|Mornington Nomic||Frequently Asked Questions|
1. What is Mornington Nomic?Mornington Nomic is a Nomic game, inspired by the ever-popular Mornington Crescent strategy game, combining the style and wit of the latter with the creative flux of the former.
In a Nomic game, players continually suggest alterations to the initial ruleset; the addition of new rules, or the amendment (or even removal) of existing ones. The rest of the players then discuss and vote on these proposals - if enough are in favour, the suggestions are implemented immediately.
This seemed like it might be an interesting way to establish an original and genuine set of rules for Mornington Crescent. Mornington Nomic started with but three essential playing rules:- "Players take it in turn to name Tube Stations; these are known as Moves.", "The Winner is the first Player to Move to Mornington Crescent." and "No Player may Move to Mornington Crescent."
The players have taken it a long, long way since then, bringing in an impressive range of new ideas, as well as "traditional" MC terminology borrowed from ISIHAC and the York and Delphi servers. A year and a half on, and some five hundred proposals in, we've got an alarmingly strategic and playable game going.
2. How does the actual MC game work, then?To summarise very lightly; a game of Mornington Crescent under our rules involves Players taking Turns in sequence, each Turn consisting of a single Move (the name of a Station) and a number of Actions (such as Blocking, Shunting, Striling, declaring Knip, and what have you). Actions can only be performed if you have the required Tokens to pay for them, and Tokens are gained by certain Moves (generally to do with Interchanges that you pass through or end up at) or by completing other Actions first.
The Moves available to you depend on your previous Move, your current Line Velocity (the speed at which you're moving around the Map, typically between zero and ten), and whether any Stations have been Blocked, whether any Game States prevent certain routes being taken, and the like. A Player's first Move is always to his or her "Home Station", a Station which he or she may choose to "teleport" back to later in the Game, for no cost.
The game is played over email (on a number of separate mailing lists known as "Game Lounges"), with each Player posting an updated "Game State Document" to the mailing list in turn - this includes all the previous Moves (much the same as a typical York game), but also has a table at the top which lists the Tokens and other details of each Player, rather than expecting us to remember such things.
An example Game State Document may be put together at some point; for now, Game 5 was quite an endearing little two-player game that wasn't overly complicated, and it's probably worth a glance. You won't find the "[Token Running]" Action in the Ruleset any more, because it was decided to be a little too powerful (if you started your Turn at a Terminus Station, you could play the Action to gain a Gold Token, and three are required to move to Mornington Crescent), and I wouldn't advise trying to follow it too closely (there have been other amendments; Zone 1 Passes are more expensive these days, for one) but it should give some idea of how the game works.
3. Doesn't this go against the essential premise of MC?Well, yes, of course it does, and players who appreciate the freeforming style of IMCS-regulated Mornington Crescent will probably find our own Ruleset quite restrictive; our precise definitions of Blocking, Straddling and suchlike will probably be rather strange to adjust to after playing normal MC, but we hope you'll appreciate the new angle.
Mornington Crescent is - if nothing else - a game of infinite variety. This is just another take on it.
4. Where can I find out more about Nomics?Your best bet is perhaps to have a look at the Nomic FAQ, really. As much blather and links as anyone could possible wish for.
If you're keen to try a "normal" Nomic, the Speaker recommends Garden Nomic, which has a fairly comprehensible ruleset, a nice atmosphere, and welcomes new Players.
5. How do I join Mornington Nomic?The majority of Mornington Nomic's goings-on (proposal distribution and general discussion) are carried out on an email mailing list; if you're interested in joining the Nomic, you should sign up to this.
Send a blank message to email@example.com (that's "ell-nomic", not "one-nomic", incidentally). You will be automatically subscribed to the mailing list, and are welcome to spectate and comment on the games and discussions in progress.
You're advised to lurk for a week or two before joining, just to see what you think of things, but if you've already had some Nomic experience and are confident about joining, feel free to jump straight in and sign up properly...
To quote Rule 0.3.1:-
Anyone may apply to join Mornington Nomic by sending a request in an email to the Speaker (see Rule 0.3.2) stating that they wish to join the game, and giving a one-word Name by which they wish to be known. The Speaker will then determine whether the application is successful. Any successful applicant becomes a Player. The Speaker's decision is final in this matter.The Mornomic Speaker is currently Duncan Ellis (having assumed the mantle from the estimable Kevan Davis at the beginning of 1999), and you can email him in that capacity at firstname.lastname@example.org (all Speaker mail such as Votes should be sent here too). Alternatively, you can email him personally at email@example.com.
6. How do I leave?Unsubscribe from any lists you've subscribed to - just follow the instructions you received when you joined those lists.
Oh, and don't forget to formally Resign from the Game (Rule 1.1.3) if you've actually joined the Nomic.
7. Does this take a lot of time and effort to play?Generally - no; you can do as much or as little as you feel you want to. You don't have to vote on the proposals made each week, although it's up to you if you give up your right to have a say in how the game develops. You're not obliged to propose new rules or amendments every week, either. And you don't even have to play the Mornington Crescent games if you don't feel like it.
Although perhaps daunting at first, in terms of the scope of your abilities as a voter and the range of moves possible in the Mornington Crescent games, once you've been playing a few weeks it'll all become a lot clearer. Don't think that you need to be completely au fait with the entire ruleset before you can even clear your throat - all the regular players still occasionally overlook things, and any carelessly illegal moves, whether made by a veteran or a new player, are always treated kindly.
If you have any questions, feel free to email the Speaker or to bring it up on the mailing list. We've occasionally had new players asking for an explanation of something, only for us to realise that we sloppily reworded a rule two months ago and hadn't noticed that it didn't make sense any more...
8. What does this have to do with Garden Nomic?Very little, other than the fact that they're both Nomics, that Garden Nomic used some of Mornington Nomic's Rules for its initial Ruleset, and that they share a few players.
For reasons we still can't quite work out, people occasionally try to join Mornington Nomic thinking that it's Garden Nomic, and vice versa.
9. How frequently are these questions asked, then?Er, not very. Which I suppose is a good sign. We occasionally get "How do I leave the list?" regardless of this FAQ, but that's about it. Let us know if there are any other questions you think we should include.