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I am an experienced board gamer (and card too), with a particular affinity for collaborative games (Shadows over Camelot, Pandemic, etc.). I would like to take this a step further by studying self-government games in the style of Nomic. However, the learning step appears to be a bit steep. Given that I'd have to find a few friends to play with, I'd like to find a good game for our collective first time, so as not to be too easily discouraged.

So, what choice of nomic games would you recommend, and what general advice would you give me to organize this.

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closed as not constructive by Pat Ludwig Jan 8 '12 at 7:14

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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Reading your post reminded me of the two times I played Dangerous Parallel. Both times were in school settings and the game appears to require/be most fun with lots of people, but I bet it could be easily amended for one player per country. The Play and rules are very free-form, albeit more structured than Nomic, yet not as constraining as a game like Diplomacy.

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@Pat thanks for link fix. My skills at properly formatting markup on my phone leave quite a bit to be desired. –  Adam Wuerl Apr 25 '11 at 13:57
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For having played so many Nomic, I must recommend you to play with friends around a table in a place where there are a few games.

The reasons for that are hard to explain, but playing Nomic online implies one of the two followings:

  • The game is abstract and requires every player to keep his own trace of the current situation, like two chess players that only send each other the coordinates of their moves.
  • Many players are programmers that can change the website you're playing on, to add new kinds of elements. Let's say you play with "points" and suddenly you decide to add "coins" and "blue turtles", and there is an hexagonal board, ... You can't just add a comment in a blog to edit the players status and adding fields to the database.

But if you play around a table, you can add "Carcassonne pawns" and "Catane cards" in your game quite simply.

Also, you start with very basic rules. Forget about mutable/immutable rules, for example.

Here is an example of starting rules:

1) No rules can be added or changed if it is in contradiction with an already valid rule.

2) The players play their turn clockwise, each finishing his or her turn before the next player begins. The players decide who plays first in the way they prefer.

3) At a player's turn he or she can propose a new rule, a change in a rule or a removal of a rule, by writing it on a piece of paper in the exact form it is supposed to be added or changed. Such an action is called a motion.

4) When a motion is made, all the players vote by raising hands if they accept or reject the motion, each one having one voice.

5) If more than half the voices accept a motion, it is put in the ruleset, at the end with a new number if it is a new rule; at the same place with the same number if the rule is changed; and crossed out if it is removed.

6) The winner is the one who sells the princess.

(Of course, to achieve such a goal, you must either change the rule 6) or introduce a princess and a way to sell her.)

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The best online nomic is Agora Nomic (http://agoranomic.org/), which is played on several mailing lists. BlogNomic (http://blognomic.com/) is also popular and less 'heavy'.

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Also being interested in nomics, I followed and attempted to be inolved on Blognomic for a few "dynasties". I never felt like I quite understood what was going on. –  Tuxhedoh Apr 25 '11 at 23:04
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So I'm a bit late :/

Even though it seems like a lot to take in, if you really want to start playing nomic, there's no better place than Agora (except if you act fast, more on that in the next paragraph). The thing is, yeah, Agora is really intense, and yeah, you're probably not going to remember all the rules. But everyone who plays Agora has an extremely high tolerance for newcomers, because they are all still keenly aware of how difficult it was during their first days.

But wait, if you call in the next 20 minutes, you'll get this special TV offer!

B Nomic has collapsed. The reasons are interesting but kind of irrelevant; Agora is about to pass legislation that explains it, so I'd point you to that ruleset when it gets updated. But the cool thing is that there are a whole bunch of people who are really good at playing Nomic, and understand how to handle new players, who are starting a brand new nomic. That is honestly a rare opportunity - there is no better time to start playing a nomic than during the formative years.

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It's more of a party game than a straightforward Nomic substitute, and it's not directly cooperative, but Democrazy is a fun little game where the players vote on rules that modify the game itself. Check out the videos at boardgamegeek for a demonstration.

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One Thousand Blank White Cards is a DIY card game with nomic qualities; also suitable for forum play. See my collection of card images at https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=cf6505871eabaa8e&sc=photos#cid=CF6505871EABAA8E&id=CF6505871EABAA8E%213187&sc=photos.

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