Duncan Richer

Imperial Nomic


The Infrequent Ackan

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Volume 1, Issue 26

July 1, 1998

This issue's slogan:
"More Fun Than a Barrel of Uncountably Many Items"

In this issue:

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



Holiday - Celebrate

As is to be expected in a game of such a cerebral nature, the end of university terms has seen a large number of people go on vacation for the summer. This is only to be expected, however it is hoped that Ackanomic will not be reduced to a skeleton crew until the return in September and October.

To those who are leaving shortly, have a good break, and return refreshed and full of interesting proposal ideas. To those who are staying, be prepared to increase your proposal output and keep the wheels of mutability turning.

As I have announced, I will be on vacation for three weeks next month. I hope that this will not inconvenience too many people, and that my absence will not be disruptive in the least. At this point I should probably thank all those people who have acted so as to enable my vacation to take place (by writing the appropriate vacation rules). Thank you, you know who you are.

My Stance on Retroactivity

As some of you are aware, back when the first ever State of Crisis was issued I was strongly opposed to the use of retroactivity to solve the problem. Mr. Tambourine Man's continuing question over the self-invalidation of a CFJ verdict is an illustration of what can go wierd when retroactivity is introduced.

So why have I suddenly come out in favour of retroactivity? Why, in fact, have I submitted a proposal clearly designed to have retroactive effect?

I guess I've become less opposed to use of retroactivity when it is necessary and no other option will do. The trinket case really did need some level of retroactivity to go back and "unmake" the negative valued trinkets which the unfortunate sequence of amendments to the Trinket rule created.

In this case, without retroactivity, we will have been without a Clerk of the Courts, Ambassador, or Count Tabula for a period of two weeks. Further, as there is no President, only an Acting President, the fast-track impeachment method is unavailable, leaving only the slow process of a full Impeachment Paper. This would leave Acka with three weeks without the possibility of elections or any kind of judicial determinations. Elections can be survived, but three weeks without any chance of making Judgements can seriously impact the game.

So please, vote YES on Proposal 3239, and save us from being stuck in a dead-end game state.


Yes, this issue is late. That is, if you are under the assumption that this should be a weekly newspaper. I've had some trouble keeping up with the regular issuance of the Ackan lately, for both RL and Ackan reasons.

Within Acka, of course, I have for the past week been fulfilling the roles of 7 offices rather than my usual 4 or 5. This kind of gets dull after a while.

In RL, I have been experiencing end-of-year busyness, as the traditional garden parties and May Week Events (yes, it's June, but we're in Cambridge so it doesn't matter). I therefore apologise to those who (wierd though they must be) rely on this paper as a useful news source. I can only try to be regular here - I can never guarantee it, hence the masthead.


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 again soon.

Editor, The Infrequent Ackan 


Apologies and Retractions

The Ackan apologises for labelling thwapping as a Crime. Thwapping is not a Crime, and is indeed an unregulated event. As a result of failing to spot this error, the relevant sub-editor was soundly thwapped, before being shot. He was able to tell the difference between the two, even though neither had an effect on the game state.

If you think you have found an error in the Ackan, point it out! A "clean-out" around the office can be quite fun sometimes - especially when I decide to get creative.

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


Poll Question Results

Question Number 9 was asked in our last issue:

Are you utterly sick of Witchhunts?

(a) - Burn the Middle Ages! (as suggested by Niccolo Flychuck).
(b) - Frankly I'm getting a little tired of it.
(c) - I don't really have an opinion, I just want a chance at that brilliant Trinket.
(d) - I don't see any need to repeal it yet.

A significant number of votes were received, a good indication that this issue is very relevant to the Ackan on the street (either that or people are desperate for A$10 - you work it out).

The most popular selection was to see the Middle Ages themselves burnt, a choice which received total support of 44%.

Next most popular was the other extreme option, which wanted to see me burn in agony. Unfortunately for those who were behind this push, which received 25% of the vote, their EBSes had no effect and so I was not burnt as they had suggested.

The other options received varying small amounts of the vote, being 16%, 12% and 3%. Will this consensus of sorts be enough to see legislation through? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

The winner of this week's trinket is else...if. Eir trinket will be presented in a ceremony to be organised soonish.

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

Another Win?

With the judgement of CFJ 611 as TRUE on Wednesday the 17th, Slakko received consecutive wins. This was his third win, putting em in second place for all-time wins behind saaremaa, and becoming only the second player (again behind saaremaa) to achieve consecutive wins (saaremaa of course achieved the colossal performance of 4 consecutive cycle wins, 13 through 16).

Illuminatus in Hiding

Alfvaen, the Illuminatus last month, went into hiding for a period of time. The rules specify that the Illuminatus must call for Agenda Conditions when no such call has occurred in the current cycle. Alfvaen went well beyond the 3 days allotted for such a task, yet failed to perform it. In a pitiful attempt to evade the issue, e resigned his post in the hope that no-one would bother to prosecute him for denying them a chance at Agenda Conditions.

Stripe Delay

With Mr. Tambourine Man's temporary period of uncontactability, and breadbox's similar unintentional disappearance, elections for the next President have been a slow process. The ballots are still open, so cast your vote soon, often and wisely.

As a result, the number of players around in positions to award Stripes has fallen. As ProConsul (by virtue of being Speaker), Alfvaen may still award Blue Crosses, as may the surviving Senators, JT and Rex Mundi. This also entitles them to award all other Medals for which an award notice is required.

Hopefully, then, saaremaa will not have long to wait for eir Silver Stripe. During the week, enough of eir proposals passed to see eir Blue Cross Rank march through 310, no doubt on the way to a magnificent 340 and a second Ruby Slipper.

Alternatively, someone in a position able to do this (e.g. Speaker Alfvaen, or Senator JT) could just pull their finger out and do it right now.


Court Report

With Mr. Tambourine Man, the Clerk of the Court, previously on an unfortunately unintentional yet retroactive but somehow still being harfed even though it hasn't happened yet vacation, court duties for a while last month passed to Slakko.

It appears that the job of running the courts entails receiving a large number of CFJs oneself. This happened in JT's abortive attempt to run the CotC's Office (foiled only by the Rules, gee what a shame), and was also a feature of Mr. Tambourine Man's stay in the office (no doubt due to eir long-time possession of the Purple Robe of Justice).

Decisions handed down recently have condemned the Mu-Cow Hunter to removal from the game, for the heinous crime of not being a person but trying to play the game anyway. Such vicious crimes as these must be punished severely.

New Players

Welcome to the Horny Protoceratops and to Zaknafien Dourden. We hope your stay in Acka will be most pleasant, and that you will become strongly active members of a highly involved community.

The new players have been presented with their initial A$900 (which were partially taxed in rather quick time, unfortunately), and also with a house and a kaa of land to stick it on. Zaknafien received kaa J12, handy for Vulcan Headquarters and visits to the Monolith. Meanwhile, Horny Protoceratops received kaa K4, in the district rapidly becoming known as "Cambridge Row".

Financial Follies

Prices during the past month hit an all-time low at a mere 15.5 Stock Value. However, this low appears to be about as low as the Market can get, with the Positivity Index bottoming out at an unbelievable 0.0 due to some very pessimistic proposal voting.

Now is still the time to buy, as the current settings imply that long-term gains are still quite likely. Those who got in at the bottom will be very glad to make the gains they already have, but we predict that further benefits await the patient investor.




The Way We Were

Back on the 1st of July, 1996, Ackanomic was still fiddling with the nature of the Cycle Win rule. CFJ 187, which alleged that Ackanomic play could not continue, was appealed to the Supreme Court. It was later ruled FALSE, indicating that Rule 666 did not invoke itself an infinite number of times.

ThinMan, the Financier and therefore the Officer in charge of the Free Market, declared that there were severe difficulties in determining the actual amounts of money that each player had. E was forced to wait for Wayne to provide em with Score information before this task could even begin to be completed.

Proposals distributed on this day included those which inaugurated Party Hall Parties (which have sadly been discontinued), and the Silly Vacation Hats, a class of fashion items whose fame has outlived their existence by a long way.


 On the 1st of July, 1997, Calvin N Hobbes provided us with a delightful image of his meeting with Phoebe the Steel Flea, full of film-noir style atmosphere. Worthy perhaps of a Silver Moon?

/dev/joe presented a number of Stripe awards. Malenkai received yet another Silver Stripe, Calvin N Hobbes received his second, while Robert Sevin achieved the Gold Stripe which was eir most recent Stripe acquisition. To think, it has been one year since e was awarded a Stripe last. What changes we have seen since then.

A discussion on default votes led breadbox to launch a missive in support of abstentions, and the maintenance of a quorum requirement. This missive's opinions have remained those of a majority of Ackazens, even though at the time Guy Fawkes came out in favour of abolishing quorum altogether, while Robert Sevin was quite happy to see "default votes" stay as they were.






The Party Chess Report

Over the last three weeks, we have seen little strategic change in the overall state of Party Chess. Koxvolio was fortunate enough to gain a Stabber's Knife through the apathy of the Klingon party in the absence of Mr. Tambourine Man. E has continued eir domination of Swingpoints, with a Weight of 93 leaving room to move while still keeping a good lead over the pack.

Others, meanwhile, have been hoping that more aggressive strategies will outweigh a few weeks of high weights. Slakko's attempt to create multiple checks was spotted early by 867-5309, who decided discretion was the better part of valour. Alfvaen, meanwhile, had prepared the groundwork thoroughly to enable placement for protection.

/dev/joe remains firmly fixed in the lower left corner of the board, building up a large collection of pawns for some obscure strategy. Eir King appears pretty well Kamikaze proof, while the Cantor enables the Pawns to jump a lot closer to the centre of the board than many other players would no doubt like to see them.


Sub Game Summary

"Every week - every subgame".


Game 2 of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is proving an interesting tussle between Alfvaen and K 2. While one might expect the game's inventor to have a significant advantage, the plucky Australian is fighting back with some obscure choices leading to a closely fought game. We can only hope it remains this interesting.


Game 1 has just entered Round 2, with /dev/joe the big scorer in Round 1, amassing a modest yet significant 7 points. Mr. Tambourine Man's vacation failed to clear eir thoughts, as eir first play on return was a failure, leaving em with a mere 3 gamepoints. 867-5309, the Deus for Round 1, was disappointed to score only /dev/joe's 7, as e was hoping that someone would twig to the numerous clues e provided.

Game 2 appears moribund for the moment, with no plays having occurred for a long time. Will it ever restart, or will inertia get the better of everyone?


"zeugma" proved to be almost as inefficient a Fictionary round as "geniculate". Fortunately Attila the Pun was kind enough to list the definitions, enabling public voting to commence. However, e failed to post the overall voting results, leaving that job up to the Scorekeeper, who happened to be a non-player. We can only hope Round 9, which may turn out to be the final round, will be a little more entertaining, and hopefully a lot more complete.


Grab-a-Donkey is now 12 rounds old, but may well take some time yet. With 4 of the 6 remaining players safe from immediate elimination, the likelihood of a one-round win is extremely low. However, we all probably said that at a similar stage last game (when 6 players participated in what turned out to be the final round).




After 6 rounds of Viruses, the game has settled down into a strategic battle. Each player has settled on one or two areas to look for dominance, hoping that they will provide sufficient viruscounts to overwhelm the other players and grab the valuable Viruspoints.

As the game stands, acquiring the Viruspoints has been very tricky. With at least half the rounds so far failing to produce an outright winner, we could be in for a very very long game before anyone can claim 10 won rounds (and hence 10 Viruspoints).

The early contenders for the lead appear to be Alfvaen, JT and Slakko. Alfvaen has shown prowess at Viruses before, while Slakko's last participation promised much early before failing to capitalise on opportunities for round after round. JT's Virus ability is the unknown quantity in this equation which should make for an enthralling game.

Word Un-Association 

Word Un-Association's continuing malaise - what else - continues. Results are still awaited for Round 2.7 in Game 2, where we wait to see whether or not Koxvolio can pull out an insurmountable lead over Slakko and JT. Eir amazing link of "llano" to "ugly" via "plain", outstandingly obvious with 20-20 hindsight, nonetheless led to an amazing 6 point haul, and the decision of two players to leave the game.


Alfvaen's attempt to clear out the YORL loose ends last month grounded itself in a sleeping Bard. The disinterest of other Bards saw consecutive passes to Slakko, who then attempted to introduce some life back into this slumbering giant of a game.

Unfortunately, Alfvaen successfully interrupted at the first play, thereby preventing Slakko from making any significant story (or card) progress. On Alfvaen's next shot, though, an oversight led to an incorrect play, which was nonetheless interrupted successfully (with another coincidental card pickup).

So, now Slakko is in control of the story. With impending vacation coming, though, will e get anywhere significant before Alfvaen gets another chance to finish it all off?


Duel Summary

Since our last issue, all duels have been resolved. 867-5309 was the victor over Goldenmean due to sufficient apathy from the Alfvaen-Goldenmean duo. A shame that the Long Duel should have to finish this way, but not an altogether unexpected result.



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", 1st July 1998.

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