Friday, March 15, 2024

Proposal: Everybody Move In A Bit [Building Blocks]

Vetoed by the Observer. Failed by Kevan.

Adminned at 17 Mar 2024 17:47:35 UTC

Remove “Low-Player Mode” from the Building Blocks section of the ruleset.

To the “Everyone’s Playing” Building Block, in both the ruleset and the Building Blocks page, add:-

The Observer is not excluded from the count of Seekers in the Dormancy rule.

Turning off Low-Player Mode, with six active players. Seems like a Playing Observer should also be part of the head count for Dormancy.


Josh: he/they

15-03-2024 23:28:17 UTC

against Three players, two of whom are barely active, above the dormancy threshhold does not feel very secure to me.

Kevan: City he/him

16-03-2024 11:48:29 UTC

All the more reason to have a Dormancy threshold, to emphasise that insecurity!

Running on Low Player Mode makes the dynasty secure in the sense that it will play out to some kind of ending, but it allows that ending to be a “nobody’s playing, let’s just end this” chop. Which as a player is a viable fourth route to victory: play conventionally without particularly trying to keep other players interested in the game (or if wearing a blacker hat, actively trying to drive them away), then when it’s down to a couple of players that you’re ahead of, sadly announce that the dynasty is clearly over.

The Dormancy Hiatus isn’t a death knell, it does often prompt an idle player to answer the call that more players are needed - a call that isn’t particularly obvious to outsiders, otherwise.

Josh: he/they

16-03-2024 13:02:51 UTC

I think my perspective on the Dormancy knell is different from yours - that is also produces a chop, often on the threat of it as much as the actuality - but I also find that it is worse for the game as a whole to be dipping in and out of Dormancy every other dynasty, as over time it trains players out of committing to the game and the time/attention it requires.

I also find that Dormancy gives the game - not the dynasty, the game, as a whole - a stink of failure that I’m keen to avoid.

If we’re in a period of lower overall player counts, then the provocation is to design games that work at lower player counts, not to splash it with cold water until it somehow complies and gets healthier. That’s a lesson learned from the dynasty where low player count rules were first tried out - the first photography dynasty, where you and Brendan agreed to play it out two-player rather than wrap the dynasty up. Thus Everyone’s Playing in this dynasty - not my normal mode but I’d rather keep the game afloat as a player than from the relatively impotent remove of a fully dynastic Emperor.

Kevan: City he/him

16-03-2024 14:26:17 UTC

Whether Dormancy causes more chops or unidlings should be there in the history. Searching the archives for non-proposal posts that use the word “Dormant” or “Dormancy”, all I can find are these seven cases where Dormancy has been triggered or warned about, since its invention:

    • December 2016: a player unidles a week later, restarting the game; dynasty ends conventionally
    • January 2017: a player unidles five days later, restarting the game (same dynasty as above)
    • December 2017: the observation that the game is approaching Dormancy prompts a new player to join five hours later; dynasty ends conventionally
    • September 2018: a player unidles five hours later; dynasty is abandoned as unplayable with a chop
    • October 2018: a player unidles eleven hours later; dynasty ends with a scam
    • January 2020: 2-vs-1 vote through a chop CfJ the next day
    • September 2023: a player unidles six hours later; dynasty ends conventionally

I would have said it went the other way on training players’ attention. A dynasty where Dormancy is a possibility is telling players that it’s a 4+ player game and if they walk away from the table halfway through, we might have to pause and wait for someone to take their place. A dynasty starting in Low Player Mode is saying that it intends to keep running as a game even if everyone leaves, so it’s okay to walk away.

Josh: he/they

16-03-2024 14:47:10 UTC

A blunt term search isn’t ging to tell us anything - too much of the effect is going to be passive, or cognative, or perceptional.

In any case: this is a dynasty that I would like to be capable of running with 2-3 people, so I want it kept the way it is, for now. So actually I think I’ll upgrade to a veto .

Kevan: City he/him

16-03-2024 15:25:15 UTC

The blunt search term does at least show us what happens when Dormancy gets invoked: people mostly step up, and the dynasty plays on.

If we’re confident about that being true, that should inform players’ passive perceptions of what the “threat” of Dormancy means for a dynasty.