For once a real bit of editorial opinion this week. The subject is what should happen to the Supreme Court.
In recent weeks many Ackans have been concerned about the increasingly long delays incurred on certain controversial judgements. While it is accepted that deciphering the rules is not a trivial task, in the old days there was a requirement (not always enforced, but mostly) that the Supreme Court would return its verdict within the week. Unfortunately, with the growth in the ruleset and the inherent people dynamics problem of getting two people to agree, this custom is now honoured more often in the breach than the observance.
Hence the current call for reform of the Supreme Court, and, to a lesser extent, all of the CFJ procedures. The reformers appear to branch into two separate groups - the mild reformers who are happy with the basics of the structure, but not with the operation, and the radical reformers who are unhappy that two people are currently in effect in a position to run the game. While the aims of these two groups differ, Guy Fawkes appears, for now at least, to have steered a course between them to come up with a proposal capable of producing bipartisan support.
The proposed reformation would see the existing two-member Supreme Court panel retained as a first appeal stage, with membership of such panels restricted to Supreme Court Justices. The expansion of the existing Court would allow more people to hear appeals, hopefully reducing the severe workload which has produced the current backlog. At the same time, transition problems would be avoided as the existing Justices, breadbox and ThinMan, who do a very good job within the time limits they have, retain control over existing appellate CFJs.
Most controversial of the reform's aspects will no doubt be the introduction of an effective third tier - the Full Court of the Supreme Court, to hear second appeals. However, if we are to enlarge the court, such a body will be necessary. The only question is how long appeals will take to filter through such an august body. Still, given Acka's long history of experimentation with judicial systems - including the ill-fated jury attempt which never reached a verdict - hopefully people will be sufficiently open-minded to give this method a chance.
And now a message from the Editor, Advertising: Letters to the Ackan are always welcome. We will publish contributors within reason, because our aim is to provide Ackans with a comprehensive news and opinions service. This includes your opinions which contradict with those of the paper, so feel free to criticise editorial comments you disagree with. If you want your opinions heard, or your letters published, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Last week we didn't receive any advice, or opinions. If you want, send a stamped self-addressed email to the address listed above, marked "Acka: Ackan" and we'll do our best to get back to you.
Have another good Ackan week - banna willing we'll be back same Ack time, same Ack mailing list next week.
Slakko - Editor, The Infrequent Ackan
Last week The Infrequent Ackan alleged that we were, for legal reasons, unable to mention Hubert's name. Having checked again with our legal department (solicitors hired from the firm of McKenzie, Brackman, and Warner), we have found that this legal reason was merely an attempt by a sub-editor to remain eligible for the collection of Treasure 200. After pointing out to the sub-editor that e was not a player and therefore not, in fact, eligible to receive the Treasure regardless of what e said, e planted a logic bomb in the paper which caused CFJs containing the word Hubert to be sent, before shooting emself in the cafeteria.
Also last week, The Infrequent Ackan claimed that we were going to include information about the new Party Chess Swingers in the issue. Unfortunately, due to lack of space, that particular section of the Party Chess Report had to be held over until this week The people responsible have been shot.
The Ackan heartily apologises for any damage or difficulties caused by these errors.
As is usual here at the Ackan, it is time for another Poll Question. Hopefully this time we will receive more than one response - remember there is an A$5-value trinket on offer to one lucky player selected at random. I know it is a cheesy way to get people to read the paper, but call it a promotional tool and it doesn't sound so bad :-).
This week's Poll Question is:
3. How do you feel about the suggested proposal scoring system modifications (category 1,2,3 etc.):
(a) It works fine now, and I'm sure the Scorekeeper can keep track of it, thank you very much.
(b) I don't mind as long as the effect on scores doesn't change too drastically.
(c) Introduce the Tiny Proposals, but don't bother with the rest of the revamp.
(d) Don't bother with the Tiny Proposals, just the rest of the revamp.
(e) Change Now! Before we're all crushed like ants! :-)
Let's hope that apathy doesn't win this time. We only need two responses from the general public to set a new record for this poll. Remember, it costs very little of your time to enter, and you could win something. /dev/joe already has (twice) in the Great Ackan Poll Question Competition!
While many medical experts had thought that the spores which distribute snowgod's disease throughout Acka had become dormant, with carriers having been absent for so long, this week the problem surfaced once again in a minor epidemic. First to succumb was the previously stalwart Niccolo Flychuck, caught copying a Party Chess strategy, aimed apparently at Slakko, to the public lists when it should have been kept secret with Alfvaen. Niccolo displayed all the classic signs of snowgodism, the message being a clear conspiracy which had to be kept silent to have any chance of succeeding. The lab results should be back any day now, and as soon as someone knows how to interpret them the Chief Medical Examiner Slakko will be able to make eir diagnosis and, if necessary, recommend a course of treatment.
Attempts were made to isolate Niccolo, but to little effect, as Hubert was soon seen to have posted eir attempt at a diagnosis of Niccolo's condition publicly. It is well known that such attempts should be kept quiet, posted only to the Count Tabula Pathology Labs until such time as official lab tests results become known (usually after only 3 days), so such an action could only be seen as a sign of the spread of the disease. Members of the ACDC (Ackanomic Centre for Disease Control) are hurriedly devising containment strategies in the case of further outbreaks. There is no need to panic.
While writing this report, however, a message was received from Nostrachaos. Once again the master of prophecy interpretation has found a relevant section of the Codex of Haon, which e is convinced applies to this current matter:
When leaders pass, and play is resumed
And winners of games are declared far too soon
Beware of the centre, the source of all this
For private to public can disrupt the bliss.
Hibert has been busy this week in the wake of the unfortunate passing of Malenkai and Balsamic Dragon. In addition to the many offices held by these two fine former Ackazens, circumstances have led to the first ever election for DeeJay, and the need to fill the office of Non-Aligned Player Swinger for Party Chess. We here at the Ackan hope that Hibert gets on top of the situation soon, so that new officers may take up their posts and speed play on its way.
Earlier this morning, Guy Fawkes was the centre of attention at a public ceremony held on the steps of the Senate. Slakko, the President, awarded Guy a Silver Stripe to accompany eir Gold Stripe. Coincidentally, the last time such a condition was achieved was 3 months ago to the day, when Alfvaen qualified for eir Silver Stripe after a Gold Stripe. Such double metal stripe situations are rare in Acka, with only 5 players ever having reached the dizzying heights of a Blue Cross Rank of 70. We can expect to see more in the future, but given that the two next closest candidates to this have been dormant on the proposal front (one the august Robert Sevin, the other now enshrined in the Hall of Elders as Chaos), we may well need to wait a while yet.
Continuing on from last week, this issue of the Party Chess Report examines the strategies of the two new players.
Firstly we have The Gingham Wearer, who is Swinging for the Klingon Party. TGW, as we refer to him down at the Ackan Office, is making a big splash in his early effects on the board. E has already earned a Stabber's Knife, for eir excellent checking of Red Barn, in a complex move which simultaneously enabled Slakko to pick up a Stabber's Knife. Such skill in piece placement no doubt makes TGW a worthy competitor, and indeed eir Weight has rapidly increased to a point where the leaders are starting to take notice. With one piece capable of increasing or decreasing Weight by 25 or more in a single move, The Gingham Wearer is rapidly moving into range for some large Swingpoint dividends. Such a worthy opponent can only increase the challenge and interest the Party Chess game holds for its many enthusiasts.
Secondly there is Goldenmean, the Swinger for the Razor Boomerangs. As yet Goldenmean appears uninterested in Weights, preferring to accumulate a few extra pieces through well timed captures from his guerrilla force of a small number of pieces. In such a position, he poses little threat to the leaders as a group. However, he could well swing the tide of battle one way or another, were he to intervene in the play to favour one of the leaders. It will be interesting to see how Goldenmean acts on future turns.
A new, but as yet unknown, third Swinger will soon also be joining us, as the NAP Swinger post is due to be filled. The new Swinger will either be Guy Fawkes or Wild Card. Unfortunately, little is known about either of eir techniques and strategies, so we will have to wait until their patterns of play take shape to be certain of what is going on. Either way, however, the new Swinger will undoubtedly have to purchase extra pieces - Red Barn's lacklustre performance in eir last few moves as Swinger opening the way for eir troops to be slowly eaten away before the King finally fell.
The current three-way battle for Weight supremacy continues. Due to some good timing, Slakko was able to snaffle the top Weight when Swingpoints were last calculated. Now, however, e sits once more in third, despite reaching a Weight of 90, quite an astounding weight for the current system. Niccolo has regained the lead on 95, so Slakko has closed the gap slightly (due to eir placement of a Rook, no doubt), but eir continuing ability to match Niccolo and Alfvaen is under a cloud. This is partly due to the nature of the Tornado's perilous positioning, and partly due to the now-overt alliance to eliminate it. Keep watching the board, folks, as the temperature keeps on rising!
A delectable collection of subgame treats to delight the gourmand.
Alfvaen's home-and-hosed-ness continues to rise slowly, with any other player winning Game 2 an almost impossible occurrence. An unbelievable streak from breadbox or Slakko could still run them home, but Alfvaen would also need to miss the correct definition practically any time. There's no conspiracy to unseat Alfvaen, and the sportsmanlike nature of Acka means that any attempt to get such a conspiracy would no doubt meet with failure. However, this didn't prevent The Gingham Wearer sheeping eir way to a comfortable 4 points in Alfvaen's last round (Round 11). Just because the battle for first place is over doesn't mean the game is no longer interesting, so keep watching.
Grab-a-Donkey results for round 7 were quite exciting, with three players eliminated, as Fortunato, the Wrangler promised. The Grab-a-Donkey Active List is shrinking slowly but surely, as the paranoid and aggressive survive while the cheerful but apathetic or excessively risky fall. What kind of lesson in natural selection this teaches us I'm not game to talk about.
rufus' win in Round 14 set the game up for a very close finish. With players entering round 16, only two players were in a position for an immediate win. With 3 players on 1 point, and 3 on 2 points, only /dev/joe and Slakko, on three points each, were capable of reaching a mediocre point score on the next round. However, for either of them to do so required the other player to win the round, making 3 the mediocre number over 4. Slakko's ducking, playing a 1, enabled /dev/joe to win the Round, with a score of 10, but handed Slakko overall victory and a very mediocre Jade Grapefruit.
The first Single Capture Go non-Duel game started last week and finished this week in a very fast game. Wild Card earned eir first ever Jade Grapefruit with a stunning move that allowed em to connect eir two disjoint pieces. Meanwhile, TGW, stuck in a position where early defeat seemed inevitable, played for a stunning comeback. E survived what looked like eir last round, and then used eir real last round to sink Alfvaen's attempts with a cunning Single Go trap.
Single Capture Go tip for the week: Try not to capture a stone by placing your stone in a place with only one liberty. It's not like real Go - captured pieces don't suddenly disappear. Hopefully the next game of SCG will start real soon - keep a lookout (more players would be a lot more fun).
The battle for dominance in Viruses becomes even more complex. While /dev/joe stays in the lead, now with 24 cells, the rest of the pack is still snapping at his heels. two-star, else...if and breadbox have all acquired 20 or more cells, and are therefore all in a reasonable situation to see /dev/joe unseated. With /dev/joe on 4 points, compared to 1 point between his three main chasers, it appears only a matter of time before collusion or just simple good virus placement sees /dev/joe knocked off for a while.
Meanwhile, the Gamepoint leader, TGW, has fallen way back to last, while Slakko, who neglected to move last turn, falls almost as far. Can these two get back into scoring position? Does anyone else care? Stay tuned and all will hopefully be answered.
Hubert's skill at un-association appears marvellous. E has already achieved a 4 point lead over /dev/joe (and possibly a 5 point lead over Slakko) within two complete cycles of rounds. Unfortunately, there's not much else to say about this game.
Sam/Romeo has finally made it to the moon, on a second attempt. However, e may have trouble getting off, with cheese not exactly the best source of rocket fuel. Will we see the return of the Lunatic Finger? Will anyone say anything sensible to Kirby 2600? Will Alfvaen win while most other people still have more than 5 cards? (And how could e eliminate 5 loose ends in 4 plays?) The entire game remains (as always) a riddle, as does its potential outcome. With so many loose ends, there's so much still to play for. So if you want to get involved, give the Barkeep a holler - but be quick. With only one spare bench, it won't last for long.
The Infrequent Ackan will soon be bringing you an exclusive interview with Acka's own Poet Laureate. Listen to breadbox as e tells you about eir life both in and out of the public eye. The Infrequent Ackan - bringing you the celebrities you want in the interviews you asked for.
The Ackan is looking for new sub-editors. Applicants should be extremely literate, prone to using cheesy captions, and capable of being yelled at without yelling back. Possession of bullet-proof vest and/or own firearm an advantage. Apply Slakko, kaa L1.
The Infrequent Ackan, first to you with Ackan news.
Copyright © Duncan Richer writing under the pseudonym of "Slakko", 7/3/98.
Check us out on the web, at http://dcr24.quns.cam.ac.uk/Nomic/Acka/infrequent.html