# The (Incomplete) Rules of Sprodzoom

Compiled by Gareth Rees and Simon Arrowsmith

## 1. Introduction

Sprodzoom is a multi-player game played (historically) by CUSFS and Trinity Mathematical Society. It is suitable both as a drinking game (with penalties) and as a complex spectator sport.

## 2. Main Concepts

A Conversation takes place between two players and has an Active and a Passive end. In general, the player at the active end is "due to speak" (i.e. to make a gesture).

A Gesture is the basic component of Sprodzoom, and is any motion of the hands or body that might have some meaning in the game. The player who makes a gesture will be referred to as the Actor. A gesture may be Directed, that is, pointed at another player in the game. A gesture may not be directed at the actor. The player thus pointed at will be referred to as the Recipient.

A conversation has a Label (i.e. a gesture not pre-defined in the game), to enable it to be distinguished from other conversations that may be in progress. In most cases, a label precedes a gesture to form a move in the conversation selected by that label. A label may be Pending if a conversation has been created but not labelled. In this case the active player in that conversation must label it (using the Moradice gesture, see below) before making any other gesture. The label of the first conversation in a game is the Null label.

To Reply in a conversation is to swap the active and passive ends of that conversation.

## 3. Definitions

Gestures
The set of all gestures.
Labels
The set of permissible labels; all gestures not predefined.
Players
The set of players currently in the game.
Conversations
The set of conversations in progress (initially Conversations is empty). A conversation is a triple (a,p,l) where a is the active participant, p the passive participant and l the label. Different conversations must have different labels.
active(c)
The active participant in conversation c.
passive(c)
The passive participant in conversation c.
label(c)
The label of conversation c.
left(p)
The player sitting to the left of player p.
right(p)
The player sitting to the right of player p.
The conversation produced by replying in the conversation c, i.e., the conversation (passive(c), active(c), label(c)).
+
The operator that concatenates two gestures.

## 4. You are in error if

• You make a gesture with the incorrect syntax, or make a gesture when it is not legal to do so.
• You end up talking to yourself, or cause someone to be talking to themself (the Rule of Sanity).
• You create two conversations with the same label (the Rule of Ambiguity).
• You at the active end of a conversation for more than thirty seconds (Rule 32).
When a player is in error, the conversation in which the illegal move was made comes to an end. It is traditional for other players in a game to direct wergs (see below) at a player who is in error.

## 5. Pre-defined Gestures

Where appropriate, c (and d) stand for the conversation(s) in which the gesture takes place, actor is the player making the gesture and recipient is the person at whom the gesture is directed.

### Fortnum

Gesture: A tweak of the left ear-lobe.
Syntax: Fortnum
Legal: At any time.
Effect: open quote. All subsequent gestures (until a mason is performed by the actor) have no effect in any conversation.

### Mason

Gesture: A tweak of the right ear-lobe.
Syntax: Mason
Legal: if the actor has made a fortnum but not yet provided a closing mason at that level (fortnum and mason may be nested).
Effect: See fortnum.

### Werg (directed)

Gesture: A pawing motion with both hands.
Syntax: Werg
Legal: When the recipient is in error.
Effect: None.
Note: It is traditional to direct wergs at players who are in error, in order that they realise this. There is no special penalty (other than general ridicule) for making a werg in error.

### Sprod (directed)

Gesture: Left hand swings forward from the shoulder in a pointing motion.
Syntax: Sprod
Legal: When no game is in progress.
Effect: Starts a game with empty Conversations and Players containing only actor and recipient.
Note: There's little use in starting a game with no conversations. Use a sprodzoom instead.

### Zoom (directed)

Gesture: Right hand swings forward from the shoulder in a pointing motion.
Syntax: Zoom
Legal: When a game with no conversations is in progress.
Effect: Sets Conversations to contain only the conversation (recipient,actor,NULL).
Note: Used to continue a game in which all conversations have been destroyed (typically by their participants being in error).

### Sprodzoom (directed)

Gesture: A sprod and a zoom combined in a single, double-handed pointing motion.
Syntax: Sprodzoom
Legal: When no game is in progress.
Effect: Starts a game with Players containing only actor and recipient and Conversations containing only the conversation (recipient,actor,NULL).
Note: Games are typically started by a sprodzoom, rarely by sprod and zoom separately.

### Schwarz (directed)

Gesture: Fingers of both hands interlinked and the palms are pushed towards the recipient.
Syntax: label(c) + Schwarz
Legal: If actor is active(c) and recipient is passive(c).

### Profigliano (directed)

Gesture: A pedalling motion with both feet.
Syntax: label(c) + Profigliano
Legal: If actor is active(c) and recipient is not passive(c).
Note: Enters the recipient into the game, if not already in.

### Neuralnic

Gesture: The actor pats the left side of the head with right hand, and vice versa, with arms folded over the top of the head.
Syntax: label(c) + Neuralnic
Legal: If actor is active(c) and passive(c) is not left(actor).
Effect: Sets active(c) to left(actor) and sets c to reply(c).
Note: Transfers the actor's end of the conversation to the left and replies in that conversation.

### Pericles (directed)

Gesture: A slow waving motion with both arms extended to the sides, while the mouth opens and closes in a fish-like motion and the eyes are rolled.
Syntax: label(c) + Pericles
Legal: If actor is active(c) and recipient is not passive(c).
Effect: Sets active(c) to recipient and adds the conversation (right(actor), actor, PENDING) to Conversations.
Note: Transfers your end of the conversation to the recipient, who then must reply in it, and also creates a conversation between you and the player on your right, who must create a label and then reply in it.

### Omsk

Gesture: Hands are clapped above the actor's head.
Syntax: label(c) + Omsk + label(d)
Legal: When actor is active(c) and also active(d) and passive(c) is not the same as passive(d).
Effect: Removes c and d from Conversations ands adds the new conversation (passive(c), passive(d), label(c) + label(d)).
Note: Creates a new conversation which is the join of two others, which are removed from the game. Compare with minsk.

### Minsk

Gesture: Hands are clapped behind the actor's back.
Syntax: label(c) + Minsk + label(d)
Legal: When actor is active(c) and active(d) and passive(c) is also passive(d).
Effect: Removes c and d from Conversations ands adds the new conversation (actor, passive(c), label(c) + label(d)).
Note: Create a new conversation which is the join of two others that have exactly the same participants, and which are removed from the game. Compare with omsk.

Gesture: The actor looks in a (possibly imaginary) inside jacket pocket.
Syntax: Moradice + label(c) + g (where g is a new gesture)
Legal: When actor is active(c).
Effect: Sets label(c) to g.
Note: Change the label of the conversation. Watch out for the Rule of Ambiguity.

### Valhalla

Gesture: Hands waved from side to side in opposite directions, palms downwards, in front of the actor's torso.
Syntax: Valhalla
Legal: When a game is in progress, but preferably no conversations.
Effect: Terminates the game.

HTML last updated: 24 April 2002, by Mark Waller