Scott Hardie | August 6, 2007
I'm pleased to introduce the newest game on goo.tc, Rock Block. It's part strategy game, part collecting game, part business game, and part rock-n-roll fantasy league. It may seem a little complicated at first, but take a few minutes to read through the "How to Play" page and it should make sense. Enjoy!

This game has been a very long time coming, as in nearly a decade now. I used to enjoy a little card-based minigame in Final Fantasy VIII and I wanted to make my own version, so I tried a paper-based version with friends (Matthew Preston may remember it) that worked out so-so. Next I adapted it for my online fantasy RPG in 2000, casting the characters from the game as cards – but I only knew html, so players had to email me their moves that I would then write and upload. It was tedious and lasted all of four matches for all the work.

When I learned php in 2003, my dream became to adapt this game into a grand dynamic version that players could play themselves. After four years of false starts and many daydreams about it, I finally made up my mind this past spring to get it done at last. I knew it would be slow-going, because this is definitely the most complicated programming I've undertaken, short of rebuilding the entire site. The game starts simple, but there are complex variations that slowly get revealed to you as you advance (up to nearly 200 wins you're still discovering new things).

The turning point was when I realized that my original plan wasn't sound: I had intended to base the cards on things around the site, such as celebrity goos and TC discussions and site users. That's fine if you really really love this site, but what's the appeal for everybody else? I knew I had to base the cards around some other topic, and that's when I settled on rock bands. That turned out to be the best thing I could have done for the game; it inspired a lot more creativity and it will make the game more exciting for everyone involved.

I'm very proud of the game, and I hope you enjoy it too. I confess that I'm not convinced it's 100% bug-free yet, so if you find anything amiss, please let me know, here or with feedback. And please share your comments here!

Scott Hardie | August 6, 2007
A few numbers:

110 - How many bands are in the game at the beginning. I intend to add 3 more each weekend.

1000 - How many rock dollars you earn for each correct goo guess, movie review, blog post, and new TC discussion. You get R$500 for each TC comment. These numbers are subject to adjustment later if they are too imbalanced.

4.5 - How many months I've been working on this thing semi-nonstop. Oh how good it feels to be done. :-)

Today only, I'm on AIM as "S Scott Hardie" if you'd like a quick match or need help.

Erik Bates | August 6, 2007
I hope this doesn't start a flux of pointless discussions on TC just to get more cash :-)

Oh... too late.

I kid! I kid!

Aaron Shurtleff | August 6, 2007
Scott, I seem to recall mentioning how much I loved the old mini games from Final Fantasy games, so..

THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!! YEE-HAW!!!

And, there best not be any Random rule hiding back in there! ;)

Erik Bates | August 6, 2007
I can see that I'm going to be frustrated by all you people who don't spend every waking moment on the internet. I wanna play, dammit!

Matthew Preston | August 6, 2007
Scott, can I get back-pay for everything I've participated in since you've had your web site?

:)

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 6, 2007
I'm waiting on you, Erik! Let's get a-movin'! I got no access after 4:30!

Erik Bates | August 6, 2007
Oh, it's on, Aaron.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 6, 2007
Please! Bring it!!!

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
UH-oh... I can see how this might be a very bad thing for people with Net access at work -- I will have to contain myself. Because I'm thinking that this game will rock!!! (Ahh-ha...)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 6, 2007
I was thinking it would be bad for those of me who don't have access outside of work, but that's OK, too!

And stop trying to play this game! I got to get ahead of you in ranking, Amy! ;)

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 6, 2007
And with that win, I am #3, and I retire! ;)

Erik Bates | August 6, 2007
This is addicting. Damn you, Scott! Damn you!

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
And stop trying to play this game! I got to get ahead of you in ranking, Amy! ;)

You bozo... you're already #3 -- *way* ahead of me on the User Rank (and always have been on XQC!) -- and you had your own banner, too... for, like, 2 or 3 weeks!

Yeesh... are you really planning to retire this soon? (I don't think you can. ;-P)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 6, 2007
I'm going to be like many bands, and reserve the right to change my mind! ;)

And I wasn't ahead of you in the rankings when I posted that sweet cash-money to my phat account!

Wait...did I type that out? Oops!

But I will retire when I complete the entire set...assuming there is an end and Scott doesn't keep adding in new bands! ;)

Speaking of which, in the Artist Auction (as I call it, since I don't know the real name), what are the odds that I could be bidding on a band I already have in my stables?

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
Ummm... yeeaaahhh... Scott... could we please have a "confirm" button like in the Goo game??? (Yeah, I'm an idiot...) I screwed up a play already -- on only my second turn... (Yeah, I know, I'm really an idiot...) It was an honest mistake of dyslexia on the numbers... I had picked one card based on its numbers, but then I accidentally played another one instead. (Someone shoot me, please... I can't stand my own idiocy anymore...)

And, actually, it's really quite an easy mistake to make with pull-down menus anyway. (There, dammit -- I feel like less of an idiot now. ;-D)

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Denise Sawicki | August 6, 2007
Looks pretty cool but I think I'll have to sit it out because I'm allergic to competition...

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
Heheheh...

OMG, Lori... don't waste any time yerself, okay! YEESH!!!

Try to remember two things here, please!!! 1) I am Supposed to be Working... 2) I am NOT drinking caffeine... and (okay, 3 things!) 3) I will be going to Jiffy Lube on my way home, and so won't be there until close to 1800 probably!!!

Yikes... methinks I might have to only accept challenges at home -- this truly IS Addictive!!! (Maybe you'd want to consider a daily/weekly/monthly limit to challenges, Scott??? Just so I don't lose my job?!?!) ;-PPP ;-DDD

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
Good one, Lori...

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 6, 2007
Question: When a band randomly "upgrades", does every instance of the band upgrade, or just a specific person's version? I assume it's based on use, of course. If not, the question makes no sense. It would be more like Tetra Master of FFIX, though, and since this is more like Triple Triad of FFVIII, probably not.

Can you tell I'm dorkly hot for this game!

I just want to know if I can start crushing people with my Level 10 Bon Jovi anytime soon! :P

Mike Eberhart | August 6, 2007
Well, played my first round. Got beat badly. Course, I'm still not exactly sure what I'm doing. Oh well, I didn't really lose anything, so I guess that's good.

Matthew Preston | August 6, 2007
Scott - The "Concert Archive" link on the game page is dead.

Also, a request: Might it be possible to remove or lower my bids on new bands? In an attempt to break your code, I put in -100 to see if that would work... but apparently, you are taking the absolute value of the number (good programming!) and it still added R$100 to my bid. :)

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
What a good friend to look for the bugs for you! ;-D (Sorry I didn't get to take your challenge up, Matt... looking forward to it, though!)

Wow. This does not bode well when the first thing I want to do when I get home is start a concert. And so far, I'm not seeing myself as "good" at this -- I need to catch up with whatever strategy has been learned by all the other challenges thus far!!!

Lori, I meant the suggestion, not the game. >;-P I want another rematch!!! ;-D

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
I second the ability to adjust bids in either direction... especially in this early stage of the game.

Erik Bates | August 6, 2007
This may overpower the goo game as the primary function of this site!

Granted, I've been more focused on TC as my primary reason for visiting, so the goo game has been a secondary factor for me for quite some time anyway.

Scott Hardie | August 6, 2007
I'm a nighttime-only player myself, so I know the frustration of not being able to play at work. And I expect that those of us who can't play all the time will suffer in the points, not just because we achieve more slowly, but because nobody else will want to play with us. We have to band together! :-)

Speaking of which, I was really excited to come home and play tonight, now that my long-brewing project is live at last. And the first thing I did was accept a challenge from Aaron Shurtleff, who won't see the game again until tomorrow morning. :-) I do plan to put in an option that lets you forfeit a match voluntarily, but even if it existed and I used it now, the game would still wait for Aaron to claim one of my cards. Oh well, it's all good. I'll just have to beat Aaron silly at the game to make up for it.

I'm glad everybody's enjoying this! This is fun!

Matt: No back pay. But I considered it, since I would get more cash than everybody that way. ;-)

Aaron: New bands will be added regularly; I plan to add 3 more each weekend. The objective of the game would be to complete your collection if that were possible; instead, it's just to continue building a larger collection and continue playing more concerts.

As soon as you acquire a card or see it played in concert, you learn the identity of the band, and the site remembers that you know it. Thus, if you see "Unknown Band" up for auction, it means you can't own the card, because you've never seen it before.

Amy: There won't be a "confirm" option any time soon, but keep playing and you might get something similar to it after, say, 3 wins.

We've all made mistakes. Hell, the very first turn in the very first concert was a mistake, and I don't mind saying it was my own, and it more or less cost me the match. But keep playing and your opponent's mistakes will even out yours, and the game will go on.

Denise: I won't twist your arm, but your presence would be welcome, and Darrell's too since he must be familiar with a lot of these artists.

Lori: I may create an auto-refresh every 60 seconds or something. If I really rolled up my sleeves I could figure out a way to make your browser refresh when your opponent plays, but wow am I not prepared to tackle something that advanced right now, or willing. :-) So it's F5 for the time being.

I have received several requests for some kind of notification when it's your turn, and that's forthcoming; I just need to figure out what. Email is unreliable on this server, and RSS depends on your reader. I could put up notice on the site homepage, but then you'd just refresh that instead of the concert page. I'll keep thinking about it.

Aaron again: When a band is promoted up to the next rank, all cards for that band are instantly promoted, except for the ones currently in concert. This is the hidden value of R1 cards: It seems like there are so many and you're unlikely to use them in concert, but collect a lot of them and watch them slowly increase with value as time goes by.

While I do plan to add 3 new bands per weekend, I don't yet have a plan for how often I will promote an existing band. I intend to use the "promote" tool when a particular band seems too large for its surroundings, so it's up to my subjective judgment.

As Erik asked me this morning, aren't the rankings unfair because they're subjective? And I said no, of course they're pure fact, because I know exactly how great every rock band is. That's why "Weird Al" Yankovic is rank ten. Duh.

Mike: Hang in there, you'll get it. It can take a few tries before you win your first match, which is why I was determined to have "None" as the beginner's trade rule despite its lack of excitement. Anyway, it's worth 10 minutes to read the How to Play page in its entirety; you'll understand everything you need to know.

Matt: Thanks for the second time you've had to tell me to fix that. I think I finally got it this time. :-)

No way to remove/reduce bids at this time. Real auctions don't allow it, so why should I? :-) I should re-word the market page because the word "auction" is misleading. If you win, you don't pay R$1 more than the next bidder, you pay your actual bid. So if you bid R$100k and the next person only bid R$10k (or worse, nobody else bid), you still pay R$100k. Don't think of it as an auction, think of it as a bidding system, like multiple parties trying to buy a house for sale. I'm sure there's a proper term for that.

Erik Bates | August 6, 2007
Is there a reason why everything happens at :08 past the hour? At first I thought that it was just a funny coincidence that everyone either issued a challenge or played their last play at 3:08, 5:08 and 6:08.

Then i started thinking, maybe :08 past the hour is the game's equivalent of the answer to "What time is the concert?" --- "Rock-Thirty!"

In other words, :08 past the hour is, in fact, rock thirty.

Scott Hardie | August 6, 2007
Haha! I submit that Rock-Thirty become official.

I don't know why it's happening, but the clock on this server has always been screwy, and of course so has my code. So I'll fix it in a few minutes. Thanks.

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
I was wondering the same thing, Erik. Too bad it doesn't happen at :30 past the hour!

Amy Austin | August 6, 2007
Okay... still getting used to the rules here...

I'm a little confused -- the only time a band can be "captured" is when one of a higher value is placed next to it, right? And this can happen as many times as a higher number is placed? But does not happen if a card of a lower number is placed next to a high number -- then nothing changes... am I getting this right???

Scott Hardie | August 6, 2007
Correct. And ties have no effect – you have to play a number that's greater than the card you're trying to capture, not just equal to.

Lori Lancaster | August 6, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 6, 2007
Rock-Thirty is fixed. But it will live on in our hearts, always.

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
HAHAHAHAHA... Lori, you kill me! That is all true, though... ;-)

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2007
I dunno about taking back bids (I was thinking live auction houses instead of online), but the model of auction I use is this one. Yes, I did merely read the list of auctions in Wikipedia until I found the one that sounded right. :-)

I can't tell if it's just because the game is hot right now, but three per day doesn't seem like a very quick way to introduce new bands to the community. What about the other schedule, I had considered, one band auctioned per hour? I fear that it could be abused overnight when almost nobody visits, but maybe I could only run these auctions from something like 6am-12am.

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
Uh oh... Aaron's gonna be pissed at me in the morning... >;-DDDDD

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2007
I thought the same thing when I saw it. :D

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
I feel terrible about it... (maniacal laughter inside my head)

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2007
Just so nobody gets the wrong idea, I pledge not to boost my contributions to other areas of this site just to earn a few more R$. Everything I contribute to the site is genuine. Pledge it with me if you like.

Fortunately for me, focusing on this game so much in the last few weeks has left me with a backlog of TC comments, blog posts, and reviews to write.

Lori Lancaster | August 7, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2007
Lori, if it were anyone else, I would think they had ulterior motives for starting a discussion about collecting animation. ;-)

Lori Lancaster | August 7, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2007
I did, and I watched the animation. Nice work. :)

Lori Lancaster | August 7, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2007
So far we've had two fake names sign up and play RB, and one got as far as issuing a challenge. I was here to shut down both accounts quickly and send emails to the users politely (I hope) inviting them to re-register. But soon I'll leave for work, which gives me a short window at lunch and then I'm not back until 9pm. So even though only some RB players read this, let me at least say it here for the record: Not only will any user who signs up with a fake name be removed, but any concerts they play will be removed, and any fruits of those concerts (cash, points) for their opponents will be removed. It may take me a while to clean up, but expect it.

I know this is an inconvenience or nuisance to some, and I do regret that part of it, and truly I want everybody to enjoy themselves. But as I've said many times, I work my ass off for this site (4.5 months just to build RB) and I'm only interested in participating in the site with real people, not aliases or handles. Nobody's holding a gun to your head and making you join, so if you have a problem giving out your real name, we'll understand if you don't sign up. It's all good.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
Crap! What did you do, Amy?? I can't see what's wrong...

What the ranking thing? *feh* I've retired from caring about that, now that, for one brief moment, I hit the top 5. :)

But I'm still going to have to hurt you for your "kiss your sister's ass" comment.

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
"You have no power here! Now be gone, before somebody drops a house on you!" (heeheehee)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
Grr!! Next week, when Scott and I have finished our epic battle, don't even bother getting any other concerts going, because my bands will be coming for yours!! I will beat your mighty Janis Joplin with my equally mighty Janis Joplin!*

*Assuming I don't lose the epic Battle, and Scott takes away Janis Joplin from me...which is likely.

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
Heheheh...

Denise Sawicki | August 7, 2007
I wish I could just play against Darrell or something with nobody watching and laughing at how bad I/we are :) I have to say I don't really understand the strategy to use from looking at other people's games. Also I really better not try it at work even once. :P Looks too addictive.

Scott, care to program a computerized opponent so I don't have to feel inferior to real humans? :-) Just kidding, I realize this is an insanely complicated request to make of you just because I have issues. :-)

Steve Dunn | August 7, 2007
My goodness.

Scott, this looks like an amazing undertaking. I hope you don't take it as any disrespect that I think it's best for me to stay far, far away from that game. As much as I'm tempted to do it solely for the userrank points, I fear important aspects of my life will suffer if I take on a new addiction.

Best of luck to all.

Tony Peters | August 7, 2007
yes well I suck as lori is killing me I couldn't even place the cards where I wanted to...oh well I leard to pay more attention to that the little boxes say and what cardsd to play with

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
Dang! Who puts up for sale one of the artists in the auction? Now my bid money sits tied up, and I could have gotten the band cheaper, possibly. :P

You're a bum!

Matthew Preston | August 7, 2007
A suggestion: When there is only one move left to make (one spot, one card), the system should just make it and end the game. Maybe the user could have the option if they want to make the move, or have the system make it for them.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
And the first (that I know of) trade one card concert goes into the history books...

as a draw! Who will be the first person to win a card from an opponent?

*grumble* Was hoping it would be me... :)

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
I wish I could just play against Darrell or something with nobody watching and laughing at how bad I/we are :) I have to say I don't really understand the strategy to use from looking at other people's games. Also I really better not try it at work even once. :P Looks too addictive.

Denise... the first part? Not really true. I think everyone here ("the regulars", that is) knows pretty well by now what others' sensitivities include. I really don't think that anyone here is going to point their finger and/or laugh at you, Carrie, I mean, uh, Denise. ;-) Even though I am a highly competitive person myself, I can only withstand a certain kind and amount of taunting/teasing... and I think that people generally respect that and know that if they're going to point & laugh, then they do so at their own risk -- I might bite that finger off! ;-D No, but really -- the only person generally making fun of my genuine suckitude is *me*. And myself. And I. And then there's losers like Aaron. And I'm okay with that... really. ;-D

And as far as "strategy" goes? Well, I've played 10 concerts now, with only 1 win and 5 losses -- and I've peeked in at some others (maybe I'm *starting* to get a clue???) -- so what does that say about my grasp on the strategy involved in this game??? That I must Really Suck!!! (However, I choose to continue believing that it's just my bands/cards... not me. ;-D)

The "addictive" part? Well, that one is all true. ;-7

Steve... you are a very wise man indeed. I have to exercise a Lot of self-control to keep from playing concert after concert all day *and* all night long!!! It's one thing when the dishes don't get done, but as soon as you lose a paycheck... ;-7

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
Excellent suggestion, Matt -- I second that one!

Aaron... nyah, nyah, nyah.... >;-D

Lori Lancaster | August 7, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
She's so mean she's making me sexist... bitch. ;-D

Lori Lancaster | August 7, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
If it makes you feel any better, Lori... I'd rather be called "bitch" than "wench" any day!!! ;-D

Lori Lancaster | August 7, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Matthew Preston | August 7, 2007
Amy, excellent "Flight of the Conchords" reference!

Denise Sawicki | August 7, 2007
Yeah you're right of course Amy. I know everybody's pretty nice here. It's my infinite insecurity getting me down. One can refuse challenges? If I did this I would probably want to refuse any challenges that came along while I was at work, so the game wouldn't sit there tempting me...

Matthew Preston | August 7, 2007
Another suggestion: How about an "Away from the game" notification. Where if someone tries to challenge you, it's automatically refused. This would keep people from waiting for long periods of time at a challenge.

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2007
That's what the "statement" field in your label is for. People see it only when they click "start a concert" and see a list of potential opponents. I don't think I explained it very well, because people are either leaving it blank (which is ok) or using it as some kind of slogan for their company, not that I'm not enjoying seeing the creative slogans. :-) Maybe I should add a separate field for a fun slogan? Anyway, I will probably rename the "statement" field to make more sense, but use that to say "gone offline till tomorrow" or whatever.

I considered an automatic Turn 9, so players wouldn't sit around waiting for a foregone conclusion. Ultimately it just got shelved so I could finish the project in time. I'll make sure to keep it on the upgrades list, which will get some attention this weekend.

I also considered a "practice mode" where your computer opponent either randomly selects next turn or uses some very basic AI. It was shelved early due to time, but I might still do it; it wouldn't be very hard.

What about private concerts, seen only by you and your opponent? I think Denise likes the idea; anybody else?

Steve Dunn | August 7, 2007
By the way, I think this game could potentially cause a dramatic increase in interest in the site. However, Scott, you might need to back off the "real name" requirement (and probably also the close interaction between the game and other aspects of site usage (ie, money for blog posts)) if you really want to maximize the size of the player pool. I can see there being a lot of people who would like to play the game, but who would have no interest in the rest of the site and would be turned off by obtrusive registration requirements.

Of course, it just depends on the purpose of the game. If it's meant as a fun diversion for regular site users, it's perfect. It's amazing, actually.

If you want to open it up to a wide audience, I think you're going to have to make some concessions.

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
Ohhhh... yeah, I totally misread the purpose of that statement thing -- and when I saw what others were doing, I naturally joined in with my own slogan! (And I wondered why you never see these statements again! DUH!)

I like the idea of a pull-down status menu better than a statement (perhaps if you just changed that word to "status" or "schedule" that would be sufficient?), but then I guess it's a little more confining that way...

If you want to open it up to a wide audience, I think you're going to have to make some concessions.

Noooooo!!! I don't want a flood of newcomers!!! ;-D For our entertainment pleasure only!!! (I know... I'm greedy & selfish, I know...)

Amy, excellent "Flight of the Conchords" reference!

Heheh... Thanks, Matt! I'm just glad I'm finally not the only one expressing an appreciation for FOTC!!!

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
But, Scott, if you have the Undo option, wouldn't making the 9th turn automatic disallow the person to take back their turn if they realize they made a mistake? I wouldn't think it should be immediate and automatic, maybe just delayed a bit.

Hey, I could be the one wanting to take back a mistake, so... :)

That would be the player who did turn number 8, if that's not clear...

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
I'm glad that you did clarify that for me, Aaron... I was beginning to be impressed by the magnitude of your idiocy! ;-DDD

Well, if there were a "confirm" on the 8th play, there would still be the option for a take-back and the automatic 9 -- it's doable!

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
Sometimes, to be honest, even I am impressed by my stupidity! :P

And, yeah, I suppose a confirm would do it, but then the Undo rule would seem redundant, for the most part...

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
No, just a confirm on the 8th when that rule is in place. (I can't believe you deleted your Beatles post -- that was classic! You should have left it!! ;-D)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
There's plenty of dumb remarks by me on here that we can lose one of them!

Just on the 8th? Yeah, I suppose that would do it...

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
Heheheh... between your blog and TC, I guess that's true. But that one was a keeper. ;-D

Aaron Shurtleff | August 7, 2007
Woo hoo! Who picks up Iron Maiden on Bruce Dickinson's birthday?

That's right! It's the Ca$h Cow, BOYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Denise Sawicki | August 7, 2007
I had 3 cards with the numbers all alike so I figured I may as well get rid of one! :-) Didn't know it was a special day though.

Amy Austin | August 7, 2007
Hahaha... only someone like Aaron would care, Denise... (Now if the King gets a card... ;-D)

Steve West | August 8, 2007
Ooooh...useless chatter anticipating a King card...(drooling). Of course he'll be a ten level card.

Jackie Mason | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
There's no round, Jackie -- part of the beauty! You just jump in at any time and start a label -- do it!!!

Steve West | August 8, 2007
C'mon in, the water's fine

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Heheheh... just don't follow *my* example -- I am sucking at this game so bad... My standing here is like an inverse relationship to what I have at goo... only WORSE!!! ;-ppppp

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
GAHHHH! *This* is what I paid all of my $R to have??? Scott, I'm gonna' make you pay for this...

Scott Hardie | August 8, 2007
Steve Dunn, thanks for your kind words about the game. (I'll have to answer your email tomorrow when I'm more awake, but thanks for writing with such good input.) So far I have only intended this as another fun part of the site for whatever regular users want to play it, though its possibilities for driving in site traffic or becoming its own separate thing definitely occurred to me.

I don't mean to put Lori on the spot (forgive me friend), but this reminds me of a game that used to exist on my site back in 2000 or so, related to television. Each week, another new TV show was added to the game, and players were invited to request shows. I made it a personal rule never to turn down a request, which I shouldn't have been so rigid about. Lori played and requested Sailor Moon, and I thought fine, no problem, so I put it up. Then she very kindly promoted the game in a message forum that she frequented, and I was grateful for the exposure, but it had the unintended effect of lots of anime fans coming in and playing on the Sailor Moon page and requesting their favorite anime shows. At first I put up with it, publishing a series of anime shows roughly even with the number of non-anime shows, figuring it would die out after the first wave. But then those anime-loving fans told their anime-loving friends on other forums, and the steady stream just didn't let up, and the game became weighed heavily toward anime, which turned off the site regulars. Lesson learned: New people are good, but if it starts to threaten the existing site culture, I need to take actions or make adjustments to prevent that.

The night Rock Block launched, I ran into old friend Dan Donovan on AIM and mentioned it. He liked it and kindly shared it in his irc forum, which brought in lots of new players, namely most of the new players who you see in there. I thought it would stop by Monday night, but they're still coming. So far, other than a few attempts to sign up with aliases (I'm glad to see that dying down), these new users are getting along just fine with the way we do things here, and I'm glad to have them. If it does get out of control with rude users or fake accounts or something, I'll temporarily wall up the garden for newcomers until that subsides, but so far that seems unlikely. If any of you new folks read this, welcome to the site and I hope you stick around. And Dan, thanks for spreading the word.

As for me, yeah, I'm pretty rigid about the way that we do things here. I'm not out for new users right now – I do zilch to make myself search-engine-friendly, and I don't link my site anywhere else on the web except incidentally, and I rarely invite friends to check it out. For the moment, I'm here to have fun with the people we have (you folks are a terrific bunch of people), and my enforcement of site rules is part of preserving that for as long as I can. If usership declines, I'll be forced to loosen up the rules and accept some culture change, but it's possible I'll do so anyway.

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Awww... Jellooooo... ;-DDD

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Don't you remember my comment to Aaron in your concert earlier today??? ;-DDD

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Heeheehee... I know... I'm "mean". ;-D (But really... I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.)

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 8, 2007
Lori, I sincerely was/am grateful to you for promoting the site. It shows your enthusiasm, it helps us get new blood in here, and it's generally the closest thing to a thank-you gift you can give me for running all this. I was hesitant to write what I did and make it seem like you ruined that TV game (you absolutely didn't; it would have died at the same time anyway). You are very valuable to me and to goo.tc.

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Awww... see? Even I knew all that!!! I don't know what I'd do if Lori weren't here -- I'd have to start harassing Aaron exclusively... and what fun would that be?!!

Besides... how else would I have found out that I'm most like Sailor Mercury! (Or Sailor Moon... Sailor Jupiter? Neptune???)

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Isn't Chibi the mean one, Lori? ;-D

Scott Hardie | August 8, 2007
Yes, I know you were kidding. The only stick around here is the one up my ass about letting our community culture change. I guess I already said this in as many words, but I'm happy to get a flood of new users who stick around and join in with our community, and I'm even fine with the "neutrals" who just quietly play their game of choice on the site. I just don't like rude strangers who come in and warp the site experience for others for the worse, but thankfully we've been pretty lucky with that over the years.

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Well, that's not what the quizzes say... I have a heart of gold. ;-)

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Yeah, I remember James Chiappone(?) -- I was pretty new then, and at first I thought he was just silly... but then when I realized how new he was to the site, too, I could see that he was actually just a flaming troll. And having been here all this time now, I can certainly understand how it feels to want to preserve a community just as it is... I even acknowledged this in an earlier address to Anna when there was heartburn there (still is, I guess, based on recent "discoveries") -- and often, I even do feel badly for her when she bemoans how the site "used to be"... but that really gets tiresome, too. Bottom line... I wish... "can't we all just get along"???

Seriously, though... change is hard -- especially if it feels forced.

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Lori: ????? ;-DDDDD

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
That was for the Spore comment, not your last...

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
No, I realize that Sailor Mars isn't evil... but I still think I'm not really as "fiery" as I come across online. Well... then again, I have had some good friends describe me as "abrasive" -- when I just thought I was assertive!!! All a matter of perspective, I guess...

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Heheheh... I thought it might be an Aaron taunt. Just because you lost doesn't mean you can't continue to taunt him... ;-D

(That's what sharp sticks are *really* for...)

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Heeheehee... your banter always makes me laugh, Lori... ;-DDDDD

Well, I don't think I'm very different in RL from how I am here -- I just have to use a lot of emoticons for it to come across the same way as it would if you were with me in person (and yes, that does take some work!)... but even so, I can apparently still rub plenty of people the wrong way... even those who consider or once considered me a friend! But I have friends that occasionally rub me the wrong way, too... just in different ways. Whereas I might seem "abrasive", I try really hard not to come across as "arrogant" -- which is something that I particularly cannot stand in others... and have observed in some friends (even E at times, but usually as a side effect of being nervous around new people, I think).

So yeah... capturing one's "essence" online is a tricky prospect to say the least. I may not be as shy as S. Mercury, as selfless as S. Neptune, as "maternal" as S. Jupiter or as naive as S. Moon... but I definitely have much else in common with all of them. (And actually, I can be quite maternal at times -- particularly with my dogs and with some extraordinary children... in fact, all younger people, to a degree -- I just don't have that "urge" to be a mom.)

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Sorry for the thread Hijacking.

Oh. Yeah. Ditto on that, I guess... ;-p

Denise Sawicki | August 8, 2007
OK I guess my curiosity overruled my general brattiness and insecurity. I don't suppose anyone's awake to play at this hour though?

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
OK, who the heck is Spore, and why do I suspect that any name with a fungal background is an obvious knock on my character? :)

Do you still have a link for this Which Sailor Moon Character are you nonsense you speak of? I might have to see what happens just to stop the wild speculation. Or did I, long ago? The brain is slow.

And if y'all are the same IRL as you are here, then I have another point to add on my why I love Florida list! :P~~~

Back to Rock Block, Amy we is on!!

EDIT: Wait! Did I get called impotent?!?

EDIT#2: Yeah, I did take that way back when. I'm Sailor Venus. The ditz, I believe...

Venus is a Ditz -though one who puts up the facade to deal with everything.... she is very loving but doomed not to be loved.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
Oh, and in other news, in a blatant attempt to try to guess what Scott is going to have as future rules, I now announce that I am working on getting a themed group of cards to battle with. That way, I can strut around saying that my Big Hair 80's Band Mega-Jam (c) can take on all comers!!

Now I just need more Hair Bands! Where's Poison? Skid Row? Faster Pussycat? Trixter!

Denise Sawicki | August 8, 2007
Yes I imagine he is probably going to do something with the decades in the future!

So is anyone going to be available for a quick game sometime between noon and 1, central time?

I think I'm going to have a hard time getting any games in... I'd be reluctant to start one without knowing the other person is available to complete a game *right then*, because if it was to drag on for hours, I'd feel compelled to waste time constantly checking back...

Oh Scott, another terribly annoying comment from me: how hard would it be to allow two players to log in on the same computer and automatically switch back and forth between the players after each turn? It was awfully slow going, logging in and out every turn for my practice game with Darrell. I suppose though that would increase the threat of someone playing against a fake opponent who is really themselves, just to earn money. By the way, I know it looks like Darrell intentionally let me win at the end of our one match but the truth is he was just terribly confused... :P

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
I would be available around then for lunch, but I don't know if Amy will have released me by then... ;)

Matthew Preston | August 8, 2007
Denise, I am around all day. I too prefer an immediate game than a drawn out one.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
I don't mind prolonged games, but I feel like that forces someone to stick waiting on me, when they could be getting their band on with people who are around more often...

I wish I weren't such a tragic figure, loving, but doomed to never be loved! :P

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
No, actually I flat out copied and pasted what you said. I don't remember what it actually said when I got it. Probably something about how awesome I am. ;)

Lori Lancaster | August 8, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
Sorta? Oh, no, full-on conceited! :D I'm kidding, of course!

But, back to the topic which doesn't involve Sailor Venus, I think long games can be fun, but it requires a different mindset. Plus, the degree of error is higher, since you're moving so quickly...

For me, at least.

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Yeah, well, it doesn't seem to matter which way for me... I WANT ANOTHER VICTORY!!! That Undo Rule is so far away to me!!!

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
Well, you seem to have two offers (I'm not sure how...)

I swear there were two there a second ago. Maybe I'm finally losing it. The rest of it.

Matthew Preston | August 8, 2007
Yeah, it looks like you and I challenged Amy at the same time. I canceled mine to not cause trouble. I call next though!

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Cool... Lynyrd has made me popular! ;-)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
Yeah, I think two ties in a row means I need to let her challenge someone better than I... Besides, my lunch hour is ending soon. :(

EDIT: The unthinkable has happened, and I have no comment... I guess that's two unthinkable things happening, then...

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Well, DUH... what did you think would happen with only Skynyrd to rely on! You took away my only other good options by lowering the level on me!!!

Denise Sawicki | August 8, 2007
My own lunch hour is only just starting so maybe that doesn't work so great. A pity because I have a silly enough title in mind for a concert with you, Aaron. :P I dunno maybe I have to wait for the weekend because it seems the anticipation of *possibly* doing a game at lunch time made me pretty nervous. Or maybe I will just make up paper versions of my cards and play against Darrell on the floor :P

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Heheheh -- yes! A game that has truly drawn Denise out of the woodwork!!! Now, if she can only get less skittish... ;-D

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
Oh yeah! I didn't register the very important CENTRAL part of that... Oops! Yeah, I'm out for now...unless my neighbor turns off her passcode on her wireless internet access some night! :)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
I feel I shouldn't set a precedent by doing this, but...

I apologize for lowering the level of my match against Amy. I forgot that she has been crippled by her loss of Janis Joplin, and that she was pretty much forced to bring Skynyrd and some crappy bands to the battle. I did intend to scare off Skynyrd, but I did not think ahead and realize that I could have put her in a situation where she was forced to still bring Skynyrd, but at the cost of lowering the rest of her bands. I apologize for the lack of forethought.

But, I still only lowered it by one point, and I only had the best intentions (for myself) when I did it.

And I still kicked an amazing amount of boo-TAY!!!! :D

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
Heheheh... awwwww. Thanks, Aaron -- way to wear the hate-blockers... ;-D

You should go check out how I just self-destructed while separating the recycling...

Scott Hardie | August 8, 2007
Denise: To play with two people on the same computer, use two browsers. One of you can be logged in with Internet Explorer and the other with Firefox at the same time. While I was building the game, I had IE, Firefox, Navigator, and Opera all open with different user accounts logged in.

I have added a simple "Who's Here?" module to the game. Click the button to let people know you're here for the next 10 minutes, or just read the list to see who's clicked the button within the last ten minutes. This should be used as an aid to choosing your opponent, not the only criteria for choosing. Plenty of people won't click the button because they play infrequently, as in every couple of hours or once a day, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Back with more info in a bit...

Denise Sawicki | August 8, 2007
That's a lovely solution, the only limitations being my stupid problems once again :) My computer at home has just about zero free space at this point plus it would probably take all day to download Firefox on dialup. I do greatly prefer Firefox but I have these stupid limitations. I am thinking more and more it is time to buy a new computer. Uh, I suppose most would say it is time to get a better internet connection, too... but I am not sure I am ready to go *that* far...

Oh by the way Scott I hope I don't seem like I'm complaining, I think it's an amazing game, I am in awe. It has to be pretty compelling to get me to talk to "strangers"...

Aaron Shurtleff | August 8, 2007
And they don't get much stranger than me! I'm around for a few minutes if you want to get the Barnyard squabble going. I'd hate to keep you from playing all night while I can't! :)

Scott Hardie | August 8, 2007
Denise: I don't think you're complaining. And I'm glad you're enjoying the game. :-)

More about infrequent play: When I built Rock Block, I knew some matches would be quick, but I really thought a typical match would be stretched over a few hours (example) or a few days. I would have loved to have built the game with ajax or flash, optimized for quick matches with a speedy comeback from the other player, but with all the work it was already going to take to build, I wasn't going to learn a new language on top of it and multiply the workload.

Anyway, for a long time, I thought there would be multiple concerts going at the same time for each player. You would challenge someone, declare your five cards, and wait for acceptance. Then you could challenge someone else and choose five entirely different cards, and keep it up as long as you always had five more. That way you weren't held up waiting for your single concert to end. What stopped me from going down that route was partly how complicated it would be for players, but mostly how complicated it would make it for me to program all of the variables in that – if it took me 4.5 months to program a simpler version of the game with only one concert at a time per player, how long would it have taken otherwise? Besides, there are both play rules and trade rules that reach out into your collection beyond the five cards you've chosen for your hand. I don't mind letting a player finish a concert with a particular card that's already been taken away from him/her in another match, but it's not fair if both opponents beat him/her and don't have access to all of the winnings that they would otherwise. And the thought of accounting for all of those variables in the code makes my head feel like exploding.

As Amy has correctly predicted, the game will gradually morph according to what works and what doesn't. The addition of the "who's here?" button is already one result of that, reflecting the need to see who's available for quick play if that's what interests you. But I think some of us are going to have to force ourselves to play in moderation (slow games) if we're going to continue functioning in our daily lives. I had no idea how addicting and distracting this game was going to be, but here it is. I've already missed work today because I was so exhausted from staying up several late nights that I literally couldn't read a monitor this morning, and isn't one sign of a dangerous addiction when it interferes with your work? I'm going to try limiting myself to evening play only and see how it goes. I predict that others will have to join me.

Russ Wilhelm | August 8, 2007
Adding more challange?

1. How about a limit to how many times you can challange with a trade rule of "None"? Say a percentage of total concerts played.

2. Paying to enter into a concert. (Exception: If you've been challanged and don't have enough to cover the cost, you could go "all in", and be allowed to compete)

3. The payoff could be based on the number of cards of you color left at the end of the concert. This allows for you to actually loose money on a concert. It happens.

Having something like this will give you a larger stake in your Record Label, and petentially force you into bankruptcy, making you start over with a new label. Just a thought.

As for more Rocker ideas (I haven't seen what's out there so there may be some duplication):
Alice Cooper, Queen, Bad Company, Chicago, ZZTop, CCR, Foghat, Styx, Thin Lizzy, Yes, The Beach Boys, Cheap Trick, Molly Hatchet, Bob Seger, Springsteen, Rod Stewart (I guess not so much anymore), Stevie Ray Vaughn......

I'll stop there.

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
I've already missed work today because I was so exhausted from staying up several late nights that I literally couldn't read a monitor this morning, and isn't one sign of a dangerous addiction when it interferes with your work? I'm going to try limiting myself to evening play only and see how it goes. I predict that others will have to join me.

Umm... yeah... that's why I was home today, too, actually... ;-7 Also... I was thinking about shortening my name to its legal state -- not so much due to anything personal, but because my full name is FAR less common and eminently more searchable than its way more common truncation. I feel like such a sleaze for even thinking about this and mentioning it, actually... ;-}

Amy Austin | August 8, 2007
OMG, Russ... you just want me mainlining over here, or what?!

I'm remembering that discussion we had about video game addiction, and I'm thinking that Scott has hit the jackpot here -- at least the Goo is forcibly moderated!!!

Russ Wilhelm | August 8, 2007
Not really? I just meant for that post.

I've been off the site for a few days, and this morning I saw this new evolution had happened. I was intrigued enough that I actually logged onto the site from work to further check it out (It's been about a year since I've done that). What I noticed is that there were all these conderts being played, and other than a little prestige, they were all win/win situations. So I thought to myself (cause I'm an introvert at heart), where's the "Grip Of Life" aspect. You won a Record Label. That's a buisiness. There should be some risk involved. Those were my five minute thoughts.

Oh, and by the way, I think your name has a certain flair that says "I am a tough opponent, and you should be wary of my power". I don't know how much of an edge that may give you, but it's an edge none-the-less.

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Not really? I just meant for that post.

Yeah... I meant that was a lot of modification suggestion that would make it even more addictive than it already is! I like your ideas... I'm just saying that adding in that sort of risk level would make it *highly* addictive -- quite like gambling, in fact -- and especially when the money is only imaginary!

Oh, and by the way, I think your name has a certain flair that says "I am a tough opponent, and you should be wary of my power". I don't know how much of an edge that may give you, but it's an edge none-the-less.

Heheh... okay, if you say so! ;-) I guess I should just try to do like Scott and really nip this crack potential in the bud. ;-D

Scott Horowitz | August 9, 2007
I'd like to see a notification if we were challenged, instead of having to check current concerts... just a suggestion

Scott Hardie | August 9, 2007
Russ, I will consider the business suggestions. At one point in my plans, cash was king and you bought everything, including paying your way into a concert, and bankruptcy was the way out. But it got to be too much, to the point where the playing of cards in concert didn't seem like the point any more. I might still headfor more of a middle ground where cash has more influence than it does now.

Scott, you're not the only one asking for that. Technically you are supposed to be able to read the "What's New for You" part of the homepage for that, but that notification stays there all concert whether it's your turn or not, and it's all the way down at the bottom, and hitting F5 repeatedly on the homepage is no better than doing so on the Current Concerts page

Anyway, by very popular demand, I may have to set up email notifications for when you're challenged or its your turn, but I really think it's a bad idea Too many emails from goo.tc in a short timespan and my domain gets blacklisted, which means I can't email that particular friend any more, and if that ISP shares its blacklists with a national or global spamhaus-like service, I'm back to where I was with celebritygoogame.com, where half of my emails disappeared into spam-filter oblivion. Not to mention, the SMTP on this server is unreliable and I don't need people complaining that they didn't receive some messages or that some messages came late (recall the GOO announcements problems?). I have pointedly eliminated all emailing directly from the site in recent months and I'm not eager to put it back. :-(

Amy, I was sorry to see your discouraging loss. I too have lost valuable cards and felt that sting of defeat, of not feeling like playing any more without that special card. This probably sounds sick in light of that, but that kind of exchange is meant to be part of the game. The main method for acquiring cards isn't the market; it's taking cards from other players. Someone will take the card from Scott, and someone else will take the card from that person. With luck, the rushes of success balance out the stings of defeat, and the real lasting pleasure of the game is slowly building up a collection by playing well, but it's impossible to do so without some losses along the way. Anyhow, now that I've told you what you know already, just believe that your presence is welcome if you decide to continue, and that you will find more rushes in your future.

Denise Sawicki | August 9, 2007
I don't think I'd play at all if it had Russ's rules! Like I said I'm a non-competitive wimp. I like making a little money from losing. :P

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
For notifications, I suggest the same thing as when we talked about how to do goo updates -- using the RSS feeder service. This would just mean some tweakage to the current set-up so that the "what's new for you" section updates the same way that TC discussions do when you participate there... right? I don't know how difficult it would be -- or even if it's desirable -- to move the RB section up next to the GOO, but that's another suggestion, since plays exchange more rapidly than in other parts of the site. I don't want to seem like I'm criticizing your current format -- which I think is lovely, and I'm sure that aesthetics was a driving force behind it -- but I have often thought, while scrolling down so much that there is a lot of prime real estate being "wasted" along the sides. Again, that's not the nicest way to put it (but trying to be quick & helpful here), and I really do understand the desire for a clean & simple layout -- so feel free to ignore this suggestion as blasphemous to the intent of your site... I understand completely, just thought I'd point it out.

As for the discouraging loss... I do already know the things you said, but all you have to do is look at my win-loss-draw record and my current collection of cards to see the real source of the disappointment -- I seriously suck at playing, and I wanted to become better at understanding some general guiding strategic knowledge of the game before risking anything valuable, so that I didn't fall to the bottom of the barrel entirely (where I currently am, I am certain) and so that I had more than one "Janis Joplin" or "Skynyrd" level of card to lose. If I were good enough to win and take some cards from other players before losing my whole collection in concerts where I risk cards, then I would already be doing that!

What pissed me off the most was that I failed to see the one-trade rule implemented -- even with such an aggressive title that was clearly meant to convey an intent to "defeat" me -- and when I realized it, after my very first play, I was really upset. Why? Because I know that the obvious way to secure a win, or at least a draw, is to just to go ahead and play that strong card in the middle as soon as possible... but I don't want to always resort to that -- I want to learn how to set up a possible victory while still maintaining a random play of the cards... sort of impossible when you really have to rely on the same 5 cards every time, and you think they're not really that helpful to you! I think everyone here already knows how much I hate to lose (I know -- who doesn't), but it's just that much more aggravating when it has the sensation of being explicitly for the purpose of being "brought down" rather than for the fun of it. That would be more understandable to me (though still annoying) in playing the GOO game, where I *am* someone to be defeated... but not here, where I so clearly suck while everyone else is able to at least get past one or two wins. Even when I wanted to defeat my other opponents and all the talk that went with, I didn't just want to take their cards and leave them struggling to become better at the game, as I feel that I currently am. Bottom line is... I would have eventually risked losing a card (I already did it once and lost a good one)... after I reached a point that I felt a bit stronger in the game and would not have felt as badly about it as I do now -- but last night, I was just wanting some fun before trying to make myself go to bed early, and that didn't include losing my best card. If I had been paying closer attention and there had been some opening comment from Scott (besides what I thought was a playful title), then I would definitely have turned down the challenge. Oh, well... lesson learned, and I don't feel much like playing for a bit.

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Denise, I would agree with you, except that you could just start another label if you bankrupt yourself!

Denise Sawicki | August 9, 2007
But, I don't want to ruin my fake credit rating :-P

I really am that nuts, like if I am playing an RPG I will generally wind up with tons of gold and items accumulated and be constantly worrying about how to fit new things into my inventory, rather than using things I have or buying things...

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Heheheh... well, that's the beauty of it, isn't it? Nobody's gonna' chase you down to collect! (Unless Scott implemented some kind of limits on bankruptcy, that is... :-o ;-D)

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
The main method for acquiring cards isn't the market; it's taking cards from other players.

Another thing... that only works if you play well! If you suck as much as I do, then you *have* to rely on the market for cards -- otherwise, what will happen to all my (now 7 edit: oops, I mean 6!) cards if I keep on risking and losing them??? This is why I asked what happens when you do lose a card... I think it would be nice if you spontaneously regenerated another one at random (maybe only up to a certain level?), just so you aren't like me, sitting at level 10, while everyone else is at least at 14.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 9, 2007
Golly, I go away for the evening and all hell breaks loose!

Yeah, this is pretty addicting, which is a problem when you only have access at work. I'm hoping that I can get something going at home...hoping is all it is, though.

No comment on the infamous Skynyrd affair, though that is tough...

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Looks like I'm finally learning something... Thanks again, Justin -- you unlocked the next rule for me!

Justin Woods | August 9, 2007
Your welcome Amy, and thanks for the re-match and card, that was my original goal that card...

Scott Hardie | August 9, 2007
I hear you, Amy. Forgive me if this puts your accident last night in a bad light, but the idea is to start out playing at the low ranks with no risk until you're ready to move up – if after several wins, you still suck and need more practice, then don't accept challenges involving trades and continue playing light until you're ready. I know, accidents happen. One thing you could do in the meantime is adjust your label statement to say something like "only interested in concerts without trade" so that no one will waste your time.

Glad to see you back in, btw. :-)

Denise Sawicki | August 9, 2007
I wish I could have a couple challenges pending at once anyhow, would that cause huge difficulties like having more than one game at once? Once one challenge was accepted the others could go away... I tried Amy just now but she might not be here... so I canceled and will try someone else... Oh yeah I did try Matt Preston yesterday but he was busy with Amy, so I canceled...

Russ Wilhelm | August 9, 2007
Since I'm starting to feel a twitch in my but~tocks from the beatings I've been taking, I figure I should come over here.

Denise, don't worry about it being competition. Here's my philosophy...

Faceless Enterprise Recording Labs, Ltd. is a fly by night outfit, operating in the basement of a crack house in Hoboken, NJ, which is how we were introduced to some of our artist. The artist we represent realize that this may be the last stop for them, as they haven't produced any hit recordings in years, and those that have realize that their music is weak and has no staying power. This is it. You sign up with F.E.R.L.L, you're at the bottom. Sure there's a chance that you may get lucky and be picked up by another label, but under my management that beginning to seem unlikely, unless another label takes fake pity on us in order to completely dessimate our reputation of substandard representation.

In other words,,,,Just have fun with it.

Denise Sawicki | August 9, 2007
Haha... that is good to know about your record label. Well I am having fun with it... I like painstakingly collecting things, I don't so much like losing things, but that is just me, I'm sure others prefer your suggestions.

This will probably be my biggest day of playing ever though because normally I would go home and see Darrell on my lunch break but he's had errands to do for a couple days. Then once I'm home I am hanging out with him all night. I guess if he takes up a new cause to fill up all his time (which he may) at least I will have a hobby to fall back on that will provide a certain amount of human interaction...

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Sorry, Denise...

Yeah, I had to get back to doing some "real work" so I could feel like I was earning my paycheck. There's already enough guilt involved with being a federal employee without outright gaming for hours! ;-D I'll see if you're here now, if you want to play... and since you're on central time, too, you can always check with me on your lunch hour if no one else is around -- I am flexible for my lunch (that 50% of the time I do not eat!).

Scott, yeah, I suppose that would have been a good idea on my statement... but I am not opposed to the occasional blood game, either... I just didn't want one last night, and by the time I noticed, it was too late.

Hehh... Russ, that's hilarious. And brings up my question once again -- what are you supposed to do if you get down to five cards or less because everyone won them away from you? Again... the importance of the market.

(Btw, Russ... *love* your label statement... ;-D)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 9, 2007
Whenever you want a chance to try and get Janis Joplin back, I'll be waiting! :P

OK, it won't be the same Janis Joplin, but it will be a Janis Joplin. Skynyrd I can't help you with... :(

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
I'm here now... bring it!

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Awww...

I was gonna' challenge you, but then I saw your statement -- no go today then?

:'-(

Aaron Shurtleff | August 9, 2007
Unfortunately not today...my 15 minute break is up in 2 minutes ago. But, later, it's on like the Donkey Kong!

Aaron Shurtleff | August 9, 2007
But you do have a challenger, if you haven't noticed! ;)

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Oh! No, I didn't -- is it Russ? I was about to try him next. Off to lose another concert!!!

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Oh no! It's Justin! Come to try for my Eagles, has he???!!!

Russ Wilhelm | August 9, 2007
That's an interesting question Amy. The way I see it you have two options. You can either earn R$'s from other sections of the site and bid yourself back into the game, or have a going out of business sale (Bankruptcy). There could be other choices but they would add too much complexity in the design.

Russ Wilhelm | August 9, 2007
Another idea, perhaps for the future, you could declare bankruptcy, Your assetts could get liquidated by the Site Administrator, and a portion of those funds could be returned to you with your next startup label. Your former assetts then could be auctioned off starting at a reduced price.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 9, 2007
Amy, if you want to liquidate some of your less-successful bands for the R$ to buy better bands, I know a dude that buys bands in a vain attempt to collect all the bands... ;D

And not just Amy...I buy bands from anyone!! :) I hit the market constantly. Go ahead! Who needs those little Rank 1 bands? hee hee. :)

Amy Austin | August 9, 2007
Heheh... Aaron, I've already sold (or lost) all the cards I'm interested in parting with... but thanks for your concern -- I'm touched. ;-) (Not your kind of "touched"... ;-D)

Tony Peters | August 10, 2007
not my fault

Aaron Shurtleff | August 10, 2007
I have a dumb question! (Big surprise!) When you sell a card at auction, do you set the price, or is it done automatically?

Denise Sawicki | August 10, 2007
I set the price but it's not an auction, Aaron just buys it at that price (maybe I should have set it higher)

Amy Austin | August 10, 2007
You set it, but I really kind of wish it was automatic. Though I suppose that might take some of the fun out of it, it's really hard for me to set a price that seems "right". I guess you just have to go by how you feel about the card (i.e., the band, how well it plays in RB, etc.).

Aaron Shurtleff | August 10, 2007
No no! The price was exactly nice!! :) Thank you immensely!

This quest to get all the cards will destroy me one day... *sigh* But what a way to go!!

Aaron Shurtleff | August 10, 2007
AW CRAP!!! I meant to kick my bid up slightly, but I ended up typing in what I wanted it to be total, instead of how much I wanted to raise it. I guess I can count on getting that one, unless someone intends to bid very very high. Crapola! :(

Amy Austin | August 10, 2007
Heh, I'm sorry, Aaron... :-( ...but I'm glad you were happy with your purchase! ;-)

Scott Hardie | August 10, 2007
If you're not in a hurry, you could always offer your card at a very high price, and gradually lower it until someone buys it.

Russ, excellent mission statement. :-)

Denise Sawicki | August 11, 2007
Well to be honest I was impatient to see some action so I offered my card at a price where I was pretty sure Aaron would snap it up :) And I was right. Speaking of impatience, I hope Mr. Dave Mitzman is not gone too much longer. Much to my surprise, I do believe I know what to do to beat him 6/4 no matter what he does from this point forward. Now that I've announced this, just watch me be proven a fool :P

Scott Hardie | August 11, 2007
I think he's out of town. But if he doesn't play in a little over an hour, it's your match anyway by forfeit.

Amy Austin | August 11, 2007
Way to go, Denise! ;-)

Scott, it looks to me like he has 'til tomorrow, quarter past *noon*... are you still so sure about the Pepper??? ;-)

Scott Hardie | August 12, 2007
By popular demand, you can now cancel your bids in the Artist Market, and concert titles can now contain apostrophes and quotation marks.

Steve West | August 12, 2007
About damn time. Kidding!!!!!!

Justin Woods | August 12, 2007
Cool, thanks Scott we knew you would come through!!!

Amy Austin | August 12, 2007
What Steve said. ;-) (All of it...;-D)

Btw, Steve... for someone telling people who want the best to look somewhere else, you sure look pretty good at level 21!!!

Steve West | August 12, 2007
Hah! It's all an illusion. And as the best french chefs say, "Presentation is half the meal." Sadly it's the other half, the food itself, where I am sorely lacking. Hanging in there but struggling all the way.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 13, 2007
Wow! I can hardly believe I got outbid on Alice in Chains, but thank goodness!

Now on to my next overpriced card... $R20000 is a lot for Cheap Trick!!

EDIT: Oh good! Thanks for dropping the price to 19500! :P

Aaron Shurtleff | August 13, 2007
I have a great idea! (For those of you who don't know, this is no actual guarantee of quality)

Scott, what if, as an auction, you auctioned off naming rights to the next new band that would enter the game some weekend? That way, those of us with lots of disposable $R, and a desire to see our favorite obscure band get a card could spend away and be satisfied!! It would have to start as a Rank 1 card, of course, I would think, and of course, the highest bidder would get the first card! I, for one, would drop hella cash on that!

Just thinkin' out aloud! I would absolutely die for the first They Might Be Giants card!!!

Russ Wilhelm | August 13, 2007
In concept that is a great idea, Aaron. There are some things to work out though, I think, although I could be wrong.

What if the band is already in someones hand but just hasn't been played?
What if it's in the database waiting for it's turn to come into play?
How do you determine obscurity?
Would it take manual intervention by Scott, and if so, would it detract from his game by revealing something he has managed to keep hidden from himself?

These may easily be dealt with, I don't know. But as I said, I like the idea alot.

Oh and by the way congratulations on your playing ability. When you look at your win ratio to games played you're in the top three.

Russ Wilhelm | August 13, 2007
And while I'm on a roll (Man, I really do need to end this vacation and go back to work)...

I noticed that at least one other person shares at least five cards with me. How about the "Contract Dispute" option. Each player would have to play the same five cards. Truely a head-to-head endeavor. To be fair with the contract dispute, the trade rule would have to be one. This could be set up by players nowwith a challenge, using the comments to ID the cards to be played. but an interface would be nice.

Or if you really want aggression, at the end of the round all cards would remain with their respective captors. This way even a tie could change someone's strategy.

Scott Hardie | August 13, 2007
Russ, all I can say is, keep unlocking those play rules and trade rules. ;-)

Aaron, I had originally thought a "request a band" feature would be nice, maybe as an added bonus each time you win a concert. But then it started becoming complicated keeping track of which bands you hadn't seen already and how this was going to affect the random selection of new bands each week and so on, and I put it on the backburner so that I could get the rest of the game built. I'd still like to introduce it, but there's a big difference between new bands and new goos: Goos take a lot of work for me to come up with, and there are seven a week, and I have a limited backlog of ideas to call upon, so I'm glad to have the help. But bands are easy for me to introduce, and I only add three per week, and I have many hundreds in my backlog already, so I'm not exactly eager for further suggestions. But I like the idea to auction the naming rights, which means more programming work for me but it's one way of limiting the input and giving you rich players an extra place to burn off your cash.

Scott Hardie | August 13, 2007
I feel like I should point out something else before it comes up in discussion. It may seem like a convenient way to screw a player is to sit on their challenge of a match with a 1-hour time limit until they've signed off for the night, then accept and let the clock run out. How do you avoid unscrupulous players taking advantage of you like this? By canceling the challenge before you're no longer at your desk to play. That's probably obvious to everyone, but I don't want anybody falling victim to it or suggesting ways that I program around it.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 14, 2007
Of course, then someone, if they were being unscrupulous, would accept it, then wait until 50 minutes of the hour had passed before each of their moves, hoping that, eventually, you will have to go, and then win by default. If you've got the hour, it's not illegal to use as much of it as you can, right? That's why when I'm only here for a brief moment, I say so, and so far, no one has given me the big blue screw. Yay honesty and fair play!! :)

Yeah, really request a band is a money waster. :) And obviously, if (as an example) someone says "I want my band to be The Beatles!", then they are trying to be a butthead, and should be treated appropriately! ;)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 14, 2007
And, Lori, I'm still waiting for a decent price on Cheap Trick! C'mon! Cheap is in the name!!

:D

Lori Lancaster | August 14, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Lori Lancaster | August 14, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 14, 2007
I meant that if the band naming auction were used, then you picked the Beatles, then you couldn't possibly expect The Beatles to be a Rank 1 card, so you're being a poo-poo head and trying to mess things up! I have nothing against the Beatles!

And that was a fine price drop. I do have some restraint, you know!

OK, you might not know, but I do!

Lori Lancaster | August 14, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Denise Sawicki | August 15, 2007
I have another annoying suggestion for you Scott - how hard would it be to add the cards' numbers to the alt tag (I *think* it's the alt tag) so that one could see the numbers whilst waiting for the pictures to load? Currently the name of the band is visible, but no numbers. Seeing as I'm the only person likely to have dialup this is clearly not to be treated as a high-priority request.

I'm under the impression that getting faster internet would cost a completely insane amount of money per month, maybe I'm wrong, anyway, that kind of query would best be put in a separate discussion, problem being I don't wish to wait 30 minutes for the next page to load after clicking "start discussion" on my ridiculous computer.

Lori Lancaster | August 15, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 15, 2007
If I someday do add the buy-naming-rights thing, which I think I will, there won't be any limit on what rank the card will wind up. I'll put it where it belongs. Most new cards added are R2/R1 because I've got most major bands covered, but there are more than a few higher ones lurking out there, especially as the game slowly expands beyond a pure definition of rock and incorporates more crossover artists. But I'm talking 2010, here. :-D

Denise, considering that I postpone so many of the requests around here because they will take hours (at least) to program, I take pleasure in being able to make one tiny change quickly. Alt tags now show the sides of the cards.

I don't know what broadband options you have available in Fargo, but cable is probably the way to go, for $35-50 a month depending on costs in your market. It's worth it, imo, but then I live online.

Lori Lancaster | August 15, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | August 15, 2007
Three.

Denise Sawicki | August 15, 2007
nah I do not have a cell phone, but my land line phone bill is pretty ridiculous

Erik Bates | August 15, 2007
I'm always in awe of people who have managed to never get a cell phone.

Keep fighting the good fight, sister!

Lori Lancaster | August 15, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Dave Stoppenhagen | August 16, 2007
If only I wasn't on the road all day and sick of computers by the time the day is over! If this had only been available to me when my wife and daughter were out of town I probably wouldn't have spent as much time in bars......

Maybe I will have to use my lunch more wisely then working through it. Looks like a fun game Scott

Denise Sawicki | August 16, 2007
I know how you feel about being sick of computers after the work day! Hey looks like you are in the central time zone, you should play me at lunch time sometime. :-) (Don't know how often I will be around though unfortunately!)

Dave Stoppenhagen | August 16, 2007
Sure am, I was thinking that would be good time, I suffer from the problem of not being at a computer long enough due to being on the road or forgetting what time it is and just keep working.

Lori Lancaster | August 16, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 16, 2007
Which concert, Lori? Title, time? I'll see if I can find out what happened. Stuck at the airport waiting for a late flight right now.

Lori Lancaster | August 16, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Lori Lancaster | August 16, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 20, 2007
I flew to Springfield to visit Kelly. It was a great trip, but I've come home sick and exhausted. Tomorrow night, I intend to devote myself to the game. I will investigate and attempt to fix:

1) the canceled/declined concerts listed above

2) the concert where Justin "beat" Steve even though it should have been a draw (so far I can confirm there is a code error on that), and fix the rewards they received

3) how Justin managed to have two concerts at the same time, despite the checks I've tried to put in to prevent that

My apologies to anyone inconvenienced.

Justin Woods | August 20, 2007
Just to be a smart ass here but the only inconvenience Steve and I had was, we were down for two hours that night and couldn't challenge or be challenged so we couldn't make any R$, so back to being a smart ass here, I think we should be compensated The difference of our draw, just kidding Scott hopefully it wont be so bad to fix... The two games at once was kinda cool though I did enjoy the pace.

Scott Hardie | August 20, 2007
#1: By checking the server logs, I can confirm that Dave declined the "Godzilla vs. Mothra" challenge at 16:47:35 on August 16. Matt canceled his "STC Classmates" challenge at 17:16:33 on August 16 and I don't see any attempt from Dave to accept it in the logs.

#3: Fixed. A challenge was issued to Justin after he was already in another concert. The safeguards against this have been strengthened and it shouldn't happen again. If you get partway through the eight steps of starting a concert and suddenly have to start over with the first step, it's because your intended opponent became preoccupied.

Scott Hardie | August 20, 2007
#2: I can't tell exactly what went wrong with this concert. The best I can tell from the logs is that Steve clicked the "submit" button on his turn twice in rapid succession, but that shouldn't have had any effect; the script would have ignored his second submission because it stopped being his turn a moment earlier. The code error that I mentioned was due to there somehow being ten turns; there is no code error that caused this that I can tell, but then I can't tell what caused it. I'll have to wait until this happens again to diagnose it, sorry. Steve and Justin, I have restored your cash and W-L-D values to what they should be.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 20, 2007
I KNEW IT!!! I knew Bon Jovi would make the rise up!!! WOO HOO!!!

Now, if only I had Bon Jovi... :(

Man, I am dying in the rankings... Oh well, c'est la vie!! :P

Scott Hardie | August 20, 2007
It wasn't too hard of a decision. Even easier was the decision to bump AC/DC up to R3; I can't believe I ranked them so low.

Just to clarify something I said earlier, promotions will not happen at arbitrary intervals. I now have a balanced formula for when to promote a card out of a rank: X-Y>Z*2, where X is the number of cards in this rank, Y is the number of cards in the next highest rank, and Z is the number of R10 cards. Yeah, I know; I'm the only one who finds that interesting. The point is, as I gradually add three new cards every weekend, old cards will be promoted in a way that preserves the balance between the ranks and makes sure that no rank has many more cards than the next one.

Russ Wilhelm | August 20, 2007
Now that's what I call a bargain! I just bought AC/DC two days ago at a very good price, now making that purchase below cost. I knew something was different today, but I couldn't quite get my mind around it. Now I know. I'd been Thunderstruck.

Lori Lancaster | August 21, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Scott Hardie | August 21, 2007
No problem. Sorry I couldn't be around to look into it when it happened.

Thanks. I was very happy that day (Saturday). It's true that I gave the same smile at NASCAR after walking for three miles and being on the verge of throwing up, but otherwise I was happy that day too.

Lori Lancaster | August 21, 2007
[hidden by author request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 22, 2007
Man! I don't think I'll ever win another auction... ;)

I made a decision, and I'm explaining it here, so I don't have to do it a lot everytime it comes up. When I am challenged at my top level (16), I am forced to have the same five bands. I know it, and I know some of you know it. Don't use the Hidden rule, since it's only a disadvantage to me, and an advantage to those of you who are higher than me (hint, that's most of you all!) in level, since you can pick and choose the best combination to take me out, and I can't know which five bands from the many you have you might pick. Either lower the level, so that Hidden will actually be a help and a hindrance to both players, or don't bother with the rule until I can get some advantage to it.

Which, judging by the prices that cards are going for in the auctions, could be a long long way off! :)

Denise Sawicki | August 22, 2007
Same here Aaron, except I have level 19 and still feel everyone is higher than me. I doubt Scott kept track of what cards I had though, he's just a smarter player than me.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 22, 2007
Oh, I totally think Scott did that to me!

I'm kidding, of course. It might just be me being paranoid, I just got the feeling that I use the same cards every time, so now everyone knows what I'm playing... ;)

Denise Sawicki | August 22, 2007
Hmm, it appears Scott's level isn't even higher than mine at the moment but he had a choice of level 3's to use. I just didn't feel like bothering to track down what all his cards looked like. Also whenever I play the first card I always play something really stupid.

Scott Hardie | August 22, 2007
I'm working on a Swap Meet page that should freshen up collections a little without advancing anyone in power. This is meant to keep the game from getting stale for those players who don't win many cards from opponents or buy many cards at auction, but I suppose it will have the secondary advantage of keeping you from worrying that opponents know what your Hidden cards are.

I can't speak for everyone, but I suspect that most of the time, most players don't bother looking up what cards their opponent has. That's a little bit due to ethics and a lot due to not caring enough to bother. :-) We're all in this to have a good time, and if Steve Dunn were reading this, he'd say that anyone going to that much trouble to win is missing the point of the game.

Speaking for myself, only once have I looked up my opponent's Hidden cards in the Collection Guide and counted their sides, when there were several cards on the line. I found it confusing, and I still lost the match, giving up two cards in the process. Technically, as webmaster, I have the ability to cheat and look in the database to see what cards my opponent has, but the data is organized in a way that makes that difficult, I'm way too lazy, I'm way too ethical, and I don't care enough. If after all that you still don't trust me, I won't take offense if you decline to play against me.

One of the features that I cut for time at the last minute was adding an "RB Record" section to each player's page. For instance, click on my face at left and you'll see "TMR Record," "TC Record" et cetera in the right sidebar. I'd like to list a player's victories and unlocked rules in there when I do program it, but I wonder, should I list what cards they have? That makes it even easier to get around the Hidden rule.

Russ Wilhelm | August 23, 2007
If you do list the cards, I would suggest you only list the band names, alphabetically, with no other information. And don't list the cards that have not been played (???). I doubt it would make much difference in the matches.

Though I agree that the hidden rule adds to the difficulty when a card is on the line, that is also true for both sides. After all, you wouldn't see you're opponents cards until the match has begun, so those same cards play, regardless.

The bigger factor is that some players have their choces of cards at certain levels, which does give them an advantage over someone who has to play the same cards over and over again. The only way to level that problem is to decline the challenge for an opponent to whom you believe is more comparable to yourself. It's not cowardess, it's strategy, come back to this player when you're ready. Until then only play them without a card at stake. Losing a round is much easier to stomach than losing a card, if you feel under strength.

See, I am learning.

Scott Hardie | August 23, 2007
Excellent advice. You are wise. :-)

Russ Wilhelm | August 24, 2007
I can't take all the credit. Eric Wallhagen passed the decline advice to me, when he saw me be stupid. I'm working on my comfort level now. I know where it is, I just have to get there.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 28, 2007
OMG!!!

Scott!!! Seriously! If you get no takers for swapping James Brown, I'll buy it from you! Name your price! I have R$, and I can't seem to use them in an auction!!! ;)

Scott Hardie | August 29, 2007
R$150k and it's yours. I paid R$120k to get it, and the hardest-working man in show business can't stay R6 forever, so I'd say that's a bargain. If you need time to earn more, I can wait.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 29, 2007
Well, that will take a bit of time for me, so if you get a better offer, by all means take it! But, I'll try to try to work on that... :)

Oh, I need about R$47000 more, so this could take a while! ;)


Want to participate? Please create an account a new account or log in.


Other Discussions Started by Scott Hardie

Bowtie Affair

I wish I had a video of the event to complement this request, but you'll have to do with my description based on what I've heard from others. Please help resolve an argument. Go »

DCONN

Bill Valentine suggested that I use DCONN on my mice. I leave it around the mouse trails, let them eat it, and it slowly absorbs all of the moisture in their body, killing them and drying up their bodies so that there's no stench. Go »

Roving Captions

Provide a caption for this news photo about Karl Rove's resignation: Go »

The History of goo.tc

In less than a week, this site will turn ten years old. I bet you didn't know that, and I bet you don't know a lot more revealed in The History of goo.tc, Go »

atrix Relo

So I head into Best Buy to purchase "The Matrix Reloaded." Right inside the front door is a table set up with all kinds of Matrix merchandise free with purchase, and beside it is a big four-sided display with hundreds of copies of the movie. Go »

Money Well Spent

Buy this fur coat, sucka. Go »