Issue 10, January 21st, 1997.



"Thring Weekly?" you ask, "when the last issue was 8 months ago??"

Well, there can only be excuses: like a PhD which only has a few months to go, the beginning of Internomic, fast and furious Thringing (at times :) and Christmas holidays ... which have taken parts of this editor's time which Thring should have had by rights!

But this editor is also traditionalist (at least in most Thring matters) and so will not rename this publication something more appropriate, such as "The Thring Semi-Annual", "Thring Irregular", or even "The Thring Times" ... Though pressure may grow now that our current Speaker is putting out a weekly summary of Thring events, and the logical name for it is taken.

So we're in Game 7 now, for those who haven't been following on the mailing list; Anthony Bailey is Speaker, and has been for many Weeks, a time which would have only been prolonged by eir recent attempted Win ... of which another issue of TW may speak more. Thring has now 10 Players, of which 2 are Inactive, up from recent times but not quite the record. Thring is also playing Internomic, which has itself seen controversy recently, what with an alleged win by Ackanomic (another email-based Nomic) by setting eir points to 100, and much discussion of an Internomic Court of Justice and inter-nomic trading ...

This Week of Thring is of course Millenial Week (Hurrah! Huzzah! Whoops-a-daisy!), celebrating the proposing (and acceptance) of Proposal 1000. How sweet it is.

Though, mind you, not without its problems; unforeseen rule-clashes mean that a Week or two will go by without Proposals being Voted on ...

So what's in store this issue? More celebrations of Thring's uniqueness and its Players' creativity, that's what! In no particular order, the entries to the Competition for describing Nomic Variants are presented here; our OTCCGSR (never can remember that acronym) gives an exclusive run-down of the last few Colour-Country Games (many thanks; most enjoyable, even for a CCG onlooker); there's A Brief History of Game 3 (some games behind, but maybe we'll get there eventually), and the Questmaster has provided Graphs of the Questing Ground as it is and as it should have been ...

Read on, enjoy, and may Thring have 1000 more Proposals ...

--Luke Schubert the Watchful, sometime Thring Weekly editor.

Competition #2: Nomic Variants! Full List for Voting!

Well, though the entries didn't exactly pour in, there are six ... Thanks to those who did enter; this TW issue is all the richer for it.

Briefly, the idea was to describe a possible variant of Nomic, which retained Nomic's flavour. Each entry should have consisted of a title, a brief description, and a sample rule.

So how about those prizes? Well, the continually-changing prize rules (this is Nomic, after all) are now that there will be a prize of 5 points for the variant that voters would most like to play, and the same prize for the variant voted most innovative, while there will be an honourable mention and 1 point for the editor's choice.

Voting rules are as follows: Email the editor your votes for the variant you'd most like to play and that you think is most innovative, with the following restrictions:
*only one vote for each allowed, and
*you may not vote for (any of) your own entry(s).

Anyone reading this is eligible to vote (bar the editor, naturally).

The results will be published in the next Thring Weekly or in two weeks time, depending; a reminder about voting will be issued shortly before that time.

Here, then, are the entries. Note that the last entry is submitted by the editor - just so you've been warned.

Variant #1: Limited Overs Nomic.
The ruleset starts with twenty hand-picked rules, and is limited to a maximum of fifty rules. Once space in the ruleset starts getting limited, pressure is on to get more and more out of the ruleset in traditional Nomic style without proposing new rules or getting crocked...
Sample Rule: Rule 15 - A player whose proposal cannot be added to the ruleset must resign from the game.

Variant #2: AlphaBeta Nomic.
Alphabetic resources are required in order to submit formal documents and Player's draw their income from the Rules that they have had Enacted. Thus every Player has a limited supply of letters and punctuation they may use, and long Rules will be viewed with suspicion.
Sample Rule: Players are not charged for the vowel used in any univocalic sentences (e.g. These clever sentences get the 'e's free. Let senseless expense be needless. Yes, we cheer the "Weekly"!)

Variant #3: Hackenbush Nomic.
A game with two phases and a thrilling end! Phase one allows twenty rules per player to be created via the usual process. Once players have filled their quota, they must try to eliminate all rules by other players, who must leave when they have no rules of their own left.
Sample Rule: Rule 24 (by Hamish) - For each repeal proposal proposed by a player, that player must vote for a repeal of a proposal of eir own.
Variant #4: Complete absence Nomic.
The ideal form? Nomic that starts with no rules. Players propose the mechanisms to propose new rules, from the ground up. Real shoe-string elevation principles. Does it turn into a full game of Nomic, or...
Sample Rule: No rule can take precedence over or defer to another rule or set of rules. If there is a conflict in the rules, then the specific will take precedence over the general, the Spirit of the Game will be considered, and the Speaker's decision is final.
Variant #5: Mornington Nomic
A popular game that has been played in the past, each move is both a move in a standard (or, if appropriate, variant) game of Mornington Crescent, and a proposal in Nomic. If the move in the game of MC is valid according to all the rules in the Nomic so far, then the proposal becomes a new rule.
Sample Rule: Rule 12: Each player must explicitly declare the manoeuvre they are performing when moving.
Variant #6: Nomic-3D
And now ... Nomic in stunning 3-D ! At last, a real-time shoot-em-up self-amending game! Seek and destroy other players, while constantly changing the rules of the game! Walls be abolished, new weapons could be created ... the only limit is your imagination!! [1]
Sample rule: Rule 3F4 (Booty) Any player who has 3 proposals in a row accepted gets a full clip of ammo.

[1] And the physical constraints of the computer, of course.

And if you really like any of these variants, why not try to turn Thring into it? :)


(From our man in the OTCCGSR's padded cell - Jon Poole)

Greetings to ye all, Thring viewers and players alike, I would like to (and dammit I _will_) bring you a review of the Colour Country games played since I have taken over as Official Thring Colour Country Grand Supremem Referee (look, I didn't choose the damn name, blame Anarchy, ok)

HOW IT ALL BEGAN (well this bit of it)

Ahh, I can visualise it now, e-mail servers the length and breadth of wherever e-mail severs exist were whispering in exitement at the news 'C&C was back' a poor steamer, a relative newcomer to Thring Nomic had decided to take on the at-that-moment-unoccupied position of OTCCGSR. The election was fierce (lie) involving not one dirty trick and a destinct lack of gerrymandering, but I won it (which, to be truthful surprised me) and game one was under way. The date is now 20th May, 1996.

GAME ONE - The Re-Birth

The creator of the game Anarchy moved off steadfastly with GREEN, blocking off all Chinquicento colours. PaulWay, our resident MC Grand Master responded with an elegant BLUE.The now de-active John Yeates speeded up the pace with a cunning inverse-video flip and MAGENTA, I knew then that it was going to be a short, but probably messy game. I was right. PaulWay's reply was simple but effective, LEMON, sliced into the game (Though I had to refer to my sources to see if it was an allowable colour), Riccardo; a veteran from the first C/C period jumped bravely into the frey with PURPLE to which fiend Yeates was forced to move to the accursed DARK PUCE, but Anarchy spotted his ploy and was able to counter with CRIMSON. Riccardo then resubmitted PURPLE, technically against the Rules but I know suspect it to be some sort of mail error. It was obvious now that things were too dangerous for any wannabes here, PaulWay flew with Indigo Riccardo; Yellow, Anarchy, again spotted the trick and pla yed Brown, thus forcing PaulWay into an illegal (metallic) move which I was forced to change to BOTSWANA.

GAME TWO - The Toneless Wonder

This time, new player Anthony set off the procedings with a nice and safe ORANGE to which John provided the ultimate SCARLET reply. PaulWay jumped in with a double of CERISE and AQUAMARINE (Which was to save him from his unfortunate loss of the last game and to move him up off the bottom of the league table) John countered with a safe piece of positional play with BEIGE and we looked all set for a nice long campaign.... BUT!!! horror of horrors, Anthony made a fateful mistake, he mis-read the definition of 'Colour' on the Web-page and DARK GREY was the result, I therefore was compelled to change it to ITALY.

GAME THREE - Country/Colour

John set of the procedings in this game, with a safe BELGIUM to open, Anthony moved to ENGLAND (An illegal move I allowed due to the newness of the game). To calm things down PaulWay played a cunning SWITZERLAND and got the NPG going for the first time since the '88 Puce Party). John's Mexico, lead to a snide LITHUANIA from PaulWay, which was countered with TASMANIA by Anthony. Anarchy now had a Pacific circumnavigation to contend with, which he almost managed with CANADA. A John, Anthony, PaulWay; NEW ZEALAND, MALDIVES, AUSTRALIA managed to open up the four colour map and allowed a nippy little JAPAN from John. Despite my predictions Africa play was avoided and PaulWay slid in and took positional advantage at the FAEROE ISLANDS, forcing Anarchy to compromise with INDIA but letting Anthony nip into PAUA NEW GUINEA. PaulWay realised his rashness soon and was able to block attacks with a simple ISRAEL and Anarchy too, saw what was coming forcing the wretched Anthony into an illegal WALES, changed to DARK PUCE to put him out of his misery.

Game 4 is in progress at the moment, a game of simple C/C after the last two varients.

A league table accurate to game 3 can be found, alongside other Colour/Country information/facts/wombats at

A Brief History of Game 3

(by your humble TW editor)
"The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree."
--William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice.
"You got to be careful if you dont know where you're going, because you might not get there."
-- Yogi Berra.

As described in A Brief History of Game 2 in Issue 7 of Thring Weekly, Thring ended on June 20th 1995 "without provision for restarting" after a CfJ invoking the Rule 219 (as it was then) was judged TRUE. The ruleset at this time was felt to have several problems, and a subgroup of Thringers - mostly from Adelaide University - formed with the aim of discussing and rewriting the rules, so that Thring could restart without the fear of crashing again. This is not their story. Suffice to say that it happened, that rules were rewritten (MARK the over capitalised being responsible especially for changing the immutables) and Thring began again, entirely from the start as it were, with 9 Players (including myself as Speaker), on August the 10th 1995.

Week 1 of Game 3 therefore had no new proposals, since it was formally an entirely new game (though with many rules bearing a resemblance to the old Thring).

Week 2 saw several notable proposals in the new batch: Land Ownership, Thring Crescent, Opposite Proposals and The Structure of the Thring Universe were later accepted, while Yellow Cards, Let there be Pyramids and Score Thyself were rejected. Land Ownership introduced the famous circle around the Thring Capital, initially owned by the Thring Government (whoever that was), but purchaseable for points; Opposite Proposals saw "the Opposite Proposal Rule" amended to a more workable version, close to its current form; The Structure of the Thring Universe introduced an instability known as THIS which halved the score of any three Players occupying the same point in the Thring Universe.

On the other hand, Yellow Cards and Let there be Pyramids were both schemes for punishment of "rowdy" Thring players; Score Thyself was an ambitious and well-meaning proposal to make Players calculate their own scores, with penalties for attempted cheating, whose time has presumably not yet come.

Clearly the creative energy of Thringers had been building up over the six weeks' break.

Official Positions, though created before the break, had "mushroomed" during it; there were now seven (not including the Speaker). Two of these were unfilled, and the elections were bitterly contested by three Candidates each. The results were that Anarchy became Thring Lotto Commissioner, and PaulWay Storyteller (I believe e has held this Position ever since).

It was also around this time that two CfJ's were made challenging the current interpretation of Rule 474 as it was then (if that makes sense):

Rule 474 - Only The Brave Any formal submission to Thring Nomic that is syntactically correct, and does not have a declaration that all the spelling mistakes contained within the submission are intentional shall earn the Player that submitted the submission 2 points.

Anarchy firstly claimed that several Proposers had missed out on points under this rule, and secondly that CfJ's were themselves Formal Submissions. I believe that there were no limits to the number of CfJ's that one could make per week at that time ... (These were CfJ's 17 and 18.)

The judgement process itself was controversial, with the judge of the first statement furthermore attaching an Official Note to Rule 474 that only proposals and judgements were Formal Submissions, and the second judge (who handed down eir judgement shortly after) stating that yes, CfJ's were Formal Submissions.

There were then Appeals, four (!) more CfJ's (19 through 22) and more soul-searching ... one of these CfJ's alleging that Rules with numbers greater than 201 were legally indeterminate, since they were not labelled as either Mutable or Immutable as required by the rules of that time.

We labelled all the rules clearly after that, let me tell you.

Meanwhile, the Speaker (Luke Schubert (Thring Speaker the Third), as e was then known) was wondering just how to count up all the Formal Submissions that had been made to Thring ... the interpretation was now that this included all posts to the mailing list. Under the delegation rule introduced in the break, e nominated Troy Porter the Marvellous Insectoid (by sheer coincidence, proponent of the above interpretation) to perform the calculations, instead of the Speaker. Troy refused; the Speaker offered this job in succession to just about every Player of Thring, one condition being that acceptance would incur the title of either "The Grammar Policeman" or "Mr. Syntax" ... Finally PaulWay agreed to.

It took em a week and was, as far as I know, a long hard struggle. I quote from the email e sent after this time to the mailing list:


This is the result of the syntactical correctness analysis performed on week 4 of the third game of Thring. These were the assumptions made:

1) All mail sent to players of Thring via is counted as a Formal Submission.
2) Net etiquette, abbreviations, quoting style, and various nuances of 'standard email practice', are considered valid syntax.
3) Spivak pronouns are valid syntax.
4) Smilies are ignored.
5) Thring Context is assumed and expansions of anagrams pertaining to Thring will be done to assess syntactic correctness.
6) Only original text, not quoted text, is judged for syntactic correctness in a submission.

Player Name # Submissions # Points gained
Mark 2 4
Luke S. 16 32
Paul S. 2 4
Anarchy 11 22
PaulWay 7 14
Troy P. 4 8

The total number of formal submissions judged was 63, out of which 52 of these were syntactically correct. I judged submissions from 12:49:09 (EST) on 30/8/95 back to 12:56:54 (EST) on 26/8/95.

The Speaker also checked and awarded Proposals under Rule 474 from then until it was repealed.

Meanwhile, Week 3 had happened in there somewhere. Proposals included delineation of the Evil Empire (and the possibility of Players who trespassed therein being captured and sent to the Concentration Camp); limiting the number of CfJ's per week to 3; fine-tunings of Rule 438 (which, then as now, concerned points for votes); an amendment of Rule 474 to only cover proposals without spelling mistakes; and a points penalty for excessive mailings to the list (proposed by a certain engineer who didn't have time to read eir email). Fairly much all of these got in.

At this time, the Speaker also made a formal Confession of Guilt, admitting that e had (inadvertantly) broken several rules (hoping by this confession to end the discussion about this possibility) ... by Rule 101, the Voters were entitled to vote on a penalty for this violation, but nothing was agreed upon.

The next Week (4, beginning August 31st) saw more high points, including the proposal of the CCG (replacing Thring Crescent, which had been complained of - though it introduced at least Paul Schulz to MC), Thring Credits (allowing point changes mid-Week) and Land Development: points in the Universe that a Player owned could be turned into Farms or Shops for some initial cost, but then provide a steady income. The "rush for land" in the Thring Universe had already begun, but this prompted new purchases; by early October, Paul Schulz and Don (who rejoined Thring on September 15) owned more than 20 points and at least 4 farms each, while Riccardo also owned farms and Anarchy and Luke had patches of land to call their own. Again in Week 4, almost all proposals were accepted. (Story update: The sentence chosen this week was "Now, hopefully Tim would be outside the blast radius...")

Week 5 saw only 4 proposals, the lowest for "many moons"; these included an "Instant Cash Squabble", and The Rotten Egg, which was notable for using two undefined terms ("Thring Summer" and "The Rotten Egg"). Strangely, there were then only 5 Active Voters (another low ebb), so quorum was 1 ... and in fact there was only one Vote on all proposals. The will of one Player determined which of these proposals got in ... arguably the closest Thring has come to dictatorship, though unknowingly.

At this time (around the 7th of September 1995), Thring was also formally contacted by Agora Nomic, asking us if we would be interested to joining a game of Internomic. Thring (well, Luke in particular) was indeed interested at first, but said interest waned when it transpired that current interpretation of Internomic rules meant that they were in fact binding to member Nomics in the Nomics' own individual games. (See more recent debates; in fact this possibility has not gone away, but the veto possessed by all member nomics is seen as an adequate safeguard.) It was quite a few months before Internomic was again seriously discussed.

Week 5: two proposals, one to give a bonus to any Thringer introducing a new Player to Thring (the current Rule 520, I believe) and the other allowing trading of points of land in the Thring Universe. Both were accepted, though with more than one Vote!

Week 6 saw proposals for a Map of the Thring Universe! - a breakthrough in itself, proposed by the just-rejoined Don the Prodigal Yank - as well as several additions to the rules for the Colour-Country Game.

Note that the first CCG had been lost by an over-enthusiastic OTCCGSR (Luke, by default) who moved to Finland and promptly lost. The second went rather longer; the third had a theme of "Fantasia" (as I recall) and was highly successful (IMHO - but then I just wanted to move "Octarine" the whole game, and finally got my wish).

This Week also saw Paul Schulz elected WebMeister unopposed. E was WebMeister for quite some time, and was conscientous and innovative during eir time in office (as is the current WebMeister, naturally).

Proposals in the next Week (Week 7, beginning Sep 28) included Rapid Transit (for moving rapidly along axes in the Thring Universe), Explorers (a Title with some connections to the TU), and Mutations Made Easier ... which has survived through some amendments to be Rule 534. Another proposal sought to prevent the Thring Government, an entity of somewhat indeterminate status, from Winning the game ...

Week 8 proposals included a competition announced by the WebMeister which was, sadly, under-subscribed; a new Official Position of Quiz Maker, which was repealed after some Weeks; a method of liberating prisoners who'd strayed onto the Evil Empire (which was rejected); how to become the Evil Emperor and what this entailed; and an innocent-looking rule about Teleportation Devices whereby Players could move either themselves or others to anywhere in the TU ...

Week 9 saw a number of "tidying up" (the ruleset, that is) proposals (apologies for not mentioning more about these sort of proposals in this history; partly it's my PECT bias and partly that they were still small and minor amendments).

For some Weeks now, the Speaker had been making noises (and offering Slush Fund points) to anyone who could help em make proposals. It had actually been envisaged during the break that the Speaker should be allowed to make proposals; however, a certain change to a certain immutable rule turned out to block this possibility. The problem was then assembling enough Votes on a transmutation proposal (or proposal to amend an immutable) to meet the quorum of 75% of all Players ... hence the recent "Mutations Made Easier" proposal, and hence some proposals in Week 8 which meant well but turned out to have flaws.

Other notable proposals included the Atlas (of named points in the TU), Rank (based on one's Title), a new OffPos of Commissioner of Land Development (which was intended to relieve the burden on the Cartographer), more on Prisoners and their escape, and a proposal called The Land is Eternal.

This last was a proposal that the TU and ownership of points, farms and shops should remain unchanged between games of Thring. It should be explained that the Winning Condition was then achieving a score of 150 points, and that Anarchy and PaulWay both had more than 100 - so that the end of the game was imminent. If "The Land is Eternal" had been accepted, the hard work and point purchases for the land would not be in vain; on the other hand, Players (and, yes, even the Speaker) might then buy out land and farms, knowing that they wouldn't win this game, but giving them a head start on the next. In the end, the proposal was defeated, with 2 votes FOR and 3 AGAINST.

Unrelated to this, some rather unpopular proposals were being passed at this time, due to the as-yet-unrepealed rule 303 (which ran something like "Any proposal which receives no votes FOR it shall be accepted") ...

Week 10 Proposals were largely Thring-Universe related, including proposals for Imperial Guards, Plasma Rifles, an Information Office, and more about prisoners, Explorers (though the rule had just been Smote) and the Evil Emperor ... but by now, events had overtaken us.

The Speaker had given PaulWay and Anarchy 11 points each in a bid to speed up a win. However, what e only found out later (and other Players later still) was that Anarchy had purchased a Teleportation Device and teleported PaulWay onto the same Location as two "inactive" Players. By the ageing THIS rule, this meant that the scores of all three were halved ... and that PaulWay was no longer in the running to win Game 3. This strategem was only possible since Anarchy was also Cartographer and therefore did not have to inform anyone else of changes in Location until the end of the week. As it was, Anarchy scraped over the line with 156 points and won. E became Speaker ... and promptly Smote the Teleportation rule. And "Game 4" began.

Though I have not gone into detail about the Appeals, CfJ's (which the Bailiff should in any case have records of) or other matters, I hope that this is a comprehensive record of Game 3. As always, if any Thringer or ex-Thringer disagrees with the history as presented here, alternative viewpoints are welcome. Note also that Issue 9 of TW contained an interview with Anarchy which may shed more light on "The Teleportation Scam".

From my viewpoint as Speaker, the character of this game differed somewhat from both Game 2 and the current game (Game 7?) in that there was a definite end in sight: the winning condition was to achieve 150 points, and progress was continually made towards that goal. In Game 2, there was no winning condition for some time, which was frustrating for the Speaker and possibly one reason why e (more or less single-handedly) decided to end that game; in Game 7, the winning condition is to achieve a score 100 points greater than the second-highest scoring player. Time will tell where this leads ... However, in Game 3, there was the frustration mentioned before of not the Speaker being able to propose, something which has thankfully been corrected now. In fact, during the last half of Game 3, the Speaker posted frequent appeals for someone to come forward and take over Speakership ... but suffered nobly [a likely story! --Ed.] until Anarchy's win. The short-lived Game 4, somewhat longer-lived Games 5 and 6, and the still-continuing Game 7 have yet to be historized ... a process which may take some time ...

And in conclusion, I'd like to paraphrase Walt Whitman:

"Oh life, oh me, oh Thring!"

Questing Ground Graphs

Though there are only 6 Clearings as yet, the Questing Ground has the potential to become confusing rapidly. Therefore the Questmaster has kindly consented to share with us eir graph of the Clearings as they currently stand:

CoS <==> GoS <-- YQB --> MedG <==> EmEn
(which all have paths to)

CoS: Crossroads of Sorrow
GoS: Gateway of Sorrow
YQB: Your Quest Begins
MedG: Medium Green
EmEn: Emerald Entrance

As previously mentioned, this was not quite the intent: the Questing Ground Graph should have looked more like this.

CoS <==> GoS <==> YQB <==> EmEn <==> MedG
(which all have paths to)

This would, for one, make "Emerald Entrance" a more meaningful name. Ah well ...

--The Questmaster.

And that's all for this issue! Take care, and we'll see you again in some months or so ...

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