lucidiot's cybrecluster

Blockchain Nomic


While talking about building a tabletop RPG themed around Internet protocols with ~bakersdozen and ~loaf, I had the idea of an append-only game of Nomic: players would take turns creating a single rule, without having to make any vote.

The idea was inspired by Mornington Crescent, basically the opposite of Nomic in which nobody knows the exact rules as they get made up by the players. The word “blockchain” here is just here to mean that once a rule is added to the chain, it is immutable. It is also used because it can sound scary in the current times.

The initial ruleset has been designed to be played on a mailing list, with a constantly varying amount of active players, and may need some adaptation for other means of play.

Initial ruleset

0. Startup Conditions

All players must abide by the ruleset as it is in effect at the time of their play. The rules of the Initial Ruleset are in effect when a game begins. Players start with zero points.

1. Appending to the Ruleset

All players can add a new rule to this ruleset at any time by submitting the rule to the mailing list.

Rules have a number, a title and a content. Rules that do not have a title or content should be ignored and cannot be added to the ruleset. The next available ordinal number is implicitly assigned to each new rule.

2. Blockchain

Rules cannot be modified, changed or repealed after their enactment.

No rule may have a retroactive application.

3. Unregulated Actions

Whatever is not prohibited or regulated by a rule is permitted and unregulated, with the sole exception of changing the rules, which is permitted only when a rule or set of rules explicitly or implicitly permits it.

4. Judgements

If players disagree about the legality of a move or the interpretation or application of a rule, they may Call for Judgement. The Judge is the first player who replies to the Call by stating they are the Judge, or by sending their Judgement directly. Players directly involved in the disagreement cannot be Judges of the relevant Call for Judgement.

New Judges are not bound by the decisions of old Judges. New Judges may, however, settle only those questions on which the players currently disagree and that affect the completion of the move for which Judgment was invoked. All decisions by Judges shall be in accordance with all the rules then in effect; but when the rules are silent, inconsistent, or unclear on the point at issue, then the Judge shall consider game-custom and the spirit of the game before applying other standards.

5. Conflict Resolution

If two or more rules conflict with each other, then the rule with the highest ordinal number takes precedence.

If at least one of the rules in conflict explicitly says of itself that it defers to another rule (or type of rule) or takes precedence over another rule (or type of rule), then such provisions shall supersede the numerical method for determining precedence.

If two or more rules claim to take precedence over one another or to defer to one another, then the numerical method again governs.

6. Resilience

If a new rule causes any and all changes to the ruleset to be impossible, a player can immediately repeal it by notifying the mailing list.

7. Paradoxes

If the legality of a move cannot be determined with finality, or if by the Judge’s best reasoning, not overruled, a move appears equally legal and illegal, it is declared to be a Paradox.

When a Paradox occurs, the player who made the move that triggered the Paradox earns a point.