Amy Austin | March 14, 2008
Shit. Screwed from the get-go again... ;-p

Russ Wilhelm | March 14, 2008
You think you've got it bad... :-)

Amy Austin | March 14, 2008
Heh... yeah, I guess you've got a bit of a rough break there... ;-)

Tony Peters | March 14, 2008
if I make it out of the first round (which is saying a lot given that I have duty) I'm dead in the second round

Erik Bates | March 14, 2008
It's like Goo March Madness!

Scott Horowitz | March 14, 2008
That actually made me laugh Erik!

Scott Hardie | March 15, 2008
I like it Erik!

Fyi, other than a brief check around 8am, I'll be out all day until around 9pm. Sorry if this means you have to wait a long time to see the outcome of your pending guess. I can try to check once on my phone in the afternoon.

Tony Peters | March 15, 2008
Ok I'm out.....

Aaron Shurtleff | March 15, 2008
WTF? I am likely out...

Amy Austin | March 16, 2008
Damn it, Steve...

!!!

Tony Peters | March 16, 2008
damn Sarah Kyle busted out fast

Steve West | March 16, 2008
Slowhand Gets Eliminated In First Round. Where have I seen that headline before? Oh yeah, last round. Sorry it wasn't you, Amy, who got to kick my slow ass out of this round. Elliot, nice one.

Amy Austin | March 16, 2008
Well, I was more upset that *my* slow ass will likely be eliminated by Elliot! (That's *if* Matt Preston doesn't do it first, cha...)

I wrote a post earlier -- and then deleted it five minutes later -- but I just can't stop wanting to declare my hatred for the timed finals... whether I'm winning or not.

Steve West | March 16, 2008
What she said (except for that part referencing my elimination thing...)

Amy Austin | March 16, 2008
And I don't know if it's part of Matthew's strategy to wait until the end of the day, but I really wish he'd hurry up and end the suspense already!

Scott Hardie | March 16, 2008
The floor is open to suggestions of other scoring systems. I think it's the best system we had since the game started, but I won't keep something hated by the top players.

Steve West | March 16, 2008
Perhaps we could merge the best aspects of the previous scoring systems. If I recall correctly, the timed rounds came about because of unnamed players who continued to get playoff goos after all others were eliminated with no forseeable end. Scott ended that round with one timed goo for the championship. I understood and actually agreed to that at the time. I happened to win that round (which was cool) but I wouldn't have been eligible for the win if the timing had started earlier. So, to the point, what if we returned to the format of those who get the goo advance and those who do not are eliminated. Nothing new there but have that last for a limited number of days, say three. Have the timed portion begin at that point but not as a single elimination but similar to the accumulation phase, have a certain number advance of those who get it right (e.g. if eight people get it right, the fastest four advance). Let each round determine the number of advancers as opposed to a scheduled number but do it so that the eliminations allow for a playoff that lasts no longer than a week. Does this make sense?

Also, I'm not sure all the top players are unhappy with this system. A few are actually thriving in this format. Just because a few of us are dissatisfied isn't reason enough to change. It needs to be an actual improvement before it makes sense to alter it again.

Shawn Brandt | March 16, 2008
This is only the third tournament I've been around for, so I can't really speak to the old formats, but I would like to see the current bracket changed to a seeded one if we're going to keep it.

I like what Steve described above, though perhaps it provides an unfair advantage to those who can spend tons of time on goos day after day. I know many players here have families on top of their jobs and other responsibilities, and I'm not sure that those of us who can devote a couple of hours each day to a tough goo if necessary (that would include me) really need an advantage when the tournament rolls around.

Lori Lancaster | March 16, 2008
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | March 16, 2008
Or maybe he's just given me a free pass... did he forget???

Justin Woods | March 16, 2008
I am with Steve on this as far as the top players go and I know I am not one of them but yes. I will add more later... and Russ idea is a good one too as soon as he post it.

Tony Peters | March 16, 2008
I would like something that doesn't force me to put forth my best guess in less than 5 minutes...I was not on the correct track at all but felt the need to make my guess asap because of all the fast times...turns out that even if I had the correct gues I would have lost on my time

Amy Austin | March 17, 2008
I know *someone*'s excited by tonight's outcome...

Congratulations on your first Imelda, Steve! ;-)

Scott Hardie | March 17, 2008
No correct guesses by any tournament player means the tournament extends another day. If you guessed wrong, you're still in this. The brackets have been revised: (link)

Steve West | March 17, 2008
Thank you so much! Where's Halle Berry when I need her? This feels great - as you already know 9 times over!!!

Amy Austin | March 17, 2008
Ha! Nothing will top the feeling of number 10, though... ;-)

Amy Austin | March 17, 2008
I really regret waiting until around two hours to midnight to activate this one... but it's all part of my reasons for disliking being timed. I sit and dread the point of no return, knowing that I'll potentially do one of two things -- 1) stay up until I either find the answer or give up and resume the following day or 2) start when it's convenient on the following day, knowing that I will have lost a lot of time if the goo proves to be hard enough to need it (Iike today's). I don't like the anxiety that goes with being timed -- even when the clock isn't ticking, I feel pressured, and when it is, I lose a lot of my ability to focus. Normally, I find it relaxing to look for a goo... I look forward to it -- not so at the end of a timed round. And as Steve Dunn once expressed, I at least feel beaten fairly when it was the goo itself and not the time. If someone else is able to guess at something that I know I wouldn't have gotten... even with a week perhaps... well, then hats off to them! But to bumble a guess just because you're afraid or have already seen that someone else gets it in 17 or 7! seconds? Honestly, I don't even think I could get from the guessing field to the submit button to the confirm button that fast. And what about differences in network speeds when you're talking about guesses that are mere seconds apart? I just hate it. Period.

Steve Dunn | March 17, 2008
I don't care about timed vs. non-timed. I tend to be pretty fast, but whatever, I intend to dominate the competition under any set of rules. BRING IT ON!!!

I do have a problem with the brackets. Why not just have the top half of the field advance in each round based on time? This seems to me to make more sense than individual matchups. If we're going to stick with matchups, I'd favor using a more logical number for a real bracket, such as 16 or 32. But this doesn't really matter to me, so long as there are no automatic byes like we've had in previous rounds.

I am not interested in spending countless hours scratching my head over a goo. I'll do it sometimes (like probably today, I assume) but I'll never do it during the "regular season" and I'm not thrilled about having to do it, ever. This is just a personal preference, based on my own schedule and priorities. I don't necessarily think my preference would make the game better overall, for everyone.

I still favor implementation of a secondary "game within a game" to determine the champion, along the lines of the old towers or grid. Something that would add an element of randomness while still rewarding consistent play.

For example, each player could receive a standard playing card with each successful goo, and after the end of a round, the player who could put together the best poker hand would win. To ameliorate the randomness of this, you could require the champion to win two hands. Rounds could be 10 goos each. Players would have to get at least 5 to stay in the competition, and could earn up to 10 each round.

Or, as I suggested in a previous post, each successful goo could give the player a turn on a Battleship-type grid. First player to sink all the ships wins the game.

In each of these scenarios, consistent success confers an advantage, but the ultimate winner's success will depend a lot on chance. To me this seems like an improvement on the current system, where the winner is a crapshoot but there is no particular reward for consistent play (except, I guess, making it into the playoffs in the first place).

Amy Austin | March 17, 2008
Sorry... it was Steve West that expressed the thought, not Mr. Dunn. However, I am certain that Mr. Dunn has also made sloppy guesses due to the pressure of the clock.

I agree on disliking the brackets, too, and I also thought the grid system was both fair and modifiable. I do like the creative thinking behind Steve's ideas as well -- the addition of playing cards or combining of other game concepts is interesting, at least.

Shawn Brandt | March 17, 2008
Again, I'll preface this with the disclaimer that I haven't been around the game nearly as long as most, but I'm not a big fan of the intentional inclusion of luck. Ultimately, I think it boils down to a philosophical debate about whether they best players are the ones that can quickly find answers, or the ones that can and will pound away for hours if necessary.

What about a hybrid system incorporating Steve's suggestion above? Start with 16 players (or 24, or 32, whatever). Take the top half each round by time (which reduces the time pressure, if not eliminating it). Once you get down to 4 players or less remaining, have successive rounds with full 24-hour periods. Everybody who guesses correctly advances to the next round.

I think that some time constraint is desirable and necessary, though I agree with the general sentiment that head to head time doesn't really work. Justin Woods was eliminated with a stellar time, only because I was a few seconds faster. Maybe we just chalk this up to luck and that's okay, too. I doubt that we (or Scott) can come up with anything that will appeal equally to everyone.

Tony Peters | March 17, 2008
I'm surprised that no one has complained about having a Lori Goo in the tournament.......JK Lori

Lori Lancaster | March 17, 2008
[hidden by author request]

Tony Peters | March 17, 2008
I'm just glad I didn't have anything resting on it, I searched for an hour this morning and again for another hour at lunch...of course my mind isn't really in since I got bumped

JB Brenner | March 17, 2008
I'll complain about the Lori Goo. It's another friggin' Lancaster Disaster. Can we stop using these, please?

Tony Peters | March 18, 2008
pɐq ʇɐɥʇ ʇou s,ʇı ʞo

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
Well. Look who won on a difficult Lori goo where being timed didn't even factor in. Congratulations.

Steve West | March 18, 2008
Wow. Two of the last three rounds. Congrats.

Steve Dunn | March 18, 2008
Amy - Thanks... I think.

Steve - nice job getting the two most recent goos. I wish I could have gotten my first Imelda!

Steve West | March 18, 2008
Sorry to spoil that for ya. It really feels good.

Jim Kraus | March 18, 2008
Congrats, Steve.

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2008
Congrats, Steve! Twice in six months must feel good.

This was a tough round. We had more runners-up than ever before. And I seem to have overdone the difficulty with the tournament goos; the next two would have been even harder than the last two. For everybody who says that skill and perseverance in the face of difficult goos should determine the winner, I offer you Steve's victory tonight as proof that they still matter most.

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
Sure... you're welcome, Steve -- sorry I just really can't hide my feeling that, despite your many protestations about Lori goos and your feeling that the clock is to your benefit, you won a round in the manner that I've been arguing in continued support of. Not exactly happy about it, but I'd rather it was won this way than just being too slow. Again... congratulations.

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
Yes, Scott... my sentiments exactly.

Steve Dunn | March 18, 2008
Amy, I think everyone playing the game realizes that your two wins were the hardest to get and that you're one of the best - in my opinion THE best - player of the game. Nine Imeldas speaks for itself, and winning those rounds with the 100-goo grid was far beyond my ability, for sure.

I don't think there's any way I could have won that would have satisfied you, and I have to admit I'm truly OK with that. You're very competitive and I can totally relate. It is for this reason that we both advocate rules we consider advantageous to ourselves. I think you deserved your hard-earned wins, and I'm comfortable that I deserved mine.

I look forward to the next round and new rules. I am fully aware that luck played a big role in both of my victories, but you know what? I'll take it!

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
You flatter me, and I'll take it (thank you), but really... for me, it isn't all about advocating the most advantageous set of rules for myself. You are right that I am extremely competitive and very much hate to lose, and I know very well how much you can relate... after all, it's all about US, right? ;-) But seriously... I am FAR more "satisfied" by your victory in this round than in the last one you won -- I feel like you deserve it. (Not that I don't think you deserved your first win... I hope you get what I am saying here... I also rooted for you in that round after my own elimination -- and not because of my own standing in the game, as you put forth in the discussion, but because of my natural tendency to root for the underdog... Steve already had a win, and you did not.)
Please don't make my preferences out to be completely self-serving... and if they are, then it isn't all centered around the win, but also the feeling of a well-played defeat -- and that is what I got this round. For that, I am very happy... even if/though it wasn't *my* victory... and I would have been even "happier" (as much I can be happy losing) if the victor was one who also shared in my philosophy on this (i.e., welcoming the challenging goo that presented the opportunity to win). And, to varying degrees, luck will *always* play a role in deciding the round -- I'll take it, too! -- but I just prefer to win where that factor is minimal... even (especially) if I actually sucked at the game.

Jim Kraus | March 18, 2008
One person's challenging goo is another person's slam dunk.

I want to hear more about this grid system. How did it work?

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2008
As for the scoring system, Shawn said it best: I doubt that we (or Scott) can come up with anything that will appeal equally to everyone. Every scoring system to date has been abandoned (at least in part) because a vocal group of players disliked it, and now it's happening again with the bracketed tournament. I will introduce something else if that's what consensus calls for, but I expect just as many people to dislike the next one.

What I love about the brackets, besides the drama that they can elicit (Russ vs. Joanna! Aaron vs. Steve Dunn! etc), is that they incorporate the element of chance invisibly. In the past, certain players have vocally opposed the element of luck in the outcome of the tournament, and I can understand that. You work very hard at the endgame, and you shouldn't be undone by a random number generator. But if we play without any luck at all in the scoring system, there are a half-dozen or more players able to last indefinitely, neither outlasting another, while an endless parade of boring goos unfolds.

The bracketed tournament plays differently: Within each bracket, one player will happen to guess a few seconds or a few minutes before the other and advance – but skill and speed are also factors, so you can't say that you didn't have a chance. Even if your opponent got it in 7 seconds, you could have gotten it in 6. To me, it's the right balance between talent and randomness, and I fear we won't find it again. Having the bottom half of players drop out each day would be a less-random alternative.

The floor is open for replacements. The suggestions above are very good, and I look forward to Russ's proposal. Here are some things that I've learned about scoring systems in ten years of running the game:
- The winner should be determined primarily by skill at the game, but a long series of super-difficult goos sucks.
- Randomness cannot directly affect the outcome, but no randomness is boring and exhausting.
- Players like to take their time on hard goos. No more timed contests.
- Players like to guess at every goo, even if it doesn't affect their score. Don't prevent some from guessing.
- Some players will never guess wrong. You can't base a system on the effects of incorrect guesses.
- Some players will tie for the lead all the way to the end. You can't base a system on who has a higher score, or who fills in more spaces on a chart, etc.
- When one player gets ahead early (as with a Golden Imelda), the outcome is predetermined and boring. Others must to be able to catch up.
- Scoring systems based on mini-games unrelated to GOO is weird, and leads to charges of "the winner isn't determined by skill" etc.

Perhaps the above list sounds negative or defeatist, but if I didn't enjoy the game, I wouldn't have just announced a 34th round starting next month. It's fun trying out a new scoring system, especially one that includes fun beyond just the goos themselves, but it seems inevitable that each new system is discarded after a few rounds. I learned in the second or third year of this game that it's impossible to please everyone and it's impossible to find a perfect scoring system, but with the brackets, it felt like we had gotten as close as we might ever get. I look forward to seeing what's next.

Steve Dunn | March 18, 2008
and I would have been even "happier" (as much I can be happy losing) if the victor was one who also shared in my philosophy on this (i.e., welcoming the challenging goo that presented the opportunity to win).

Truth be told, I got this goo in two minutes. By sheer luck.

It took me two hours because I fiddled around with a bunch of anime stuff for an hour, then watched TV for an hour. When I came back to the goo, I noticed for the first time the little cartoon figures behind the guy's head. They reminded my of some pajama bottoms my wife has that bear the logo "Boys Have Cooties" from that guy's line. I'd seen the "throw rocks at them" stuff, so I Googled that and found the answer within a couple minutes. If I'd taken that approach the first time, I'd have gotten it within a few minutes instead of two hours.

I guess I'm glad I got a hard goo, but I owe it all to my wife's pajama pants. I'm not sure if that means the goo was very hard or very easy for me. I'm curious to know how Steve West got it.

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
Wow... that's pretty amazing, indeed. Ditto on Steve, though I wouldn't tell if I were either one of you! ;-)

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2008
Some of the past scoring systems:

- Categories: Back when the game was played weekly and only had five categories (Acting, Music, Politics, Sports, Miscellaneous), every player had a chart of ten spaces, two per category. The first person to fill in all ten spaces won. Clearly, this only works with a handful of moderately-skilled players. We later expanded it to 15 spaces, 3 of each.

- Rebus: Each week, I would reveal one more space on a large Concentration-style rebus, a pictogram of a famous saying. Each week you got either one guess at a goo or (if successful at the goo) one guess at the unfolding rebus. It was weird, and some players didn't like only being able to guess at every other goo.

- Bingo cards: Each player was given a randomly-generated 5x5 card with the numbers 1-25. Each goo would have a random number attached. Guessing that goo correctly filled in the space. First player to get "bingo" would win. WAY too random for some people, and it didn't work above 12 or so players, because multiple players would bingo at once.

- Points: Each player needed 150 (later 200) points to win. Each consecutive goo earned you that many points (1 for the first, 2 for the second, etc) and the total number of goos you guessed during the round also earned you that many points (1 for the first, 2 for the second, etc). There were also random bonuses, such as 10 random points to a secret player, and the ability for one player to steal 5 points from another by guessing first, etc. It was undone by charges of too much randomness, and honestly it was kind of abstract.

- Towers: Each player had 5 towers (columns) of 5 spaces each. You could choose which tower to place your guess into. If it was right, you built up that tower another space. If it was wrong, you wiped out that tower and had to start over. First player with five complete towers won. Players seized on the obvious strategies right away, and ties for the lead meant multiple winners.

- Grids: After the game switched to daily goos instead of weekly, I needed a BIG scoring system. I tried a grid of 10x10 spaces. Each correct guess would fill in a space of your choice. Each incorrect guess would wipe out the adjacent squares. Players tried different strategies, but ultimately, several players were good enough to guess virtually every goo correctly, taking away the effect of incorrect guesses. Early in one round, a leading player (Russ I believe) nudged 1 point ahead of the other leaders when none of them guessed correctly, and from then on it was boring to watch him progress to a foregone conclusion.

- 100: Doing away with the grid, simply the first player to 100 correct guesses wins. Take away what little fun the grids offered and keep the bad parts? What was I thinking? I guess I was just tired of coming up with new systems then.

- Tournaments: Several variations of a bracketed tournament that we play now, with the advantages that I already described and the disadvantage that some players just hate it. Period.

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
Even if your opponent got it in 7 seconds, you could have gotten it in 6.

See, I completely disagree with that statement. By that logic, if the opponent got it in 6, I could have gotten it in 5... I don't think so, and where does that end? Network variations aside (hi-speed cable vs. DSL or, God forbid, dial-up!), with the time I need to read/process the clue, category & sub-categories and then type the answer/submit/confirm, then the only way that would happen is if someone who'd already looked at it told me what it said.

I do, however, agree with the rest.

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2008
Allow me to rephrase: Even if your opponent got it in X seconds, you could have gotten it in (X-1) seconds.

Jim Kraus | March 18, 2008
A couple of suggestions from a newber:

Treat goo like College Basketball. Have a regular season champion, and a tournament champion.

Thus, that person that gets the most goos in the accumulation phase would be the regular season champion.

Then, the tournament can proceed, and you have a tournament champion.

I do like the brackets, and the timing. It then basically becomes a problem solving competition. There will obviously be some luck involved, but I imagine the better players (I am not including myself here) will win nearly all the time. It's like the NCAA basketball tournament - or any playoff system. It isn't perfect, and its random, but usually one of the stronger teams wins.


Keep the tournament and the timing, but have each round be best out of 3. If the players get the same number correct, the person that got them in the lowest time wins. This could lead to some interesting strategizing.



I understand that, for a while, everyone started out then, as they got a goo wrong, they were eliminated. I do like that concept. If it starts dragging on, then bring in the clocks. For example, if West and Dunn were duking it out this tournament, after 2 days, the timing starts. It's like sudden death overtime. It's not the fairest system ever, but it recognizes that you have to finish the contest in some fashion before the TV networks get pissy.

Goo is televised, right?

Steve...working on the goo for an hour, then walking away, then getting it in two minutes, is not getting the goo in two minutes. It's getting the goo in an hour and 2 minutes. Else I can say that I've gotten every goo in 10 seconds...once I figured out the answer.

My guess is Steve West shops exclusively from the David and Goliath line.

Overall, though, it is impossible to devise a system which will always reward the most skilled player. I think the best that can be done is one in which the most skilled players have the best shot. I might not be very good at this game (yet?), but if this recently finished tournament had a goo about a current Duke basketball benchwarmer, the lead singer of my favorite semi-obscure band, my former professor and somewhat well-known blogger, and my mother - you can bet that I would have won hands down. Life is random and luck plays a role. No use hiding from that.

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
Allow me to rephrase: Even if your opponent got it in X seconds, you could have gotten it in (X-1) seconds.
Yeah, either way, it's the same thing... and like I said, where does that end? And as you already issued, players want to take their time on hard goos... (heck, I like to take my time on the simple ones -- it doesn't really matter to me how simple the goo may be... I still have issues with the timing).

...and the disadvantage that some players just hate it. Period.
Sorry to be the pointiest thorn here, Scott... but at least I'm not the only thorn, else I would be (even more) uncomfortable being so vocal about it.

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
My guess is Steve West shops exclusively from the David and Goliath line.

LOL!

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2008
It's ok, Amy. On one hand, it hurts when I've gone to a lot of trouble to make the game and the goos and the tournament so that other people can have fun, and some of those people tell me they "hate it." But on the other hand, if you and others weren't so emphatic about it, I probably wouldn't budge from this scoring system that you honestly do hate, so it's best that you express yourself. I know where you stand. :-)

Jim, great input. You get the game very well, I think.

What about instead of a daily tournament, I just give all players a whole week to guess something like ten master-level goos? You could activate & guess each one independently. Total time spent would determine the winner. Updates would show current times and the leader's time-to-beat. That way, everybody could be quick on some and slow on others, and overall mastery of the game would matter more. Just tossing out an idea.

Tony Peters | March 18, 2008
now that's an interesting Idea scott,

Scott Hardie | March 18, 2008
Steve Dunn sent me a variation in email:

how about... you attain a threshold to qualify for the finals, say 25 out of 30 or 40 out of 50 or whatever. Then, you have a "finals weekend," like a 24 or 48 hour period to complete the final round. Each player activates the final round, which starts a clock ticking. Final round is ten goos from various categories, maybe some varying difficulty levels, but at least a few very hard ones. Champion is the person who gets the most goos. In the event of a tie (or if more than one player gets them all) the clock is the tiebreaker.

Steve Dunn | March 18, 2008
Haha, it's funny that I emailed you an idea very similar to something you'd already posted here. Maybe we're on to something!

Lori Lancaster | March 18, 2008
[hidden by author request]

Steve Dunn | March 18, 2008
For what it's worth, Lori, I had no problem with this goo. (Of course! I won!) But really, the things I liked about it:

1) The image itself gave a very important clue. This is not necessary or desirable in every instance, but it's cool that it works that way sometimes. Not only was the pertinent cartoon character clearly visible in the goo (which is how I got it) but we also saw enough of the guy's face to know he wasn't Japanese. A very important clue for a Lori goo!

2) The "rocky controversy" part of the clue could reasonably lead someone to the vicinity of the answer, like any hard goo. Only just now did I realize the "enormous challenges" was a reference to David and Goliath. Not sure how that's helpful except as confirmation once you already know the answer, but overall I think the clue was difficult without being impossible.

3) Once the correct answer was known, it was possible to get visual confirmation by finding online pictures of the person. I didn't bother to track down the actual source image because the first image I saw confirmed it was Goldman. Regardless, the main problem I had with one of your previous goos was that even if you managed to come up with a good guess, you couldn't find ANY image of the person even by googling the name in quotation marks. That just seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

Anyway, at least for now, I'm a big fan of Lori goos! Next time I get frustrated by one, I'll be sure to let you know! ;-)

Amy Austin | March 18, 2008
Fair weather fan. ;-) But I agree with your assessment of the goo, which you may or may not have read above was only requested by Lori -- Scott did the rest.

Tony Peters | March 18, 2008
Sometimes I like Lori Goo's and sometimes I don't. I think I still have a loosing average against them but the make me think. I've only come up with one Goo though I have 2-3 in the thought process i just need to find an image to go with the name and then dream up a clue. Lori has spent the time to make a contribution to the game and until someone surpasses her contribution I don't see that they really have the right to complain

Lori...it's a secret but I'll PM you the particulars when I get home

Steve West | March 18, 2008
To satisfy anyone's curiosity, all I can say is that I'm not entirely certain how I found it. The clue was completely unhelpful (not assigning blame on anyone for that) as it fit the category of clues that only make sense to me after knowing the answer but not leading to the answer. Only speaking of my feeble mind, no one else's. So, I know I got it from using the various categories in different combinations/permutations and using alternative words within those categories like "scandal" vs "controversy". I do know I put other things in the search string like "designer stubble" and was going to guess Tom Ford as a last minute guess if it came to that but I was sure it wasn't him. The cartoon characters in the background only helped to mislead me again in that I thought it had something to do with a Simpsons rip-off or something. BTW, I spent about four hours looking for it (not consecutive). I like the idea of the ten goos in a shortened time frame and seeing them all at once with time as a tie-breaker. Might lose some sleep, though. Bummer.

Steve Dunn | March 18, 2008
So there you have it. For Steve, the key was smart googling. For me, it was my wife's pajama pants. Yet I won the round and Steve got eliminated in the first round. There is no justice!

I think it would be very interesting to know how different people get certain goos. I remember with Peter Falk I scratched my head over it for days, then finally got it because the picture just looked like Peter Falk. Nothing more complicated than that.

I bet a lot of it depends on which angle you take to start. With this goo, I began with anime. I spent most of that first hour poking around various aspects of the "Tomorrow's Joe" series because in some countries it was referred to as "Rocky Joe" and the movie version includes the word "success." Talk about a blind alley!

One of these days, we'll get Amy to share some of her trade secrets. Have a few glasses of wine, Amy, then come back and let's talk.

Remember, though, these words of wisdom from The Champ: pajama pants.

Russ Wilhelm | March 18, 2008
Wow, so many topics to go through in this discussion. I may have to break this into chunks, as that is what time allows me.

First off. Steve, Steve, a job bery well done by the both of you. Steve, congratulations on winning the round. Steve, congratulations on your Imelda. Both are very well deserved.

The final goo? I would have put a guess in if I had even the slightest possibility of getting it right, but didn't come close. I got stuck on the characters as well, and never got out of it. I have no issues at all with the clue. Lori, you may not have created the clue, but it was worthy of being one of yours. Way to go Scott, it was great

Nigella Lawson - My Imelda. Scott thought he had goo'd the picture beyond recognition, but that's how I found it. The curtain in the upper left of the picture was just recogizable enough. Normal searching left me with zilch. So I studied the picture for about two days in between seaching on chefs cooks etc. Tilting my head at different angles, looking at it in peices, making determinations on what Items I thought i saw and what they could be. An additional three hours or so was spent after finding the picture in analyzing between the goo'd and un-goo'd pictures. Times up...

I have to go for now, but will be back later to continue from the above paragraph.

JB Brenner | March 19, 2008
Quoting Lori:
"Stop being an inconsiderate jerk. Did I complain about your dumb sports goo? Nope. Who are you and what gives you the right to act like a pompous asshole and insult my family by invoking my last name in such a manner. Seems rather odd that the only post you've ever made on this board has been to insult rather than to speak in a calm rational manner like most of the others are capable of doing. It speaks volumes on your maturity and personality. In any case, everyone who has ever had a strong opinion on it has already stated how they felt about the goos several times. By this point, they're all talked out."

Let's see, you called me a "jerk," "asshole" and "pompous," yet I'm the one tossing out insults and not "speak[ing] in a calm [sic] rational manner."
Pot ... kettle. Pardon me for not commenting before. I'd lurked for a while, learned the game, and decided to play. I watched the uproar over your ridiculous Japanese anime Goo, and have noticed your tendency toward obscure Goos that appeal to only a small portion of the population. After this round, I decided to voice my displeasure. It's not an issue of "maturity" (I suggest you look up the definition of the word). It's an issue of the fact that your Goos consistently make the game less enjoyable.

Your response is a joke. I "insulted your family?" How? I mentioned your name because, you know, you WROTE THE GOO! It's a Lancaster Disaster, not a Dunn Disaster, West Disaster or a Peters Disaster. Deal with it. And I'm so sorry that you thought my Goo submission was "dumb." You're right -- picking a player for the New York Yankees is FAR more obscure than the guy who came up with some weird brand of clothing who also fits into SIX different Goo categories. Only two people got yours right. Coincidence?

Since you feel so comfortable sending advice my way and admonishing me, let me offer a response: Learn to deal with criticism. If you're going to continue to put yourself on the line by submitting Goos, deal with the consequences. Some people don't like your style. As I said, deal with it. And watch your mouth.

Mike Rothstein | March 19, 2008
I like the scoring method proposed by Scott (and by Steve D via email). A tourney or two ago someone suggested a Tour de France method, which I thought was cool, and this is pretty similar to that. One thing that I 'd like would be one freebie - whether it's a wrong guess or just your worst time, everyone's worst goo gets dropped. That helps to make up a little for the different ranges of interests we all have, so no one gets too punished for not following sports or knowing anything about fashion, etc....

Lori Lancaster | March 19, 2008
[hidden by author request]

Steve West | March 19, 2008
That was my Tour de France suggestion. Not that I'm looking for credit but taking the opportunity to propose it again. Cumulative time over a set number of days. I'm liking it the more I hear it! If time is going to be used at all, that is the way I'd prefer it. No elimination for a wrong or no guess, just a 24 hour time for that goo. Or maybe 30 hours for a wrong guess to actually make it a penalty. I don't know, I'm just enjoying what's presented. Keep cooking Chef Hardie and yes, I would like a second helping.

Erik Bates | March 19, 2008
Yay. We're back to bickering!

Please stop? Please?

Lori Lancaster | March 19, 2008
[hidden by author request]

Amy Austin | March 19, 2008
Steve W. -- Shut up... stop giving stuff away! ;-)
Steve D. -- I'll never tell. ;-| Appears I don't have to what with Steve blabbering away! ;-p ;-D (Actually, I've gotten a few in a manner similar to how you got this one, Steve -- and I don't have a problem with that in either case. I think it's great when that's how the luck plays into the game... seriously.)

Lori -- I'm so sorry, but "Lancaster Disaster" did make me chuckle... though not really appropriate as a first-time post from a stranger, I'm sure it wasn't aimed at your family's honor. (Did I ever mention that an ex of mine shares your name?) Would you really have been that upset if it had come from someone whose online voice/personality you know a lot better? Perhaps a witty retort for Mr. Cole Slaw would have been in better order? That said, I have some comments for him...

Colin -- I don't know if you habitually frequent any forums online, as a lurker or otherwise, but you seem intelligent enough to ought to know better than to "de-lurk" on a less-than-positive note. And if you've been lurking here long enough, then you also ought to have realized a couple of things by now... 1) there isn't a lot of "transient" posting, because it's a pretty small and tight group of authors, more than a few of whom have known each other for a lot of years... going back to high school, and 2) Lori has been playing and contributing to the Goo Game since the days of its inception, and she has contributed more goos & clues than any other player, an attribute that helped to earn her a spot in the Hall of Fame this year (just in case you didn't read about that already and don't know more about the history of the game and its players... forgivably). I understand being frustrated by a "Lori goo" -- must be particularly so for a new player, since even the veterans gripe all holy hell about them (thus making Lori, understandably, a bit more sensitive and defensive of criticism, let alone from strangers)... but perhaps you should have given more thought and calculation to your very first post here, if for nothing else but the sake of good manners? It's not really the kind of comment that makes for a good introduction to a group of virtual strangers...

Steve West | March 19, 2008
Yes sir! Shutting up sir! I really shouldn't reveal trade secrets if I have any hope of getting another Imelda.

Amy Austin | March 19, 2008
Btw Lori... you asked who still has dial-up -- believe it or not, my very own family of origin uses it. (Consequently, they don't spend a whole lot of time online, which may just be one of the reasons they still do! Well, wait... that's actually not true -- I just remembered that it just isn't available out there "in the sticks" where they live on their little farm!) I know that my dad is pretty frustrated by using the Net at home on the weekends, since he uses high-speed when he's out of town at work all week... sad, considering that where he works is still pretty countrified... ;-D

Amy Austin | March 19, 2008
Ha! That's right, Mr. West... and it also prompts me to add another comment about "Lori goos" -- in this day and age of the game, getting an Imelda is damn near an impossibility. I recently had it pointed out to me (by Russ Wilhelm) that the last Imelda came over a year and a half ago. Additionally, two of my nine came from Lori's submissions... and if it had not been for Steve's "spoiling" of it (;-D) for Steve, this would have been a third Imelda courtesy of Lori. I'm really not any more fond of "spending countless hours scratching my head over a goo" than the next person/player... but I'm also really surprised by the fact that there are those as (more?) competitive than myself who don't seem to as readily welcome that opportunity to relish the glory of being the only player to guess correctly -- it really is an awesome feeling to achieve an Imelda! But if you really do want one, you're gonna' have to play hard... and every Lori goo is the best presentation of that opportunity... seriously.

Steve West | March 19, 2008
Good point.

Joanna Woods | March 19, 2008
I can't say that I don't gripe to Justin about the difficulty of Lori's goo's but I still look...I think it makes the game more interesting when it takes a while to find the person and, if you don't find it, to see the answer and slap yourself for not thinking of it sooner. The last one I knew I knew that person but I was way off in left field in my searching. I like the challenge anyway, not to mention I am still stuck at home so it gives me something to do that is more entertaining then watching T.V.

Amy Austin | March 19, 2008
Hear, Here! ;-)

Justin Woods | March 19, 2008
Well said Amy!!!

Justin Woods | March 19, 2008
To add to some new ideas on what we could do to the goo game tournament...

1.) I like the timed goos but maybe if it wasn't bracketed and it was more like the top 24 compete at once and the bottom three times are dropped per goo. that way anyone who doesn't compete wont really effect how the finals are played and who advances that way the last three players compete against a Lori goo and the winner is based on skill and time...

2.) Working on this one!!!

Scott- no matter what you do thanks for the fun that this site has given us all... I will alway be here as long as you keep this site up.

Lori- I think in some way we all enjoy your Goos no matter how difficult they are, and please keep them coming. I think you should take Collin's remark more like a compliment too how well you do.

Scott Hardie | March 19, 2008
Thanks for your support, kind words, and ideas, everyone.

To be fair, Lori didn't intend this to be a hard goo. She just happened to read about Todd Goldman and that "boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" controversy a few years ago, and she sent me the link thinking that he might make an interesting goo someday. I'm the one who wrote a tough clue, labeled it master difficulty, and put it up during a tournament. Direct your criticism at me for this one, please. (Based on the low level of people who correctly guessed Goldman and Steiger, I have already said that I made them way too hard. The next two would have been even worse. I'll save them for later, but make them a little easier.)

Colin, sorry you de-lurked on a negative note, but we would like to hear more from you in general, including criticism when it's constructive. Welcome.

It sounds we're approaching consensus on a tournament featuring a number of simultaneous goos at once, over an extended period like a weekend or a whole week, winner is most correct guesses, time settles tiebreaker. The floor remains open.

One idea that tempts me, but is probably too awkward, is an elimination format similar to American Idol. That is, at least as much as I dimly understand American Idol as an outsider, since I've never seen it. :-) We start the tournament with 24 people. Each day, I put up a goo of escalating difficulty, starting at moderate. The bottom three players, determined by their score during the 50 goos of the round, are eligible for elimination, and only the one who guesses the fastest will remain. The other players (outside these three) survive as long as they guess correctly. We repeat with increasingly tough goos until only one remains. This is probably way too much to ask of the weakest players while the strongest players get a pseudo-bye until the final day, but it does reward going after all 50 goos during the round. The alternatives would be to select three daily at random, or to let yesterday's survivor choose today's three potential eliminees (is that a word?), but the former would be subject to the usual criticisms and the latter would be much more controversial than any goo Lori can come up with.

Russ Wilhelm | March 19, 2008
...After going over the two images, over and over, again and again, was I able to make my guess. It worked. Perseverence. That's my secret. That round I dedicated myself to it, even when out of town on vacation for a week (If Scott still has the logs, he can verify that). It worked.

Colin. What they have said. You could have voiced your dipleasure and still be civil. Sure, some (not all) of Lori's goo's are incredibly tough. Those goo's are "Masters" and you have to expect them to be nearly impossible. It's a great to be able to find those goo's, especially if you're the only one that does. We need those goo's.

Ideas for the goo game scoring system:

I still like the grid. Little squares. You guess a goo. The goo shows up on the grid where you choose. A more entertaining way of following your progress. My latest would work in either that or the new system to the most part though.

1. Each Goo is published for seven days (nothing new here).
2. Each goo would be listed by primary category, date, Round #, difficulty level and if submitted by a player, that info (still nothing new).
3. That all the info you get up front.
4. Each goo must be activated (as we do in the tournament round now).
5. You have 24 hours from activation to guess that goo (A-HA, I've just up'd the level of challenge).
6. At the end of the round, the top scorer wins.
7. If multiple players are tied at the end of the round, a single goo will be published for two days, available only to those players that are tied on the first day with fastest time winning, and all others untimed on the second day.

Argument#1 - Russ, you are one of the top players, does this not benefit you?
Response - Not at all, but I still plan on being a top player : ). Seriously though, there are times when it has taken me several days to find a goo, while other players have guessed within minutes, as well as it going the other way. This would actually shuffle the ranking more than it has been previously.

Argument#2 - I just drew a blank. Anybody???


Modifications - Freebies. I have thought about this myself Mike. This would benefit me, as I have enjoyed submitting goos. But if I was winning by a narrow margin, or am close enough to take the lead, a submitted goo could hurt my chances. A "freebie" would still allow me to submit and not affect my game. In the above idea, I could use it on my submission. I still haven't figured out a way to not affect a submitted "Theme Week", but I guess I would just have to suck it up if I find myself ready to do another one. But I would also suggest that the freebie not be able to be used in the last five goos of the round. Which means no submitted goos at that point either, unless the submitter ok's it. And if a freebie is used, you would not have the ability to activate that goo. and would have to wait until the goo has expired to find out if it was worth it.

Grid System (have I said how much I enjoyed those days) - Same rules 1-7 above plus...
1. Once activated, a guess must be made. Any non-guesses will be counted as an incorrect guess.
2. Inactivated goo's will not penalize a player.
3. Each player determines where the first goo will be played.
4. Subsequent goos must be played adjacent to an already filled grid square.
5. Incorrect gueses will erase adjacent grids.

Have I left anything out?

Any questions, suggestions, or concerns, I will do my best to address, just let me know.

Scott Horowitz | March 19, 2008
I just had a thought, what if we use the suggest a goo feature as part of the tourney, cause I like the brackets. This may be a little too much work for Scott. But each player suggests a goo, and you get your own goo, created by your bracket opponent. They go head-to-head for that one, if 1 gets right and other doesn't they go on. Then, they have the ability to guess at other people's suggested goos. if both get right, you use the tie-break from the most other goos guess. if there's still a tie, then it's down to timing?

what do you think of that idea?

Lori Lancaster | March 19, 2008
[hidden by author request]

Jim Kraus | March 20, 2008
Why not just cycle through different scoring systems? The brackets have been done a couple times, next do the Steve/Scott idea, next the grid, then brackets again.

Scott Hardie | March 20, 2008
Interesting new suggestions in the mix. I don't know how feasible it is, but I really like the players-stumping-each-other part. Talk about a dramatic competition. :-)

I'm tempted to implement a new scoring system next round, and not reveal what it is until it's over. Mwahaha. Ahem.

Scott Hardie | March 25, 2008
Thanks everybody, for the suggestions here and in private. I've been thinking about this some more.

First of all, some of you seem to enjoy the grid system in part because you like the visual representation of your progress in the round. I can help with that: The Current Scores page can show a 10x5 grid and slowly fill it in as you guess goos, without it affecting the outcome of the round. Done.

When I try to come up with a fair new scoring system, the dilemma that I keep running into is how to eliminate the hardcore players. I don't need to name them, but there's a group of 5-12 hardcore GOO players who play at the top of their game every time. I can come up with a goo that stumps all of them, but it's much harder to come up with a goo that stumps some but not others, or even better a goo that stumps all but one. As long as goos alone are the deciding factor in victory, this group will survive day after day after day, taking potentially weeks of difficult goos to be eliminated. Agreed?

But when I try to find a method to separate a winner within this group, a method that goes beyond just guessing correctly, that's where I'm stumped. We can't do it with some kind of random device, because that's not fair and some people don't like it. We can't do it with a timed elimination, because that's also not fair and some other people don't like it. We certainly can't have players earn the right to eliminate each other, because that turns the game into a popularity contest and puts your victory in someone else's hands and I don't want to hear the level of outcry if I try to implement that system. :-) So what's left? What method do we have that will produce a winner from among the hardcore players within just a few days that is fair and won't draw objection? Is it impossible?

For the record: The "hardcore players" tends to be a group with unchanging membership, which probably makes my above statements sound like only someone from this group deserves to win. Of course, I want a system in which any player can win, but I acknowledge that in a fair system, someone has to play as well as the hardcore group (ie. almost never wrong) in order to truly deserve victory, which in effect makes them a member of the hardcore group. I'm not opposed to a system that lets someone bypass the hardcore group to victory, like how the bracketed tournament eliminated players around you while you only had to "beat" a few to win, but only if that system is fair and survives the tests described above.

Also: We've had a number of suggestions that would help to balance out the time-based system, such as Steve West's Tour de France or Mike Eberhart's double-elimination or Jim's suggestion that we only start timing after players aren't eliminated by guessing alone. These help to close the gap, but so far they don't overcome the root problem that I've described above, in my opinion. Am I wrong? Player dissatisfaction is one of the main reasons we keep changing, so you tell me if those are liveable.

And: I will probably take Russ Wilhelm's suggestion of separating the goos for tournament players and everyone else. For each "tournament" goo (or whatever goo is part of the process of elimination), the players competing to win would have 24 hours to play it without anyone else seeing it, and then the rest of the player body and site visitors would have a separate 24 hours to play it. This should eliminate or at least reduce the problem of friends helping friends to win. The exact details of this will depend on what system we decide upon.

Finally: I neglected to mention this before, but just to be clear, I insist upon each round having only one winner. The game has a few traditions that I'm not willing to break. I suppose I can bend on this if we absolutely cannot find any other workable system, but don't bet on it. :-)

Steve Dunn | March 27, 2008
For what it's worth, I wouldn't worry so much about trying to please everyone. I say this for a couple reasons:

1) It's impossible to please everyone; and
2) Most people are already pleased.

You have to figure on any internet message board, regular posters are going to be comprised mainly of the top 5% most opinionated and argumentative people on Earth. Just because we're yapping about the game doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it.

I like Jim's suggestion of trying different things from time to time. It's what you've been doing for a while anyway. I am confident there is absolutely nothing you can do that everyone will agree is the perfect goo game. So why try? Just experiment at will.

Scott Hardie | April 9, 2008
Steve, I appreciate your wise comments from last month, but I'm afraid it doesn't work that way for me. I run this game for other people, and their enjoyment is my fuel to keep going. If strangers scoff at the game, I can ignore them, but when a few regulars stridently criticize something, the negativity is too much for me to bear. I just lose interest in continuing with it. This phenomenon has happened for a long time, killing games like Web Page Survivor and The Weekly Curiosity before their time. It could even kill the goo game, but luckily it's only forcing me to change the scoring system. I just don't want to go on the way we have been. Thanks for the encouragement, though.


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