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Play Folk #4 Nomic

Myles Nye

The hardest part of playing Nomic was finding a bar. We picked a weeknight and we wanted someplace that would stay open late. Golden Road Brewery was the best choice. Here's a picture of what we looked like sitting around the table: Lily did a good job, I don't know if this is a panorama or what.

Proposing rules and voting on them.

Proposing rules and voting on them.

Here's how many of us there were.

Here's how many of us there were.

Here's what the scores looked like until such time as I switched to doing the scoring in the Google Doc.

Here's what the scores looked like until such time as I switched to doing the scoring in the Google Doc.

That graphic is a screenshot of the final page of the Google Doc I used to keep score. You can see the whole doc here:


I'm quite tardy writing this blog post, obviously, but I had a good first three streak, wouldn't you say? It's like the first three tracks on the Joshua Tree are so good that you forgive the 4th one for not being as good as they are. Whatever it is.

It's been so late in coming, this blog post has, that in fact we have played another game since Nomic. That brings the Play Folk total to 5 and Nomic is the only one that I am somewhat ambivalent about how it all went. Here are the good and the bad in no particular order:

It was a beautiful night.

The venue was too loud for the game.

An extraordinary blend of people turned out to play it: fun, funny, clever, crafty, gameworthy. Top drawer Play Folk attended this game.

Everyone got exactly one turn: the opportunity to propose a rule, and then everyone voted on whether that rule passed or not. Then you rolled a die and added that to your score. After the last player to join the table completed his turn, a condition was met that decided the game and ended it.

I added a new rule to Nomic: each player got two poker chips, given at random. Though several rules acknowledging the existence of the chips were proposed - including my 1 attempt at a rule - they influenced the outcome of the game not at all. I found this disappointing, but I fully know how childish that is.

Due to the nature of the game, and keeping track of the rules on a Google Doc, which was very suitable, players were more engaged with their devices that is customary.

Twenty-five people is a great number to come to a Play Date, but it may have been too big a number for this game to work well. At least it was for a venue as noisy as this one was. I don't think the game was fully showcased for what it can be in a super eggheady kind of way, but as a introduction to the game, playing an iteration of it that was more like a light drinking game and less like a campaign, it ticked all the main boxes.

And make no mistake, when the night ended I had a big old dopey grin on my face just like I always do when I'm happy and I've been playing games. The minuses, to the extent that they were minuses, are reminders that judiciousness in selecting non-physical games is key and we should think about this play date when we evaluate choices in the future.

But enough of that: you want to know who won. Why Andy Crocker won of course.

Andy won fair and square when Greg excused himself and bequeathed his points to Andy. Their sum brought Andy to the total required to win. Andy plays as a full-throated advocate for the game to be fun, and was even declared Minister of Fun, with the authority to decree "This is fun!" on rule amendments. Her win was really a win for fun. Her parents Norm and Glo were present and they were very proud of her triumph and graciousness in victory.

Perfect attendence once more achieved among Dash, John Greg, and Maclin. Bravo!