Yes, it's that time of Week again. Despite there being no new Proposals or Rules to comment on, Thring Weekly is continuing to be published. Next week is another proposition altogether, however, depending on how long Adrian's "holiday" extends for.
This issue has, as promised, the results of the Thring Slogan Competition. It also has yet another exclusive interview: this time, Thring Weekly talks to Duncan Richer the Slakko, Thring Player and former TIE of Fascist Game 9.
The remainder of the issue is filled out with bits and pieces, including some thoughts on what might have been, with more Forgotten Proposals and a hypothetical version of Rule 340 ...
Here's an interesting thought experiment: What would Rule 340 have looked like if it was applied to the Proposal to create it before this was posted? I know, hard to imagine, but what if?
Here's my attempt at answering that question: others may have slightly different interpretations ...
"Rule 340 - The Random Discrimination Act
"The wording of any proposal which mentions mystery player X shall be altered as follows.
"Before posting the proposal to mystery player X[,] mystery player X shall change each occurence of mystery player X [!] to the phrase "mystery player X". mystery player X are forbidden from discussing the identity of "mystery player X" until the result on the proposal is announced. At this stage mystery player X shall reveal the original wording of the proposal, which becomes the wording of the new law, if the proposal was passed."
OK, so if the above proposal was posted, it wouldn't have made any sense (though there is a certain symmetry to it!), but it might have saved a lot of trouble in the weeks to come ...
Duncan Richer has been a long-time Nomic enthusiast. He expressed interest in Thring Nomic from the start, but only became a player on March 6, having already chosen the epithet of Slakko. He has kept a low profile on the Thring mailing list; however, this may well be because he was "ruling" Fascist Game 9, a Nomic variant, as The Imperious Emperor, for much of the time he has been playing Thring. He is a student at Adelaide University, studying (I believe) Computer Science.
TW: Good afternoon, and thank you for agreeing to answer these questions.
DR: That's alright, Luke.
[How did he know my name? - Ed.]
TW: Could you explain your epithet for the benefit of our readers?
DR: Well, if you must know I'm a serious cartoon fan. My current favourite cartoon is Animaniacs (10:30 Sat am, Ch 9), starring the Warner Siblings, Yakko, Wakko and Dot. Slakko developed as the Lost Warner Brother, and is my alter ego on the newsgroup alt.tv.animaniacs.
TW: What are your impressions of Thring Nomic so far?
DR: It's certainly managed to develop its own identity very quickly. Like all other Nomic Games, it's quite unlike any other Nomic Game (if that makes any sense). I like the off-the-wall nature of some of the rules, and that helps to make the game even more enjoyable.
TW: I understand that you were The Imperious Emperor in Fascist Game 9. How would you describe this role?
DR: It's an interesting position to be in. On the one hand you want to develop a game state that matches your idea of a challenging and fun situation. On the other you can't really push your ideas too much without taking away the fun for the players. I found myself under a bit of pressure to accept more proposals than possibly needed to be, but accepting a rule that made me accept at least 25% of all proposals fixed that pressure.
I'd say that being TIE is probably not as difficult as being The Humble Scribe (which I was also in Game 9). THS doesn't get much additional reward, but has to do all the dirty work.
TW: How does TIE in a Fascist Game compare to the Speaker in a Nomic Game?
DR: No comparison. I'd say the Speaker's job more closely approximates that of The Humble Scribe. A lot of work for minimal additional recognition. Like THS, however, a Speaker can usually submit proposals, and is able to win a game. TIE doesn't have this option, not for any concrete reason in the rules, but more as an inbuilt "constitutional convention", if you will.
TW: How would you describe Fascist Game 9? What were its key features?
DR: Basically Fascist Game 9 developed into Aussie Nomic. Once the other players had worked out where I was based, the proposals gradually became more relevant to Australia. The geography developed was a parody of Australia, with various real-world events shaping the nature of the game. I don't think any other Fascist Games have come anywhere near as close to an actual reality.
When Game 9 finished, it was on the brink of developing an inbuilt feudal system, with Lords. This system took a while to develop, but if the game continued, it may have produced some interesting situations.
All 3 recent Fascist Games had innovations, with mine branching off differently from the others. While Games 7 and 8 instituted non-point based winning conditions in the initial ruleset, I relied on points, but changed the system to include various types of points. I also introduced new ideas through Directives and a continuation option. Directives aimed to give me as TIE more options to shape the play without making new rules myself, while the continuation option was a bit of insurance in case the game ended too quickly. As it is still the largest Fascist Game, 5 weeks after it officially ended, I'm a bit glad that wasn't needed. Still, if Anarchy and I both have some spare time, Game 9A could start soon.
TW: Would you say that Fascist and/or Nomic Players had something in common?
DR: Usually they're the same people to a great extent, after all the winner of Game 9 was Anarchy, currently a player of Thring. The only difference is that the Fascist players prefer a system with a less formally structured set of background rules. Having the TIE in charge (at least nominally) means that there is no need for immutable rules, at least in the beginning. Of course a Fascist game can always introduce democracy, but that's another kettle of fish.
TW: What rules of Thring Nomic would you like to see changed?
DR: I'm not really sure at the moment. At the current time it is really a matter of wait and see how the situation develops before I barge in and suggest a way around any problems.
TW: In which directions can you see Nomic-like games going in the future?
DR: Well, I personally don't think real time Internet links are the answer. The difficulties of synchronisation make such games more difficult than email based ones. However, the WWW option does appear the best bet. With the Fascist Games developing a relatively standard Web interface, it can't be long before a standard Nomic Game, or perhaps another variant, decides to switch over to the Web. Of course such a game still relies on email communication, but the ability of anyone to access the page acts as great publicity, and also makes it easy for players to keep up with the state of play as it changes.
The clear winner is slogan 29, "Thring Nomic - ruling mystique" It was submitted by Ian Wanless.
Three slogans tied for equal second: these are 10: "Thring - His Rule Is No Good." submitted by Adrian Corston, 6: "A Thring a day keeps the Ph.D. away." and 24: "Some Thring is going to happen today."; these last two were submitted by Paul Schulz. One person voted for 24 "in the hope that maybe it would".
So, I have decided to award each of these three slogans one point:thus, I owe Ian 5 points, Paul 2 and Adrian 1. These point trades will be made as soon as I know how many points I have (and thus whether they're legal)!
Honourable Mentions go to slogans 1 "Even better than the real Thring!" and 23 "Some Thring is better than No Thring" , both submitted by Ian Wanless, as well as slogan 4 "Thring Nomic - where mystery player X, mystery player X and mystery player X all get together and wonder what the hell that Proposal really said." submitted by Adrian Corston.
The Editor's personal favourites also included the subtle 14: "I'd rather be scrubbing boats. Thring." submitted by Damien Warman, 7: "Follow the Yellow Thring Road." submitted by Duncan Richer and 20, the idea for a Thring badge: "Thring Nomic: I voted AGAINST 340." submitted by Adrian Corston. Incidentally, plans to actually make this badge are underfoot: all we need is an actual design. (The Editor knows someone who owns a badge-making machine: cost for materials is 50 cents per badge.)
Other notable competition stuff: Paul Schulz easily submitted the most slogans, with a grand total of 14! And David Wilson wins the booby prize for not reading the rules and then voting for his own slogan, 19: "Thring Nomic - a game with epithets."
So ends the first ever Thring Weekly Competition. I think that we've all learned something. Expect to see the new slogan feature prominently in future issues ... (Once I get permission to use it, of course.)
In Week 6 (beginning on Jan 23rd with the Speaker in Canberra) there were 5 Proposals (including the Opposite Proposal) submitted: at the time, the largest number of Proposals submitted in one Week! However, there was again only one voter, so that none of the Proposals reached a quorum.
The full text of these 5 Proposals is reproduced below (with editorial comments in square brackets).
The text "nearest integer" be replaced by "nearest Fibonacci number" in rule 304.
[This Proposal reappeared later as Proposal 320.]
The first sentence of Rule 203 be changed to read "The Winner is the Voter with the largest score at the time when any player's score exceeds 100 (positive) points".
[An early attempt at reforming the Winning Rules ...]
The characters "<P>", in submissions for the Nomic Story, shall begin a new paragraph.
[This Proposal also reappeared later, as Proposal 327, and at that time became Rule 327, which exists today.]
Every five Nomic weeks, beginning the week after this Proposal becomes a Rule, each Voter who has participated in the Nomic Game in the past five Nomic weeks shall receive 1 point; at this time, the Speaker shall also receive 1 point for Service to the Nomic Game.
Participating, for the purposes of this rule, is defined to be performing at least one of the following actions: voting for a proposal; submitting a proposal; submitting a sentence for the Nomic Story. This list may be added to by subsequent rules.
[Perhaps this Proposal gave someone the idea for Proposal 329?]
Proposal 315 (Opposite Proposal)[Yes, well ...]
Every five Nomic weeks, beginning the week after this Proposal becomes a Rule, each Voter who has not participated in the Nomic Game in the past five Nomic weeks shall lose 1 point; at this time, the Speaker shall also lose 1 point for Lack of Service to the Nomic Game.
Not participating, for the purposes of this rule, is defined to be performing at least one of the following actions: abstaining for a proposal; failing to submit a proposal; failing to submit a sentence for the Nomic Story. This list may not be added to by subsequent rules.
These Proposals are thus interesting in that they foreshadowed Proposals and Rules to come ...