Duncan Richer

Imperial Nomic


The Infrequent Ackan

Past Issues:

 1 (28/11/1997)

 2 (3/12/1997)

 3 (10/12/1997)

 4a (18/12/1997)

 5 (6/1/1998)

 6 (10/1/1998)

 7 (17/1/1998)

 8 (31/1/1998)

 9 (7/2/1998)

 10 (14/2/1998)

 11 (21/2/1998)

 12 (28/2/1998)

 13 (7/3/1998)

 14 (12/3/1998)

 15 (20/3/1998)

 16 (28/3/1998)



Volume 1, Issue 17

April 4, 1998

This issue's slogan:
"The (Un)Official Ackanomic Newspaper of the C.U. Diplomacy Society"

In this issue:

  1. Editorial
  2. Apologies and Retractions.
  3. Poll Question #5
  4. More Ackanomic News
  5. Special Report - Interview with a Checked Fabric
  6. Meaningless Statistic of the Week #2
  7. Party Chess Report
  8. Sub-Game Summary
  9. Advertisement





After this week being restored to its usual voting-heavy self, Acka has another transformation to go through this week. breadbox tweaked the queue, ending a long period of frobbing, with the comment that the frob did not have the desired effects.

So, now that the frob has ended, a multiplicity of proposals has already started appearing via the feisty little nomicbot at muppetlabs. A sudden increase in the rate of retraction has also occurred, although this may well be due to some serendipitous miscalculation on the part of a previous rule rewriter.

I hope that some restraint will be shown, so that our freedom in a tweaked queue need not be stamped on by an exhausted Promoter. Last time the queue was unfrobbed a call for people to restrict themselves to 1 proposal per day (on average) was made. If people who have lots of ideas ration them out in this way (give or take a couple) then the proposal change rate will be steady but not overwhelming. Let's keep it that way, for the sake of the Promoter and to avoid bewildering the new arrivals :-)

An unusual reminder from the Editor. The Presidental Nominations will be with us again next week, as my eight week term expires. When you look back on the last eight weeks (or what fraction of them you have experienced), you will hopefully realise that Acka has been stable. No severe crises have threatened to dump the game in a hole and run off snickering, and a trickle of players have joined and continued to keep the game interesting and fun. In short, I would hope that, should I be on the ballot again this time, you would remember the effectiveness of my Presidency, and vote me in a second term. After all, I wouldn't be the first.

Now, the usual reminder from the Editor: 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 opinions contradicting the paper, so feel free to criticise editorial comments.

If you want your opinions heard, or letters published, please send them to dcr24@cam.ac.uk.


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 next week.

Editor, The Infrequent Ackan 


Apologies and Retractions

The Ackan apologises for the relative lack of errors to criticise in last issue. The new fact checker appears to be doing eir job so well that my sub-editors live in fear, and have taken to wearing bullet-proof vests. No, wait, that was the response to my get tough initiative. Oh well.

The Ackan heartily apologises for any damage or difficulties caused by these errors and/or omissions.


Poll Question Results

Time here at the Ackan for another Poll Question - aimed to inform, entertain and elicit fun responses. This week's question is:

5. The queue was tweaked this week. Did the queue frobbing affect your proposal plans, and if so how?

(a) - No, my plans stayed the same.
(b) - Yes, I submitted less controversial proposals.
(c) - Yes, I submitted fewer modest proposals.
(d) - Yes, I just submitted fewer proposals in general.

Please send your responses to dcr24@cam.ac.uk (or reply to this issue of the paper on the reply electrons provided).

As is usual, a trinket, of guaranteed minimum value A$5, will be given to one lucky respondent, picked at random with the unpatented Ackan Random Bookpage modulo 2n procedure. So get those responses in - /dev/joe and else...if know that it pays to respond.



More Ackanomic News

Acka Treated to Rare Ceremony

This week, at the steps of Slakko's House (currently functioning as the Presidential Palace, ready for UN Inspectors to arrive and check it out), a very special Blue Cross Rank Ceremony was held. Alfvaen was the beneficiary of the ceremony, giving up eir 3 Silver Stripes to receive a second Gold stripe. E joined an elite group with this second Gold stripe, containing 2 current players and one elder.

It is extremely unlikely that such an event will occur again soon, given that all other players need to increase their Blue Cross Ranks by more than 25 to approach such a level. We are bound to see quite a few more Silver Stripes being doled out before anyone is ready to ascend to the level Alfvaen has just reached.

Hey, Ralphie Boy! New People Moving In!

Also this week there was a sudden influx of new Ackan residents. Three new citizens have joined our happy camp, citizens JT, Koxvolio, and Joe Java. We wish them well and hope they have a long and prosperous future. The Presidential Palace was again in use for eir membership ceremonies, at which each was given A$900, and the title deed to eir own individual plot of land.

Land Boom Creates Crisis Fears

On the back of the influx of new players came an interesting trend: a dramatic increase in the amount of land being purchased. While the mere influx of players leads to a decrease in the common land described on the Map of Ackanomia, Koxvolio started a rush by applying to grab another kaa of land, adjacent to eir existing one. Other players followed suit, including Hubert and Slakko, both Officers (and you would have thought above this kind of thing). Will land prices be forced to rise, or will common sense move in and stop such speculation? Only time will tell.


Financial Follies

The Stock Market received a welcome breath of fresh air this week, as the activity index was unfrozen and set on a much broader footing. Most experts saw this as a new dawn for Stock Market trading, seeing new opportunities for arbitrage and speculation. Others moved quickly to point out the inconsistencies and flaws in the new index, noting that instability appears to be best for Acka's sake if the activity index is to be any guide.

Meanwhile, the positivity index has edged higher this week on the back of a 6 proposal streak. It will remain constant until at least Saturday, at which point some moderate positivity gains are tipped to continue. The Ackan Official Stock tip of the week is to buy to spread risk.

Mad Treasure Rush sees Trinket Prices Skyrocket

In a display of what could turn out to be almost no common sense, some Ackans have been bidding on a trinket. They say the trinket holds the key to the Curious Clock of Uesticlox, and finding where it is buried. Others say it is just a bunch of hooey designed to elicit extra money. Whatever it is, it is a cheap value trinket which is currently undergoing an auction, and has reached over 700% of its initial value.

Caped Crusader Does a Paula Jones

In a shock move today, First Round Judge Guy Fawkes threw out the CFCJ case against Slakko for alleged Blatant Disregard on a technicality. Given the nature of the technicality, it is unlikely that an appeal will be overturned in the Supreme Court, so Slakko has, for now, escaped the noose of the Caped Crusader. We can only hope that the Caped Crusader is more adept at catching the real criminals out there, and put our support firmly behind the Caped Crusader's effort for truth, justice and the Ackanomic way.



Special Report - Interview with a Checked Fabric

The Ackan now provides its fourth in a (stunningly) ongoing series of interviews with the great names of Ackanomic. This issue we talk with The Gingham Wearer, formerly Boy Wonder and currently Clerk of the Courts. Thanks to The Gingham Wearer for granting The Ackan an interview, despite the no doubt huge calls from his own paper for one as well.

IA: The Gingham Wearer, thank you for joining us. And I must compliment you on your taste in clothes today.

TGW: My pleasure to be. And thank you.

IA: While you are now well established as a member of the Ackan community, it was not all that long ago you were a struggling newbie like many of us.How did you cope with the bewildering displays of sheer harf that were contained in Acka?

TGW: About four and a half months ago actually, although it doesn't seem that long ago. Harf is something that I hold dear to my heart. My first ever proposal was declared harfy, as was my first accepted proposal (Down the River) and I've had a total of four harfy proposals accepted in total. I'm now moving more towards the Malenkai/Alfvaen/Slakko style of proposals that do more to correct what's already there and make little modifications. The complexity of the ruleset was never to much of a problem to me either for that matter, I seemed to take it in without too much difficulty, perhaps because I lurked for a bit before getting fully involved in the game. The one thing that I did have difficulties with, and still do for that matter, is the massive amount of game custom that's managed to build up over two years. Whenever I attempt a scam Malenkai, /dev/joe, breadbox or someone like that always seems to say, "No, it won't work. Exactly the same thing was attempted on April 14th by Ptang 1001001100sos [except they get eir name right] and was judged in CFJ 203 not to work." It can be quite depressing.

IA: You were the first Boy Wonder, a position that today lies unfortunately vacant. At the time, the Caped Crusader was involved in evil plotting. How much of this were you able to uncover and destroy?

TGW: I like to think that I conducted myself honourably in that position. I believe I called a couple of CFCJs against players that the then Caped Crusader had ignored during my time there. I also managed to change the rules to prevent corruption by stopping the Boy Wonder judged CFCJ called by the Caped Crusader, thinking nought of my quest for a bronze torch. It must have been at that point that the Caped Crusader realised that e couldn't rely on me to further eir evil plans.

IA: Currently you hold the post of Clerk of the Courts. It is an important responsibility - do you feel you are settling in to handling it well?

TGW: Certainly. As I believe I have said before I am a lit better at performing email related jobs than I am at doing web based jobs. I know HTML isn't rocket science but it does take some time to do and I don't hold with these hot metal type programs preferring to do it all by hand. That said though, I will be putting up a proper Clerk of the Courts page over the Easter, and probably taking over the maintenance of the CFJ archives from breadbox. Bizarrely enough, these past few days seem to have seen a rush for submitting CFJs. The only real problem with this is my being in a different time zone. If someone submits a CFJ at 8:00pm Acka time, it's unlikely to get released until about 1:00pm the next day.


IA: Have you any planned ways to improve the efficiency of the Office of Clerk of the Courts? Any rule changes which would simplify or streamline the existing system?

TGW: I have one in the queue at the moment dealing with the ineligibility list but there are no major changes that I can see coming in the near future. The position has been around for such a long time that most if not all of the bugs have been worked out. That said though, if I feel anything needs doing then I will do it.

IA: As CotC, you would obviously have been a very interested party in the recent discussions over Supreme Court Reform. What are your personal opinions of the outcome that was reached (the creation of the Cortices)?

TGW: The solution reached certainly isn't perfect but I don't really think that any system could be. I largely kept out of the discussion of the reform since I didn't have much to add to it. Anything which increases the speed at which verdicts are returned must be a good thing. My two biggest problems are slightly inter-related: firstly not enough people want to be justices. There are plenty of people eligible but thus far the only cortex is that consisting of breadbox and ThinMan. I really don't understand this, Justice is a position to which I aspire but it looks like it's going to be a long time before I get a shot at it, which is my second problem. If I recall the rules correctly then a player who wouldn't be eligible as the Praetor may only become a justice when there are fewer than two Justices. This strikes me as slightly "elitist". It's a shame that the rules are thus because Slakko has also shown some interest in becoming a Justice and e isn't valid yet either. E won't have too long to wait before e gets eir gold stripe however, but my best bet is currently looking to be a bronze torch. If the "non-elite" could become justices at any time then I believe we would already have had a new cortex formed, halfing the work of the entity known as the supreme court.

IA: What is your favourite Ackan rule?

TGW: That's a difficult one. I hold the rule "Down the River" quite dear to me because it was my first proposal accepted, and I like my rule "Le Grand Fromage" (apologies to CnH for butchering eir native tongue in my original title of this, by the way) but I don't want to seem egotistical so I'm going to select someone else's rule. I think the game of YORL is really good (probably because I'm doing well at the moment) but for my favourite rule I think I'm going to go for "Winning is inherently amusing (or winning by palindrome)" as I believe it is called. This is one of the harfy rules that does nothing that I don't believe even Malenkai wanted to get rid of. Surely a stroke of genius. As for my least favourite Ackan rule (I know you didn't ask this but it's no secret anyhow); it's the bit of whatever rule it is that details anti-voting. Not really a rule, I know, but I just wanted to stress it in case anyone forgets.

IA: If you could be any other entity in the game, which one would you select?

TGW: Whilst it could be interesting being a piece of brie or a Chartreuse goose egg, I believe I'd be Malenkai. Who wouldn't want to be Malenkai? Not only has e won the most cycles, e also has the highest blue cross, had the most titles and the most respect of anyone in the game.

IA: The Gingham Wearer, thank you for your time.

TGW: You're welcome.



Meaningless Statistic of the Week

The Meaningless Statistic this week used to be relatively meaningless. However, ever since the big cheeses here decided to allow win by cheese collection, the stat is no longer quite so meaningless. Yes, it's the Harfy Proposal Acceptances.

The Harfy Proposal has been around for most of Acka's history. The first proposal to pass designated Harfy was Proposal 1237, authored by Mr. Lunatic Fringe (who at that time was using the name snowgod). Proposal 1237, "Fulfilling Campaign Promises", which defined Public Gatherings and created the Frobozz Magic Beverage Company to provide the drinks (at a cost) for such public meetings. An auspicious start to the list of successful Harfy proposals.

In all, Acka has seen 33 Harfy proposals pass, from 1237 up to the most recent, Illusion's proposal 2785 to set up donations for a Light Source Expedition. This was Illusion's first harfy proposal, putting em on level pegging with a number of past and present players.

These players, with a single harfy acceptance, are: Robert Sevin, Chaos, IdiotBoy (welcome back, hope you add to your total), fnord, Narf, two-star, Alfvaen, CV1701, Rex Mundi, Slakko, Hubert and Illusion.


Some players, by contrast, have scaled the harfy heights to 2, 3, and in one rare case 4 harfy acceptances. On two we have Malenkai, Mr. Lunatic Fringe, Voting Gnome, and breadbox. On 3 there are Calvin N Hobbes, Guy Fawkes, and The Gingham Wearer (one of the most concentrated creators of harf in the history of the game). And the winner of the statistic of the week this week is Vynd, who has authored an astonishing four harfy proposals.

Vynd's harfy concepts were proposals 1853, 2010, 2109 and 2529. They respectively (a) allowed the cycle to be won by the End of the World, (b) created the Literature List, (c) created the Ackanomicon, and (d) brought into being the Office of Caped Crusader. All in all, four very worthy, very harfy proposals. Congratulations Vynd on being The Infrequent Ackan Statmeister for this instance of Meaningless Statistic of the Week.

Interestingly, since cheeses came in, no single player has had two harfy proposals accepted. Given three are required to earn one of the five cheese, we could be waiting quite a while for a cheese related win.

This has been Number 2 in an occasional series of Meaningless Statistics of the Week. We hope you enjoyed it - feel free to send feedback to dcr24@cam.ac.uk.





Party Chess Report

More weight gain this week as the Party Chess board takes on a decidedly full look. Slakko's previous 103 record has now been extended to 108, while The Gingham Wearer sits on 103, having moved almost into first place. However, this battle at the top is sure to have a casualty soon, as the disadvantage of being limited to single Atomic Plays allows players with two-digit Weights more room to manoevre.

Hubert was confirmed properly in the post of Razor Boomerangs swinger, and in eir first move in the post proceeded to finally put the Boomerang King on the board. For the first time in the game, there are 7 Swingers with non-zero weights. With all these pieces on the board, it is a wonder that it doesn't collapse!

The last week has also seen a spate of checkings - possible feints and threats which could lead to the distribution of more Stabber's Knives, essential to any Party Chess win. No fewer than four checks have occurred in the last week, and we are beginning to wonder what kind of instability the game is heading for.

This Monday is a non-Swingpoint one, but moves now could easily be a Swinger's last chance to affect eir weight before the next Swingpoint distribution. So keep an eye out for the prize - with upwards of 27 Swingpoints on offer in a little over a week, the game is bound to hot up.


Sub Game Stuff

Every week - every subgame going.

Abstract Crescent

Abstract Crescent Game 1 is still churning away, with 7 rounds now completed. If the current round does not result in an immediate game win, then IdiotBoy will become the first player to join a running Abstract Crescent game, at the end of round 8. The strategic game has developed further, to the point where judging general strategies is growing quite difficult.

Scores for winning rounds are edging back up, but not to the extreme level that they were before. People tend to be spreading out their choice of rounds to win on, resulting in lower scores for those who do win.

The Gingham Wearer's attempts to create ludicrously high winning numbers having failed, e successfully ducked down to steal one round and get on the board with a score of 7. Meanwhile, in that round, /dev/joe decided to perform some interesting "signalling" by referencing a song with his number, "867-5309". Such a stunt could well be worth a FairPlay award, but any such award will have to wait until next calendar week at the earliest.

If you're not currently playing Abstract Crescent, and you want to be, then as Umpire I'm still accepting submissions from people who want to play. I'll be inserting them into the rolling congruences as soon as possible after I receive them. So come and play Abstract Crescent! You'll be pleasantly surprised.


A new game should be starting soon, with 8 players, just like the old one. Alfvaen is not playing this time, so the rest of us have at least a half-decent chance of winning (hopefully). So get your brain in gear, and start thinking up those kooky definitions, because Fictionary is a game that separates the mildly creative from the truly deceitful.


The Viruses battle goes on and on, still without a clear favourite for the winner's post. 29 rounds in, and the two players leading the Viruspoints are both well back in the Viruscounts. TGW, still the Viruspoint leader, remains well out of the Viruscount lead, on 15 infected cells. A useful climb over the last couple of rounds has seen em start to have some impact, but it will need to be consolidated with further gains to have any chance of turning into Viruspoints.

Meanwhile, Slakko's spot in the doghouse continues. On 10 infected cells, eir cell count looks fairly pitiful. However, with some open space, anything is possible, so don't count anyone out of this Viruses game.


In the middle of the Viruscounts are /dev/joe and two-star. /dev/joe's 6 Viruspoints are still within striking range of the win, but eir Viruscount is currently significantly down on the leader, making any hope of a quick return to Viruspoint territory look a bit dodgy. two-star, by contrast, has but a single Viruspoint. Can we see him emerging as the compromise candidate, with strategy moving em to the top while the others battle for the real supremacy and a continued stream of Viruspoints? While it seems unlikely, I can't put anything past this game.

At the top we have else...if and breadbox, with else...if having scooped the Viruspoints for the last couple of rounds, a few cells ahead of breadbox. They are both low on the Viruspoint ladder, though, so any win from either of these players could be seen well in advance, and possibly countered by an alliance of the remaining players. However the game progresses, there's still a lot of life in it yet, so keep watching.

Word Un-Association 

Hubert's good position in Word Un-Association finally translated into a win this week. Game 1 finished with Hubert squeaking out a 1 point win over Slakko, albeit from a situation where e had the game wrapped up. /dev/joe finished an almost-as-close third on 13 points.

Almost immediately the win was confirmed, Hubert announced that e was going to referee Game 2, and asked for players to put their names forward. With the game due to start in the very very near future, and at least seven players ready to make the links, this game looks to be even more cut-throat than the first one. With game set at 35 points, but 6 points on offer for an unlinked uh? word, this game should be long yet exciting. Keep track through the Ackan's currently unique weekly summaries.


The Lunatic Finger has returned! Albeit in reference only, and in rather bad rhyme and haiku at that, but The Gingham Wearer has finally been the one to write the Finger into the story again. Sam/Romeo is well on the way to finding the rest of the amulet of banna, but surely a story such as this would require more time to complete than TGW has cards. At least if it is to be finished adequately.

Meantime, a change in the guard around the bar. two-star left and came back, leaving one more card suddenly in the deck, but A$20 more in the ante pot. Attila the Pun also joined us, finally taking the empty bench and restoring the game to its full eight player state.

Also a change in the rules for this game is in the wind. There is the chance that Ales could result in FairPlay awards being doled out, putting the game on an equal (if not slightly superior) footing with the other games. Will this lead to cheesier, or conversely, harfier play? Wait and see.



The Ackan is still looking for more interviews. If you've already responded to our earlier queries but have not yet received your preliminary questions sheet, don't worry, we'll be getting in contact shortly to know how you're getting on.

On the other hand, if you have yet to respond to the Ackan call for interviews, and have held a public office in Acka for at least one month continuously at any stage in Acka's history, then the staff of the Infrequent Ackan would like to hear from you. Just email us at dcr24@cam.ac.uk with the keywords "Acka: Ackan" and say you would like to do an interview. That's all. If you are accepted (which, let's face it, is still pretty likely at this stage) then someone from the Ackan will be around to contact you shortly.

An additional advertisement, from the Campaign to Re-Elect Slakko:


Vote Slakko in the next Presidental Election. E didn't screw things up this term - and he won't do it next term either.








The Infrequent Ackan, first to you with Ackan news.

Copyright © Duncan Richer writing under the pseudonym of "Slakko", and Tom Walmsley as "The Gingham Wearer", 4th April 1998.

Check us out on the web, at http://dcr24.quns.cam.ac.uk/Nomic/Acka/infrequent.html