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Subject: Mutable rules rss

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Gary Boyd
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With the upcoming release of 504 there is bound to be a great deal of discussion of games with mutable rules.

Is anyone aware of other games in which rules can be drastically different at the start of each game? I'm not talking about the starting layout or the just different cards for selection, I'm talking about the overlying mechanics themselves.
 
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Nat Levan
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Nomic is one of the biggest. Good Wikipedia article about it: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomic

Fluxx also does this to an extent.

Both of those start with basic rules that players change through the game, not with different rules each time, though.
 
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Russ Williams
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Sivilized wrote:
Nomic is one of the biggest. Good Wikipedia article about it: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomic

Fluxx also does this to an extent.

Both of those start with basic rules that players change through the game, not with different rules each time, though.

Nomic (also Eleusis) and Fluxx have rules which mutate during the play of a single session.

504 does not (as far as I understand it). Rather, each session has a fixed unchanging set of rules (chosen during setup) which are (typically) different from other 504 sessions.

So to me 504 seems more along the lines of games with different abilities/rules/goals in play depending on setup, like Dominion and Kingdom Builder, or in a sense games with a variety of factions / player powers selected during setup (Neuroshima Hex, Cosmic Encounter), or a set of wargame rules with many different scenarios, each scenario having its own special additional rules / goals / etc (Napoleon 20, Combat Commander, Advanced Squad Leader, etc). Of course 504 is farther out along that spectrum than these other examples, but I see them all as ultimately along the same spectrum of games with variable rules determined during setup.

Ultimately it's all semantics though, as in a sense Fluxx etc also have a fixed set of rules, and the cards which come out "changing the rules" are just data to interpret according to the printed instruction sheet (like how a computer program is also viewable as data).
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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There's the "pick a game from your collection and then play it" game...
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Gary Boyd
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russ wrote:
Sivilized wrote:
Nomic is one of the biggest. Good Wikipedia article about it: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomic

Fluxx also does this to an extent.

Both of those start with basic rules that players change through the game, not with different rules each time, though.

Nomic (also Eleusis) and Fluxx have rules which mutate during the play of a single session.

504 does not (as far as I understand it). Rather, each session has a fixed unchanging set of rules (chosen during setup) which are (typically) different from other 504 sessions.

So to me 504 seems more along the lines of games with different abilities/rules/goals in play depending on setup, like Dominion and Kingdom Builder, or in a sense games with a variety of factions / player powers selected during setup (Neuroshima Hex, Cosmic Encounter), or a set of wargame rules with many different scenarios, each scenario having its own special additional rules / goals / etc (Napoleon 20, Combat Commander, Advanced Squad Leader, etc). Of course 504 is farther out along that spectrum than these other examples, but I see them all as ultimately along the same spectrum of games with variable rules determined during setup.

Ultimately it's all semantics though, as in a sense Fluxx etc also have a fixed set of rules, and the cards which come out "changing the rules" are just data to interpret according to the printed instruction sheet (like how a computer program is also viewable as data).

I am primarily looking for other games where the primary mechanics of the game are set at the beginning of the game and can be different each game.

Dominion's primary mechanic is very simple and only the data set is different. The game may play out differently but the way in which it plays is ultimately the same (this is implying the base game).

Games with expansions can add mutable mechanics, I suppose. But in these the underlying mechanics stay very much in place.

The idea of having modular mechanics which come together to form a game that is fun and has depth is very interesting to me.
 
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Russ Williams
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debiant wrote:
russ wrote:
Ultimately it's all semantics though, as in a sense Fluxx etc also have a fixed set of rules, and the cards which come out "changing the rules" are just data to interpret according to the printed instruction sheet (like how a computer program is also viewable as data).

I am primarily looking for other games where the primary mechanics of the game are set at the beginning of the game and can be different each game.

Dominion's primary mechanic is very simple and only the data set is different. The game may play out differently but the way in which it plays is ultimately the same (this is implying the base game).
But you can look at 504 the same way.

E.g. in Dominion there are rules about Curses which only have relevance if Curse cards are in play (which is determined during setup). Otherwise, you ignore those rules.

In Kingdom Builder there are rules about moving a house onto water which only have relevance if the Harbor map is in play (which is determined during setup). Otherwise, you ignore those rules.

In 504 there are rules about exploration which only have relevance if the exploration page is in play (which is determined during setup). Otherwise, you ignore those rules.

To me, it's a difference of degree (albeit a large degree), not a qualitative difference.

Quote:
The idea of having modular mechanics which come together to form a game that is fun and has depth is very interesting to me.
Agreed! I'm quite interested to play 504.
 
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Daniel Newman
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What about The Settlers of Catan book?
 
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G Mc
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Maybe we can start referring to Dominion as "185 quadrillion" (or whatever the current total number of possible setups is)
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Nat Levan
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Yeah, Catan is probably one of the best examples, if you allow expansions to count, because many of the scenarios from Traders and Barbarians and Seafarers dramatically change how you earn points. The basic mechanics of roll to produce, trade and build are constant, but they play more like different games in a single series than the same game.

And I guess you could say a standard deck of cards has done this for years, in the same way that you get a box of components and (if you buy Rules According to Hoyle) a book of entirely different mechanics to use them for.

It's really like asking the definition of what counts as the same game. If you mean a mix-and-match setup like 504 that is entirely self-contained and advertises itself as such, I don't think anything else really fits. But as Russ said, it's a matter of degree.
 
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John Breckenridge
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Sivilized wrote:
Yeah, Catan is probably one of the best examples, if you allow expansions to count, because many of the scenarios from Traders and Barbarians and Seafarers dramatically change how you earn points. The basic mechanics of roll to produce, trade and build are constant, but they play more like different games in a single series than the same game.
Carcassonne is another one where all the various expansions add their own mechanics and tend to reward different player strategies than what the plain basic game does.
 
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