Volume 1, Issue 12

February 28, 1998

In this issue:

1. Editorial

2. Poll Question #3 Results

3. More Ackanomic News

4. The Party Chess Report!

5. Sub-Game Spirali

6. Advertisement



Ackanomic maintained its strangely Newtonian physics this week. Two players joined us last week, while this week saw the unexpected demise of two others. It is a time for reflection, well-timed to coincide with the first Elder's Holiday for the year, that of mr cwm who unfortunately left us earlier this year.

Still, merely because we are reflective does not mean that we should be slow or even cautious. There has been other tumultuous change this week, as the make-up of Acka's Officers has been severely shaken. We here at the Ackan can only hope that the new officers maintain the excellent standards that have been taken for granted in months gone by, and that they can come out of the shadows of the mighty Malenkai, Alfvaen and Balsamic Dragon to make their own mark on Acka through their good works.

The queue's frobbedness is having less of an effect this week, as more Ackazens have decided to modify the place a bit. With 25 proposals currently under consideration, we still hope that breadbox has some time left to work on his robot - I'm sure he remains very busy. Still, the lifeblood of Acka is change, and the right change is good. One only hopes that at least some proposals in the queue right now constitute the right change. The Harfmeister (whose name we are unfortunately unable to publish for legal reasons :-)) believes so, and who are we to doubt the Harf?

Illusion thinks e is one to doubt the Harf. E claims that the Harf is worshipped to the point that sight of all else becomes lost, and that Phoebe told him so. Phoebe would never say anything so crass - e must have been hearing things.

And now a message from the Editor, Advertising: This paper always aims to provide Ackans with a comprehensive news and opinions service, so if you want your opinions heard, or your letters published, please send them to dcr24@cam.ac.uk. Last week we didn't receive any advice, or opinions. If you want, send a stamped self-addressed email to the address listed above, marked "Acka: Ackan" and we'll do our best to get back to you.

Have another good Ackan week - banna willing we'll be back same Ack time, same Ack channel next week.


Poll Question

Last week's Poll Question was:

2. What do you think of the proposed modifications to the Web-Harfer Front Page?
(a) I hate it - stop meddling in the affairs of the Web-Harfer because you obviously have no taste.
(b) I couldn't possibly care less - don't take up my time with this non-issue.
(c) I like it - it improves the ease of access to information, and the presentation.

Unfortunately, once again apathy has won the battle. The staff here at the Ackan received a grand total of 1 response to this poll - indicating that 100% of caring Ackans are in favour of the proposed modifications to the Web-Harfer Front Page. The respondent indicated that more could be done, and indeed more has been done since the accession of the new Web-Harfer saw the proposed plan put into action pronto. Our random response selection has, once again, picked /dev/joe to be the winner. The trinket will follow in a message to come from our Manager, Promotions.

Given time, next week we'll try to come up with another poll question, with, you guessed it, another tantalising A$5 on the line at least. Remember, it costs very little of your time to enter, and you could win something. /dev/joe already has (twice) in the Great Ackan Poll Question Competition!


More Ackanomic News

Unfortunately this week saw the passing of two great Ackans. Malenkai, who was thought dead early in 1998, but remarkably crawled out of his coffin to resume his duties as Registrar, and Balsamic Dragon, the last Clerk of the Court, both passed on this week.

Grieving Ackans were at a loss to explain the sudden departure of two great players. Dr. Kevackian, the resident Ackan mortician, pronounced the causes of death as "real life" and "work commitments" respectively. Frankly, his use of such medical mumbo-jumbo had some Ackans quite irate. "If he can't tell us what the real cause is in plain language, what is the point of him telling us anything at all?" one visibly shaken Ackan was heard to comment.

Malenkai's death was, unfortunately, expected - as he had been feeling "busy" for quite a while with "other things". We have seen this as a clear indicator of extreme health trouble in Acka before, but unfortunately no-one was able to come up with a satisfactory treatment in time. Even an emergency course of Ye Olde Rusty Lantern failed to shake the problem, possibly a consequence of his already having been pronounced clinically dead only very recently. Fortunately, though, Malenkai's Elderhood was assured from this earlier traumatic episode, and thus his corpse will be very well preserved so that we may study the course of this so called "real life" disease.

Balsamic Dragon's passing came as more of a shock. "E hadn't even finished handing judgement down on a CFJ, and e was Clerk of the Court at the time" said one Ackan. "It's a shame to lose one in the prime of eir Ackan life - it only reminds one of one's own Ackamortality". Eir will passed on all eir trinkets to breadbox, who it is believed will distribute them so as to best express the true wishes of Balsamic.

We at the Ackan express our deepest condolences to the friends of Malenkai and Balsamic Dragon, and hope to be able to help them in this difficult time. Malenkai, Balsamic Dragon, H.I.P.


The Party Chess Report

That's right, after an absence of a few issues, the Party Chess Report has returned. This week, a look at recent developments, a guide to the new players, and predictions for the future.

The last significant report suggested that the centre of the Party Board would be where the action was likely to head, due to the onrush of pawns into the game. This on-rush was effectively shut down just before the Free-For-All got underway last month. With the leader in the pawn race, /dev/joe the Vulcan Swinger, blindsided by a spectacular three-piece checkmate from Slakko, a forced Surrender (and a bungled Otzma Card application) saw the central conflict calm down dramatically. Alfvaen was left in the best position to capitalise, but e too had trouble maintaining eir pawns on the board. Meanwhile, both Red Barn and Slakko had eir Pawns ruthlessly captured, at the hands of Slakko and Goldenmean respectively. This turned the expected central site battle into a debacle of monumental proportions.

The Pawns captured by Slakko were just the start of an interesting alternative battle for domination - the use of the Tornado. An attempt by Slakko to get Tornados involved in the game when e first joined blundered spectacularly, when a failed checkmate attempt on /dev/joe saw both eir Tornado and eir Tornado-impersonating Echo gobbled up by other players. The second attempt, on the other hand, proved much more successful. To date the Tornado has captured 5 pieces, being a Jester, an il-Nabi, two Pawns and a Rook. Unfortunately, as a result of this Tornado's efficiency, and its skill in being used to create checks from other Swingers, it (and all other Tornados, including Alfvaen's new one) have had their wings clipped.

The new battle for supremacy appears to be a three-way weight contest, between Niccolo Flychuck, Alfvaen and Slakko. Slakko is looking the loser at the moment, being over 10 points behind Niccolo's leading weight of 73.5, but as everyone knows, this is Party Chess, where any move can have a huge effect.


Sub Game Spirali

A delectable collection of subgame treats to delight the gourmand.


/dev/joe has become the new tearaway Viruscount leader in Game 2 of Viruses. However, with all current players having 10 or more infected cells, and /dev/joe only on 20, his reign in the lead may well be shortlived. The Gingham Wearer would still have to be rated favourite, with 8 Gamepoints to /dev/joe's and Slakko's 2, but he would be doing extremely well to get any help from the other players in taking out the leader at this stage. 16 rounds done, and who knows how many more to go.

Alfvaen is still not a mathematical certainty to win Game 2 of Fictionary, but is effectively home and hosed. The only way to prevent this would be to see breadbox or Slakko make an extreme streak, somehow pipping Alfvaen at the post by garnering everyone else's votes for definitions. I personally can't see this kind of extreme anti-Alfvaen organisation happening, especially as one of breadbox and Slakko would have to concede second place to the other. At this rate, second place is the only useful contest left, with Alfvaen a smug winner (with a record 6 points in the last round), and Vynd working hard to remain last.


rufus finally won a round by some interesting random play. Now that everyone has at least one Gamepoint, the game enters a very crucial phase. With the current spread of Gamepoints, the only players capable of winning in the next round are /dev/joe and Slakko - either of whom would win were the other player to win the Round. Such a convoluted situation is indicative of Mediocrity's complexity. If you want the lowdown on the real strategy, then don't ask me, ask Rex Mundi - Mediocrity Referee. Or you could just wait for the next instalment in our Mediocre saga.


Sam/Romeo on a rocket to the moon. Or, at least a firecracker. Where has the Lunatic Finger gone? Will Narf say anything like "poit"? And who will be taking over the two benches vacated this week by the dearly departed Malenkai and Balsamic Dragon? Questions, questions, so many questions? The entire game remains a riddle, as does its potential outcome. With so many loose ends, there's so much still to play for. So if you want to get involved, give the Barkeep a holler - but be quick. With only two spare benches, they're certain not to last for long.

Grab a Donkey

Grab-a-Donkey results for round 5 saw minimal change, with only some timing constraints preventing the one possible donkey grab of the round from succeeding. Instead, Calvin n Hobbes ended up with the Little Lamb, but at least e got a Wool Sweater out of it. breadbox and Slakko remain vigilant, breadbox with apparently less reason to do so given previous strategies. When our Wrangler returns from vacation, the round 6 results have been promised to set you abuzz. So listen out and keep working on that lasso action.

Single Capture Go

The first Single Capture Go non-Duel game started this week, but unfortunately apathy saw only three players start the game. The Gingham Wearer looks to be in trouble already, having lost two of eir liberties to Alfvaen and Wild Card. Wild Card appears to have the better board position at the moment, with more of the board away from emself. But all it takes to lose is a single captured stone, so watch yourself carefully, players.

Word Un-Association 

This game appears to be in an effective playtest first game. Some problems with the rules have been spotted - we only hope that they can be fixed up before it continues too much longer. Slakko's ineptness with piano didn't help him, though, as /dev/joe and the player formerly known as Slagothor (whose current name we cannot mention for legal reasons :-)) strolled to a link word with walk. Hopefully /dev/joe can come up with something a little less link-worthy.



The Infrequent Ackan will soon be bringing you an exclusive interview with Acka's own Poet Laureate. Listen to breadbox as e tells you about eir life both in and out of the public eye. The Infrequent Ackan - bringing you the celebrities you want in the interviews you asked for.

The Infrequent Ackan, first to you with Ackan news.

Copyright © Duncan Richer writing under the pseudonym of "Slakko", 28/2/98.

Check us out on the web, at http://dcr24.quns.cam.ac.uk/Nomic/Acka/infrequent.html