Scott Hardie | January 6, 2004
Any player who's been paying attention has known for over a month that it would come down to these four men in the end. With Mike and Dave's correct guesses today (Dave almost guessed incorrectly but wisely thought to double-check it at the last minute), they continue to reign on top with Matthew and Steve, in a four-way race to victory. I don't like to dwell on the fact that it will be one of these four winning, since it kind of takes the wind out of the other players' sails for the remaining weeks, but it's a fact and an obvious one.

All of the goos for the rest of the round will be "very hard" difficulty, which might actually mean something in the post-Google era. As usual, I predict we'll have at least one very hard goo that everybody gets, at least one that nobody gets, and hopefully not too many others (so we can get this over with already).

Anybody wanna trash talk the four finalists?

Anna Gregoline | January 6, 2004
I feel frustrated with goo game, cause once you miss one, you're out. At least I've gotten a good number of goos.

Scott Hardie | January 6, 2004
I feel the same way. That's the problem with the Towers system. We've tried so many different systems, most of them pretty good, but every single one had a flaw of some kind. I welcome any suggestions for a scoring system that is not randomized, rewards long-term participation, produces a winner about every fifteen weeks, does not effectively eliminate a player who misses once or twice a round, and can still handle a large and growing volume of players. :-|

Steve West | January 7, 2004
Let the trash talk begin. What's with that Steve guy's beard? He looks like a refugee from "The Wizard of Oz" with his chin stuck in Kansas. And of all the police mug shots he had to choose from he obviously picked the one following the heroin bust based on the drug-addled grin on his face. Luckily, someone wiped the drool off his face right before they said, " Say feloneeeeee!" He looks like a real tough guy, too. No doubt when he gets to the big house he'll be the latest boyfriend of the guy with the most cigarettes. Hey Moe, Larry...I found your missing Stooge!

Jackie Mason | January 7, 2004
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 7, 2004
What about another point-based system that rewards the day of the week on which you guess? I'm thinking 16 points for the first day the goo is up, 15 points for the second day, on down to 10 points if you get it on the last day of the week. That rewards everybody who gets it, but gives slight distinctions to certain players without a random element. Too lame?

Anna Gregoline | January 7, 2004
That could work...I've been thinking about systems myself, but it IS difficult. I don't know how you come up with all these complex rules, Scott, kudos.

David Mitzman | January 8, 2004
Back to bingo! That was honestly the most random version and anybody could win and you wouldn't know it until the bingo number was announced for that week.

<Trash talk>Yeah, ummm, go mitzman.</trash talk>

Ok, time for eats.

Anna Gregoline | January 9, 2004
What if everyone was assigned a number, and then it was a random pick like bingo - if your number was picked that week, you get something for that?

Steve West | January 9, 2004
I like the idea of a weighted system. Days of the week is actually a clever idea. Perhaps combine that with a scaled point system for difficulty. Say, 5 points for extremely difficult, 4 points for hard, 3 points... (unsure of all the categories).

Scott Hardie | January 9, 2004
The towers system is a good system. It rewards consistent play, it does not grant victory to a player at random, it actually allows players to apply some strategy, it's fairly easy to understand, and it's attractive to look at on the page. I just wish it didn't effectively eliminate the players who fell behind, because they're forced to patiently play along for X more weeks in the round, and that takes the fun out of it for them. Would it be so bad if I implemented some kind of bonus that provided a little help to the players who fell behind, giving them some hope of catching up to the perfect players?

Mike Eberhart | January 10, 2004
Well, I can honestly say that I am conceding my chance at a win for this round. I really have no clue who it is, and don't really have the time this week to figure it out. So, congrats to Dave, as I see that he already got it correct. Good luck to the other two remaining players. This was a fun round.

Oh, this is my 69th post by the way... Cool.... :-)

Scott Hardie | January 10, 2004
Damn, Mike. I'm sorry to read that, but I know three men who won't be. ;-) Dave got this goo in a matter of minutes, while Matt searched for hours and still didn't find a good enough answer, so there's no telling how long it would take you. I encourage you to reconsider, but I know you wouldn't have made this decision easily, so your mind is probably already made up. You played well, anyway.

What happened to Kelly? She has complained more than anyone about how you're effectively eliminated if you miss a single week, so I wonder, did she decide to stop playing for the rest of the round after she missed a goo? Or is she just too busy lately?

Mike Eberhart | January 10, 2004
Nah, Kelly just hasn't been paying attention. She's been pretty messed up with the game ever since you moved the start of each week to Friday. So, I think she's just forgotten about it for awhile. I'll ask her on Monday about it. As for me. Yes, I do have a lot to do this week. I'm leaving on vacation next Saturday, so I have a lot of things to finish and get ready for then, so even if I would have gotten it right, I wouldn't be able to participate in the playoff. It's no big deal, I'll be back.

David Mitzman | January 12, 2004
Unless Matt picks it up this week, it looks like it's down to Steve and I. A worthy adversary I say. Hopefully I will reign supreme, it's been far too long since I've won a round of the game.

Either way, good luck to Steve (and Matt if he gets it).

Matthew Preston | January 13, 2004
Well, the three to guess correctly so far are originally from the east coast. Perhaps this is some celebrity known to the greater New York area. I honestly have no idea and am soon to give up. I can't stand defeat, but I don't seem to have much choice right now. Here's to the next round.

David Mitzman | January 13, 2004
You really should take a stab at it. Worst case is that you don't get it. If you don't guess now, what message will that send to the goo community? Seriously, don't be yellow ;)
just think of the children....


Anthony Lewis | January 14, 2004
The goo this week was hard. I had no idea who the goo was. But I was watching the Today show this weekend, and let's just say the answer was "given" to me.

I like the Towers system. Even if someone misses a week, who's to say that a leader wont get stumped. That's why you have to have a hard goo every once in a while (like this week's goo). It's a fair system.

Matthew Preston | January 14, 2004
Taking a stab at it or being chicken isn't the problem Dave. The names and faces I have come to find are in no way this week's goo. I'll know it when I find it and simply guessing now is foolish. FUCK the children.

Anthony, the scenario you described is exactly what I have been hoping for. I'll have to keep an eye out on morning tv. Thanks for the tip.

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2004
So many mixed feelings this week. I'm enjoying the competition, yet at the same time, the pure pleasure at the center of the game is missing. Ballbreaker goos like this one are as hard to enjoy as they are to guess correctly. That means that the interest in the game shifts away from the guessing of the goo, to the competition element. (This on top of the fact that 90% of the players aren't even in the "competition," so they're just screwed altogether.) But, if I didn't put up very hard goos once in a while, we'd have a twelve-player pile-up at the end of the round and we'd have to do an even longer tiebreaker. Maybe a little randomization in the scoring system is better.

David Mitzman | January 14, 2004
I had suggested to Scott before that if we keep the tower system, maybe a bonus prize should go in that is a Tower Toppler. That means the player that gets it can knock down any one existing player's tower. How the person gets the toppler has yet to be decided but I think it would be kinda cool (yet frustrating for the person who loses a tower).

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2004
Another possible twist on the towers system: Requiring players to build their towers consecutively. Once you start Tower A, every goo goes in Tower A until it is complete. That eliminates almost all the strategy, however, and will further separate the score leaders from everyone else, so it's probably not a good idea.

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2004
Or... Hmm... This is harking back to the very first scoring system... But what if each tower had a color, red green blue, and each goo was one of the three colors? If you got the goo that tower would rise, if not then it would stay the same (instead of toppling).

Nah... That's not an improvement.

Steve Dunn | January 15, 2004
It's fascinating the way games are made fun. An anecdote...

My younger brother and I once devised a game for ourselves - Roofball.

Funnest... game.... ever. The essential object was to throw a Nerf football up on the roof of our house such that the other player would not be able to catch it before it hit the ground. Over a period of a few weeks of constant play, we developed the perfect rules and scoring... the initial throw had to be made from a certain spot on the lawn, you couldn't just throw it so it rolled off the side of the house (too easy), there was an appropriate sanction for throwing the ball OVER the house, you could score quick points by bouncing it off the chimny (but that carried the risk of an errant throw over the house)... you get the point.

On a study abroad semester in Vienna, some friends and I dreamed up a trick-taking card game that we intended to be more engaging than Spades, but less esoteric than Bridge.

Just this year I engaged in passionate debates about how properly to score a Fantasy Football league... transaction rules, waiver orders, do we award bonus points for first downs or not?

From all these experiences, I developed an appreciation for the beauty of a well-balanced game. I also learned that different people have different ideas about what is "fun."

Having said all that, my contribution to the Goo Game discussion is limited at best. At this stage in my goo career, I have guessed (wrongly) at precisely one goo (the current one). Therefore I shall limit my input to the following:

I feel your pain. It's hard to make a fun, balanced game. It's a fascinating experiment nonetheless, and this group seems ever-willing to experiment. I'm looking forward to the start of the next round!!

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2004
Damn I want to play some Roofball right now... A friend and I used to play it with a basketball on the roof of my garage, with much the same rules. I don't remember if we ever finished a game; usually my dad would come outside and yell at us for putting dents in the gutter.

What about a chutes-and-ladders scoring system for the goo game? I draw out a gameboard on a page, with all the players starting on the first space in the bottom row. Every time a player gets a goo, a random number (1-6) is generated, and the player moves forward, heading up a winding path to the finish. Landing on a chute means you slide down a few rows; landing on a ladder means you climb up a few rows. The first person to the finish line wins. That system rewards perseverance, allows for some dramatic falling-back and catching-up, and it's easy to understand. It does not allow for any strategy, however - where you land next is entirely random. There are various ways to let the players control where they land instead of letting it be random, but what do you all think of this system?

It's good to deliberate new scoring systems with an open group, instead of with a single person or alone. I can get good suggestions, and I can mention my lamer ideas and at least get a smile out of them. :-)

Denise Sawicki | January 15, 2004
I have nothing to add about the goo scoring system but wanted to mention my own childhood made-up game: the game of Squeaky.

I would play this with my dad all the time (I have no siblings but my dad can act pretty childish when he wants to :) ). You sit on chairs at either end of the living room and toss a balloon back and forth. You are not allowed to get out of your chair. The fun comes when the balloon drifts out of reach of either player. At the beginning of the game, each player is granted a supply of three of the family dog's six squeaky toys. These are to be used to throw at the balloon so as to dislodge it from wherever it has landed (behind the couch is worst) and bounce it into reach of one of the players. An expert move in Squeaky is to do this such that the squeaky toy also bounces into someone's reach. One of the walls of the living room has a decorative metal tree branch on it, with pointy leaves, and this is positioned just over one of the player's heads. So the other player has to be careful not to hit the balloon too hard or it will hit the tree and pop. When all six squeakies and the balloon are out of range, it is time to switch sides and start over.

Well it's a cooperative game and has no scoring but it's still fun. I wouldn't hold it against anyone if they disagree, though. :)

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2004
I played Garage Ball, with two childhood friends, which was played in the closed garage when it was raining and we couldn't go outside. It involved whatever ball we could find that wasn't busted or deflated, sometimes sticks, sometimes just hands, and we played whether or not one car was in the garage or not. Different rules every time. =) It was fun, but sometimes we got yelled at.

David Mitzman | January 16, 2004
Alright, so it's 7am on Friday morning. Checked the Goo, and only took a few seconds to verify my guess which was immediate. Go me! Ok Steve, can you handle the pressure?

Steve West | January 16, 2004
I think I've got the flu. Everything's getting dizzy. Mom, is that you? Ooooohhh (moan, whimper, whine, snivel), I'll never get this goo, never! Oh, wait a minute. I think I guessed right. Hmmm, go figure.

Scott Hardie | January 16, 2004
You're both correct. I tried and failed to throw you off with this one. On to tomorrow...

Scott Hardie | January 18, 2004
Congratulations, Steve!

Steve West | January 19, 2004
I'd like to thank all the little people: My agent for pretty much nothing but cashing my checks; Sister Mary Joseph for continually telling me I'd amount to nothing (Now look at me!); ... Hey, by the way - Where's Madonna? Where's Halle Berry? Where's Adrien Brody? I've gotta kiss somebody. I guess I'll settle for my child bride (just kidding sweetie - kiss, kiss, giggle). Thanks Mike, Matt & Dave for the head-to-head drama and the comments and e-mails all in fun. Thanks especially to Scott for the best site providing the most fun I've had online on a continual basis. On to the next round!

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