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Author: Subject: March 2011 Newsletter

Mood:  Bemused
posted on 4-5-2011 at 07:55 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
March 2011 Newsletter


Misery of a Fair Game…..mactonight

I offer this thought to anyone who is interested in thinking, in the hope that one or more of you might feel like debating or commenting or offering up any kind of solution: When people play a game in which other people also participate, it is inevitable that “teaming” or “helping” is going to become a factor.

Why? You might ask. Well, in a game like Wizard Cards, there are huge opportunities for one player to decide the fate of another. For example, if a player has a Wizard and Jester combination, that player can sit back and take any trick he/she wants. He/she can take the ace of trump from one player and pass the jester to another player that needs it.
In such a case, that player could look at the situation and say to him/herself, “I don’t like that person, so I’m going to take the trick and let that other person make. That’s payback for what they did to me last game.” Favoritism is going to be a factor in almost any game that one plays with other people.

In the World Championship Tournament in Germany, there were at least 2 players participating from each country, and many times, both players from one country were at the same table at the same time. Do you think it’s possible that the countrymen would favor each other? Would their coach even SUGGEST it to them? If one player was in last place, would he/she try to help his countryman to get into first, because it’s better to have one of them make it than neither of them?

In online play, there are many family members who play, and I’m sure that one member would have to make a decision to take his mother’s trick or another unrelated player’s trick, and would lean toward helping his mother by not taking the trick, and vice versa.

This is simply going to happen. I have seen it so many times that it causes an almost paranoia-like reaction – Man, everyone is out to get me! There are no rules that I have read that say you can’t “team”, “help”, or “assist” another player. There are a few “unwritten” rules in place that players tend to use to enforce a “fair” game (there are no friends in wizard), but really, is a player who “helps” another player playing unfairly? Is there a difference between helping someone and helping someone by hurting oneself?

For example, if I bid 2 and I make both my tricks, but I save my brother and he makes also, I “helped” my brother and made my bid. Is that playing fairly?

On the other hand, what if I bid 2, but I’m in last and my Brother is in 2nd, and the leader is about to take an extra trick, and even though I have a wizard and could still make my bid, I let the leader take it and allow him to scratch, giving my Brother the lead, and oh well, I fall farther into last. In this case, I “helped my brother but hurt myself. Now am I playing unfairly? Could that be a strategy? Is it something that is “just part of the game”?

I welcome your comments.

Next Month, I will continue the discussion of “The Misery of a Fair Game” series.

Comment by Wizard

* About 20% of the players are against something all of the time.

* schadenfreude: A feeling of pleasure that some people have when bad things happen to someone else.

WizFest 2011

Wizfest 2011 is coming up fast. Early registration deadline is less then a week away.
If you register before April 01, 2011 the fee is $30, and after April 01, 2011 the fee is $40.
So even if you’re thinking about coming, it’s time to register.
Wizfest is on the weekend of May 27, 28th with May 27th being the Wizard social event of the year. It is being held at the Fox and the Fiddle Mansion where players can play games, eat some food and meet face to face with those players you may only know from the online game or renew relationships with those you met in previous years. The 28th will be the tournament where each player will be play three games before the elimination round. There is a planned B tournament so each player is guaranteed to play four games. What a deal! Wizfest is not for the elite, but always all players of different skills levels a chance to play and win. The Wizfest Team is excited and working hard to make this event awesome. All we need is you. Hope to see you all in May.
Details at

*I am hoping to bring a number of “Wizard Coin Sets” to the event. Everyone feels that the bidding coins are a valuable adjunct to the game but they are simply not available in retail stores. I believe that when the current inventory is depleted “US Games Systems” will not be ordering replacements as they are simply too expensive. The coins will be available for $10 a set. If you are attending the event and want me to set aside a set or two please advise me by e-mail. They cannot be mailed to you because that would double the price….wizard

Astral Points
A new category of points is established effective March 12, 2011 for tournaments that are invitational and in effect limited to players of exceptional skill and/or accomplishments. This classification of points does not replace “Master Points” but merely complements them. The new points are known as "Astral Points". The first "Astral Points" to be awarded will be for the Top 3 finalists at the September 2011 Tournament in Disney World.


Some of you (probably most of you) do not read the information provided on the “Wizard Blogsite” so I am repeating most of it here. (Skip over it if you’re a blogsite follower).

WIZARD at DISNEY WORLD September 2011
The 2011 North American Championship Tournament will be held in DISNEY WORLD, Florida on September 23-24. A group rate has been negotiated and that rate has been further subsidized by the sponsors to bring the total cost per room for participants to $125. That means that participants will be required to submit a total of $250 in advance to secure their spot in the tournament. Players will also be responsible for transportation both to and from the event. However players flying in to the Orlando Airport will be provided a free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. Their luggage should be in their rooms when they arrive at the hotel.
The Friday evening "Welcoming Reception" will be hosted at "The Attic". Food and beverages will be complimentary. The Attic is packed with eclectic antiques, oversized wicker chairs and mismatched couches and loveseats. It features a covered terrace overlooking Crescent Lake.

Players will be staying at the "Boardwalk" hotel and convention center.
The Saturday tournament will be followed by a dinner and presentations
This will be the first North American Wizard Tournament that will NOT be an "open event". Only invited players will be able to participate and the tournament is limited to 24 players. Germany is planning to send 2 champions to represent Europe. Unless other countries decide to participate the Canadian and USA field will consist of 22 players. We hope to have at least 50% of the North American players from the USA. Who will be invited? The process for invitations is still undecided but possible invitees could be drawn from any or all of the following.
1. Winners and Finalists from prior annual tournaments.
2. Top players in the "World Rankings"
3. Winners of monthly online Top 10 events.
4. Other
Invited players will have to decide to accept or decline ASAP. Players who decline for whatever reason will open up a space for other players to be invited. If a player accepts he/she will be required to forward $250 to cover the 2 night's hotel accommodation. If a player decides not to attend prior to August 31 half of the $250 will be refunded. If a player decides not to attend after August 31 there will be no refund.
The tournament co-directors will be Ken Fisher and Joe Andrews.
All games will be 4-player games.
* Joe currently plans to host a special demonstration tournament for those players eliminated after the Matrix rounds of play.

Local Wizard Tournaments

U.S. Games Systems has mailed out invitations to host a local Wizard Tournament. The invitations were only sent to individuals who had previously expressed an interest in participating in a tournament in their area. Early returns indicate that approximately 100 individuals have agreed to host a local tournament

Déjà vu
During 2008 the Newsletter covered a “brief history of gaming” over a number of months. The entire series of articles has been transmogrified into a single unit and reproduced here.
A Brief and Undocumented History of Gaming

As a pastime games, loosely defined, predate the arrival of homo-erectus. The arrival of the earliest man-made game is lost in the pages of time but the “Royal Game of Ur” circa 3000 B. C. is the oldest complete set of gaming equipment found to date. Cubical dice appeared circa 700 B.C. Around the birth of Jesus there are records indicating that Emperor Claudius played “Tabula” which was an early form of “Backgammon”. The game of “Go” arrived in Japan from China between 300 - 500 A.D. and “Chess” arrived in Europe from India circa 750 A.D. The earliest European mention of ‘cards’ appeared in Spain in 1371.

Arguably the 3 great categories of games are:

1. Dice games (with or without a board and other pieces.)

2. Board games (without the use of dice.)

3. Card games

Variations of each of the categories are found throughout all continents.

It may be naïve to attempt to select the most successful game in each category but let’s be bold and do exactly that. The classic game of “Chess” tops my list as the ultimate board game. Chess as we know it today is about 2,000 years old and continues to be popular world-wide. Although there are many excellent games based on the rolling of dice perhaps the game of “Craps” has the best claim to be the pre-eminent dice game. “Craps” is a simplification of the Old English game “Hazard”. Its origins are complex and may date as far back as the Crusades. This brings us to the Card game category. Arguably “Poker” is the most successful of all card games. Its origins are not clear and there are many varieties of the game but it is as popular today as it has ever been.

To summarize the top 3 games in each of the 3 main categories of games are;

Board Games: Chess

Dice Games: Craps

Card Games: Poker
“What is the most successful game?”

The 3 basic game categories have been defined as: Board Games, Dice Games, and Card Games. In reality we recognize that many of the best games are a combination of 2 or more of the aforementioned. Nevertheless I feel confident in selecting Card Games as the predominant category. Without figures, statistics or other data to back me up (remember this is an ‘undocumented history of gaming’) I can only offer the following:

Card games are to be found on all populated continents and are played by every age group. The origin of card games extends far back in time and their longevity attests to their ongoing popularity. Card games are played casually around the kitchen table, in organized groups and clubs and in highly sophisticated commercial establishments such as casinos. More people play card games worldwide than any other type of game.

Having arbitrarily selected Card Games as the ultimate category of gaming I dare not take the next step and answer the question: What is the ultimate card game?
I will not provide a definitive answer but I will explore the parameters of an ultimate card game.

What are the qualities necessary for a great card game?

First of all I will disqualify gambling for money as criteria of excellence. Simply cutting cards can be exhilarating and exciting if you are playing for $10 a cut.

Needless to say the initial prerequisite is the game must be fun to play. Players must enjoy playing and be eager to continue to play over an extended period of time. These criteria may be superfluous because it begs the question. What makes a card game ‘fun’?

In no particular order the criteria include:

1. Simple rules that are easily and quickly understood.

2. The ability to have a flexible number of players involved.

3. The ability to have players of different skill levels participate without ruining the game for other players.

4. A level of skill factor that makes the game much more than just luck or chance.

5. An ever-changing set of possible scenarios to avoid repetition and sameness.

6. A range of variations in method of play to satisfy a wide assortment of players.

7. The “wow” factor. This is rather nebulous criterion but it is the composite result generated by the previous 6 criterion.

By definition all casino card games are eliminated in the quest for the ultimate card game because with the gambling aspect removed they are notoriously dull. Other contenders include Bridge, Euchre, Hearts, Spades, Canasta and Wizard to mention but a few.

Apply the criterion listed above to each of the candidates and decide for yourself which one qualifies as the ultimate card game.

Senior Places 2nd in Wizard Top 10 for March

A 74-year old Heterosexual suffering from advanced Euphoria placed 2nd in the Top 10 for the month of March.

Web Program vs Regular Program

I understand why most members prefer the ‘regular’ program to the ‘web’ program. What I do not understand is why players who cannot host the regular program will not put up a host in the Web program when there is no regular host available.

Do most players even realize that the option to host in the web program is available to them?

*Tournaments can only be held using the regular program.

* Saboteur and Maximus can only be played on the Web program.

Still coming down the pipeline…..”WOW”:World of Words….”Medieval Wizard”….”Your Input”.

ECHO I can’t hear you!

May the cards be with you!

Ken Fisher


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