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Subject: help me construct a nomic variant! rss

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Nick Bentley
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Madison
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I love nomic, but in its purer (and more common) forms, it has properties that I personally could do without. Specifically:

1. there is no garauntee that it will be over in an hour or two.
2. there is no garauntee that there will be a winner.
3. there is a lot of book-keeping.

The first two features spring from the fact that there are no totally immutable rules in nomic, even the ones that are called "immutable", and the second owes to the fact that there is no immutable limit on the number of rules in play, or their complexity. Some people like that nomic has these features, and they certainly aren't wrong for feeling that way, but such features just don't suit my personal tastes (de gustibus non est disputandum, or something).

Therefore, I would like to invent an "impure" variant, that does have small number of totally unchangeable rules that garauntee that the game will be finite (ie an hour or two long), that there will be a winner, and which will of course maximize the chances for an interesting game (by minimizing bookkeeping, etc). I have spent ALOT of time trying to find a good set of such rules, and I have what I think are some interesting efforts going, but I'm not there yet.

This thread is therefore a request to other interested BGG users: what do you think the immutable rules should be in order to achieve the objectives above? Please post your ideas here. I may in the future turn this into a contest.
 
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Ken H.
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I have only played Nomic online, in a play-by-post format. In that format, there is obviously no expectation that the game will be over in an hour or two, much less a month or two. I've always wondered how people could play it face to face for the reasons you said -- it would take forever!

It's an interesting question. If you really want to guarantee that the game will be over in 2 hours, why not make that one of your immutable rules? Rule #1: this game will end 2 hours after if begins, if not sooner. That pretty much solves that problem, although you still have the question of how to guarantee that there will be a winner. Also, I think shortening it to 2 hours will automatically make bookkeeping less of an issue.

By the way, for anyone who doesn't know what Nomic is, it's a game where you make up the rules as you play. Each turn, your "move" is to propose a new rule, which is then voted on by the players. It's quite fun, and often turns into a real board game. See http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/nomic.htm

I'd love to see what kind of crazy Nomic rules BGG'ers could come up with.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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I agree that a strict time limit could be effective. I think it might be good to set an audible timer that none of the players can see (and remove all clocks and watches from the game area) so that no one knows when the game is going to end, but everyone will know when it does end.

In terms of guaranteeing a winner, a few thoughts. You could decide that the person in the lead wins (if the game has points, money, etc.). If the game doesn't have points, or if points are tied, one tie-breaker could be that the person who introduced the most recent rule successfully added to the ruleset, or the person who successfully proposed that a rule be made immutable. Another tiebreak option would be that the person whose turn is next when the timer sounds wins in case of a tie -- a bit random, but it would discourage people from taking long turns toward the perceived end of the game.
 
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Drew Spencer
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I've been working on a variant that uses cards with rules printed on them, sorta like fluxx has. Basically a player can propose one of these rules or discard as many as they like and draw one more. Any amendment to a rule can still be written down, but this is meant to discourage rules like making the new number of points to win 1,000,000,000. It also allows the game to (hopefully) be played fluidly at a table.
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