A Modest Proposal
At the first ever Vinemeet, I met my soon-to-be dear friend Mykola Bilokonsky. Somewhere amongst the discussions of Neil Gaiman and similes vs. metaphors and whether magic was real and copious amounts of booze, I brought up the game of Nomic. He wanted to play, I promised to set up an online game. Today, I am finally making good on that promise. And this is your invitation to join us.
Invented by Douglas Hofstadter (whom you should really read, if you haven't...seriously), Nomic is fairly simple in principle. You start with a set of rules, which are divided into two parts: mutable and immutable. Mutable rules require a unanimous vote to change for the first two rounds, and after that they require a simple majority. Immutable rules cannot be changed. To change a rule from immutable to mutable takes unanimous consent. The goal of the game is to win.
How Do You Win?
That depends on how you change the rules. Think Calvinball, but a little more devious. In the beginning, the way to win is to get the highest number of points, which is determined by
subtracting 291 from the ordinal number of your proposal and multipling the result by the fraction of favorable votes it received, rounded to the nearest integer. (This yields a number between 0 and 10 for the first player, with the upper limit increasing by one each turn; more points are awarded for more popular proposals.)
Complete rules can be found here.
Of course, the conditions for winning can change...
This Is Kind Of Political, Isn't It?
Oh, yeah. You want to know how politics work? Watch this game. You really want to understand? Play.
I Have No Idea What You're Talking About, But I Like It...
Great. For this first game, I think we need to keep the number of players somewhat limited, just to keep it sort of comprehensible. So depending on the amount of interest, we will have either up to five individual players or five teams of players. If that goes well and there's continued interest, we'll expand the next game to more players. If you want to play just post below under the "Me! Me!" comment below.
In the actual game, everyone who is not playing but wants to comment will have a chance, with comment threads designated for the purpose of constructive advice or general jeering. Believe me, even if you are not playing, it's highly educational to watch (depending on how devious the players are...)
On the actual game thread, which I will put up as soon as it looks like all who are interested have signed up, the complete starting rules will be posted in the article body, and I will designate comment threads for each round, as well as one for spectators to comment after each round has finished. Players (or teams) will take turns proposing a rule change and adding points to their score. Simple enough?
Fantastic! Sign up below if you want to play.
Correction: for accuracy's sake, I must note that upon rereading "Metamagical Themas" by Douglas Hofstadter (which you all should totally read), he gives credit for the genesis of Nomic to Peter Suber, though Suber gives credit to Hofstadter for helping him refine the rules.