Issue 9, April 30th, 1996.



Yes, it has been a long time since the last issue. This time I offer the excuses of intermittant play over December and January (the holiday months in any case) and a rather busier schedule this year (theoretically the last year of my PhD).

And we have seen a few events in Thring. Anarchy's time as Speaker followed by PaulWay; some Official Positions abolished and others inaugurated; a (small) host of new players (as "inactive" players were quietly removed from the scoresheet); many many proposals and quite a few new rules.

Notable at the start of PaulWay's time as Speaker were the large number of rules being Smote, including some defining Official Positions. This was in an attempt (hopefully successful) to cut down the complexity of Thring and the responsibilities of the Speaker. All Smote rules were later repealed, and then the Smite Rule itself was repealed, ending some kind of era in Thring history.

As has been commented recently by Anarchy (knowledgeable Thring player, who is interviewed later in this issue) Thring has not seen much drama recently (compared to the days of Mystery Player X and the end of Game 2). This is true, but there have been some quiet revolutions occurring and some interesting new rules.

Parties (well, party, seeing as how Players are either a member of TRIP or Independent) have been instituted, though with a limited role as yet. The question is, what role can and should parties play? I don't know if we'd all like to see the acrimony of politics that seems to occur in Parliament or Congress, or whether this would even be possible in Thring - where there are no rewards for popularity, given that Speakership is seen as a burden, and no material awards could be possible (unless something changes dramatically or Net-Cash becomes a reality!). This issue in itself is worthy of debate.

Multiple repeals and now "Multi-Proposals" have been instituted, which some see as opening the door to chaos. In my opinion, they may instead be valuable for reform etc. etc.; I would urge all Voters to consider any multiple proposal carefully, and vote Against it if not completely satisfied. Proposals attempting too much and/or seeking to pull off a scam should be defeated by an informed "electorate". We have already seen a multiple repeal trim down the ruleset considerably - though it was claimed that it only repealed useless or time-consuming rules.

We now have an Evil Emperor, Don, who thus far has exercised few of eir (his) powers. E does, however, have an Empire of infinite extent, and several Imperial Guards (darn, forgotten the term) to seek out and capture Players ... which could make things interesting. Can the "good guys" of Thring withstand the "onslaught"? Will we all end up in the Concentration Camp as Don laughs diabolically from eir (his) Palace? Stay tuned ...

And lately we've seen a rather mysterious rule (I think you all know the one I mean), new Official Positions of the High Priest (with undefined duties) and Thring Imperial Ambassador (to embass with games of Fascist), the possibility of nominating one's successor to an OP, not to mention some rather weird proposals ... and Internomic becoming more of a possibility. Excitement, adventure, and really wild things.

Next issue of Thring Weekly will contain the entries in the competition, more Repealed Rules, and whatever else I can think up to fill in the games. Thanks for reading this far, and hope you enjoy this issue,

Luke Schubert.
--sometime Editor of Thring Weekly.

Interview: Thring's Fourth Speaker

Anarchy is one of the most senior players of Thring who's continued to play; e (he) joined on April 7th 1995 and since then, has been playing continuously (well, as continuous as possible, considering the small breaks in the play of Thring that have occurred for divers reasons) - and has, of course, won Game "3" of Thring.

E (he) has held a few Official and unofficial Positions, including Cartographer, Thring Lotto Commissioner, Records and Voting Commissioner, Commissioner of Land Development, and of course Speaker.

E (he) had also played in some number of Fascist games, and won at least two of them; I believe this was eir (his) first experience with Nomic (darn! forgot to ask) and that e (he) is still playing a game (or games) of Fascist currently. And I'm afraid I didn't know much more about em (him) until this interview ...

With no further introduction, I present Anarchy, Thring's Fourth Speaker.

[In the below transcript, TW stands for Thring Weekly as per usual; A stands for Anarchy, who after all has always had a minimal or non-existant epithet.]

TW: Good afternoon, and thank you for agreeing to answer these questions.

As readers may know, you won the last game of Thring in somewhat controversial circumstances. Can you tell us about how this was achieved, and in particular how you ensured that PaulWay would not also win?

A: Well, there was nothing controversial about my achieving 150 points; I did, however, propose a rule about teleportation that allowed a player to teleport anyone who was in a shop or at (0,0) to any other map location. So I teleported two inactive players on top of PaulWay, which resulted in his losing half his points from THIS, as nothing in the rules stated that he had to be informed of the teleportation. The rule was smote immediately afterwards. However, I don't think PaulWay would have reached 150 points anyway.

TW: After winning, you were saddled with the job of Speaker. How did you find that role?

A: It was pretty good for the first few weeks until I had a personal and work crisis, followed by a disk crash. This caused severe disruption which I still feel compelled to apologize for.

TW: I understand that you have played and are still playing in some few games of Fascist. How does Fascist compare to Thring - what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A: Since the Emperor decides the fate of all proposals, his style obviously determines the way the game is played to a significant extent. The result of having an autocratic decision mechanism is that the game runs much faster, although players have less control over where it is going. The tendency in current games is towards the creation of objects, locations and so forth which in effect creates a game that runs on two levels. Quite often, the manner in which a player wins is totally unexpected by anyone else.

TW: On a lighter note, have you any interesting interests outside of Nomic which you'd like to share with our readers?

A: I'm a second year undergraduate studying mainly chemistry at Cambridge University. My main side interest is classical music; I play the violin at quite a high level and am a completely self-taught piano player ;-) Also, I dance, play most of the more cerebral games like chess and bridge, read quite a bit, will go punting on the river with a bunch of friends at the slightest excuse. Assassination games, shooting at people with laser guns, that sort of thing. Will try (almost) everything once...

Oh, I ought to advise people to stay away from Doom and Nethack, which are very addictive computer games. ;-)

TW: How has the nature of Thring changed over time, in your opinion?

A: Thring is slowly moving from the creation of abstract rules towards the creation and fleshing out of new processes such as the (much revised) Lottery, Universe and Colour-Country Game, and becoming a more international game. However, the actual style of proposals in my opinion hasn't changed that much.

TW: What have the highlights of Thring been for you?

A: The Mystery Player X scandal, finally getting a proposal passed unanimously, the huge debates that used to occur on the mailing list but are sadly gone now, playing colour-country games, successfully getting the teleportation proposal passed with the sole motive of abusing it, and of course winning game 3 and becoming Speaker (though not for very long...)

TW: Staying on historical topics, which have been your most and least favourite rules?

A: Favourite rule: The Random Discrimination Act of Mystery Player X notoriety. No question. Hilarious while it lasted.

Least favourite rule: The old definition of immutability, which was very restrictive.

TW: Finally, what would you like to see happen in the future with the Thring Universe, the Evil Emperor and Thring generally?

A: I think it would be nice if the Evil Emperor had something better to do than move those silly DIGs around, such as power to issue decrees about the status of the Evil Empire or something, I don't know. I'd like to see more debate on the mailing list, but it seems that's gone out of fashion. And the demise of a point based winning system. Thring is still very much in a state of evolution into the Infinite Unknown.

TW: Thank you for your time.

Thring Weekly Competition #2: Nomic Variants!

Announcing the second ever competition in the history of Thring Weekly: to suggest an exciting, new Nomic variant!

What with the Thring Universe and associated rules, the ground is set for legislation of a subgame of Thring resembling a board game ... or, as several Fascist games have attempted, an email form of MUD.

But what else could be achieved? What could happen if a game of Nomic was started with extra initial rules governing some other domain ... or if such rules were enacted and became integral to a Nomic game? What hybrids, crossbreeds or sub-games could arise? Perhaps a changeable simulation of some real-world process ... perhaps a complicated game with ever more obscure rules (what difference from the current state of affairs, you ask?) ... perhaps ... well, you tell me.

The editor of Thring Weekly hereby invites entries to this competition, in the form of the description of a possible variant of Nomic ... no matter how infeasible or unlikely it sounds, though it should retain at least the "flavour" of Nomic. (Imagine for a moment adding some dozens of new (immutable or mutable) rules of your own devising to the initial Nomic ruleset, without any vote being taken as to their acceptance ... what could you do?) Entries will then be voted on by Thring Weekly readers to select the most interesting and/or desirable to play.

Entries (which should be submitted to the editor of Thring Weekly, at should have a title, a brief description of the suggested Nomic variant - taking no more than 4 lines each of 80 characters or less - and a sample rule for this Nomic variant, of length not more than 3 lines (including the title, if any).

For example:
Nomic and Chess.
Imagine yourself a pawn in a game of chess where the rules are changeable, where you have almost full proposing and voting rights! Help to checkmate or otherwise capture the opposing king; avoid capture yourself; aim for promotion before the promotion rules are repealed!
Sample Rule: "The Rights of Kings"
If not in Check, a King has the power of veto over any proposal made by a piece on the same side.

Entries are due before the next edition of Thring Weekly, i.e. just less than 2 weeks away (with luck); readers will then have the chance to vote in the next 2 weeks before the edition following that. This competition is open to all, though Players of Thring are especially encouraged to enter. No person may enter more than once.

The prize for the most interesting variant will be 5 points, donated by myself; the runner-up and the editor's choice will receive 1 point also.

Reminders will be circulated on the Thring mailing list as the deadline approaches ...

Repealed Rules, Part II

This is part II in an exclusive special on the rules of Thring which have been repealed. Part I (in Thring Weekly Issue 8) contained the first 8 rules to have been repealed in Thring.

Each "ex-rule" has been given a number corresponding only to the chronological order of repeal. In the below listing, this number is followed by the original number of the rule, the wording of this rule, which proposal it was repealed by, when this proposal was accepted, and any comments made in that proposal (these denoted by "RComments"); finally will be comments (if any) made by the editor when collating them (denoted by "EComments").

Ex-rule 009 (was Rule 437, Instant Cash Squabble)

Let the number of people who voted FOR this proposal be denoted 'f'. All people who voted FOR this proposal shall have 'f' points added to their score. All people who voted AGAINST this proposal shall have 'f' points subtracted from their score.
Let 'my' and 'I' refer to the proposer of this rule. My points shall be adjusted to the effect that I will not have gained any points from any other rule, due to the votes on this proposal.
If this proposal is adopted unanimously I shall gain 4 points.
After acting, this rule will repeal itself and will cease to exist.

(Repealed by Rule 437, which was enacted on 5th June '95.)

The middle bit is just so that you don't think I'm getting 2F-2A points for thinking of this. I need the 4 points clause there just to give some of you the incentive to vote against me. This ought to be fun!}

{EComments: This Proposal passed 7-0 ...}

Ex-rule 010 (was Rule 420 - The Ali Baba Greediness Rule)

Upon enactment of this Rule, Rule 220 shall be repealed.

(Repealed by Rule 448, which was enacted on 13th June '95.)

{for RComments, see Ex-rule 012, formerly Rule 448.}

{EComments: Proposal 420 was passed during the debate on whether "repeal" proposals became rules; due to its ambiguous wording, it in fact did. However it served no useful purpose and was soon repealed. The title was due to the Arabian Nights rule ...}

Ex-rule 011 (was Rule 427 - The Extremely Suspicious Looking Proposal)

This proposal names various Rules:

Rule 303: The Alice in Wonderland Voting Decision Rule
Rule 305: The Thring Story
Rule 306: Support for the Arts
Rule 327: The Structured Writing Rule
Rule 332: The Rule That Was Introduced Rather Belatedly

(Repealed by Rule 448, which was enacted on 13th June '95.)

{for RComments, see Ex-rule 012, formerly Rule 448.}

{EComments: This proposal was the subject of a Call for Judgement, as to whether it was in fact a Name Change Proposal. It was decided that it wasn't, as NCP's only changed the name of one proposal at a time. So it had to have been an enactment ...}

Ex-rule 012 (was Rule 448 - Cleaning Up After The Vandals)

All rules currently in existence whose only function is to change the name of another rule or rules, or to repeal another rule or rules, are hereby repealed and stricken from the ruleset.

(Repealed by Rule 448, which was enacted on 13th June 1995.)

{RComments: Note that this rule also cleans up after itself. All Spelling Mistakes in this Proposal are intentional.}

{EComments: Further evidence of the frustration at the time against useless (and unintended!) rules cluttering up the ruleset.}

Ex-rule 013 (was Rule 407 - The Election Procedure)

For any Official Position of the Game of Thring that requires a Vote this Proposal outlines the Voting Procedure:

If a Holder of an Official Position relinquishes, for any reason, their Office, or an Official Position is created by subsequent Rules, then mystery player X must declare that the Official Position is Vacant and that a General Election for the Official Position is to take place.

The period in which mystery player X may nominate themselves for the Official Position extends for exactly one week after the declaration of the Vacancy of the Official Position In the event of no mystery player X nominating for the Official Position the Office is bestowed upon mystery player X and e shall carry out all duties and requirements of the Official Position in addition to any duties e currently has.

Mystery player X must nominate themselves by declaring to mystery player X eir intention to run for the Office of the Official Position.

The period of Voting for mystery player X extends for exactly one week after the close of the period for nominations. At the end of this time all the Votes by mystery player X are tallied by mystery player X and revealed to mystery player X. Mystery player X is declared as the next mystery player X.

Mystery player X wins an Election by receiving the greatest number of FOR Votes among all of mystery player X.

In an Election the only legal Votes are FOR to indicate an affirmative Vote for mystery player X and AGAINST to indicate a negative Vote for mystery player X. Any other words are deemed illegal and mystery player X is deemed to have abstained.

Mystery player X are mystery player X. This Rule defers to the Rule 'Unlock the Deadlock' in the event of a tie in Voting among mystery player X and gives mystery player X the power to determine mystery player X.

Voting is compulsory and mystery player X is penalised 5 points at the completion of the Election. For the purposes of the Election, and except where noted, mystery player X is not deemed to be a voter.

In an Election Votes FOR and AGAINST mystery player X, for the purposes of scoring, are treated in the same way as Votes FOR and AGAINST a Proposal. Mystery player X then scores according to the current scoring scheme as if the number of Votes FOR and AGAINST them were cast for a Proposal made by them.

(Repealed by Proposal 453, which was adopted on 13th June '95.)

{RComments: I want to see someone try and hold an Election with this in place.}

{EComments: Yes, this proposal was passed when Rule 340 was still around. If you haven't yet heard of Rule 340, see last Thring Weekly and others ... Amazingly, it did get in, despite its at best obscure meaning. Some paragraphs are still quite amusing. But its consequences could have been serious ...}

Ex-rule 014 (was Rule 430 - Mystery player X's big stick)

At the end of each Thring turn, mystery player X, if e chooses, can distribute demerit points to any player. To award a player demerit points, mystery player X shall announce publicly the number of points e has deducted and a reason for the award. Then the demerit points will be subtracted to mystery player X's score. Mystery player X may not distribute more than 5 such points in any one turn, and does not have to distribute all of the 5 points.

An allocation of Slush Fund points will be considered as a Judgement for the purposes of 'The Appealing Judgements Rule', and thus may be appealed.

(Repealed by both Proposals 462 and 469, which were adopted on 19th June '95.)

{EComments: Both Proposals 462 and 469 were rather short; and apparently both got adopted. This rule had been open to abuse by someone calling emselves Mystery Player X ...}

Ex-rule 015 (was Rule 329)

Any player who fails to vote, submit a line for the Nomic Story or submit a proposal for three consecutive Nomic Weeks is considered to have ceased being a Player and forfeits all attributes thereof, including (but not limited to) their points. Furthermore, they may not subsequently become a Player again for another three Nomic Weeks.

(Repealed by Proposal 465, which was adopted on 19th June '95.)

{EComments: This Rule had been around for a long time. Its initial purpose was to spur Players into making proposals, and the following weeks certainly saw a great many more proposals. But the proposer of P465 felt that it was a little harsh ...}

Ex-rule 016 (was Rule 410 - The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Act)

The term "Snow White" shall be synonymous with "mystery player X" in all Official Documents. Likewise, the term "Dwarf" shall be synonymous with "Voter". The term "Player" shall be synonymous with "Snow White or a Dwarf", "7+n Dwarfs" with "mystery player X" (where n is an integer, possibly indefinite) and "Snow White and the 7+n Dwarfs" with "mystery player X".

This Rule shall not change the wording of already existing Rules; it merely provides alternative terms for use in new Proposals.

(Repealed by Rule 468, which was enacted on 19th June '95.)

{for RComments, see Ex-rule 017, formerly Rule 468.}

{EComments: OK, so I proposed Rule 410, and it got somewhat affected by the then Rule 340. I still feel it was a fun and harmless rule and didn't deserve such harsh treatment. I'd thought of this before the Arabian Nights Rule ...}

Ex-rule 017 (was Rule 468 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Were Killed In A Tragic Accident)

Repeal rule 410, and then repeal this rule.

(Repealed by Rule 468, which was enacted on 19th June '95.)

{RComments: This rule is not self-referential.}

{EComments: Sniff. The rash of repeals around this time was actually part of a collaborative effort to clean up after Rule 340, and worked out rather well - only one rule was repealed twice.}

There were only 17 rules repealed before the "Thring Vacation", not 18 as I implied last issue - one proposal was repealed twice, which led me to miscount. Next Issue may well contain the rules repealed in Game 3 and possibly even Game 4.

That's all for this issue. Hope you enjoyed it.


Click here to return to the index of Thring Weekly.