Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Post-dynastic discussion thread

Another one in the books, and I think we all agree that it was a pretty quiet, uneventful dynasty, without much of incident to discuss.

Here is a thread for us all to talk about how the ending in particular was a massive snoozefest.


Josh: he/they

19-10-2021 16:26:55 UTC

My guess is that Kevan’s going to come in for some heat in this thread, so I’m going to start off by saying a big thanks to him for another sure-footed dynasty; I really enjoyed it, aside from some bits at the end. I thought that the central mechanical conceit was very tidy and, while the ruleset felt a bit directionless at first, it picked up steam nicely and never really felt stale to me.


19-10-2021 16:31:37 UTC

I liked it, even if I snoozed really hard on it for most of its duration, except for the end.

Brendan: he/him

19-10-2021 16:47:17 UTC

I remain a bit stunned by how often the active players voted directly against their own interests in this dynasty, right up through the final CfJ. Strong proof that a well-organized four-person cabal can operate almost in plain sight and engineer a victory through simple voting, even if some of its members have said of late that they weren’t paying much attention to the final week.

Josh: he/they

19-10-2021 16:58:36 UTC

I agree, and feel a little silly about having let the win through, especially when you called it out on the Cable proposal, Brendan.


19-10-2021 17:16:59 UTC

On the flip side, having people only vote to their interests would just make the game solved by bampam. I’m not sure there is a great way out of this.

Kevan: he/him

19-10-2021 17:32:54 UTC

Mechanically I thought the actions-as-proposals were playing out pretty well, although it did have that tension (which I guess is really at the heart of every Nomic) where the game design ideals naturally drift a little through the chaos of group creation, and some players then have enough of a vested interest in the status quo to discourage any fixes. But I think it was enough to give the idea a fair run, and it was good to see that straight “make these seven gamestate changes” proposals were emerging through negotiation.

It was an extremely surreal gear change to have an “Emperor can win but only as part of a team” device forced into my hands halfway through the dynasty, despite me telling everyone that this was a bad idea and explicitly saying that I was taking it as permission to help someone win if I wanted to. In a dynasty where the only Imperial Actions I could actually take were vote, veto and enact. It didn’t change my proposal writing that much (I suppose it was in my mind that any proposal mechanics should still have the option for me to veto them, in case I wanted to later), but it did just come to a head as basic game theory at the end: the dynasty is about to end with 0% chance of me getting the mantle, but if I use a veto it may end with a non-zero chance.

I share in Brendan’s stunnedness, given that the post-DoV die rolls don’t seem to have given any split to some of the players involved. It does sadden me (in Nomic and in life) that presenting something in a fiery, appeal-to-emotion, simple-answer kind of way can convince people to vote against their own interests.

Kevan: he/him

19-10-2021 17:43:30 UTC

I did feel like there was a conspicuous lack of critical discussion on some proposals, with people only giving mild reasons for voting against strong power plays, rather than pointing out what was happening there and why people might want to vote carefully. Was that deliberate, to avoid giving away to an opponent that you’re paying attention to their plan?

There does come a point where you need to pull people back from voting something through, though. (Perhaps there was some of that in backchannels I couldn’t see.) TyGuy even joked in comments on RoboRally that the proposal would end the dynasty, and it went on to get two or three more votes from players not in the cabal.

Josh: he/they

19-10-2021 17:47:04 UTC

Yes; I’m also foxed as to why the issue had to resolve in sound and fury rather than either using the mechanic (by outbidding me for Kevan’s favour) or quickly eliminating it (by using the immediately apparent quorum to bloodless repeal it). The apparent belief that there was a moral dimension to any of this stuns me; it’s a silly game played on a weblog, there’s no moral dimension to any of this beyond not actually cheating, and the lecturn-thumping theatrics of yesterday were really disappointing to see.

Josh: he/they

19-10-2021 17:49:41 UTC

(I’m aware of the hypocrisy; I think it can reasonably be argued that I also engaged in lectern-thumping theatrics at the end of the mosaic dynasty, and, yeah, I get it. Sorry again, Kevan; let’s not let that be precedent.)

redtara: they/them

19-10-2021 18:48:17 UTC

I think the game was a bit slowed (I mean, it was busy, but at the same time I’m left feeling like not a lot *happened*) due to moving at proposal speed, and “actions” being likely to take effect two days after they were introduced. Which is fine, but I think we could have done well to decide up front that this would be a longer than usual dynasty in order to compensate.

Brendan: he/him

19-10-2021 18:50:04 UTC

[Kevan] “with people only giving mild reasons for voting against strong power plays, rather than pointing out what was happening there and why people might want to vote carefully”—I think I did this a couple of times earlier on, in part because I’ve become very gun-shy about initiating the Werewolf cycle of “you’re only doing X because you’re on a team with Y” / “you’re only accusing me of that because you’re on a team with” etc etc. I had opened a private channel about alliance with Josh and Cuddlebeam the first time we all ended up on Floor 64 together, after Floormates were established but before there was a victory condition. Cuddlebeam later deserted that alliance on behalf of an until-then undisclosed “previous arrangement,” which has now been explained on the dynastic history page. That left me on the bad side of an information asymmetry and wary of getting burned in public as well as in private.

Can’t speak to anyone else’s thought process, though. All the same, this kind of thing is a strong factor for why I think pooling arrangements should be public by default.

lemon: she/her

19-10-2021 20:06:20 UTC

i wasnt there for the moral discussion about kevan’s play, but im surprised to hear that it happened as well!! even if everyone was tricked into passing that rule, which they werent, isnt that sort of what nomic is about?


19-10-2021 22:40:47 UTC

One goal for much of the dynasty was to get players used to passing my proposals. I did several “give each person a thing” proposals, without extra benefits for myself, with the idea that when it came time to BAMPAM against Josh and Brendan’s team, it’d be easier to have the public backing for it. It seemed like my proposals were passing relatively easily, and the opposition’s were not, for some reason. Maybe with so much free time to hammer them out, I just did better at making them look good.

Originally we were discussing getting 5 people in the cabal. But once we had 4, I think we shared an unspoken feeling it would be enough.

Very late game, Zack approached me in DM to offer a 50% split, (or potentially better,) with him and Raven at 25% each. I politely declined, saying in effect that I couldn’t betray my current team’s trust, whatever the price, but in other circumstances I’d have gone for it. (It was an excellent offer.) I felt like Zack was more willing to support my points of view, after that.

I was expecting (hoping for? wary of?) an opposite team to form in numbers beyond what I had seen. Then Kevan threw me for the loop and I reacted with haste, with late-night brain.

I think I’m of the same opinion as Kevan is: He demonstrated in action the problem with letting an emperor gain mantle from the Veto. I made a show of umbrage. (Too much so. I was emotionally set on the win that was nearly in my grasp.)


19-10-2021 22:45:56 UTC

Oh, I found the proposals-shift-gamestate all very fun (and confusing) to work with. I eventually even made a spreadsheet to try to keep track of the coming floor shifts and subtle changes to copbots, Katelyn, veto powers, etc.

Brendan: he/him

19-10-2021 23:27:32 UTC

[TyGuy6] When did you become aware that Josh and I were allied?


20-10-2021 15:17:16 UTC

Mind if I unidle here?

Josh: he/they

20-10-2021 15:32:02 UTC

Not at all; welcome back, quorum rises to 8.

Chiiika: she/her

20-10-2021 18:47:31 UTC

Another Dynasty kill here, sorry Kevan
I think I had proposed to kill Josh’s Dynasty, but not so direct like this one.

I don’t know is it a default that every Dynasty ends with an inevitable bang and bad blood?

To be honest I don’t really understand the Dynasty until the last day of the Dynasty, so that’s the main proponent that I vote proposals that continued the fast tempo of the Dynasty.

Kevan: he/him

20-10-2021 19:00:36 UTC

Individual games of Nomic often end dramatically with some level of surprise, whether that’s a single dramatic rules scam, or a slow realisation that someone has lined things up and is now on an inevitable path to victory. There’s often a period of frantically combing through the rules to find a valid counter-move, or a way to prove that somebody’s scam didn’t actually work as described, and both of those are where a lot of the fun of the game lies. It’s up to the players what tone of voice they bring to that.