Gnomic Ruleset

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101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119
201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213

Rule 0

Administrative crap.

All official play of Gnomic will be conducted via the Web entity known as the Message Board. The Message Board is the web page located at All posts to the Message Board must include the player's name or other identification. This rule cannot be changed except by divine fiat of Magic Elf.

initial rule.

Rule 101

Follow the rules.

All players must always abide by all the rules then in effect, in the form in which they are then in effect. The rules in the Initial Set are in effect whenever a game begins. The Initial Set consists of Rule 0 (sacred), Rules 101-119 (immutable) and 201-213 (mutable).

initial rule.

Rule 102

Initial mutability of rules.

Initially rules in the 100's are immutable and rules in the 200's are mutable. Rules subsequently enacted or transmuted (that is, changed from immutable to mutable or vice versa) may be immutable or mutable regardless of their numbers, and rules in the Initial Set, with the exception of Rule 0, may be transmuted regardless of their numbers.

initial rule.

Rule 103

Definition of rule changes.

A rule-change is any of the following: (1) the enactment, repeal, or amendment of a mutable rule; (2) the enactment, repeal, or amendment of an amendment of a mutable rule; or (3) the transmutation of an immutable rule into a mutable rule or vice versa. [Note: This definition implies that, at least initially, all new rules are mutable; immutable rules, as long as they are immutable, may not be amended or repealed; mutable rules, as long as they are mutable, may be amended or repealed; any rule of any status may be transmuted; no rule is absolutely immune to change.]

initial rule.

Rule 104

Two decks of cards.

All rule-changes proposed in the proper way shall be voted on. They will be adopted if and only if they receive the required number of votes. [Yes, the second sentence of this rule may seem self-evident. But what if it wasn't that way?]

initial rule.

Rule 105

Eligible voters.

Every player is an eligible voter. Every eligible voter must participate in every vote on rule changes

initial rule.

Rule 106


Any proposed rule change must be posted to the Message Board before it is voted on. If adopted, it must guide play in the form in which it was voted on. [Of course, Suber's version says that the rule must be written down. ]

initial rule.

Rule 107

No retroactive rules.

No rule change may take effect earlier than the moment of the completion of the vote that adopted it, even if its wording explicitly states otherwise. No rule change may have retroactive application.

initial rule.

Rule 108

Numbering scheme.

Each proposed rule change shall be given a rank-order number (ordinal number) for reference. The numbers shall begin with 301, and each rule change proposed in the proper way shall receive the next successive integer, whether or not the proposal is adopted. If a rule is repealed and then re-enacted, it receives the ordinal number of the proposal to re-enact it. If a rule is amended or transmuted, it receives the ordinal number of the proposal to amend or transmute it. If an amendment is amended or repealed, the entire rule of which it is a part receives the ordinal number of the proposal to amend or repeal the amendment. Also, each rule shall be given a name. [Note: the name of a rule does not necessarily relate to the rule. For example, Rule 104 in this game is named "Two decks of cards", which only relates to the number 104.]

initial rule.

Rule 109


Rule-changes that transmute immutable rules into mutable rules may be adopted if and only if the vote is unanimous among the eligible voters. Transmutation shall not be implied, but must be stated explicitly in a proposal to take effect.

initial rule.

Rule 110

Resolution of rules in conflict by mutability.

In a conflict between a mutable and an immutable rule, the immutable rule takes precedence and the mutable rule shall be entirely void. For the purposes of this rule a proposal to transmute an immutable rule does not "conflict" with that immutable rule.

initial rule.

Rule 111


If a rule-change as proposed is unclear, ambiguous, paradoxical, or destructive of play, or if it arguably consists of two or more rule-changes compounded or is an amendment that makes no difference, or if it is otherwise of questionable value, then the other players may suggest amendments or argue against the proposal before the vote. A reasonable time must be allowed for this debate. The proponent decides the final form in which the proposal is to be voted on and, unless the Judge has been asked to do so, also decides the time to end debate and vote.

initial rule.

Rule 112

Winning ways.

The state of affairs that constitutes winning may not be altered from achieving n points to any other state of affairs. The magnitude of n and the means of earning points may be changed, and rules that establish a winner when play cannot continue may be enacted and (while they are mutable) be amended or repealed.

initial rule.

Rule 113

Losing ways.

A player always has the option to forfeit the game rather than continue to play or incur a game penalty. No penalty worse than losing, in the judgment of the player to incur it, may be imposed.

initial rule.

Rule 114

It can't end like this!

There must always be at least one mutable rule. The adoption of rule-changes must never become completely impermissible.

initial rule.

Rule 115

Changing the rules that change the rules that change the rules...

Rule-changes that affect rules needed to allow or apply rule-changes are as permissible as other rule-changes. Even rule-changes that amend or repeal their own authority are permissible. No rule-change or type of move is impermissible solely on account of the self-reference or self-application of a rule.

initial rule.

Rule 116

These are ALL the rules.

Whatever is not prohibited or regulated by a rule is permitted and unregulated, with the sole exception of changing the rules, which is permitted only when a rule or set of rules explicitly or implicitly permits it.

initial rule.

Rule 117

How to get in.

In order to join this Nomic, a player must: Post a message to the Message Board declaring himself or herself a member of this game. [This message must include a name by which the player would like to be known.]

initial rule.

Rule 118

How to get out.

In order to leave this Nomic, a player must post a message to the Message Board to that effect.

initial rule.

Rule 119

Name of this Nomic.

The name of this Nomic is "Gnomic".

initial rule.

Rule 201

Order of play.

Players shall alternate in alphabetical order by surname, taking one whole turn apiece. Turns may not be skipped or passed, and parts of turns may not be omitted. All players begin with zero points. [Suber's version provides the alphabetical order as an alternate rule to going clockwise, but we can't really go clockwise, can we? ]

initial rule.

Rule 202

A turn.

One turn consists of two parts in this order: (1) proposing one rule-change and having it voted on, and (2) subtracting 291 from the ordinal number of their proposal and multiply the result by the fraction of favorable votes it received, rounded to the nearest integer, and adding this number to their score. (This yields a number between 0 and 10 for the first player, with the upper limit increasing by one each turn; more points are awarded for more popular proposals.) [This is the rule that Suber provides for computer games - the original rule was simply a roll of the dice. It seems that this rule involves more skill. ]

initial rule.

Rule 203

Rule changes must be unanimous.

A rule-change is adopted if and only if the vote is unanimous among the eligible voters. Suber includes the statement after this rule: "If this rule is not amended by the end of the second complete circuit of turns, it automatically changes to require only a simple majority. ". But rules that amend themselves seem to be a bad idea at first.

initial rule.

Rule 204

Voting against proposals.

If and when rule-changes can be adopted without unanimity, the players who vote against winning proposals shall receive 10 points each.

initial rule.

Rule 205

When rules take effect.

An adopted rule-change takes full effect at the moment of the completion of the vote that adopted it.

initial rule.

Rule 206

I didn't want to lose, Mommy!

When a proposed rule-change is defeated, the player who proposed it loses 10 points.

initial rule.

Rule 207

Now, hold up one finger...

Each player always has exactly one vote. [Can we use the word "always" here? After all, it could change... ]

initial rule.

Rule 208

Four decks of cards.

The winner is the first player to achieve 100 (positive) points. [Suber says it should be 200 in computer games, but why? ]

initial rule.

Rule 209

Now hold up all your fingers, all your toes, and that other guy's left hand...

At no time may there be more than 25 mutable rules.

initial rule.

Rule 210

Players may not conspire or consult on the making of future rule-changes unless they are team-mates. The first paragraph of this rule does not apply to games by mail or computer.

initial rule.

Rule 211

No more numbers, please!

If two or more mutable rules conflict with one another, or if two or more immutable rules conflict with one another, then the rule with the lowest ordinal number takes precedence. If at least one of the rules in conflict explicitly says of itself that it defers to another rule (or type of rule) or takes precedence over another rule (or type of rule), then such provisions shall supersede the numerical method for determining precedence. If two or more rules claim to take precedence over one another or to defer to one another, then the numerical method again governs.

initial rule.

Rule 212


If players disagree about the legality of a move or the interpretation or application of a rule, then the player preceding the one moving is to be the Judge and decide the question. Disagreement for the purposes of this rule may be created by the insistence of any player. This process is called invoking Judgment. When Judgment has been invoked, the next player may not begin his or her turn without the consent of a majority of the other players. The Judge's Judgment may be overruled only by a unanimous vote of the other players taken before the next turn is begun. If a Judge's Judgment is overruled, then the player preceding the Judge in the playing order becomes the new Judge for the question, and so on, except that no player is to be Judge during his or her own turn or during the turn of a team-mate. Unless a Judge is overruled, one Judge settles all questions arising from the game until the next turn is begun, including questions as to his or her own legitimacy and jurisdiction as Judge. New Judges are not bound by the decisions of old Judges. New Judges may, however, settle only those questions on which the players currently disagree and that affect the completion of the turn in which Judgment was invoked. All decisions by Judges shall be in accordance with all the rules then in effect; but when the rules are silent, inconsistent, or unclear on the point at issue, then the Judge shall consider game-custom and the spirit of the game before applying other standards.

initial rule.

Rule 213

Another way to win.

If the rules are changed so that further play is impossible, or if the legality of a move cannot be determined with finality, or if by the Judge's best reasoning, not overruled, a move appears equally legal and illegal, then the first player unable to complete a turn is the winner. This rule takes precedence over every other rule determining the winner.

initial rule.

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Comments on Gnomic: Mike
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