May 30, 2005

Tournament revision

Alas, it was necessary to reschedule the tournament. My original choice of date (29 May) was not optimal; the tournament will be held around 9:00 pm at 3:00 pm on Thursday, 2 June, same place. The rules tutorial will be from 3:00 to 3:20, and the games will begin at 3:30. Therefore, those acquainted with Ambition need not arrive until 3:30.

The latest rules document is online, in HTML here (possibly dodgy with non-Windows OS) and in PDF here (should be good for any OS).

May 25, 2005

More tournament info.

Here's some information I sent out on the Ambition tournament on 5/29.

Time and place

The tournament will be held at 2:30 pm on Sunday, May 29, in Upper Sayles. I haven’t reserved any room in particular, but we shouldn’t have trouble getting one, and I will make it obvious where we are. You will know you are at or near the right place when you see a deck of cards placed demurely on a table.


I managed to find a donor willing to give me $135.00 for prizes and food; I will contribute additional funding if needed. The donation allows me to support prizes with no entry fees. Prizes will be $50 for first place, $25 for second, and $10 for third. The remaining $50.00 will be available for equipment and refreshments.

Learning Ambition

For those who have never played Ambition and do not know how, I will be running tutorial sessions at the following times:

Thursday 5/26, 9:30 pm; First Nourse Lounge.
Saturday 5/28, 5:00 pm; First Nourse Lounge.
Sunday 5/29, 2:00 pm; Upper Sayles (immediately before the tournament).

In the event that we cannot use the location listed I will leave signs to indicate where to go. The tutorial sessions will be approximately 20 minutes and only one is necessary in order to learn Ambition.

For those who have played Ambition before, there have been minor changes to the rules throughout the past year, so the rules may be somewhat different from when you last played. You are certainly welcome to come to a tutorial session in this case, but do not need to; I will be able to brief you rather immediately on the changes. They are also included in the attached rules document.

Tournament structure

I expect the size of the tournament to be between 8 and 12 players, would be very pleased to break 16. As for capacity, there is a soft limit of 24 players, but I am amenable to increasing it according to demand. Because of the uncertainty with regard to number ot participants, tournament structure will be determined day-of and will be announced before play begins. I will be singularly responsible for setting the tournament’s structure, but will consult player consensus in doing so.

The expected duration of the tournament is largely dependent upon the number of players, and therefore unknown. Players should be able to stay until at least 8:00 pm (though the tournament may end before then and, in any case, many players will have been eliminated by that point). For dinner, I plan on ordering pizza and providing other refreshments, and of course Burton and the Snack Bar will be nearby. If it appears that the tournament is going to go beyond 8:00 pm, we may (depending on the wishes of the remaining players) decide to adjourn the tournament temporarily, and resume at a later date.

How to enter

I definitely prefer advance registration so I can anticipate the number of players. To register, please send an email to by 11:30 pm on Saturday, May 28, indicating your intention to come to the tournament. Players who register before this deadline have a very high likelihood of placement into the tournament, even if the “soft limit” of 24 is exceeded.

Players may register day-of-event simply by coming to the site (Upper Sayles) of the tournament between 1:45 and 2:30 pm. I will try to place as many as possible in the tournament, but reserve the right to turn people away in the event of overcapacity or otherwise according to the needs of the tournament.

If you haven’t played Ambition and wish to enter the tournament, you should seriously consider attending one of the three tutorial sessions as described above, or reading the rules document (attached) on your own time. The former is preferable.

May 23, 2005

New rules document

I have finished the updated rules document for Ambition, Ambition 2.0.

It will be available on request ( ambition_game at yahoo dot com ) in Word and PDF form. The document has also been sent to

May 21, 2005

Prizes for Ambition tournament

Some excellent news is that, as of 19 May, I have $135.00 from an anonymous donor for the tournament on the 29th. Apparently the outside world is interested in Ambition. Yay.

This allows for prizes: $50.00 for first place, $25.00 for second, and $10.00 for third. The remaining money will be used for equipment and refreshments.

The time of the tournament will be 2:00 pm, next Sunday. Location: Upper Sayles, Carleton College.

Email to register.

May 05, 2005

S*, 23 May, and Madison

One probably notices that I took an extended blog vacation during late March and April. This was unannounced because I didn't plan for it. I was very busy for a couple weeks, realized I hadn't posted to either of my blogs, and decided to declare it a blog vacation. I'm back now.

I have played the S* variant quite a bit, with various groups. I've actually determined that it's not the best way of dealing with the "luck" factor associated with table position. Changing all passes to Scatter passes had an unanticipated, but noticeable, effect on the game: it became much easier to pull off a Nil or Slam. When receiving three cards from one opponent, only one person needs to notice a Nilaholic or Slam-gunner to bust him. With scatter passing, two or three opponents need to notice. So, in my view, it takes too much away from Ambition to declare all rounds Scatter rounds.

Instead, I've decided upon a different method for neutralizing the luck factor associated with table position: after the 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 9th rounds, play orientation reverses. (This can be done by having players in two opposing table positions swap.) Later, I will justify this idiosyncratic rule in detail.

I will issue an updated rules document this month: my target date is Monday, 23 May. The document will be available in PDF form and will also be sent to Rules changes will, ultimately, not be substantial. Ambition is rapidly converging upon its "final form".

This fall, I will be moving to Madison, Wisconsin, for graduate school. Contact me if you live in the Madison area and would like to co-organize games and tournaments.