Duncan Richer

Imperial Nomic


The Infrequent Ackan

 1 (28/11/1997)

 2 (3/12/1997)

 3 (10/12/1997)

 4a (18/12/1997)

 5 (6/1/1998)

 6 (10/1/1998)

 7 (17/1/1998)

 8 (31/1/1998)

 9 (7/2/1998)

 10 (14/2/1998)

 11 (21/2/1998)

 12 (28/2/1998)

 13 (7/3/1998)

 14 (12/3/1998)

 15 (20/3/1998)

 16 (28/3/1998)

 17 (4/4/1998)

 18 (11/4/1998)

19 (18/4/1998)



Volume 1, Issue 20

April 25, 1998

This issue's slogan:
"Once Again, The President's Preferred Paper"

In this issue:

  1. Editorial
  2. Apologies and Retractions.
  3. Poll Question #6 Results
  4. More Ackanomic News
  5. The Way We Were
  6. Party Chess Report
  7. Sub-Game Summary
  8. Advertisement





Hooray for Nomicbot!

breadbox, the hard-working Tabulator, has produced a new version of the nomicbot. 'Tis truly a joyous occasion, and we should all rejoice at its creation. Now proposal submissions, and, yea, even voting, shall be more automated and more efficient. Not since the days of Mohammed aka Chaos have we seen such a feat, and truly will be a marvel to many who have not lain eyes on a fully working nomicbot before.

Of course, Acka being Acka, a nomicbot on its own cannot deal with the full range of situations that can crop up, especially given the nature of Ackans to fiddle with anything that appears to be working properly.

Kill the Scambait!

Last week I talked to you about the Ackanomic Tradition of the Scam. While the Scam is, indeed, a great Tradition, it has its own mores and customs. The first one is open to some level of debate, but there is no doubt that, wherever you draw the line, a line must be drawn at the point that a scam becomes untenable.

Once it is obvious that a scam is present in the rules, it is the duty of most players to fix the scam up, or at least prevent a recurrence of it happening. This is part of the reason that some rules in Ackanomic appear so much wordier than people think they would need to be. In reality, the extra verbiage is there to prevent scams and ensure the robustness of the game.

At the present time, there are still a number of instances of scambait remaining in the ruleset, some with little sign of imminent correction or repeal. While Beldin's Pants has been exposed, the full state of the Frankenstein Monster situation is still questionable. There has been no CFJ involving the issues, even in a hypothetical state. As a result, it is hard to say, at this stage, that any scam involving the Frankenstein Monster rules will necessarily be successful.

However, while the FM when it was created was initially harfy (and in fact was scammed and fixed courtesy of Malenkai), its harfiness is waning. Now is the time to throw off the shackles of the Frankenstein Monster, and forge new crazy ideas with the Harf thereby released.

Remember, while Harf may appear limitless, in practice it comes with a cost, itself harfing. This duality of Harf means that the amount of Harf the rules can support is limited. Do not attempt to further enharf the rules without considering the backlash of your actions. This has been a warning from the Committee to Preserve Harf.

Letters to the Ackan are always welcome. We will publish contributors within reason, because our aim is to provide Ackans with a comprehensive news and opinions service. This includes opinions contradicting the paper, so feel free to criticise editorial comments.

If you want your opinions heard, or letters published, please send them to dcr24@cam.ac.uk.

Send a stamped self-addressed email to the address listed above, marked "Acka: Ackan" and we'll do our best to get back to you.

Have another good Ackan week - banna willing we'll be back next week.

Editor, The Infrequent Ackan 


Apologies and Retractions

The Ackan apologises for incorrectly omitting the details of one Duel last week. The sub-editor had a Duel of eir own with the managing editor, but, being an Ackan non-entity, was not allowed to manipulate the game state and hence lost by default.

The Ackan also apologises to those who may have been misled partially by last week's Editorial. As breadbox pointed out, the first scam was Wayne's interesting attempt to unilaterally set eir score to the Magic Number. Further, Malenkai's AOJ scam was not necessarily aimed at permanently preventing Robert Sevin from winning. Rather, it was much more likely to have been an attempt to allow the game state to be put into a position where cycle wins could be handled properly.

Now that I've run out of sub-editors, I've ordered a fresh batch of fact checkers from the Ackanomic Institute of Genetic Replication. Unfortunately, as they are not entities, they may not manipulate the game state themselves, and so I have to go back and fix every error myself. In response, each one that points out an error is made sub-editor. That oughta fix 'em.

The Ackan heartily apologises for any damage or difficulties caused by these errors and/or omissions.


Poll Question

Question Number 6 was issued last week, and was:

6. What do you think of The Infrequent Ackan's new Web multi-column layout (with smaller text for more sensible column sizes)?

(a) - There's a World Wide Web now?
(b) - I'd rather read the paper version.
(c) - It's nothing special.
(d) - Nice effort!

The response was a little less overwhelming than the last few questions. Only three players bothered to respond, despite the offering of a free trinket. The Ackan promotional drawer is empty at the moment, however, so the status of future polls is currently hanging in the balance. If we can get hold of some petty cash forms disaster may be averted. Don't hold your breath waiting, though, for it will not be until next week at the earliest that the situation is resolved.

Of the three responses last week, one was (b), and two were (d). It appears that the Ackan continuing to publish in the two-column HTML format is justified, and so this trend will continue. To the player who answered (b), I say the following: Please remit 43p for postage.

The lucky winner of the Trinket this week is:

The minimal guaranteed reward remains in place - one lucky reply will be chosen to receive a Trinket of guaranteed minimum value A$5. It's not much, but if it gets a response it's worth every Ackapenny (even though they may be indivisible).

Remember, your opinion does matter to us here at the Ackan (but we of course reserve the right to ignore opinions which are obviously based on malice and/or sheer stupidity :-))

It costs very little of your time to enter, and there's always the chance of that Trinket, so please respond to the Great Infrequent Ackan Poll Competition!



More Ackanomic News

Late News Held Over

Slakko was re-elected President in a landslide victory last Saturday. With a record turnout of 26 votes cast in the election, Slakko still romped away with an absolute majority of 14 votes, compared to 12 votes split between the other 4 candidates.

The victory was somewhat pyrrhic for Slakko, however, as eir reinstatement as President only assisted one of eir rivals for the post. Slakko, in an exclusive statement to the Ackan, has sworn that e will not stand for a third term.

"The last time we had a President run for a third term, we saw interesting scam chaos. Now, while I'm all for interesting scam chaos in moderation, a President should really attempt to clamp down on that sort of thing. I wouldn't want my Presidency marred by that kind of crisis finishing it off. So I've decided that, after this second term, I'll leave the Presidential job to the younguns."

Stripey Stuff

Blue Cross action was fast and furious this week, with three players getting into the accepted proposal action.

Firstly, The Gingham Wearer fulfilled all the Infrequent Ackan expectations by going on to pick up eir Blue Cross, for achieving twenty accepted proposals. We can only hope that e continues eir role as a guardian of mutability, and long may eir proposals continue.

Secondly, Vynd was invested with eir first ever Silver Stripe, on reaching a Blue Cross Rank of 30. No comment has yet been received from Vynd about the honour - it is assumed e is too choked up to speak. Both of the above awards were presented during a dramatic fountain display at Slakko's House and Water Tower.

Meanwhile, due to an oversight and temporary harfing overload, the third Stripe Ceremony of the week was at Tamson House. Alfvaen, as Proconsul, awarded emself a Silver Stripe to go with eir two Gold Stripes. Such a Ceremony should have been conducted in a more public setting, and Slakko has, in a previously confidential statement, admitted e "screwed up bigtime by not giving Alfie the Stripe when I had the chance."

Otzma Record Sales

The Otzma Auction started last Friday saw the continuing inflationary spiral hit yet another part of Acka's economy. Share Your Income cards, always highly sought after, broke the magical A$200 barrier, despite the fact that two were up for auction. Meanwhile, Untouch Me cards hit what is believed to be an all-time low, trading for only A$3.

While most other cards traded for only slightly above average prices, the Share Your Income price was enough to make this latest Otzma Day Auction Set the most profitable ever for the Treasury.


Religious Zealotry Hits Acka

The Gadgets which caused such a flurry last week have led to some interesting religious developments in Acka. Two churches have been founded in the past week, both claiming to have received their divine inspiration from Gadgets. The Church to the Evil Ballot Stuffer was the first to be created, with the noble doctrine of abolishing the existence of Good Ballot Stuffers forever, that true Ballot Stuffing may flourish.

Meanwhile, in a pitiful imitative attempt to balance the score, a group of misfits clubbed together to found the blasphemous Church of the Good Ballot Stuffer. Such an attempt is surely doomed to failure, no matter what diabolical schemes those who believe they are on the side of Good wish to employ.

It looked like Odo on the Wormhole would rejoin the ranks of the Churches this week as well. However, the Founder's heading off on holiday appears to have put such plans on hold.

Financial Follies

Although the Chair of the Ackan Reserve is taking a (no doubt well-earned) break, the Stock Market is still being tracked, thanks to the efforts of K 2.

The activity index has confounded some expert opinions by producing sustained minor gains for most of the last week. However, such gains cannot continue indefinitely, and it appears that a significant fall in activity is due soon.

Proposal acceptances continue to send the Positivity Index to new heights. As a result, the Combined Index reached an all time high in excess of 75 during the week.

Interestingly, these gains have not been on the same percentage level as previous gains. As a result, compounded returns are falling, leading to some claims that the market is due for a big collapse any day now. However, given the initial interest in the index, it is not surprising that waning enthusiasm has seen some slowing of the rate of increase.

Meanwhile, the first of the Stock Market reform proposals was put up this week. The introduction of commission is expected to force a change in strategy for most short-term investors. The enforced total penalty of 10% on a full in and out trade means that short term gains are much more likely to be wiped out by long term penalties.

We may well see a panic surge of buying prior to the distribution of voting results on this proposal, as people queue up to avoid paying the 5% commission on stock purchases. The real question, though, is how many of these investors are truly in for the long haul.

The Infrequent Ackan Stock Indicator Tip for the week is: Buy if you can. Continuing trends suggest that proposal acceptances will outstrip rejections sufficiently to average out to long-term gains. Planned changes may reduce or eliminate these gains, so now is still the time to buy.



The Way We Were

25th April 1997: Discussion centred around the lack of discussion relating to proposals. A very Ackan feature, the meta-discussion. This was not long after the famous "Binary Me" and "Thank You Yakko" proposals, the first of which would have been completely unworkable, and the second of which was almost completely pointless. (Although who am I to pass up a gratuitous Animaniacs reference?)

Bascule retracted Proposals 1964 and 1965, and xebra bod (now breadbox) declined judgement on the CFJ 371 appeal, passing it over to ThinMan as Praetor.


snowgod explained eir motives in weird proposing to be trying to beat CnH to 100 failed proposals. Interestingly, CnH only achieved that target during this past week in 1998.

Proposal 1927 passed, repealing The Size of Things, as did 1928, eliminating the concept of entity renting. This time last year was obviously a point where the Ruleset was undergoing some spring cleaning.

The failed proposals for the day were 1930, 1931 and 1932. So that was the day that was, one year ago!





Party Chess Report

During the later stages of the Free For All which finished last Tuesday, Alfvaen managed to replace eir King on the board. This created the rare situation of 8 Swingers with positive Weights. Now that the Swingpoints have been slightly modified, all of these Swingers will be able to join in the benefits of Swingpoint ownership.

However, this has not turned the Party Chess board into a friendly place - far from it. The grasping for position is still as intense as ever - the Free For All merely allowed things to be jolted out of equilibrium so as to create some new alliances and enmities.

The FFA generated 19 moves over a period of only 7 days - a record rate for such a large number of moves. Given the complex nature of the board as it stands, and the need to keep 8 people juggled in a game designed for only 7, expect to see more Free For Alls in the coming months.

Meanwhile, this week also saw Swingers in the Transfer Market. Niccolo, heading away for two weeks, transferred eir job to K 2, who is already into the swing of things (*blam* no bad puns dammit!). With Guy Fawkes on vacation, Attila the Pun has also joined the fray, stepping into the vacant place in the NAP Swinger Seat on an Acting basis.

The weight collapse at the top continues, with no player currently possessing a Weight in excess of 100. Surprisingly, though, these changes have come about through some aggressive play - Slakko's capturing of K 2's Camel managed to bring both of their weights down under the magic 100, completing a process begun when The Gingham Wearer's newly promoted Rooks began disappearing last week.

This week, who knows what will happen? Swingpoints distributed on Monday could see some interesting strategic action (especially given that /dev/joe is now Tornadoless and needs some quick Weight). After that, it could be back to the long term alliances, but I couldn't say for sure.


Sub Game Summary

Every week - every subgame going.

Abstract Crescent

Abstract Crescent moves even further into the danger zone. With the removal of rufus for continued apathy, the target score was reduced to 30. This round, with The Gingham Wearer having joined the crew in the 20s, sees 4 of the 6 current players with a chance at taking the coveted AC title and the Jade Grapefruit that goes with it.

Last round saw the move shrinkage hit a brick wall - 1, 2 and 3 were all played, allowing TGW to claim maximum points. If the theory of Abstract Crescent play holds up, moves this round should be significantly higher than normal on average, as players jockey to see if anyone will finally lose points for winning a round.

If you're not currently playing Abstract Crescent, and you want to be, then as Umpire I'm still accepting submissions from people who want to play. I'll be inserting them into the rolling congruences as soon as possible after I receive them, provided the game is not over first. So come and play Abstract Crescent! You'll be pleasantly surprised.


The first two games of Eleusis are now well underway. The small Game 1 is a few rounds old, with /dev/joe looking like e has discovered a useful pattern, while The Gingham Wearer flounders slightly with incorrect plays.

Game 2, meanwhile, is going through rounds somewhat more slowly, which is to be expected with twice the number of players. Robert Sevin has adopted the interesting strategy of exactly mimicing the plays of Fortunato, two turns prior. At this stage, it does not appear to be working well. This may give some clues as to the nature of the secret play, but hopefully it will still remain relatively opaque.


Game 3 of Fictionary has completed Round 3, with JT as Brainiac. The definition word of "dagoba" led to a wide range of responses. However, when voting results were revealed, snooping reporter Slakko checked on the legitimacy of the Actual Definition JT used.



In an unfortunate result, it was found that this definition was not an exact word-for-word copy of one of the definitions in the Official Dictionaries. Indeed, even the final full stop to make the definition a complete sentence was missing.

It begs one to consider whether or not these omissions would have had any effect on voting patterns for this Round. The reliance on knowing that the correct Definition is, in fact, grammatically correct and punctuationally complete may well have led people to dismiss the incorrectly written Actual Definition out of hand.

So, what happens to JT's round? Are the scores listed as he said, or will the unfortunate default situation listed in the Rules take hold? At this stage the correct situation has yet to be determined, and tradition dictates that CFJs are not the appropriate vehicle. After all, it's only a game.


A combination of apathy and misdirection saw /dev/joe grab his 10th and winning Viruspoint today, despite some fearsome opposition. The Gingham Wearer and Slakko both attacked /dev/joe's counts, trying to force em below the scores of two-star or breadbox. However, else...if aided and abetted /dev/joe by attacking two-star, in a move which experts were scratching their heads over.

breadbox was too concerned with eir own Viruses to worry about /dev/joe winning, a move which turned out to be unfortunate at best, and downright foolish at worst. Further, two-star, the player with the best chance of catching /dev/joe, threw eir chips in by failing to make a move.

So, Virus players, it looks like most of us only have ourselves to blame. /dev/joe sneaked home the 10th point by a single Viruscount, 30 to 29 over two-star, when a single play from 3 of the other Viruseers would have seen the game continue on to Round 40.

Congratulations to /dev/joe on achieving the win. May your Jade Grapefruit be soft and juicy.

Word Un-Association 

Word Un-Association came close to providing a sudden spark of scoring last round, as only a single player was able to find a legitimate link between ointment and ridicule. The scores have therefore remained very low in this game, and it therefore becomes a good question as to how long the game can go on for.

Stay tuned for more late-breaking Word Un-Association news.


The diversion into the "real world" from our story was, frankly, a little depressing. We introduced a character, only to have em killed off. Mind you, we are back into the real story now, searching again to complete the Talisman of banna.

An opportune interruption (thanks, no doubt, to a careful set-up in earlier play) has seen the game's leader, The Gingham Wearer, regain control of the story. However, with only 2 cards left, and 4 loose ends, whether e can finish off the story at this point is questionable. Perhaps the story is not yet played out - there seem to be quite a lot of extraneous elements which have yet to be reintroduced.

For example, whatever happened to snowgod's castle? We saw one glimpse of it, very early on, but since then nothing has happened. At least, given the loose end nature of snowgod, the story will have to return to erPhil sometime.

Duel Summary

There is sitll one Duel in progress (despite significant attempts to place a time limit on it) - the Spades Duel between Hubert and Goldenmean. Round 4 has finally been completed, leaving Hubert and his second Slakko well in the lead, but still less than half the distance to the goal. Given that it has taken two and a half months to get this far, we could well be seeing the first ever six-month Duel, provided none of its combatants go on Holiday first. 


The Ackan is still looking for more interviews. If you have yet to respond to the Ackan call for interviews, and have held a public office in Acka for at least one month continuously at any stage in Acka's history, then the staff of the Infrequent Ackan would like to hear from you. Just email us at dcr24@cam.ac.uk with the keywords "Acka: Ackan" and say you would like to do an interview. That's all. If you are accepted (which, let's face it, is still pretty likely at this stage) then someone from the Ackan will be around to contact you shortly.








The Infrequent Ackan, first to you with Ackan news.

Copyright © Duncan Richer writing under the pseudonym of "Slakko", 25th April 1998.

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