Issue 1, April 4th 1995



Welcome to the first issue of Thring Weekly!

This digest or newsletter (call it what you will) will appear every week, possibly around Tuesday lunchtime (South Australian time), for at least as long as I enjoy doing it and/or have the time.

Not only will it hit the electronic mailboxes of subscribers to the Thring Mailing List, but every issue will be available on WWW at the address " pure_maths/lschubert/weekly/index.html".

Its purpose is to discuss events and topics in the game of Thring Nomic, and also hopefully to pose wider questions about Nomic (and maybe Life) in general. Input from all quarters - including observers of the Thring game, and those not subscribed to the Mailing List - is welcomed, through either letters to the editor or submissions of articles. In particular, I know that some of you reading this have edited (or submitted articles to) newsletters (or newspapers) before, so feel free to give (constructive!) criticism and technical advice. This first issue looks like it's entirely written by me, but ...

I'd also like to have a regular column on Bartok (however it's spelt), a card game which has some resemblance to Nomic. Any contributions in this area are also welcome.

The main feature of this issue is A Brief History of Game 1. It turned out a little longer than I'd planned, and may be slightly biased; if you think that you or your proposals deserve more coverage or that some events actually have a different interpretation, Revised Histories may be published at a later date. Note that "Brief" is rather an ambiguous term, in that my definition differs considerably from Adrian's ...


Luke Schubert ((()))

A Brief History of Game 1

(by Luke Schubert the Surreptitious)
"We have met the enemy, and they is us."
-- Pogo.
"Attend ye well, for this is the Thring Story. We shall tell a tale of heroic endeavour and stupendous bravery, of base deceit and improbable triumph."
-- from the Thring Story.

Game 1 of the game of Nomic now known as Thring began on the 1st of December, 1994, declared open by its first Speaker David Wilson. It had seven Players, including this Speaker, all from Australia and three observers (two from Cambridge) - that is, three people subscribed to the Nomic Mailing List and lurking. Special mention must be made of Sam Bushell and especially Andrew Rutherford for their part in the creation of the Nomic Mailing List and general technical assistance.

From these humble beginnings, Game 1 stagnated. Over December, there were two or three proposals per week; over January, when our esteemed Speaker was in Canberra, one or two - except for the Nomic Week beginning on the 25th of January, when there were 5 proposals; however, none of these were accepted, as there was only one voter and a quorum was not achieved.

Nevertheless, even during this lean time, there were interesting rules and innovations. Rule 303, the notorious "no FOR votes" rule, and the Nomic Story rule, 305, were adopted in the first weeks. Indeed, rule 303 sparked an early grab for points with Proposal 308: "Mystery Player X shall gain 10 points per Nomic Week" (well, this is what it would have looked like if Rule 340 had been in force then). But 303 was invalidated by the successful passage of Proposal 309, which transmuted Rule 209 so that the new Rule 309 took precedence over 303; the irony is that there were no votes FOR Proposal 309, so that it was adopted by rule 303.

January also saw the Opposite Proposal Rule, which was followed for several weeks before it was realised that this rule conflicted with the rule that the Speaker may not make a proposal; only recently has this been corrected. Honourable mentions go to Proposals 311 and 320, which were identical: both proposed changing "integer" to "Fibonacci number" in Rule 304, and to an attempt (Proposal 316) to name this Game of Nomic Logos.

In February, there began to be submitted more Proposals - and more Votes! To this period belong Rule 326 - of the Wondrous Epithets, and then The Birthnames Bill and rule 329 - unofficially known as the "3 week sin bin" rule. Finally this Game of Nomic was named Thring.

In the Week beginning March 6th, things began to hot up - though to an extent none of us realised at the time. Along with various anti-discrimination acts, The Spelling Roole and the (as yet little-used) Playing the Joker was the seemingly innocuous Proposal 335:

Proposal 335:

That Rule 211 be modified to :

At the end of the voting period of a Proposal, the Player who made the proposal shall receive F^2 - A^2 points, where F is the number of votes cast FOR the Proposal and A the number of votes AGAINST.


The symbol '^2' indicates that the variable x in the expression x^2 is to be raised to the power 2.

Troy Porter the Marvellous Insectoid has confessed to being "the perpetrator of this foul act" (eir words).

Proposal 335 was passed 4-3.

The next week saw fairly unremarkable Proposals - with the Snakes and Ladders rule perhaps the prime exception - but, after they were voted for, rather radical changes in scores.

Troy, perhaps fittingly, went from 4 to -28. Those who benefitted included Al Flaert (not the furry one), who went from 8 to 41, Luke Schubert ((the Surreptitious)) whose score changed from 25 to 70, and Adrian Corston the Geographically Jealous who shot from 9 to 59 points.

The actual content of the next Proposals seems not to have mattered. The only Proposal to be adopted was the Free Trade Bill - and that by a margin of 4 to 3. In a reaction against the high-spending and high-scoring week before, there was a general atmosphere of doom, gloom and negativity (economists reading this:feel free to submit a good analogy of your choice). The highest gain of points was 2 (again to Adrian), while there were now three players on negative numbers, one thanks to the Bribery proposal which was voted down 1-7. As David said at the time, the total sum of scores of all the Players went from 199 to 98 points.

The Free Trade Bill immediately came into play, with Luke transferring 11 points to Adrian for "his [sic] help with revising Proposal 352 [the Appealing Judgements Rule - ed.] into its current (highly popular when voted on) form." This was followed by Al Flaert transferring 18 points to Adrian (the maximum possible, as this took Adrian to 90 points) for reasons of eir own.

By this time, there were a few proposals to limit the power of Rule 335 - though they were all slightly flawed. Another notable proposal was The Yank Sucking up to the Speaker Rule (submitted, presumably, by Don the Yank) for the Speaker getting a salary of 2 points per Week.

April the 3rd saw a Winner - Adrian Corston the Geographically Jealous, on 106 points! Scores again went up and down by large amounts: Luke losing 50 points, Troy gaining 60 and Simon Wilson - Yo! also gaining 50. The game ended with two players between -5 and -1 points, two on zero, four between 1 and 10 and, in fact, no other player higher than 15 points.

Rule changes resulting from these votes and carrying over into the next Game include the repeal of rule 335, leaving Players with no way to gain points from proposals being accepted (or, conversely, no way to lose points if they are rejected). The Thring Story officially will continue into the new Game; however, it may be a lot harder to win Game 2, given Rule 371 - the Clear Lead Ending.

From low points of only one vote in a Week, Game 1 has seen spectacular gains and losses, and the steady gain of overseas and Australian players (including the "conversion" of one long- time observer) and regular votes by up to 8 Players per Week. There have also been some rather interesting developments in the Nomic Story - but that's a tale for another day.

Forgotten Proposals

(by Luke Schubert the Surreptitious) This regular column will be devoted to proposals (and rules) which, for one reason or another, do not appear in the current rules. That is, proposals which were rejected or didn't meet quorum, as well as rules which were repealed.

Each issue of the Weekly shall cover all the relevant proposals or rules for one Nomic Week, beginning at the first and proceeding in chronological order (surprise!). The format will be: a proposal including any comments distributed with it, followed by the voting record on that proposal the next week and (where permission has been received) the identity of the proposer, and then any comments by the editor.

Week 1 (beginning December 1st, with the start of the Game)

Proposal 301:

That Rule 220 be repealed.

{comment: this proposal aims to speed up game play. Note that Rule 118 will still apply, so that we can submit at most 3 proposals instead of 2}

Voting: one FOR, one AGAINST.

Submitted by: Luke Schubert.

Ah well, a brave attempt. Perhaps its time has come - see Proposal 390.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor will hopefully be a regular feature of this newsletter. Anyone (including observers and those not subscribed to the Thring mailing list) is welcome to submit a letter via email to with subject something like "Letter to Thring Weekly Editor". Please specify if you wish to remain anonymous.

As well as feedback on the first edition and suggestions for columns or material, feel free to start the ball rolling on one or more of these topics:

Sufficiently interesting and/or crackpot letters will be published at the discretion of the editor.

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