N_omic Ruleset

I would like to point out that the rules give no official credence to this document. That is, this document is not the rules. If I fall behind a couple of days, or go on vacation, or go insane and start making stuff up, the current status of the ruleset might vary significantly from what you see below. While I believe this document to be correct as of the date below, I repeat, this document is not the rules.

-- Jeff Weston, with a tip of the hat to Dan Marsh.

Ruleset current as of April 24th, 2001.

101 - Immutable - Initial Rule
All players must always abide by all the rules then in effect, in the form in which they are then in effect. The rules in the Initial Set are in effect whenever a game begins. The Initial Set consists of Rules 101-116 (immutable) and 201-213 (mutable).


102 - Immutable - Initial Rule
Initially rules in the 100's are immutable and rules in the 200's are mutable. Rules subsequently enacted or transmuted (that is, changed from immutable to mutable or vice versa) may be immutable or mutable regardless of their numbers, and rules in the Initial Set may be transmuted regardless of their numbers.


103 - Immutable - Initial Rule
A rule-change is any of the following: (1) the enactment, repeal, or amendment of a mutable rule; (2) the enactment, repeal, or amendment of an amendment of a mutable rule; or (3) the transmutation of an immutable rule into a mutable rule or vice versa.

(Note: This definition implies that, at least initially, all new rules are mutable; immutable rules, as long as they are immutable, may not be amended or repealed; mutable rules, as long as they are mutable, may be amended or repealed; any rule of any status may be transmuted; no rule is absolutely immune to change.)


104 - Immutable - Initial Rule
All rule-changes proposed in the proper way shall be voted on. They will be adopted if and only if they receive the required number of votes.


105 - Immutable - Initial Rule
Every player is an eligible voter. Every eligible voter must participate in every vote on rule-changes.


106 - Immutable - Initial Rule
All proposed rule-changes shall be written down before they are voted on. If they are adopted, they shall guide play in the form in which they were voted on.


107 - Immutable - Initial Rule
No rule-change may take effect earlier than the moment of the completion of the vote that adopted it, even if its wording explicitly states otherwise. No rule-change may have retroactive application.


109 - Immutable - Initial Rule
Rule-changes that transmute immutable rules into mutable rules may be adopted if and only if the vote is unanimous among the eligible voters. Transmutation shall not be implied, but must be stated explicitly in a proposal to take effect.


110 - Immutable - Initial Rule
In a conflict between a mutable and an immutable rule, the immutable rule takes precedence and the mutable rule shall be entirely void. For the purposes of this rule a proposal to transmute an immutable rule does not "conflict" with that immutable rule.


113 - Immutable - Initial Rule
A player always has the option to forfeit the game rather than continue to play or incur a game penalty. No penalty worse than losing, in the judgment of the player to incur it, may be imposed.


114 - Immutable - Initial Rule
There must always be at least one mutable rule. The adoption of rule-changes must never become completely impermissible.


115 - Immutable - Initial Rule
Rule-changes that affect rules needed to allow or apply rule-changes are as permissible as other rule-changes. Even rule-changes that amend or repeal their own authority are permissible. No rule-change or type of move is impermissible solely on account of the self-reference or self-application of a rule.


116 - Immutable - Initial Rule
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.


201 - Mutable - Initial Rule
Players shall alternate in clockwise order, taking one whole turn apiece. Turns may not be skipped or passed, and parts of turns may not be omitted. All players begin with zero points.

In mail and computer games, players shall alternate in alphabetical order by surname.


203 - Mutable - Automatically amended by rule 203 December 27th, 2000
A rule-change is adopted if and only if the vote is a simple majority among the eligible voters. If this rule is not amended by the end of the second complete circuit of turns, it automatically changes to require only a simple majority.


204 - Mutable - Initial Rule
If and when rule-changes can be adopted without unanimity, the players who vote against winning proposals shall receive 10 points each.


205 - Repealed by Rule-Change 336 April 22nd, 2001


208 - Mutable - Initial Rule
The winner is the first player to achieve 100 (positive) points.

In mail and computer games, the winner is the first player to achieve 200 (positive) points.


209 - Mutable - Initial Rule
At no time may there be more than 25 mutable rules.


210 - Repealed by Rule-Change 317 January 25th, 2001


211 - Mutable - Initial Rule
If two or more mutable rules conflict with one another, or if two or more immutable rules conflict with one another, then the rule with the lowest 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.


213 - Mutable - Initial Rule
If the rules are changed so that further play is impossible, or 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, then the first player unable to complete a turn is the winner.

This rule takes precedence over every other rule determining the winner.


303 - Mutable - Enacted December 8th, 2000
Any person may become a Player at any time by informing the current Players of their desire to do so, subject to restrictions by other rules or portions of this rule.

A Player shall lose 10 points and become a Reyalp upon (1) announcing their desire to do so to the other Players (and optionally stating a maximum time duration for their Reyalp status) or (2) failing to send a required communication within 72 hours after such communication can initially occur. Reyalps are not Players, but they continue to hold points, which may be increased or decreased only as consequences of actions they took or failed to take while they were Players.

Reyalps may become Players again by informing the current Players of their desire to do so. If they do not do so within the time limit they announced, or within 21 days if no such announcement was made, then they cease to be Reyalps and their points are lost.


305 - Mutable - Enacted December 14th, 2000
The official mailing list of N_omic is n_omic@egroups.com, available through this web site:


Any game related communication that must go to all players must be sent through this mailing list. If the official mailing list is unable to function in this capacity for any reason, players may directly email all other players as an emergency backup until a new mailing list is available.


306 - Mutable - Enacted December 17th, 2000
The symbol "[[" will be used to start comments and the symbol "]]" will be used to end comments. Text within comments has no effect on a rule, and is used purely for example and clarification of intent.

In this rule the comment symbols do NOT denote comments.


309 - Mutable - Enacted December 23rd, 2000


Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you're okay.
Money, it's a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I'll buy me a football team.


The currency of N_omic is the Grok. When a player joins N_omic, that player receives 50 Groks. Groks can be transferred between players by way of the giving player stating the transfer and listing the person receiving the Groks.


310 - Repealed by Rule-Change 330 April 4th, 2001


311 - Mutable - Amended from rule 207 January 5th, 2001
Article I:
Each player has one vote per proposal. This is also known as the player's "normal" or "standard" vote.

Article II:
For each proposal, a player may spent 100 groks for ONE additional vote. This vote must be placed at the same time that the player's normal vote is cast. The last person to vote on an issue must spent 150 groks for the extra vote instead of 100 groks.

A player may gain no more than one additional vote in this manner. All such votes are counted toward point total calculations.


312 - Mutable - Enacted January 8th, 2001
If a player wins the game, the game does not end. Instead, all players have their number of points reset to zero, and their number of Groks to 50 plus 20 times the number of times they have won the game.


322 - Mutable - Enacted March 12th, 2001
There shall be part of the gamestate a list of suggestions. A suggestion is one proposed rule change. At all times each Player may have at most one suggestion present in the list of suggestions.

At any time, any player may add a suggestion to the list by announcing their suggestion to all other players. If that player already has one suggestion on the list when they add a new suggestion, their original suggestion is replaced with the new one.

At any time, any player may remove their suggestion from the list by announcing their intent to all other players, provided that player has a suggestion on the list in the first place. If and when a player ceases to be a player, if they have a suggestion on the list, it is removed at that time.

[[ When this rule is enacted, the following actions shall occur: All Players and Reyalps are moved to (5*(n-1), 20) where n is the Player's or Reyalp's alphabetical position by surname amongst the other Players and Reyalps. For all Players and Reyalps whose score is ambiguous, their score is set to the lowest possible score it could be. Row 11 becomes unlabelled. This paragraph is then surrounded with comment characters. ]]


324 - Mutable - Amended from rule 323 March 17th, 2001
A player's turn consists of five phases.

The first phase is the "Purchase" phase. Players automatically get to propose one rule change per turn, but additional rule change proposals may be purchased during this phase for 50 Groks a piece. The player announces such a purchase by sending a message to the other players indicating how many additional rule change proposals that they wish to purchase. The player must have an adequate supply of Groks in their possesion to make this purchase. Even if the player does not wish to purchase any additional rule change proposals, the player must still announce this to the other players.

The second phase is the "Proposal" phase. Players propose as many rule changes as they have arranged for in phase one. Players may choose to create a proposal of their own, or compose a proposal using one or more of the suggestions currently present in the suggestions list. If the player chooses to use the suggestions list they may not use their own suggestion. In order to use the suggestions list, there must be present enough suggestions, excluding the player's own, in order to fulfill the number of rule change proposals the player arranged for in phase one.

If the player is using the suggestions list, they must use the same number of suggestions as the number of rule change proposals they arranged for in phase one, and the suggestions must be used exactly word for word what they are currently in the gamestate. Once the proposal has been proposed, all of the suggestions that were used are removed from the suggestions list, the player gains 100 Groks plus an additional 25 Groks for each proposed rule change beyond the first, and the player becomes the proponent of the entire proposal. For every suggestion used in this manner, the player who originally made the suggestion gains 25 Groks.

If the player is not using the suggestions list, they must create as many rule changes as they have arranged for in phase one. The player cannot use suggestions to come up with rule change proposals.

Each proposed rule change is a separate entity, each with their own number. The combined proposed rule changes form one proposal. The individual proposed rule changes do not have to relate to each other in any way. If only one rule change is proposed the label of the proposal is "Proposal x" where x is the number of the proposed rule change, otherwise it is "Proposal x - y" where x is the lowest number assigned in the set of proposed rule changes, and y is the highest number.

The third phase is the "Voting" phase. The proposal from phase two is now voted on. If it is adopted, the proposed rule changes are enacted one at a time starting with the lowest numbered rule change, and ending with the highest numbered rule change. If any single rule change is found to be illegal according to the rules, that rule change, along with all higher numbered rule changes in that proposal, are discarded and not enacted. The player loses five points for each rule change discarded in this fashion. The player is awarded the number of points computed by subtracting 291 from the ordinal number of the highest numbered rule change and multiplying that result by the fraction of favorable votes the player's proposal received.

The fourth phase is the "Movement" phase. A player may choose to move from eir current square at (x1,y1) to a destination square at (x2,y2) for a cost of |(10 - y1) * (10 - y2)| + 10 groks if all the following restrictions are obeyed:

i. |y1 - y2| < max (2, n) where n is the total number of Players

|x1 - x2| mod m < 2 where m is the total number of Files

[[So for example, if there are 20 Files and if I am at x1 = 2, I can move to x2 = 1, 2, or 3; if I am at x1 = 0 I can move to x2 = 19, 0, or 1. Effectively this makes the game board cylindrical, with File m-1 adjacent to File 0.]]

iii. y1 <> 10
iv. y2 <> 10
v. The player has the Groks in eir possession to pay for the move.

The groks paid are given to the current player at the greatest Y coordinate. If more than one player is at the highest Y coordinate, the groks are evenly split between all such players (fractions are dropped).

The player announces the move by stating the move from (x1,y1) to (x2,y2), and the total grok cost. If any of the above conditions are false then the player does not move and loses no groks. If all conditions hold then the groks are subtracted from the player's total and distributed, and the move takes place.

The fifth phase is the "Consequences" phase.

Some moves have consequences. In the Consequences phase, the Judge announces the consequences of the move.

In the following, to be "Thrown Back" means to be relocated from square (x,y) to square (x,y+10). Throwing Back is a consequence of a move, and does not count as a move in and of itself.

In the following, "Participants" means Players or Reyalps.

Consequences are as follows:

At the end of the turn, the gamestate is updated to reflect the move (if any), its consequences (if any), and the new Grok total for each Participant.


325 - Mutable - Amended from rule 318 March 22nd, 2001
Each Player or Reyalp occupies a square on a 2-dimensional grid.

Squares have integer coordinates (x,y). The y coordinates range over all finite integers, positive and negative. The x coordinates range from 0 to (5*n-1), where n is the current number of Players and Reyalps.

"Row i" refers to squares with y coordinate equal to i. "File i" refers to squares with x coordinate equal to i.

Some Rows have Labels. When a new Label word is chosen, the person who chooses it must also select a Unlabelled Row between Row 1 and Row k+10 to Label with that word, where k is the new number of valid Label words, and announce that choice to all Players. No Label may be applied to Row 10.

When a Label word is removed from the list of valid Label words, the Row with that Label becomes Unlabelled.

No Row may ever have more than one Label.

Players and Reyalps may be moved from one square to another only as specified by the Rules.

Each Player who reaches Row 0 without crossing it gains 100 points, and must immediately move all Players and Reyalps to squares (0, 20), (5, 20), (10, 20), ... ((n-1)*5, 20) (where n is the number of Players and Reyalps), one Player or Reyalp per square, in any order e chooses.

When a new Player enters the game, files (n-1)*5 to n*5-1 are added to the board and the new Player is placed on square ((n-1)*5, j), where n is the new number of Players and Reyalps and j is the mean value of the y coordinate of all the other Players and Reyalps, rounded to the nearest integer.

For the following, n is defined as the total number of Players and Reyalps immediately before a Player or Reyalp leaves a game. When a Player or Reyalp leaves the game, each remaining Player or Reyalp whoose X coordinate is equal to or higher than (n-1)*5, have their X coordinate reduced by 5, but they still remain on the same Y coordinate. Files (n-1)*5 to n*5-1 are then removed from the board.


326 - Mutable - Amended from rule 308 March 26th, 2001
For the purposes of this rule, Participants are defined as Players or Reyalps.

There are two types of Participants, Labelled and Unlabelled.

When it is an Unlabelled Participant's turn, it is the job of the Judge to select one label and stick it to the Unlabelled Participant's forehead, making em a Labelled Participant. Each label has a single word on it, chosen from a list of valid words. The Judge then must inform the other Participants, except the one whose turn it is, what the word is, using a private channel such as direct email.

A Participant of course cannot see eir own label, and can determine its word only indirectly, e.g. by logical deduction or by getting another Participant to tell em.

When a new Player joins the game, the Judge must inform the new Player of the labels of all the Labelled Participants except the Judge emself, using a private channel such as direct email. The Participant whose turn it is must inform the new Player of the Judge's label, if e has one, using a private channel such as direct email.

Labels may not be removed or altered except as specifically provided by the rules. The list of valid label words may not be modified except as specifically provided by the rules.

The number of labels in the list of valid label words must be equal to n/3, where n is equal to the total number of Participants. All fractions are to be rounded up. If the number of Participants changes such that labels must be added or removed to meet this requirement, the Judge must add or remove labels as appropriate and announce such actions to all Participants.


328 - Mutable - Enacted April 2nd, 2001
There exists, as part of the gamestate, the official N_omic Epic Poem (abbreviated as NEP).

At some point before the end of each active Player's turn, they must add at least one line and up to five lines to the NEP by announcing the new lines to the official mailing list. A Player's turn cannot be completed until the lines have been added, although this rule does not dictate when in a players turn this must take place.

[[ Upon the passage of this rule, the NEP will be set to the string "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...", without the surrounding quotation markes, and then this paragraph will place itself in commentation marks. ]]


329 - Mutable - Transmuted from rule 108 April 3rd, 2001
Each proposed rule-change shall be given a number for reference. The numbers shall begin with 301, and each rule-change proposed in the proper way shall receive the next successive integer, whether or not the proposal is adopted.

If a rule is repealed and reenacted, it receives the number of the proposal to reenact it. If a rule is amended or transmuted, it receives the number of the proposal to amend or transmute it. If an amendment is amended or repealed, the entire rule of which it is a part receives the number of the proposal to amend or repeal the amendment.


332 - Mutable - Enacted April 22nd, 2001
A proposal is adopted if and only if at least one of its rule-changes is adopted.


333 - Mutable - Amended from rule 206 April 22nd, 2001
When a proposal is defeated, the player who proposed it loses 10 points.


334 - Mutable - Amended from rule 212 April 22nd, 2001
If players disagree about the legality of a move or the interpretation or application of a rule, then the player preceding the one moving is to be the Judge and decide the question. Disagreement for the purposes of this rule may be created by the insistence of any player. This process is called invoking Judgment.

When judgement has been invoked, all required communication from all players is no longer required, except for judgement from the judge, and consent to continue the game. For purposes of this rule, such communication is considered "previously required communication". Previously required communication is communication that would normally be required to be sent within a specific time frame, but currently has no time restrictions. Such communication can still be sent, it is just not currently required to be sent.

The game may not continue without the consent of a majority all the players, excluding the judge. Once consent has been received, all previously required communication now becomes required communication and it is trated as if this is the moment such communication can initially occur. Note that this does not nullify any required communication that has already been set, but simply extends the time frame in which the remaining required communication must take place. This takes precedence over rule 303.

The Judge's Judgment may be overruled only by a unanimous vote of the other players taken before the next turn is begun. If a Judge's Judgment is overruled, then the player preceding the Judge in the playing order becomes the new Judge for the question, and so on, except that no player is to be Judge during his or her own turn or during the turn of a team-mate.

Unless a Judge is overruled, one Judge settles all questions arising from the game until the next turn is begun, including questions as to his or her own legitimacy and jurisdiction as Judge.

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 turn in 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.


335 - Mutable - Amended from rule 327 April 22nd, 2001
When a proposal is announced that was not created using the suggestion list, a period of discussion regarding that proposal begins. This discussion period must last a minimum of 24 hours. During the discussion period players may argue against the proposal and/or suggest amendments to the proposal. Also, the proponent of the proposal is allowed to amend their proposal by announcing new versions of it.

After the required 24 hour period is up, unless the judge has been asked to do so, the proponent of the proposal may end the discussion at any time by announcing the final form of their proposal. Even if no discussion takes place, the proponent must still announce what the final form of the proposal is, even if it is the same as the originally announced version. At that time, and no earlier, voting begins. Any votes received before this time do not count unless the voter specifically stated otherwise. Once voting has started, the proposal cannot be altered.

When a proposal is announced that was created using the suggestions list, there is no discussion. The announced version is the final version and voting begins immediately. As above, once voting has started, the proposal cannot be altered.


337 - Mutable - Transmuted from rule 111 April 22nd, 2001
If a rule-change as proposed is unclear, ambiguous, paradoxical, or destructive of play, or if it arguably consists of two or more rule-changes compounded or is an amendment that makes no difference, or if it is otherwise of questionable value, then the other players may suggest amendments or argue against the proposal before the vote. A reasonable time must be allowed for this debate. The proponent decides the final form in which the proposal is to be voted on and, unless the Judge has been asked to do so, also decides the time to end debate and vote.