Duncan Richer

Imperial Nomic


The Infrequent Ackan

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Volume 1, Issue 24

May 29, 1998

This issue's slogan:
"Fresh Week, Fresh News, Same Old Garbage"

In this issue:

  1. Editorial
  2. Apologies and Retractions.
  3. Poll Question #8 Results
  4. More Ackanomic News
  5. Meaningless Statistic of the Week
  6. The Party Chess Report
  7. Sub-Game Summary
  8. Advertisement



More Like the Dark Ages

This week the mindless raging hordes vented their anger on more than one of us, yet again in an attempt to reduce Acka to an accepting, unthinking rabble. Unfortunately for them, in their attempts to disenfranchise us, roast us alive even, they have only strengthened our cause.

Rex Mundi and I were both burned this week - one of us for a statement which could be taken as nothing but Heresy, and another for a statement which said nothing at all, for nothing it was. Yet which of us was given the more intense burning? Who could command less support to save themselves from such a fate? Why, it was I, who was condemned to burn for the no doubt heinous crime of saying nothing.

When good citizens cannot keep their mouths shut without being branded a witch, clearly the rules are no longer adequate protection. Something must be done! Now is the time for all Ackans to throw off the shackles of the Middle Ages. Those who have already seen the light know that the Earth can truly be made non-flat, and that the lack of colour in the shade some call "black" is self-evident.

Break your chains and follow us as we demand an end to Witchhunts once and for all! No longer shall Ackans live in fear of those who would silence us for saying what we know in our hearts is true! No longer shall our opinions be subject to artificial constraint that the Rules put on us! We must fight to be free!

Those of you who are Enlightened, you have nothing to lose by this crusade. There are enough of us now that no horde can damage us, no power in the Rules can attack us if we take our action together and stamp out the crime of Heresy!

The True Dark Ages

breadbox this week was the victim of an unprovoked attack from a bunch of warez d00dz (they don't even deserve the sobriquet of crackers IMHO) who don't seem to understand the concept of personal property. Their malicious behaviour has cost the staff at muppetlabs an enormous amount of time in simply restoring the system to workability.

Of course this has led to the minor hitch of Ackanomic's mailing lists being down for slightly over 24 hours. Thanks must go out to breadbox for taking enough time out of his busy work schedule to get the majordomo and sendmail stuff up online again, getting Acka back on its feet after a temporary stoppage.

Thanks also to breadbox for somehow managing to get the results for a rather large number of proposals out within a reasonable time, given the constraints put on him this week. I think e deserves a round of applause.

The Newspaper Business

After the flurry of Newspaper foundings a couple of months ago, the scene appears to have quietened down a little. else...if's publication has gained a little niche as a regular mini-paper, presenting current Stock Market statistics, plus useful financial opinions.

Meanwhile, the other two new publications are continuing to duke it out in the monthly stakes. /dev/joe's contribution harks back to the early days of Ackanomic newspapers, dealing primarily with treasure-hunting progress. Mr. Tambourine Man's now incongruously named Gingham paper, meanwhile, is a more general paper, dealing with issues of the day on a roughly monthly basis.

Ackanomic has plenty of room for this number of papers, and I welcome the competition for readers. With the niches each paper has adopted, we should all be able to survive in the current marketplace (provided you all keep publishing, right?)


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 a blunder in our last issue. We mistakenly claimed that the first round of Grab-a-Donkey saw eight eliminations including three players who left the game and went home. This should, of course, have read eight eliminations plus three other players who left the game and went home. This does put a different spin on the game of Grab-a-Donkey and its early progress; we apologise if we misled anyone.

The Ackan also apologises to JT for misrepresenting his proposal to eliminate anti-voting points. It did, of course, provide an alternative, by giving points to those who voted with the makers of proposals. While this "alternative" may be unacceptable to some players, that's the point of proposing it. We apologise for this oversight.

If you think you have found an error in the Ackan, point it out! My shotgun's still rusty, and the sub-editors are openly walking around the office with little badges saying "5 weeks of Long Service" and the such. Frankly, it's getting a bit depressing not having any morale-boosting shootings around here.

The Ackan heartily apologises for any damage or difficulties caused by the omission of such errors and/or omissions.


Poll Question

Question Number 8 was asked last week:

Which piece of ancient Harf is the least worthy of being retained in the Ruleset?

(a) - The Magic Potato.
(b) - Politeness Moon Hearings.
(c) - Prosthetic Foreheads.
(d) - Phoebe the Steel Flea.
(e) - Other (please write in reply)
(f) - Thou Shalt Not Touch The Harf.

Responses were well spread this week, despite my offering a list of alternatives (unlike my deliberately objective Presidential poll earlier this month).

The write-in candidate of Heresy and Witchhunts was the surprise winner in the contest for Least Liked Harf, receiving two votes. This was the same level of support as for no Harf change at all. I would remind those who say that "Thou Shalt Not Touch The Harf" that this works both ways, and that new Harf is hard to introduce when lots of old Harf is still around.

Politeness Moon Hearings and Prosthetic Foreheads both garnered a single vote, while The Magic Potato and Phoebe the Steel Flea have firm support from the Ackan populace, with neither being attacked by a single player.

This week's randomly selected Trinket, valued at A$10 or more, goes to else...if! Congratulations, the Financial Director of the Infrequent Ackan Publishing Company will be transferring the trinket to you in a message to appear shortly.

Remember, your opinion does matter to us here at the Ackan. Another question will arrive next issue, if the Great EBS is willing. It costs very little of your time to enter, and there's always the chance of that Trinket, so please respond to the Great Infrequent Ackan Poll Competition!



More Ackanomic News

Stripe Attack

Two of Acka's grand masters provided the Stripe focus this week. Alfvaen and /dev/joe both attained a multiple of 10 in their Blue Cross Ranks during the big catchup bundle submitted on Thursday night and Friday morning by the ever-hardworking breadbox.

Alfvaen's Blue Cross Rank is now 130, courtesy of 120 proposals and a single Blue Cross Bonus. In a neat coincidence, Alfvaen's current rejection count is also a multiple of ten, 40 to be precise. This gives Alfvaen an extraordinarily good acceptance rate of 75%, no doubt in part due to his amazing 29-proposal personal Streak.

/dev/joe, meanwhile, has reached 110. After a false announcement of this attainment last week, when Niccolo Flychuck was the actual recipient, /dev/joe will no doubt be pleased to achieve this target for himself. Congratulations to both players and may you continue making proposals for many years to come.


Self-Immolation the New Trend

After Wild Card managed to have himself burned as a Black Heretic last week, Slakko has followed suit this week. Vague references are being made by those in the know to a new "Evil Ballot Stuffer ritual of purification". While some are claiming that the ritual requires the priesthood to supply their own ashes for the altar, more enlightened types are seeing it differently.

"This willingness to undergo pain at the behest of others is a sign of spiritual maturity", said noted Ackan theologian D. Tyworship. "By purifying oneself in the cleansing fires that witchburnings produce, Enlightenment and spiritual advancement is more easily attained. Personally, give me a decent birching any old time."

Financial Follies

Keep selling people - the bearish group running the Ackan Reserve are desperate to see stock values plummet. The only people at risk, however, are "sleeping partners" who may not have noticed the dip in Ackan dividends lately. Most people have already seen the writing on the wall, and quit their portfolios with haste.



Meaningless Statistic of the Week

This week's statistic: Fastest to the Blue Cross Zone.

Not every Ackan has had the chance to receive a Blue Cross on the acceptance of their twentieth proposal. Back in the early days of Acka, Blue Crosses had not even been considered. Even when they were introduced, there were additional restrictions, not fully eliminated for some time, which prevented some widely accepted players from achieving the Cross.

So, to make this a level playing field, the statistic tonight is simply the difference between the number of a player's first proposal (regardless of its fate) and their 20th accepted proposal.

It might be thought that such an exercise would be a shoo-in for Malenkai. After all, to get to 300 proposals takes a lot of work, and those first 20 must have come fairly quickly, right? Wrong. Malenkai took 366 proposals between his first ever and his 29th accepted, placing him in equal 5th place currently.

He shares this position with Calvin N Hobbes, another early player who achieved 20 acceptances 366 proposals after starting his attempts at rule modification.


At the other end of the scale, there is only one player who has had more than 1000 proposals pass between his first proposal and his Blue Cross qualification point. That player is breadbox, who took 1436 proposals in between, give or take a few proposal numbers which were never submitted (to save time these have been assumed to have been continuously distributed throughout the queue, so that I can ignore them). Next slowest were Mohammed/Chaos, with 929, and snowgod, with 846.

So, who are the fastest of our pantheon? Those who would have us cry "Slow down! You're spamming the proposal queue?" Well, given my tendency to over-message the mailing lists (no, it isn't spam, I swear!), I unsurprisingly came in first with a mere 149 differential. However, this was not a win with daylight second.

Alfvaen left only 181 proposals in between, and has kept up a similar rate of involvement ever since, as his recent Stripe acquisition demonstrates. Guy Fawkes was similarly quick, with 189, while Robert Sevin, the granddaddy of them all, managed to sneak 20 acceptances through the proposal queue in the very early days, the 20th occurring only 184 proposals after his first ever proposal, the magical 301 (Yes, it was declared invalid - I'm counting it, OK?)

This has been another Meaningless Statistic of the Week.





The Party Chess Report

The Party Chess game currently under way still has very little long-term strategy in evidence. Swingers are still developing short-term ways to get their Weight up, and strengthen their position before attacks come.

The recent repeal of the single Atomic move Checkmate trick has reduced the likelihood of large Stabber's Knife bounties as were seen at the start of the month. This should lead to some more stable play, but at this stage many Swingers are still uncertain as to the shape this game will take.

Koxvolio has produced a dramatic increase in Swinger Weight. After only 3 turns on the board, he has reached an almost unbelievably high weight of 79. While this looks quite good for ensuring maximum Swingpoints for the next couple of weeks (and also some Swingpoints to the other members of HARF), it will also start to impact on Koxvolio's freedom to move. At this stage, only Koxvolio and Mr. Tambourine Man have weights in excess of 50, so all other on-board Swingers, except for Niccolo Flychuck, have the triple Atomic Play option still open. Will this advantage prove decisive later on, or have the recent Check and Placement restrictions nullified it? Stay tuned to find out.

Sub Game Summary

"Every week - every subgame".


Game 1 has entered the elimination phase. Each incorrect play will eliminate a player until all have fallen by the wayside. /dev/joe has survived the first hurdle, and we are still waiting to see if Mr. Tambourine Man has done likewise. Given the level of hints needed for this clue, it appears that the round may come to a quick halt.

Meanwhile, Ayla's Prophetic performance in Game 2 is still unbroken. Correctly identifying a correct "No Play" from one player is the most recent illustration of this uncanny prediction ability. How long can it continue?


Despite JT being forced to submit a definition in Round 6, he still ended up with the correct one, albeit with a lucky guess. This has left JT's lead pretty well intact, and the threat of an unheard-of single set of Rounds Fictionary is still present.

Round 7 is currently underway, with "geniculate" the word for definition speculation. Hopefully it will produce voting at least as interesting as that obtained last round, which included pairwise voting between Slakko and /dev/joe.


The current game of Ghost has dropped to just two players - Alfvaen and Slakko. Unfortunately, the last two dropouts were the result of apathy more than of clever play - something which we would rather not see in these types of games.

The final round has reached the "avy" stage, and it is Alfvaen's go. What will be the magical next letter? Can you stand the suspense? Can I stop writing every sentence as a question? Tune in and see.


Grab-a-Donkey is now 4 rounds old, and is starting to settle into a pattern. Unlike previous games, there is now a hierarchy amongst the grabbers, with those on 3 or more donkeys able to act with impunity in the next round, knowing they are safe from elimination. The likelihood of a game ending as suddenly as the last one did has greatly diminished, as the odds of all but one player deciding to cover their donkey have collapsed.

Despite the safety of some Grabbers, the eliminations are still coming thick and fast. So grab your boots and saddle up! Grab-a-Donkey looks like being a wild ride.



Pure Skill

Game 1 of Pure Skill has entered the final stretch. 3 rounds remain, and of course the final round is determined automatically, so we only have two sets of strategic plays to go. Given the cards left in hand, it is unlikely that Koxvolio will go on to win. Depending upon the strategies taken, Pandora and J. M. Bear both have reasonable chances of winning. It will all depend on the turn of the card, to see which Spade is bid for in turn, and therefore to see whose strategy becomes clear first.

Word Un-Association 

Word Un-Association has apparently gone moribund. Questions are being asked as to the whereabouts of the Referee, and why no link word from llano has yet appeared, even though two players have had the opportunity to make such a link. Stay tuned as we bring you more news on this continuing crisis.


Alfvaen has taken the story and run towards the finishing line, despite the large number of loose ends. With only 2 cards left, and 4 loose ends, the story appears set for what could be a slightly premature ending. However, at this stage the deck is still depleted. Some inopportune interrupts could see the game end without a winner, unless /dev/joe decides to extend the deck pronto.


Duel Summary

The Spades Duel between Hubert and Goldenmean grinds on and on. Round 5 has ended, but the bidding in Round 6 has stalled. Slakko's stupid misplay has extended the life of the game significantly, as the score of his team is only 291 rather than the 391 it could have been. The risky decision of Hubert to bid a 0 paid off, despite his holding a King and a Queen. Slakko's bid of 6 was also fulfilled exactly, leaving Alfvaen and Goldenmean with the 2 overtricks and their accompanying sandbags.

Hopefully the new amendments will enable this game to eventually end, before any of its players have to go on vacation and end it prematurely. Mind you, can anyone remember what the duel was about in the first place? I honestly can't remember offhand, so I wonder why it continues at this stage. Does anyone think that Duels should have a limited life?

Also in progress is the first ever YORL Duel, Koxvolio taking on Mr. Tambourine Man. The play is with Koxvolio, and given his current progression of the tale, Mr. Tambourine Man had better have a good interrupt or two ready if he wishes to win back control of the story any time soon.

Another duel was completed since the last issue, the Ghost duel between Alfvaen and JT. After some initial confusion, JT was declared the winner after spotting that "objectivize" was legitimate, and contained the "iviz" that Alfvaen claimed was not in any legitimate word. 


The Ackan is still looking for more interviews. 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.








The Infrequent Ackan, first to you with Ackan news.

Copyright © Duncan Richer writing under the pseudonym of "Slakko", 29th May 1998.

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