Duncan Richer

Imperial Nomic


The Infrequent Ackan

 1.1 (28/11/1997)

 1.2 (3/12/1997)

 1.3 (10/12/1997)

 1.4a (18/12/1997)

 1.5 (6/1/1998)

 1.6 (10/1/1998)

1.7 (17/1/1998)

 1.8 (31/1/1998)

 1.9 (7/2/1998)

 1.10 (14/2/1998)

 1.11 (21/2/1998)

 1.12 (28/2/1998)

 1.13 (7/3/1998)

 1.14 (12/3/1998)

 1.15 (20/3/1998)

 1.16 (28/3/1998)

 1.17 (4/4/1998)

 1.18 (11/4/1998)

1.19 (18/4/1998)

1.20 (25/4/1998)

1.21 (2/5/1998)

1.22 (13/5/1998)

1.23 (21/5/1998)

1.24 (29/5/1998)

1.25 (6/6/1998)

1.26 (1/7/1998)

2.01 (22/8/1998)



Volume 2, Issue 2

September 6, 1998

This issue's slogan:
"Okay, two weeks isn't infrequent. So sue me."

In this issue:

  1. Editorial
  2. Poll Question #10 Results
  3. Poll Question #11
  4. More Ackanomic News
  5. Return of the Interview
  6. The Way We Were
  7. The Party Chess Report
  8. Sub-Game Summary
  9. Advertisement



During the last fortnight, Acka has seen a few changes of interest. However, not all of these changes have been organised in the most understandable manner. In fact, the Governmental Types proposal has left us wondering exactly who can vote right now, hardly an auspicious debut.

This leads on to the suggestion that we need people to read rules more carefully. We are all at fault here, at least all of us that voted YES on that proposal, for not examining it thoroughly enough. If you like the proposal's intent, don't just stop there - check the proposal's content as well. I'm equally as guilty of this as everyone else I have indirectly fingered above - so I pledge to spend more time reading through proposals I would consider voting for in future.

Welcome Rival

The Infrequent Ackan issues a hearty welcome to the newest entrant into Acka's fiercely competitive publishing industry. Wild Card's Grey Wild Times aims to cover the doings of the Grey Council, that notoriously secretive set of Officers, whose orders may well have to be obeyed without question.

Many conspiracy theories have abounded regarding the Grey Council. The missing proposal 3518, Koxvolio's sudden reappearance, disappearance, and "ghost" appearance are just two of the many events conspiracy theorists claim have been influenced by the Grey Council.

Hopefully the Grey Wild Times will be able to shed some light on the underhanded goings on at the Grey Council. Yeah, right.

I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the stars. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light.

Too Many Rules?

One of the criticisms of some of those working in our land is that the red tape is too complex. We have too many rules regulating too many things for a single mind to handle. Even such simple things as how to vote need to be dealt with by a large block of explanatory text.

Some say that we attempt to regulate too much - that we have too many rules. This may well, at the moment, be true. Early last month we had a spate of proposals which cleaned up some of the ruleset. The main beneficiary of this was the 1300s - which, after having had the Earth Societies repealed in July, lost some further rules.

This process appears to have stopped for now, while new concepts are once again flooding the game. I would ask those who bring in such ideas to consider the level of complexity they desire, and think whether their new concepts will provide Acka with the appropriate level of harf.


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 


Poll Question Results

Last week's question:

Which section of the rules most needs a simplifying overhaul and/or elimination?

(a) - Offices and Office Types
(b) - Accumulation and Existence of Points
(c) - Inventions and Gadgets
(d) - Criminal Justice
(e) - Miscellaneous Entities
(f) - Other (please specify)

Interestingly, the write-in case received both votes that were sent. One voter wished to see the nature of voting modified, so that the redundancy of text involved in Impeachments, Hearings, Proposal Voting and Elections could be eliminated.

The other response was that the nature of the Chess rules could be improved.

The winner of the A$10 this week is /dev/joe. Congratulations on yet another win from all of us here at The Infrequent Ackan. I give A$10 to /dev/joe.

Poll Question 11

This week's poll question is:

Which Office is being performed with the best attention to detail, punctuality and thoughtfulness?

No suggestions here - write in your answers (I wouldn't want to make any biased lists and call the results into any doubt). Remember, one player at random will be selected to receive A$10, immediately on publishing the results!

Your opinion does matter to us here at the Ackan. The results should be included in the next. It costs very little of your time to enter, and there's always the chance of that small cash bonus, so please respond to the Great Infrequent Ackan Poll Competition!



More Ackanomic News

/dev/joe does it again

Since we last brought you breaking Acka news, /dev/joe's win was confirmed. No player objected to the judgement of the Supreme Court regarding the effective equivalence of "regal" and "Royal" in the context in which they were used. /dev/joe received eir second Badge of Glory, becoming only the third player to have won a third Cycle of Ackanomic.

Democracy Comes to Acka?

For thousands of proposals, Ackanomic players have been voting on proposals, unaware that they were not really participating in a Democratic system after all. Finally, in the last week, the veil has been lifted. A change of Mr. Tambourine Man's has finally brought Democracy to Acka, setting the Ackanomic Government Type to Democracy.

"If we've been voting for so long, how come we're only now a Democracy? What were we before?" said one Acka resident on hearing the news. Others suspected that the injustices of the past were only now being erased. "Sometimes I wondered whether my vote ever really counted. There always seemed to be something working against my will. Now I know that we weren't a democracy, so I can ascribe it to some tyrannical ruler. Maybe the Vulcan Party was to blame for it somehow."

While most Ackanomic players were happy to hear the news, others weren't so sure. Rumours of Rebellion have broken out, with a number of players (who shall remain anonymous in this paper) openly declaring their defiance of the existing non-regime. Despite such defiance, they are expected to cast their vote in proposals coming up soon, as soon as the status of voters is clarified. Does this make you wonder, just a little, whether Rebels should be granted the same suffrage as you or I?

Cryogenic Suspension

else...if, leading Ackan Stock analyst and generally harfy player was seen going On Ice. Eir well-thought out proposals and contributory play earned the plaudits of friends and enemies alike, and saw em earn the most coveted title of Elder today.


Court Report

Recent verdicts from first round Judges and the Supreme Cortices have seen mysteries old and new cleaned up.

We now seem reasonably certain that there was never a Frankenstein Monster named Nyarlathotep. The matter is still open to debate, for another three days or more, but it is expected that the long deliberation time for this decision has resulted in any initial litigious fervour disappearing.

We also know, conveniently, that the Sin Submission of 867-5309 (although e probably had a different name at the time - possibly Hubert) did not successfully create a new rule. Fortunately this issue is long dead, with the Sin Suite having been abandoned a long time ago. Still, it is nice to have the matter cleared up by the conscientious Justices at the Supreme Court.

In other news, the nature of proposal furniture, and how it affects the rules, has been cleared up in a pair of proposals, thanks to some incisive reasoning from breadbox.

The main unresolved judicial issue this week is whether or not any player in Ackanomic is currently eligible to vote. The CFJ is still out - hopefully a verdict will be returned in the near future so that we can get on with the business of accepting and rejecting proposals.

Stripe Attack

Three medals were awarded in recent days, but for very different effects. K 2's Stripe-worthiness was spotted almost immediately after e achieved a new decade of Blue Cross Rank. Slakko, meanwhile, was forced to award emself another Silver Stripe, rather than have someone else around for the ceremony, as no-one noticed for days that eir Blue Cross Rank had passed 120.

In the most astounding development, pTang1001001sos, undead for years only recently brought back to playerhood, received a Blue Cross in an awe-inspiring ceremony performed by /dev/joe. Lasers lit up the Hall of Elders, as pTang1001001sos awoke slowly to be greeted by throngs of Ackans bearing Blue Cross-related paraphenalia.



Return of the Interview

Today we are talking with TJ, one of Acka's newer brigade, who has already taken on a large helping of responsibilities. As the current Speaker, and Officer in Charge of Random Things, it is his responsibility to keep Acka running smoothly. In addition, his jobs as RuneMaker and Herald provide important detail which keeps the game interesting. TJ, welcome.

TJ: Actually Slakko, I'm not the RuneMaker, that job is filled by Mr. Tambourine Man.

[Ed's note: D'oh!]

TIA: You've been a player of Imperial Nomic games for a long time now. What do you find so attractive about Ackanomic that you have taken on such a full-time role?

TJ: I had always found the concept of Nomic attractive. I gravitated initially toward the Imperial Nomic variety because it was fast paced and allowed me to play or not play without a huge time commitment past the one game or so. I had started looking around a year and a half ago for a Nomic that was interesting and tried the small macronomic which shortly thereafter fell apart. Slakko, the editor of your paper, in another Imperial Nomic Game, suggested Ackanomic to me. I'd looked at it in the past, but felt the ruleset was too large and complex to be easily grasped by a new player. This was a mistake on my part I now readily admit. As for what has kept me, mainly it's the people, and the generally fun nature of the game. While I disagree with some of the other players over how some things should be or shouldn't be, overall the game has a very high fun factor and has managed to keep my interest in it very alive. Taking on offices like the ones mentioned are my way of giving something back so that the game continues to be fun, both for myself and for other new players.

TIA: So is this office collection just a blatant power grab?

TJ: *chuckle* No. At least I don't think so. I actually don't have any plans (currently) to take on any further offices except minor ones (such as the CSRR office which I have nominated myself for)

TIA: What's the most interesting proposal you've seen in the time you've been here?

TJ: That's really a hard question to answer. There are quite a few proposals that I have really liked (such as the Heraldry one, and the Grey Council one) and they have been interesting because they add another element of fun to the game.


Most interesting in possible effects would have to be the recently failed Point Pool proposal. While we all tried through the RFC process to find the holes in it, it was unfortunate that a large hole slipped through and that (at least to me) that was enough to cause it to fail.

TIA: What aspect of the rules is in most need of an overhaul right now?

TJ: In some ways the organization. There are a few similar ideas implemented in different ways in different places, a cleanup would streamline some of those processes and make the rules easier to understand. Also, there are a large number of cross references scattered throughout the rules, which makes it hard to find all of the effects of a specific change. While some things needs to be referenced throughout the rules (like points and A$), there are others that seem occasionally out of place.

TIA: How large do you think the ruleset should be, ideally, and why?

TJ: I don't have a hard and fast number which I can give here. The rules should be large enough to contain the harfy and fun aspects, while still remaining small enough to grow and allow new harf to be added. I think the ruleset right now is unwieldy in some respects, but that's more a matter of organization, and the retention of some dead (or at least stale :)) harf. I certainly don't believe the ruleset is in imminent danger of collapsing under it's own weight.

TIA: What, in your opinion, is most likely to make a proposal harfy?

TJ: To me, adding something completely new or unusual to the rules, or reinterpreting something existing in a new light has a larger chance of being declared harfy. Also, very interesting word play seems to be a likely candidate.

TIA: Are you now, or have you ever been, a Rebel?

TJ: Yes. While I voted against the 'governments' proposal, I do, now that it has been adopted, wish to see how it will work. I suspect that there are some potential abuses in it, and by rebelling, hope to force a government switch so that we can see these abuses and thus fix them or if they are not fixable, repeal the rule.

TIA: TJ, thank you for your time.

TJ: It has been my pleasure.




The Way We Were

The last fortnight one year ago corresponds to the main bulk of the Vulcan Crisis. For those too new to remember, the Crisis was the result of a very ingenious scam based on giving more power (albeit apparently restrained power) to the Senate.

The Vulcan-dominated Senate (especially after Vynd saw where eir loyalties needed to go) was able to amend the Senate Resolution rule itself, thus granting absolute power over the ruleset.

By the time the 6th of September came around, the Coup was over. However, it was still unknown whether or not the Coup had even succeeded, let alone created such interesting rules as the supposedly permanently immutable Rule 1. CFJs were still flying around, and the most important one, CFJ 452, had seen Balsamic Dragon go deadbeat.

The main creators of the Coup, Malenkai, ThinMan and /dev/joe were all accused of the heinous Crime (thankfully no longer on the statute books) of Zuriti'ili. However, on the 6th all of these claims were ruled FALSE.

Of course, at this time the nature of appeals was also open to question. A Malenkai's Loophole style debate was encompassing the question of who constituted the Supreme Court. It was eventually settled that the hijacking of the name "The Supreme Court" failed to change the effect of the rules assigning appealed CFJs to the original Supreme Court.


Two years ago, by contrast, the discussions were much more prosaic. The main debate on the mailing list on the 6th of September was regarding PFBonds, the entities which have since been scrapped and replaced by the (eerily similar) Fortnightly Dividends. ThinMan was Financier at the time, and pointed out that PFBonds were the most time-consuming part of eir work in that Office. Guy Fawkes suggestion to increase the complexity by linking in Party Chess weights was therefore met by a measure of annoyance.

Proposals submitted and promulgated on the 6th September 1996 included a couple of fixes. The first fix was designed to eliminate the possibility of multiple paradox wins based on the same paradox. The famous weasel words of "substantially similar" were used here, but fortunately this particular rule has never had to be tested since, as good grace indicates that one shot at a paradox is all everyone gets.

The second fix was a Party Chess related fix. At the time, Party Chess was still in its infancy, and it was not known how playable the game was. A CFJ returned on the 6th indicated that Acting Swingers could do nothing, because playing Party Chess was a Privilege, not a Duty. Niccolo's fix stomped all over that judicial decision, and also introduced ways to deal with vacationing Swingers.

Those were the days that were, one and two years ago.






The Party Chess Report

Party Hall has undergone a reorganisation during the past fortnight. The Swingers are now no longer Officers, the concept of Swingership having been separated from that of Officer. The non-intuitive nature of categorising playing a game as a Duty, and other significant difference between Swingers and the other Officers, means that this system is a much cleaner one for Party Chess.

Meanwhile, in the actual game, Niccolo is holding onto his Weight lead, having just passed the 100 mark. Yet another fortnight with the maximal number of Swingpoints appears to be in sight, with no immediately close challengers since the HARF Swingership's surrender.

The positional King at the moment is /dev/joe. Eir apparently unstoppable force of Pawns appear to be headed for the centre of the board, with very little opposition there at the moment. /dev/joe's weight has become significant, so we may soon see some lighter players run rings around the pawns in an attempt to wrest control away.

The game Knife leader is, once again, Slakko. With the HARF Swingership about to Surrender anyway, Slakko took advantage of decent position to enforce a Check which e knew would be unlikely to fail. Expectations were fulfilled, and the Knife puts Slakko in the lead on 2, with only Koxvolio on 1 Knife keeping the race tight.


Sub Game Summary


K 2 has objected to the declaration of Game 2 of Bacon as moribund. No further news is available at this time.


Game 1 has gone moribund, with the leaving of else...if and the abandonment of Hubert. A game which initially had too few players to really be a true game of Eleusis has now collapsed.

Meanwhile, Game 2 staggers ever onward. The first round may not be completed for some time, as default random players appear to be the rule rather than the exception. All this tends to suggest that Eleusis is a game much better played either as a single round, or on IRC, where speed can actually be maintained.


Fortunato finally won Game 6 of Grab-a-Donkey, the longest on record. A Scissors-Paper-Stone round with else...if saw Fortunato make off with the Belt, becoming the first ever multiple winner of this most Ackan of games.

E is now considering the possibilities for amending this game to make it even better before we bring out the lariats, donkeys and blankets for another fun game. The last game did see more grabbing action, with benefits accruing to those who successfully made an acquisition.



Hopefully that trait will be maintained in any future versions of the game, while those features which extended the length of the game beyond the endurance of many will be removed.


Alfvaen's apparent command of Game 3 has reversed spectacularly over the past fortnight. With a concerted effort from most remaining players, Alfvaen's lead was erased when e had reached 7 Viruspoints, a dangerously high score early in the game. Rex Mundi used the opportunity to start acquiring some Viruspoints of his own.

Since then, Rex's Virus colony has become much larger compared to Alfvaen's original leading configuration. It may be that earlier intervention becomes necessary if Rex is to be blocked from a runaway win. Be prepared for some intriguing strategic action, as players combine to knock each other out of the win.


The YORL game continues, but must be headed for a close now. snowgod is gone believed waiting for a sequel, and Elspeth has been crowned queen of the realm (even if we don't know exactly which realm it is yet). There surely cannot be that many more plot twists to come.

With Karma dropping out due to a severe Ice attack, and 867-5309 and else...if leaving for various reasons, the main deadwood in the progress of this game has been removed. Further, there is interest from more than one extra player, with both Robin Hood and Ethelred still willing to put in their ante to join the game. Perhaps the story is not quite dead yet.

Duel Summary

TJ (then JT) and Vynd combined to show that Double Crash is the favoured game for Duellists. An interesting letter-repetition strategy from JT appeared to fail miserably in the first round, by failing to come up with even a single letter. However, in a remarkable improvement, JT managed to pick up the word "fiord" as Vynd's word well before Vynd had sufficient detail about JT's choice.

Mind you, I always thought it was spelt fjord. I'm pining for the fjord, myself.



The Ackan is looking for interviews, as always. The criteria remain the same - having held a public office in Acka for at least one month. So, if you qualify and are interested, please contact us.

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. 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", and Joseph Traub as "TJ", 6th September 1998.

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