Why Agora should have a rule-changing sub-game
- The interesting thing about Agora is its rule-changing aspect.
- However, economic manipulation and competitive game-play don't sit
very well in Agora at the moment. This is because:
- the game never ends (hasn't so far anyway :-), which in turn
means that there is no reset button, and we get Gerontocracy
- all the neato stuff we dream up that would play well in a
finite game, either
- favours the already entrenched, or creates advantage to
those Players present at the time, disadvantaging potential
New Players; or
- is divisive and threatens long-term stability (but would
probably work quite well if we weren't in a never-ending
game, because alliances etc would start afresh)
- Because of (2), I think we are right to try and invent a resetting
sub-game, where we can be devious and cunning and know that
enmities, plots and conspiracies are relatively short-term. About
the only thing we might want to preserve past resets would be
- Because of (1), I think the sub-game should include a rule-changing
aspect. (Without it, we might as well ignore Agora and go away to
play the sub-game separately.)
- However, the rules changeable by players of the sub-game should
not include all of Agora's rules. Otherwise, the sub-game
isn't really a sub-game at all. In particular, sub-game physics
(maps, topography, types of land, ways of developing land) should
not be alterable by the sub-game rule-changing mechanism.
- Of course, the Players of the sub-game and the Players of Agora are
probably the same sets. So, we should enact a high level rule that
says that Agora-level changes to sub-game physics do not take
effect until the next iteration of the sub-game. This should
ensure that rule-making at the Agoran level doesn't get too
- Gerontocracy Syndrome
- The tendency of the game to feature entrenched, powerful
Players, who are generally long established and experienced, and
have used these advantages to put themselves into influential
- A game played within Agora. Agora has the Contest mechanism to
provide this facility already.
Emperor game. A possible model for a rule-changing sub-game.
- Goethe's Ace of Spades
sub-game. This game didn't generate enough interest, and wasn't
played. My only guess as to why this should be so is that the
game doesn't have much of a theme to it and perhaps seems a little
sterile as a result.
- My Fall of the Republic (PDF)
sketch for a sub-game.
Michael Norrish <Michael.Norrish@cl.cam.ac.uk>
Last modified: Wednesday, 23 March 2005; 23:54 (UTC)