Ludobits
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Hi all,

I can't seem to find specific categories or mechanisms linked to games whose rules evolve, adapt, or change during play, or where altering the rules is part of the game. Fluxx comes to mind of course. Or maybe Chaos. I've stumbled upon "ever-changing rules" and "fluctuating rules" quite often when reading about those games.

Are you aware of any other terms used to describe this type of game/mechanic?

Would you consider games such as Fable Fruit to be part of such category?

Any pointers would be much appreciated.

TIA.
 
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Sam Ervin
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There are a handful of reasonably well-known games that use this as a central mechanic, e.g. Nomic and many of its variants and inspirations.
 
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James Arias
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I thought of Fluxx.
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Steve
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Calvinball
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Rich Keiser
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I thought of The Style Council.

 
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A
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Red7
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Tyco Mycetes Bass
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Maybe they could be called "self-modifying rules"?
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Ludobits
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Thanks for the titles - I'm looking into these games. Nomic is indeed a perfect example of this... mechanic?

And "self-modifying rules" is an excellent suggestion. It seems to be the most accurate term, and it is abundantly used in that sense. Well seen!
 
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Pete
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Bad?

Pete (knows he's not helping)
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Nate Straight

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"Self-modifying rules" seems singularly inaccurate (at least for Fluxx... don't know the others, but I doubt it fits them any better).

A self-modifying rule would be something like a card that says "Draw 4 cards. If one of the drawn cards is green, replace this card with the 'Draw 2 cards' rule."

In Fluxx, it is explicitly the players (rather than the game itself) that change the rules. This seems like a completely different thing.

Of course, Fluxx is not a great standard-bearer for much of anything, given how unsystematic it is.
 
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PJ Cunningham
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I think I'd use "variable rules" for games where there is a pre-defined set of rules that can be used (e.g. Fluxx, Red7, Nyet!) and you simply vary the rules that are in play at a given time.

I'd probably use the term "customizable rules" for games where players can propose any rule they want (e.g. Nomic, Calvinball, Mao).
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Ludobits
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Awesome comments and input - always fun to discuss the nuances that sometimes hide behind a single term.

I get your point Nate, and "self-modifying" might not be the most accurate term. Maybe I should have said "the most useful". Rules can indeed be modified in many different ways and to various degrees.

What's making "self-modifying rules" stick for me so far, is looking at how the equivalent and well-established term "self-modifying code" is used in computer science, where it has a broad, yet precise meaning.

It is broad enough to encompass the many different factors and methods that can result in an instructions set more or less modifying itself. But it is precise enough to pinpoint what I see as the key distinction: A self-modifying rules set considers, to a significantly larger extent than regular rules, the rules themselves as being part of the data than can be manipulated just like any other of the games's parameters.

As to variable/customizable/adaptable rules, while they may be seen as self-modifying, I seem to have noticed that these terms are used mostly to designate rules that are changed at once, for instance during a variable setup, following a scoring, or according to the number of players, and will otherwise remain static for most of the game, as opposed to unstable instructions that dynamically and constantly change during play.
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A
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Here's another self-modifying/ever-changing/variable/whatever you want to call it rules game, which was just mentioned in a thread about games about board games...
Complicated Board Game the Card Game
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Ludobits
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What about "mutable rules"?

I've bumped into the term several times while doing some further reading, and I feel it is an interesting way of designating such rules. It is broad enough, less technical, yet it still conveys the idea that the rules may change during play, "organically", rather than statically from one play to the next, according to various player counts, scenarios, etc.

Any thoughts?
 
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