As our first game of Nomic came rapidly to a close, it became obvious that a few rule-changes would be necessary if we were to play again, viz. alterations to the judicial system and restrictions on point trading. To meet these ends, Josh Kortbein and I undertook several revisions to the Ruleset during July.
Rule 212, the Judiciary Process, seemed almost immediately to be inadequate for the needs of our game. It was never clear what force Judgments had, sometimes it was not clear what question was to be judged or if a judgment had been issued (q.v. Judgement 4), and waiting for Judgments to be issued frequently held up play for days at a time; however, these problems, although annoying, were tolerable. The last week of the first game brought out a different and more serious set of flaws.
Firstly, Chris Mayfield legally judged his own protest. Until that point, although the possibility had been open, no player had had occasion to protest while he was judge. While I do not claim Mr. Mayfield to have been in error, it did introduce a conflict of interest that, for the sake of fairness, should be avoided. Secondly, the procedure for overturning Judgments raised another conflict of interest issue when the other players were, because Rule 212 required unanimity for overturning Judgments, unable to overturn Judgment 12, giving Josh Kortbein the win. While, again, I do not dispute the result, clearly Mr. Kortbein should not have been allowed to vote in the matter.
A solution to these problems proved lengthier than I wanted one rule to be; therefore, the content of Rule 212 was parceled out to Rules 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, and 220. The changes in their essentials are:Chris Mayfield’s Judgment 12 allowed unlimited point transfers because points were judged to be values rather than objects. The lack of a rule governing point trading (or arbitrary score modification of any type) led to Mr. Kortbein’s win. Rule 310 now prohibits score changes not explicitly authorized by the rules.
The new Judicial process requires that to be considered, all Requests for Judgment contain a clearly stated question for Judgment able to be answered with a “yes” or “no”, solving the problem of unclear RFJ’s. RFJ’s that do not meet this requirement may be dismissed by the Judge. A Judge will be randomly assigned to each RFJ, pursuant to several restrictions found in Rule 215 to prevent conflicts of interest. Since the identity of the Judge cannot be known beforehand, the possibility of another Player suborning the Judge decreases. Additionally, Players will no longer be allowed to judge their own RFJ’s; Complainants may exclude up to three other Players from the Judging pool; and players already Judging RFJ’s may not be selected to Judge, both to avoid potential conflicts of interest and to spread out Judging responsibilities. A 72-hour time limit has been instated to prevent RFJ’s from unduly slowing the game. In lieu of the Players voting on overturning Judgments, a Court of Appeals consisting of three Appellate Judges has been created, which through the exclusions placed on selection for the Court, should help to eliminate the conflicts of interest which inevitably arise when Judgments are overturned. Finally, Judgments are given the force of Rules until they become obsolete or are overturned.
Rule 204, Opposed Minority Scoring, was altered to decrease the incentive for being contrary.
The other changes were mostly cosmetic: rules for non-email play were eliminated; the voting system was rewritten in a more precise manner; several understood customs were codified. Only the alterations to the Judicial System and point trading should have any effect on play.
It is hoped that these changes will make our next game smoother and more enjoyable than the first.