way it looks. I guessed right early on, and never really lost momentum. Conrad's early monopolies are all-but cancelled out by his total absence from the 40's, whilst BLUES's network is a virtual mirror image with nothing in the 20's. PEAT ended up with what looks to be a nicely sprawling network, but he suffered from unkind runs, I think. Having kept a close eye on how the numbers were coming up in Round 10 and 11, I ensured that I was within reach of everything for Round 12. This outcome was most gratifying! A good, clear second place will be ample reward. My NMR had little or no effect on the outcome. I would've gained only a handful of points at most, and possibly even lost some overall.

Thanks to all for making my return to the hobby so enjoyable.

PEAT-ALL: Great fun. Let's do it again real soon. Thanks for the lessons. Sorry about press that got carried away. Way to go GOOCH. Thank you Peter for putting up with me. Great job running the game.

Round 11 -- "John C. Breckinridge" -- RR 1702 TK

Railway Rivals Map TK

29) (11-52) Cairo - Lexington
TSR 20-15-3-1+3 (XRP race 33) ; CUDZU 10-3+1 ; BOURBON +15 ; REDNECK +3.
30) (23-66) Hopkinsville - Bristol
TSR 20-8 ; BLUES 10+8.
31) (31-16) Clarksville - Memphis
32) (42-24) Knoxville - Owensboro
TSR 20-3 ; BOURBON/CUDZU 10 ; BLUES 0+3.
33) (56-46) Cincinnati - Chattanooga
BLUES 15-1 ; BOURBON 15-15 (XRP race 29) ; TSR +15 ; CUDZU +1.
34) (63-@6) Middlesboro - Mississippi/Alabama
BLUES 20-4 (C25) ; CUDZU +4.
35) (@2-35) Illinois/Indiana - Bowling Green
BOURBON 20 (Louisville) ; TSR 10 (Paducah).


BOURBON, violet : Mike Barno
no builds
BLUES, blue : Eric Brosius
no builds.
REDNECK, red : Neil Hopkins
no builds.
CUDZU, green : Richard Weiss
no builds.
TSR, orange : Andrew Glynn
(I30) - Rockwood. =-1
  b/f 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 builds c/f
BOURBON 159 15 - 10 5 0 - 20 -00+00 209
BLUES 177 - 18 - 3 14 16 - -00+00 228
REDNECK 174 3 - 20 5 - - - -00+00 202
CUDZU 222 8 - - - 1 4 - -00+00 235
TSR 210 4 12 - 17 15 - 10 -01+00 267
  942 30 30 30 30 30 20 30 -01+00 1141

For Round 12, you may enter up to 4 races. Could you all let me have Round Twelve orders by FRIDAY, 20th OCTOBER, 2000 to Peter Sullivan, octopus@manorcon.demon.co.uk

Races for Round Twelve:


BOURBON: Often when I'm losing, I write silly press to keep my head in the game. Not this time.

CUDZU-Green thumbers: This is a sad day for the South when the fastest growing plant this side of hemp does not flourish.

TSR: Should be pretty close between BLUES, CUDZU and myself after this round.

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