Houdini Blues

Issue 13, July 2002

Welcome to this the thirteenth issue of Houdini Blues, a subzine of TAP edited by Michael Lowrey, 6903 Kentucky Derby Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215. My email address is mlowrey@infi.net or call me at (704) 569-4269. Bonus points if you catch the music reference in the subzine name.

The orphan game "Welcome to Hellmouth" has restarted, as I'm sure you'll see for yourself on page three of this subzine. The Outpost game also is moving along at a rapid pace I'm running it essentially by e-mail and we're getting in about a turn a week.

I also have about five signed up for my next Diplomacy game start come on, sign up, it'll be good for you.

2002 by Michael Lowrey. All right reserved.

Early Decision

With schools out for the summer, thousands of rising high school seniors (and their parents) are busy trying to figure out which college is right for them. Along where to apply, increasing they are facing questions of when and how to apply. The growing popularity "early decision" has changed the entire college selection process, though not in a manner that is necessarily good for all those seeking to get into top-notch schools. Indeed, UNC-Chapel Hill has just decided to end its early decision option, a bold move not without cost for which it should be praised.

Early decision is a form of consideration traditionally available at most top-tier universities and colleges. In recent years, early decision programs have also appeared at many average schools. Early decision is intended to allow top students who are certain of where they want to go college to apply early and get to the heart of the matter ­ whether they get in or not. Potential students apply to an earlier deadline (typically in early November) and agree to both apply to only that one school and attend if accepted. (Non-binding early consideration options are called "early action.") The colleges, in return, agree to make a much faster decision on applications. For high school seniors and their parents, early decision offers one obvious advantage ­ they will early on if Johnny or Susie got into the one school of their choice.

For applicants who have a good understanding of the admissions process and money, early decision also allows a means to game the system, to use a college's admissions goals for their own advantage.

Top schools accept a low percentage of applicants but have a high percentage of those they accept enroll. The latter is called the "yield rate." Both the acceptance rate and the yield rate are

closely watched by colleges and are among the criteria used by U.S. News to rate schools. Of course, both are things that colleges have some influence over. Sending more admissions counselors out, for example, can generate extra applications, and, in turn, a lower acceptance if a school doesn't change the size of its incoming class. The yield rate is heavily dependent on the number of kids that are accepted through early decision. In theory, all those accepted through early decision should enroll. By comparison the yield, even at top schools, for those accepted through the regular application process may only about be about 30 percent.

An astute applicant that isn't likely to get financial aid uses this system to his or her advantage by applying through early admission even if they are only a an average candidate for the school they want to attend. Colleges are looking to admit through early admissions; it makes them look good. At many top schools, 40 percent or more of an incoming class is selected through early decision. A recent Harvard study, however, notes that on average those accepted through early decision had lower SAT scores and moderately weaker academic background than students admitted through the regular application process.

While early decision can be a very useful process for certain college applicants, it is not an option for all college bound high school seniors. The problem, obviously, is the requirement that those using early decision apply to only one school. Those not completely sure which school is right for them by November of their senior year in high school or those who are interested in seeing which college might offer a scholarship or the best financial aid package ­ can't make effective use of early decision. As a result, early decision in practice often favors the offspring of the well-to-do with knowledge of the admissions process over those of more humble backgrounds or with less familiarity with the system.

There are other serious criticisms of early decision. It can make the senior year in high school virtually irrelevant. There are also cases of people applying through early decision and then discovering they aren't so sure that they actually wish to attend the school they had committed to (17-year olds can be fickle).

Despite the criticisms of early decision, it still takes leadership to address the issue. This is especially true when one's self interest, in the form of U.S. News ranking, might be adversely effected by one's action. For this UNC-Chapel Hill should be awarded high praise. By eliminating early decision it has already further enlivened debate and, hopefully, will help move us to a better college admissions process.

The deadline for the Diplomacy game is July 23.


Peresviet Outpost

Turn 6

1. MMC (Brosius) buys population (Ti11) to man its last plant.

2. HBDC (Wilson) opens the bidding on a Warehouse at 26 and wins it (Wa8, Wa6, Wa4, Or4, Or2, Or2).

3. HICK (Hood) opens the bidding on Heavy Equipment and wins it for 30 (Wa9, Wa9, Wa8, Or5).

4. HAL (Partridge) opens the bidding on a Nodule and wins it for 25 (Wa7, Wa6, Wa5, Or4, Or1, Or1, Or1).

5. Bartertown (York) buys a Water Factory (Wa7, Wa5, Or5, Or3) and transfers population to it.

6. Vince's Angina (Lutterbie) buys population (Wa10).

7. Major Tom (Conlon) buys a population (Wa5, Wa4, Or1) to man its last factory.

Turn 7

1. HBDC opens the bidding on the first Data Library and wins it for 16 (Wa8, Wa6, Or1, Or1). HBDC then opens the bidding on the final Data Library, which Bartertown wins for 17 (Wa7, Wa7, Wa4).

2. MMC buys a Titanium Factory (Ti9, Wa6, Wa5, Or5, Or3, Or2) and shifts population to man it.

3. HAL buys a Water Factory (Wa8, Wa5, Or5, Or2), and transfers population to man it

4. HICK buys a Titanium Factory (MWa) and the population to man it (Wa9, Or1).

5. Bartertown now buys population (Wa7, Or5).

6. Vince's Angina opens the bidding on the Nodule at 25 and gets it (Ti8, Wa6, Wa6, discount)

7. Major Tom opens the bidding at 30 on Heavy Equipment and gets it (Wa9, Wa7, Wa6, Wa5, Or3).

Turn 8

1. HICK opens the bidding on Ecoplants, which HAL wins for 38 (Wa8, Wa7, Wa7, Wa6, Wa5, Or5). HICK then buys a Titanium factory (MWa) and transfers population to it.

2. HBDC opens the bidding on Scientists which MMC wins for 51 (Ti12, Ti9, Ti8, Wa10, Wa7, Or5). HBDC now buys a

Water Factory (Wa8, Wa6, Wa6) and the population (Wa7, Or3) to man it.

3. MMC now passes.

4. HAL now passes.

5. Bartertown buys a Water Factory (Wa7, Wa7, Or3, O2, Or2) and transfers population to it.

6. Vince's Angina buys a Titanium Factory (Ti11, Ti9, Wa8, Or2) and two population (Wa8, Wa8, Or4).

7. Major Tom buys a Titanium Factory (Wa10, Wa10, Wa5, Or3, Or2) and transfers population to it.

Turn 9

1. HAL opens the bidding on Heavy Equipment and wins it for 30 (MWa).

2. MMC buys a Titanium Factory (Ti10, Ti10, Wa6, Or4) and transfers population to it.

3. HICK opens the bidding on a Warehouse and gets it for 25 (Ti9, Wa9, Or2, discount). HICK then buys a Titanium Factory (Wa7, Wa7, Wa6, Or5, Or4, Or1) and transfers population to it.

4. HBDC opens the bidding on the Data Library, which Bartertown wins for 32 (Wa9, Wa6, Wa5, Wa5, Wa4, Or3). HBDC buys a Water Factory (Wa9, Wa5, Or4, Or2) and the population to man it (Wa6, Wa4).

5. Vince's Angina buys a Titanium Factory (Ti10, Wa7, Wa7, Wa5, Or1) and transfers population to it.

6. Bartertown now passes.

7. Major Tom buys a Titanium Factory (Wa9, Wa7, Wa7, Wa5, Or2) and transfers population to it.

Purchase order: HAL, HICK, MMC, HBDC, Vince's Angina, Bartertown, Major Tom

Notes: HAL and HICK take MegaWater cards.

Upgrades Available: 2 Outposts (100), 2 Laboratory (80), 1 Orbital Lab (50), 2 Warehouses (25), (New deliveries were two Outposts and an Orbital Lab.)

Not Yet Delivered: 3/4 Outpost, 4/5 Ecoplants, 3/4 Laboratories, 5/6 Robots, 4/5 Orbital Labs, 4/5 Scientists


Outpost Factories Upgrades VP

HAL OrF, OrF, 4 x WaF HE, No, No, EP 15

HICK OrF, OrF, 4 x WaF, 3 x TiF Wa, He, No 14

MMC OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, 3 x TiF HE, No, Sc 13

HBDC VIII OrF, OrF, 5 x WaF DL, DL, Wa, No 12

Vince's Angina OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, 3 x TiF HE, No 12

Bartertown IV OrF, OrF, 4 x WaF DL, DL, DL, HE 9

Major Tom OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, WaF, TiF, TiF Wa, HE 9


Welcome to Hellmouth Fall 1903

Austria (1) bud , bul , gre, ser Even or remove one

England (1) edi, lpl Even or remove one

France (7) bel, bre, lpl, mar, par, por, spa Build one

Germany (6) ber, den, hol, kie, lon, mun

Italy (8) bud, nap, rom, ser, tri, tun, ven, vie Build two

Russia (7) mos, nwy, rum, sev, stp, swe, war

Turkey (4) ank, bul, con, smy Build one


Deadline: Winter 1903/Spring 1904 orders are due July 23.

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Austria David Hood (David_Hood@w3link.com)

A Ser-Bul (d, alb, otb), F Gre S A Ser-Bul

England Hank Alme (almehj@swcp.com)

F Wal r Lpl. F Lpl-Wal (d, cly, otb), F Nth-Lon

France David Partridge (rebhuhn@rocketmail.com)

A Wal-Lpl, F Iri S A Wal-Lpl, F Eng-Nth, A Bel H, A Spa H, A Gas-Bur

Germany Jim Burgess (burgess@world.std.com)

A Den H, F Hel S A Den, A Hol S French A Bel, F Lon S French F Eng-Nth, A Tyl-Mun, A Mun-Ber

Italy Phil Reynolds (preyno@yahoo.com)

A Tri-Ser, A Bud S A Tri-Ser, A Vie S A Bud, F Ion-Eas, F Nap-Ion, F Tyn S F Nap-Ion

Russia Warren Goesle (gozcorp@iquest.net)

F Nwy-Nth, F Nwg S F Nwy-Nth, F Swe-Den, A Sil-Mun, A Gal S A Rum, ARum S A Gal,F Bla S A Rum

Turkey Matt Sundstrom (Matt.Sundstrom@bbdoch.com)

F Aeg-Gre, A Bul S F Aeg-Gre, F Con S A Bul

Press: Boob-World: Someone is married since we last met, let's give him a REAL wedding present!!!

Boob-Hank: Sorry we couldn't make a go of it here, if Goz is greedy you are out, and if not, you aren't in too good shape

anyway. Knowing Goz, though, you remain the Scottish Outcast.

Russia-Board: Ok, I'm awake now. What's going on? Did we all sleep through the restart?

Boob-Michael: Thanks for picking us up, even though you gave us Hood as a standby!

MPL-Boob: And I'm sure Dave appreciates this position so

Italy-Turkey: We could be friends but not this turn. Sorry!

Italy-Russia: I hope you wised up.

Italy-Germany: I don't want-have-go jihad on you.

Italy-France: This should soothe your frazzled nerves.

Italy-Austria: I'm trying-put you out of your misery as quickly as possible, believe me!