Friday, April 28, 2023

Proposal: Safety Last

Timed out and failed, 1-2 wth 2 unresolved DEFs. Josh

Adminned at 30 Apr 2023 19:39:27 UTC

To the rule “Safety Checks”, add:-

If three or more Engineers each have more than a million Safety Checks, then any Engineer may remove the bullet point beginning “Optionally, spend Safety Checks to roll DICEN again and use that roll instead” from the rule “The Building”, if it exists.

Switching the rerolls off if we manage to get a couple of other Engineers into the millions, so that we can play the dynasty out closer to Jenga than pure timezone roulette.


Josh: he/they

28-04-2023 17:16:57 UTC

I have to say I’m finding the hostility and piecemeal incrementalism of these proposals a little overwhelming. Could you just propose to remove all my SCs and save us all some time?

Kevan: he/him

28-04-2023 17:26:21 UTC

No hostility intended. You said on Access All Areas that the game would become “a timing issue, where whoever Inspects last wins” if it got to the point where players were facing each other off with infinite rerolls. I agree that that would be uninteresting, so let’s not do it if we get there.

Josh: he/they

28-04-2023 17:28:48 UTC

That’s disingenuous - every one of your votables for the past few days has been designed to undermine my position directly and it’s getting exhausting to have to keep pushing back. Just give me one proposal to be outraged on, please, this is genuinely no fun.

Kevan: he/him

28-04-2023 17:52:44 UTC

If you could say how this was undermining you specifically, I could amend around that or someone else could try iterating on it. I can’t do much with comments on my character and motives.

Josh: he/they

28-04-2023 18:07:45 UTC


Point to a comment on your character, Kevan, point to even one. I deeply resent the implication that I am making this personal when the worst thing I have said in this thread is that you are being “disingenuous”, if you insist on attempting to shut me down with that kind of business then I’ll simply deactivate my account and stop playing because we really can’t go to this place every single dynasty, it’s bad for us as people and bad for the game around us.

If you’re really going to insist that I participate in this munchkining-by-degrees in real-time then that will also result in me idling out, because dragging this for another week is a genuinely horrible experience. I do not need to account for the ways in which every proposal has been designed around a compound effect aimed at removing my lead, you are very clever and your very clear desire to trap me in a mess of micro-accountancy is both obvious and deeply corrosive to my mental health and I’m not in a place to participate in it right now.

Just… change the proposal, please. Repeal SCs and rerolls outright, if it passes I’ll idle out but it saves us all time. I cannot do this again, it is agonising.


28-04-2023 18:41:23 UTC

[Josh] When you say, “every proposal has been designed around a compound effect aimed at removing my lead”, isn’t that a part of the game? The mechanics of the game allow this kind of thing to get oneself in a better position to increase one’s chance of winning, right?

Isn’t that exactly why you prematurely closed my previous review board, even after explaining why my support for the All Access proposal was legitimate?

Josh: he/they

28-04-2023 18:52:18 UTC

@Summai Proposing for iterative advantage is part of the game. Proposing to chip away the lead of the leader is also a part of the game, but a much more controversial one, because it just feels *horrible*. Once you’ve got quorum once on a punish-the-leader proposal you’re going to get it every time, so forcing that leader to go through it six or eight times -arguing futilely each time - isn’t gameplay, it’s just cruelty. I’m not saying “don’t do it”, I’m saying “make it quicker”.

But you should be aware - for when you are leader, which will happen sooner or later - that punish-the-leader proposals are a miserly and miserable way to play the game.

Your review board was three days past posting them I closed it, and when it was posted the new resolution mechanics hadn’t even been posted; calling it ‘premature’ to close it is pushing the definition somewhat. The better question is why you and others *didn’t* close it; it is clear that every choice regarding that post was tactical. I also did not address your vote specifically on All Access, so I’m not sure what you’re calling out there. I understand why you voted for it and can’t fault the vote, but I will note that my predictions about munchkinning and the overall effect on the game do seem to be coming true.

Kevan: he/him

28-04-2023 18:52:53 UTC

[Josh] Yes, it was the “disingenuous” - I read that as being about my comment as a whole, my stated intention with this proposal. If that’s not what you meant, then I apologise and retract that. Pointing out my general motivation to play and win the game is fine, my “can’t do much” is that it literally doesn’t tell me how I’d have to alter this proposal to get your vote, or what another player should or shouldn’t propose if they wanted to have a crack at it.

If this proposal is unfair to you and you don’t want to say exactly why that is, that’s up to you, but it’s not a convincing reason for me to retract it or for fair-minded players to vote it down.


28-04-2023 19:31:12 UTC

[Josh] I understand that the ‘punish the leader’ kinds of proposals would be horrible, but I see these proposals as the other players pushing for a chance to stay in the game using legitimate game mechanics. After all, even if this proposal is passed (I haven’t voted either way yet), you will still have a 300+ Expertise advantage over the 2nd placed player, and would be very close to the 500 Expertise victory condition. You would still have a huge advantage, just less than your current advantage.

Regarding my review board post, it was barely open for 50 hours and not over 3 days. Did you confuse me with Titanic? From my admittedly meager stint so far as a player, I have noted that 2 hours overtime was a normal delay for things to proceed. As for tactical advantage, I am not a fool to refuse tactical advantage coming my way. Neither did I open my previous review board, nor was I the one who proposed all access. So I fail to see where I went wrong in that regard.

Lulu: she/her

29-04-2023 14:48:29 UTC


Josh: he/they

29-04-2023 15:03:22 UTC

@Summai You are right that I concatenated your situation with Titanic’s; apologies. Nevertheless, for the rest of it, I didn’t say you “went wrong”, I only pointed out that my actions were as tactically opportunistic as yours - drawing a distinction between that and the ongoing effort to erode my position by proposal, which so far seems to be designed around making the game worse or invalidating major mechanics rather than coming up with creative solutions that respect the game as it has been played so far.


Kevan: he/him

29-04-2023 15:51:01 UTC

[Josh] This proposal is restoring the major and currently deprecated mechanic of having to make meaningful die rolls when Building, rather than everyone ignoring them because they have millions of rerolls (which you described as “literally the worst possible way of resolving the issue, as a game design matter” and I agree). The only “major mechanic” being invalidated is infinite rerolls, and this seems more respectful to the game as it’s been played so far.

Is anybody going to spell out how this proposal weakens Josh’s current position, or are we just going with his vibes on it? Is it just that a couple of mid-tier players will be able to meaningfully join in the endgame even if they haven’t been through the Review Board process?

redtara: they/them

30-04-2023 09:30:19 UTC



30-04-2023 09:57:02 UTC



30-04-2023 10:03:43 UTC

[Josh] Okay, I somewhat agree with you and will support the city architect’s decision. Still, I would be interested in hearing your response to Kevan’s comment saying that such proposals are not breaking the game but merely moving it back towards a jenga like game which is how it was originally intended to be.

Josh: he/they

30-04-2023 10:59:34 UTC

@Summai The problem I have is that… Well, actually, I have two problems, but one doesn’t really matter.

The one that doesn’t matter is that “how it was originally meant to be is irrelevant, it’s a Nomic, authoral / Imperial intent is meaningless, there’s no platonic ideal of the game that we’re striving towards and of there is then it shouldn’t be Jenga, a game which is not a Nomic. The purpose of all this isn’t too slavishly recreate an existing game, it’s to use a prompt as a jumping off point for something new. But, again, that point really doesn’t matter for the purposes of where we are.

The response that does matter is that if the objective is to use a quorum vote to move us towards a purer Jenga experience then just do that: propose to repeal SCs and rerolls, and while you’re at it specialisations and disasters, and just cut us down to the essential minimum.

What Kevan is doing here is employing a ratchet. If he just proposed the reset as detailed above then he thinks it would fail, as it’s too much in one go and too obvious a munchkin of the leader.

What he has done instead is propose a reasonable-sounding entrepoint - “make it so that everyone can have infinite SCs” - that also breaks the game a little, as it means that every player can reroll infinitely forever.

As that breaks the game a little he can effectively bond in a quorum of players to vote for the next step of the ratchet - “if too many players have infinite SCs, repeal rerolls”. Because he broke the game in step one, step two is logically necessary.

By breaking it up he avoids the charge of munchkinning because no individual step says or means “take all of player X’s resources away”. But they have that effect: after step 2 SCs are fully meaningless, so step 3 is that can be repealed bloodlessly, as no proposal to ever make them mean anything again is likely to pass.

Each individual proposal is only incrementally hotter than the one before, but like a sequence of chess moves to have to look at the whole play.

For what it’s worth, in this proposal I’m not fully objecting to the whole play - if quorum want that reset then I’ll argue against it but part of what Kevan is doing here is trying to maneuver me into arguing against something that isn’t fully apparent on the table here, which would be a losing strategy for me (thus bait like “Is anybody going to spell out how this proposal weakens Josh’s current position, or are we just going with his vibes on it?”, and why I am declining to take it).

What I am mainly objecting to is the incremental approach of continually breaking the game such that fixing it forces players to accept a package that wasn’t apparent at the outset. I think it’s reasonable for me to be pointing out that the implications of this proposal are further steps on a ratchet, but essentially my argument is: just skip to the end, propose the full mechanical repeal so we can discuss it honestly.

For the sake of the historical record, Kevan’s mastery of the proposal game is why he’s good at Nomic, and you should all listen to me more when I point out what he’s doing, if only because it’s a good education.

Kevan: he/him

30-04-2023 12:16:19 UTC

The Munchkin factor definitely deserves an essay at some point.

Yes, proposing to directly reset the leader would fail (and very recently has), on clear Munchkin grounds: why would anyone support it and establish the precedent that the same thing could be proposed against them if they later became the leader?

Smaller proposals are situational. If you can show that a proposal is a ratchet, sure, that might be enough to give voters pause on Munchkin grounds: if they support that kind of ratchet against the current leader, they’d have to decide if they could handle being on the receiving end of a ratchet of similar size and speed later on.

But if you’re unwilling or unable to explain how a proposal is a ratchet, I think the Munchkin aspect falls away. You can expect some solidarity against a proposal which would demonstrably diminish your lead, but less (if any) for something which you’re talking more as if it’s blocking a scam or strategy that you don’t want to have to reveal because the group would move to block it.