Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
SOS: A Card Game

By Otto Surly in News
Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:31:16 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

I just invented a collectible card game I really like. I call it SOS. There is no object, as such; the game is entirely what you make of it. It goes like this:


  • Cards resemble poker cards. One side has some text on it; the other can have any design as long as it incorporates the letters "SOS".
  • Each card has a mission on it. The mission can be absolutely anything, as long as (1) you can express it legibly within the space of the card and (2) just about anybody can accomplish it with sufficient thought and effort. Note that there is no limit on how much thought and effort it can take; you can write a mission that lasts a lifetime.
  • You get cards by writing them yourself, by trading them with others, or however suits you.
  • From time to time, as the whim or the need strikes you, you shuffle your cards and draw one and only one. Then you do must do one and only one of the following things with all deliberate speed (and definitely before you draw another card):

    • accomplish the mission (after which you may do what you like with the card, including putting it back in your deck or passing it on),
    • exchange the card with another player for their currently active card (both cards stay active, but who must accomplish the mission changes), or
    • only if you truly believe the mission is wrong and should never be accomplished, after a full day of honest contemplation, burn the card. No other method of disposal is acceptable.

    Thus all missions get accomplished if and only if they reach someone capable of accomplishing them before they reach someone who hates them, and everyone who wants a mission can have one, but only one at a time, and if you take on a mission, you will complete a mission, even if it isn't the one you started with.

  • When a card is active (i.e., after you draw it), mark it with a tick mark. If you get a card in a swap, mark it with a tick mark. If you complete the mission, cross out or otherwise obscure the tick marks. Thus active cards and only active cards will have tick marks, and each card will indicate how many people's hands it has passed through. If you happen upon a card with a tick mark (find it on the street, inherit it, whatever), it becomes your mission unless you already have one; if you already have one, pass either it or your current mission on to someone who doesn't have one.

All clear? I'm going to create a hefty deck, and I'm going to plan on giving out cards to anyone who wants them.

HE:AHD.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Will you play SOS?
o Yes, if someone will sell me a cool deck. 19%
o Yes, I'll make my own cards. 23%
o No, you're a bloody loon, fuck off. 57%

Votes: 121
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Otto Surly


Display: Sort:
SOS: A Card Game | 109 comments (88 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
Examples? (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by anansi on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 01:29:01 AM EST

If the 'starter deck' consists of a bunch of unpleasant, unlikely missions, the game won't go very far. If you start with small, scavenger hunt style cards, you might hook people enough to work up towards mafia-level missions, kind of like Nomic, or Dianetics.

In any case, it would be more compelling if you gave us some examples, and maybe some more interesting things to do with the cards. Why a card game? Why not truth or dare? It's a good idea, but check out nomic and see what you can steal.

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

How it would start (none / 0) (#11)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:02:50 AM EST

Those who want to would create their own decks. Mine, at least, would be full of fairly small things. I could imagine that, if the game gets a largish following, one might be able to buy decks; in that case, leave it up to the market.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
why not make it a web site? (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by joshsisk on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:59:41 AM EST

It could be a geocaching-esque site, with missions you can browse and sign up for, or you can have a mission randomly selected.

For each mission you complete, you get to create one.

Or something.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Interesting (none / 0) (#69)
by Tatarigami on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:51:14 PM EST

You could rate missions by difficulty... someone who accomplished a level 2 mission could create two level 1 missions, or similar.

Of course, in that situation, you'd need some kind of verification process to ensure the harder mission was actually done. And an editorial process to make sure you don't get missions like 'shoot a US president to impress the movie star of your choice'.

[ Parent ]
Verification. (none / 0) (#77)
by joshsisk on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:25:32 PM EST

The verification could involve a digital camera pic. I think there are geocahce challenges which involve this.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
That's what burning is for (none / 0) (#79)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:27:47 PM EST

I'm going to step out on a limb and say most people don't consider shooting US presidents to impress movie stars to be a mission that should be performed (or at least few are likely to admit it). In that case, you torch the card and you're done with it. Anarcho-moderation.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Strange... (4.00 / 1) (#3)
by tftp on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 02:10:06 AM EST

First of all, why would anyone accept a "mission" that someone else devised? People should have their own ideas, and their own life too (if I am not asking too much :-)

But in any case, what is the goal? In card games the goal is usually very clear, very specific, and can be reached in reasonable time (10-30 minutes per game). But there is no goal here - and there are no rules, so even if there were a goal and a score, it wouldn't be fair anyhow.

As proposed, this is just a source of moderate pleasure for reclusive submissives. Who else would gladly execute someone's else orders, and why?

It's up to you (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:01:22 AM EST

You could fill a deck entirely with your own missions if you want. In my case, I'd probably do blind trades with close friends; coming up with a good mission for someone else could be a great gift. ("Perform in Park Street Station with your violin for at least half an hour on each of seven days.")

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
You are too late then. (none / 0) (#64)
by tftp on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:01:46 PM EST

You could fill a deck entirely with your own missions if you want.

It is called "to do list", and it is known for thousands of years. I have my todo list in my Palm Pilot, so how is your proposal better?

The only reason to have "missions" written on cards is to exchange them with others, and then my original comment stands.

[ Parent ]

Yes and no (none / 0) (#73)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:20:21 PM EST

I thought this up while thinking about ways to get my to-do list done. It occurred to me that picking a particular item and performing some physical act to distinguish it from the others (e.g., taking a card that has that task on it and declaring it my Mission) would make it much easier to focus on a particular item and get it done instead of fucking around and being distracted. From there, I naturally extended the idea to swapping tasks with other people if you don't like yours, and so on.

If humans were simple computer programs, this would indeed be just another to-do list algorithm. We're more complicated than that, so it's a game and a magical ritual as well.



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
I see the origins now (none / 0) (#74)
by tftp on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:55:26 PM EST

picking a particular item and performing some physical act to distinguish it from the others (e.g., taking a card that has that task on it and declaring it my Mission) would make it much easier to focus on a particular item and get it done

Well, it depends on your (or my) preferences, for sure, but not many people today can afford to have only one task (mission) in progress at any given time. For example, right now I have two documents to write, about 5 pieces of software to complete, one drawing to make from scratch and two - to modify. How could I possibly just take one and work on it until it is done? Most of those items don't even have the "done" state, in principle - they are always "work in progress" until you throw them away (or ship to the customer :) So what I do is I work on all of them in parallel, so all tasks get some progress, and none get forgotten. During a day I may work on 3-5 "missions" depending on their priorities.

Your concept of a card is actually more similar to the paper strip that air traffic controllers use to track airplanes. One who has the strip, has control. Here the physical property - posession of a material object - is directly relevant. I could extend your method to a group of N workers who need to finish M tasks (N = M). Then the workers actually need your cards, to know for sure which work items they have to perform, and who does what, and to swap jobs as appropriate.

[ Parent ]

Dividing tasks (none / 0) (#81)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:54:04 PM EST

At any given instant, you're only working on one thing. It's possible, then, to divide up your to-do list into tasks and sub-tasks that should get done atomically. It's not necessarily always the best idea, of course, but the kinds of tasks that accumulate on my to-do list are definitely ones I want to work at until I'm done.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Tasks are truly parallel... (none / 0) (#83)
by tftp on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:14:05 AM EST

At any given instant, you're only working on one thing.

Not so. Right now I am burning CDs, rebuild a large piece of software (compilation time 10-20 minutes), and write a document. Every 10 minutes I switch from the document to the CD burner to insert new disk, and every 30 minutes I check the compilation and do whatever else is needed there. So I'd need to have 3 cards in front of me... but as you said, you have other tasks - ones that benefit from undivided attention. My CD burner does not require me to watch it while it works; but if you are painting a wall, you'd better do it all in one session, or else the paint dries out.

Probably your cards were not even meant for a micro-management of time. But on larger time scale things would become even more confusing, because I would be working - on average - on more projects in whole day than in one hour.

So far, the only practical use of your scheme is to distribute prearranged jobs within a team of equally qualified workers, as I mentioned in my previous post. But in a personal use cards do not offer any benefits (at least to me.) If you must use cards, just buy a block of Post-It notes and a pen, they will work even better than cards do, adn without all that mysticism with checkmarks and burning :-)

[ Parent ]

Micro-management and atomic tasks (none / 0) (#88)
by Otto Surly on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:02:02 PM EST

It is true that my cards are not intended for the sort of tasks you switch among regularly. Still, I want to make clear what I was talking about in the post you're replying to: while you may have parts of larger tasks running in the background at any given time, your attention is only on one of them. You could think of the atomic tasks as being "start the CD burn", "start the compile", "write [a particular part of] the document", "check the progress of the compile", and so on. But yes, in practice you don't divide up work at that fine a level, and these cards are certainly not right for that style of work.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
I like it :) (4.50 / 2) (#5)
by bil on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:53:08 AM EST

Utterly pointless and yet completly all consuming.

However I think the rules need working on to allow an electronic version (play by email, or play on the web). This is the 21st century after all.

Actually all that is needed is some form of mailing list /forum to allow the swaping of virtual cards, maybe a "hall of fame", and a few example starter packs.

bil


bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...

You can't burn electronic cards [nt] (none / 0) (#9)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 06:59:18 AM EST



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Which is why a rules revision is needed.... (none / 0) (#17)
by bil on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:21:43 AM EST

Deletion of emails rather then burning of cards would seem logical (although if you want to pour petrol over your PC and strike a match thats a reasonable alternative)...

bil


bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

I disagree. (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by ghostrider on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:41:42 AM EST

I think the idea here is, at least in part, to get people in contact with other people. The idea of something percolating through society without electronic assistance is attractive. Start with the regular cards, and if enough people want to have an online version, they will bug the heck out of Mr. Surly til he provides one.

I do, however, think a website with a bulletin board, or something along the lines of scoop woould be a good idea, somewhere for people to exchange ideas, etc.But if the game itself were online it would lose some of its romance for me.

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often that individual is crazy.
[ Parent ]

But you can send them.... (none / 0) (#71)
by Elkor on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:50:34 PM EST

to \dev\null

Or to a trash e-mail account, like "missiondone@hotmail.com" or somesuch.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Good, but... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
by bobjim on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 05:10:14 AM EST

The game could benefit from being competitive. Rather than tick marks, players should initial the card. Then once a card is completed it should be returned to the score-keeper for the game. The point value of the card is the number of initials. At the end of the game (after a set length of time, or when everyone's tired of it) the player with the most points wins. Or, in an open-ended game, the scores of each player are distributed.
--
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
I'm not sure I like the idea of a point system. (none / 0) (#15)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:12:13 AM EST

The entire motivation, from my perspective, is that your "mission queue" is full: you can't take on another mission until you get rid of the current one. (And if your mission queue is empty, you leave it empty until you decide that you want a mission.) Feel free to keep score when you play, but that's entirely between you and whoever you decide to score with. Er.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Sex games (4.50 / 2) (#14)
by pavlos on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:11:27 AM EST

You should create a deck of interesting "sex & play" missions and use the game as you would use Truth or Dare where you have a gathering of consenting adults.

Pavlos

Excellent idea (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:14:46 AM EST

I can definitely see assembling specialized decks. This is an excellent application of what I, in the context of other CCGs, don't give a damn about. ;)

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Game: "1000 Blank White Cards" (5.00 / 3) (#18)
by Yekrats on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:25:14 AM EST

This somewhat reminds me of the game "1000 Blank White Cards" which was featured in Games Magazine August 2002 issue...

A bunch of kooky artists and improv types from Madison, Wisconsin got together with a bunch of blank white cards, making up their own cards -- and rules -- as they went along.

Each player starts off with a deck of blank cards, and takes about 30 minutes to create the cards for the deck.  The cards can be anything, usually have a picture and some effect, and doesn't necessarily have to relate to the game! Some cards might have numbers on them, positive or negative, for scoring purposes.  Everyone shuffles their cards together, and 4-7 are dealt to each player.

You can play the take-turns version, going around clockwise, or just go for a free-for-all.  If you keep track of score, positive point cards cannot be played on yourself.  You can also make up new cards on the spot in the game, and play them!

Sounds like a totally freaked out game.  The first I heard of it was Games Magazine.  Strangely enough, the game apparently got a nod in the latest volume of Hoyle's, which is kinda cool for being a game a bunch of people invented.

1kbwc on Google

fluxx (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by squigly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:28:12 AM EST

Fluxx is a fun card game with a little more structure than this (it has a goal, although the specific goal changes as you play).  The fun part fo the game is that different cards change the rules, e.g. change the number of cards played each turn.

[ Parent ]
Goal of Fluxx (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:39:35 AM EST

I would say that Fluxx always has the same specific goal, which is to cause the Goal card to coincide with the state of your other cards and no one else's.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily... (none / 0) (#72)
by Elkor on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:06:43 PM EST

After you've been playing a two-hour hand you start hoping for a goal condition that matches ANYONE's hand.

The irony being that the hand could have ended after five minutes but "Nah, I want it to last longer than that...."

*sigh*

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
After a Fluxx game that plays too long... (none / 0) (#86)
by Yekrats on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:50:58 AM EST

We play that if a play you make causes someone else to win, you win instead.  (The one making the play gets to mock the player that would have won. This is called, "Winning by mockery," and is quite prestigious.

Even more prestigious, however, if it's late in the game, and you play to allow yourself to win by your normal conditions, you get the privelege of mocking everyone! :-) Everyone will hate you for the rest of the night, but for those few moments, it's so-o-o worth it.  :-)

Yes, Fluxx can tend to spiral out of control, especially with a large group (5-6 player game.)

-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]

Dvorak (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by upsilon on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:48:11 AM EST

This, in turn, sounds very much like Dvorak...
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]
Sounds familiar... (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by 87C751 on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:58:58 AM EST

I think this has already been done.

My ranting place.

Very cool, but... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:03:37 AM EST

1000 Blank White Cards looks like something I want to play, but the action of the cards seems to be limited to the context of a formal game, whereas SOS is something that (if you let it) can significantly affect your life "outside" the game as such. The people comparing it to Fight Club have something of the right idea: it's a thing you could just do for fun, but there is a bigger goal there.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Excellent idea! (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by dopefishdave on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:59:10 AM EST

Sounds like a perfect waste of time! There's something very cool about a completely pointless game with no real goals. Really needs to be electronic tho. Expands the whole scope of it.

Hmmmm I see a new pet project developing - might even have a use for my new domain name...


We think we understand music until we try to compose it and what comes out of the piano scares the cat.
-- Robert McKee

Other outs (2.00 / 1) (#29)
by upsilon on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:53:29 AM EST

Seems like a very cool idea, but there will be times when a mission is just not feasible. The rules as you state them don't allow an out for this -- the mission may not be "wrong", but you just can't accomplish it yourself.

One such mission that comes to mind would be "Broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord." Clearly impossible for me, and nobody I know would knowingly take that card since it would be impossible for all of my friends... What would you have me do with it?

(And you all thought this discussion would be politics-free! Mwa-hah-hah!)
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.

You're missing two things: (none / 0) (#47)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:56:42 AM EST

  1. The mission has to be possible for just about anyone, given enough time and effort.
  2. I accept that missions that are very hard may get passed around a lot. If you have a mission that you don't think anyone currently playing the game can do, your meta-mission may become to find someone who can and get them into the game.


--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
D'oh! (none / 0) (#55)
by upsilon on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:09:38 PM EST

Wow, I somehow completely glazed over that sentence in the original article. I even went back and read it multiple times to "make sure" my objection wasn't covered... and missed it every time.
--
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]
Publishing your own game is really tough. (5.00 / 7) (#30)
by Yekrats on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:55:43 AM EST

Believe me, I'm in the process of doing it right now. I've been trying to get my lovely, latest, greatest game to see the light of day for over a year. It should be finished in about a month, after I get my cards cut. I've also done the art for another project, Monkeys on the Moon. (Okay, shameless plug, give me a break. Better yet, preorder your copy now! :-)

There are two big markets for games in the United States: the "Family Game" market, and the "Hobby Game" market. I think the Hobby Game market is easier to get into; hobby gamers are more accepting of small-time operations.

Family Games are usually sold at big outlet stores. In order to get your foot in this door, you'll probably need an agent, and the agent will try to find a big-name publisher to buy it. According to an agent I talked to, this process could take several months. (Funny, designers of this kind of game are considered more "inventors" than "writers", perhaps from the American tradition of having a gimmick in every game. Consider the "Mouse Trap" game, when I say gimmick.)

Then if your agent finds a publisher for you and once the deal is inked, it will take about another year for the game to be printed and for you to see any royalties from it. Yes, the new games on the Toys'R'Us shelf this year, were conceived 2 or more years ago, in all probability. Also, generally big-game companies will not buy from no-name game designers. Generally, co-branded games (games aligned with the next, greatest pop icon or fad) will tend to do well, here.  

The Hobby market seems to be a little easier to sneak into with your own cash. If you've got a good graphics program (Quark, Pagemaker, etc.) you could make up your own cards and send it to a publisher (like Carta Mundi), and with a minimum print run of 10,000 decks, have yourself a game. Your decks will probably run you about $1.50 - $2 a pop, so you will have to give them $15k - $20 to do the job. Okay, now you've got 10,000 decks of cards, and you can try to sell them to distributors and such. (By the way, how much space does 10000 decks take up? Better have a spare room handy for storage :-) To be fair, I have seen some places that will do print runs of as small as 2,000.

You could publish the Cheapass way, but even their cards are pretty high quality. You would need some way of cutting the cards evenly, so that means getting your own die-cutter (pretty darn pricey), or having a professional do it for you.  Personally, I found a personal die-cutter through a company called Accucut, I had a die (cutting surface) made for my cards, and I use it for the Accucut machine I can rent at a local scrapbooking store. Even having the die, though, it's a time-consuming and sometimes aggravating process.

There's a mailing list on Yahoo Groups called Spit and Bailing Wire which focuses on starting a game business on a shoestring budget that I would strongly recommend joining, if you're into that sort of thing.

Best of luck.
--Yekrats

Very interesting. (none / 0) (#34)
by graal on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:00:52 AM EST

This could make a pretty decent article, actually.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Definitely write this up as an article. (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by joshsisk on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:39:24 AM EST

I'd wait until the game is out, but this is really interesting.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Good point (none / 0) (#48)
by darkskyes on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:57:31 AM EST

It would be a good idea to get a final draft ready before posting, unless you want to get others involved at the creation level... From what I've read that may have been your goal. But I think you have soem good ideas, and I think you might want to set yourself up some ground rules, or core rules, that you don't let go of.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Article! Article! Article! (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:45:09 AM EST

I had just started thinking about the practical question of semi-mass-producing starter decks for people. (Of course, making your own cards, possibly by hand, is intended to be an important part of the game.) I would definitely like to hear in detail from someone who has done that before.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Hmm... okay, I'll see what I can come up with... (none / 0) (#51)
by Yekrats on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:39:16 PM EST

I had considered writing an article on this subject, but I wanted to avoid the appearance of being an advertisement for my own products. :-) I was actually thinking about buying a K5 textad anyway, so maybe I can do both without a guilty conscience.

Anyway, I think I could do a pretty good article about the subject of producing a game on a shoestring budget, but I actually haven't done that quite yet. Give me a couple of weeks, after I get these danged cards cut, and I'll letcha know. :-)

-- Yekrats

[ Parent ]

Buy a text-ad as well (none / 0) (#52)
by squigly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 01:10:20 PM EST

People will be a lot more forgiving if you plug if you also pay for it.  Plus, I'd be surprised if you don't get a few people here who are into card games.

[ Parent ]
This reminds me a bit of 'Nomic' (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by graal on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:59:07 AM EST

I first read about Nomic in Metamagical Themas by Douglas Hofstadter. You start out with an initial set of rules (some of which are immutable), then take turns proposing rule changes. It explores self-amending systems.

The guy who invented it has a page here. Nomic is, in essence, a 'microcosm of a functioning legal system'.


--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)

Check Out Fluxx (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by tudlio on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 02:26:07 PM EST

A similar commercial game (although by necessity much simpler) is Fluxx.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
[ Parent ]
Xanth (none / 0) (#35)
by eudas on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:11:28 AM EST

So... you're proposing real life Quest Cards from the Xanth board game?

I want the Question Quest... (take over anyone's quest at any point (usually used right as they near completion..)) ;)

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat

Already invented. (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by kwsNI on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:46:57 AM EST

This game already exists. It's called life.

With that said, I think you could probably make a killing selling this to people without one.

kwsNI

Maxis beat you to it... (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by Trollificus on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:06:38 PM EST

...it's called The Sims. ;p~

"The separation of church and state is a fiction. The nation is the kingdom of God, period."
--Bishop Harold Calvin Ray of West Palm Beach, FL
[ Parent ]

I'll be handing out my own as well.. (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by etherdeath on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:59:18 AM EST

"Wire $1,000 to etherdeath."

What about recycling the card, you enviornmentally-unfriendly SOB!!

If I got that card (none / 0) (#97)
by PurpleBob on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 01:19:33 AM EST

Ah right, where'd I put that lighter... there. *foom*

[ Parent ]
Cheers! (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by MicroBerto on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:14:03 AM EST

Sounds like you can turn this into a rather fun drinking game!

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
-1: Reinventing the wheel (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by F a l c o n on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:33:10 AM EST

This is just a simplified clone of Discordian Zen.
--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
Hmm. (none / 0) (#45)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:47:57 AM EST

I hadn't seen Discordian Zen before. I like my version better: it's decentralized, and you can pick which cards to put in your deck when, who you trade with, and so on. I also don't like the idea of a veto; it should take significant thought and effort get out of doing a mission, whether thinking for a day and burning the card or getting someone else to take it off your hands.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Non-linking bastards! (5.00 / 3) (#50)
by gauntlet on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:20:01 PM EST

Here!

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

mods (none / 0) (#84)
by F a l c o n on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:34:16 AM EST

Well, since this was, after all, discordian zen, you were of course expected to change it instead of applying the rules blindly. All of the rounds I'm aware of involved some decentralization, for example.
--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
[ Parent ]
This "Discordian Zen" (none / 0) (#56)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:36:43 PM EST

Is it still going on? If I send index cards to Tundra Wind PO Box 429 Monte Rio, CA 95462 today will I get different ones sent back to me?

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Cool idea. More suggestions... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by tudlio on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:05:52 PM EST

Some additional suggestions:

  1. Create a few downloadable design templates to help the graphically challenged put together nice looking cards
  2. Create some kind of tracking system where players can voluntarily log their current mission, and where you can look at the past history of your current mission



insert self-deprecatory humor here
A suggestion (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:39:35 PM EST

One side has the mission, and the other side of the card has a quick summary of the game rules and perhaps a website to go to to see this article. That way the cards could be handed to random people on the street quickly and easily.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."

I like this idea (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:54:00 PM EST

or something like it. I think the limited space on the cards would make printing the full rules on every one a pain (and get in the way of cool art), but putting a URL and maybe a one-sentence summary of the rules on each card would probably be fine, or one could print rules cards that one hands to people new to the game.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm dense, but... (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by carlos HRE on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 05:26:23 PM EST

Why SOS? The game doesn't strike me as a call for help, or have any "danger" connotations as "SOS" would.

Is it an acronym for something? sweethart's (or your own) initials? stands for "Single Oriental Sodomite"  as perhaps the "secret mission" is to find one? (or become one?).

I can come up with witty expansions for a while, but how about you giving us yours, instead of having the community back-fit a description?

Are you taking suggestions for the name too, or is SOS pretty much set in stone (it's your game, after all). I'm sure several clever titles could be suggested.

Overall, I really like the idea. I'm waaay to lazy to do my own (at least at the beginning), but I'd be willing to pay for it, or to download a file that can be printed on an ink-jet and cut to size with scissors...

Cheers,
Carlos VI, HRE.

--
"[Nethack has] the replayability of a Denise Richards look-alike sex drone." -- MotorMachineMercenary

A working title (none / 0) (#61)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 06:18:30 PM EST

"SOS" stands for "self-organizing society", to the extent that it stands for anything. The fact that SOS is also a well-known distress call contributes a certain catchiness. I'm not particularly attached to it. The idea is that one makes a conscious choice both to create memes and to obey them (but with the ability to filter out ones that are not worth obeying).



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
why not just call it "Mission"? (none / 0) (#100)
by speek on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 11:12:59 AM EST

Fairly catchy, and very descriptive.

--
Perhaps the State of Hawaii could countersue the woman that gave birth to and raised a
[
Parent ]

SOS (none / 0) (#105)
by fenix down on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:34:24 PM EST

SOS is the same right side up or upside down. Good for putting on cards.

[ Parent ]
Make it a web site (none / 0) (#68)
by crispee on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:49:49 PM EST

All games are online now anyway. This will make it easy to hook up with other players, trade, etc. You can print out the cards if you want to manually exchange them.

Also, rather than put a logo on the back of the card, you should put the instructions. This way, you can leave cards in public places and the people who find them can start playing right away.
Do you know what's better?

Maybe. (none / 0) (#75)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:13:59 PM EST

I'm going to come up with some prototype cards and hand them out to friends (and strangers?) this weekend. I'll see how things work out in practice. Remember, people can make their own cards, and requiring the complete set of rules on every one would be annoying. Then again, maybe it's not unreasonable to do that on all pre-printed decks (if such things come to exist).

There is a brief explanatory web page now. If I become sufficiently non-lame, I might cause it to have some sort of useful messaging interface soon.



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Whoops (none / 0) (#82)
by Otto Surly on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:00:42 AM EST

a brief explanatory web page

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
card / website combo (none / 0) (#95)
by quasipalm on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:43:55 PM EST

Instead of writing all of the rules on every card, just make it a rule that each card must have a website name on the back (say, www.shortshortshortlonglonglongshortshortshort.com) and then keep a page there of the rules and all the different places it has been.

(hi)
[ Parent ]
Ohh dood (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by Matt Oneiros on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:21:58 PM EST

this could be really really cool if like this whole subculture got started and like there were cards everywhere (maybe... say stuck into books at bookstores.)

Then people'd be all "WE ARE THE MISSION CARD NINJAS!!!!!" and like they'd go and put cards places, and complete missions. All ninja style.

excellent.

Lobstery is not real
signed the cow
when stating that life is merely an illusion
and that what you love is all that's real

Interesting point - 'drawing' multiple missions (none / 0) (#102)
by shpoffo on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:12:43 PM EST

What happens if you stumble across a mission that someone hid for senedipity? Do you have to reshuffle it into your deck? Is this an illegal move and you can't trojan missions?

I like the idea of hiding missions for others to come across, but it would seem to cause lots of problems unless the cards were just shuffled into your personal deck for later draw.

thoughts?
-shpoffo

[ Parent ]
hmm... (none / 0) (#106)
by Matt Oneiros on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:41:23 AM EST

well, in a perfect world you could allow "trojanned" missions and it would make it all the funner... you're right though, it probably would cause problems.

hmm

Lobstery is not real
signed the cow
when stating that life is merely an illusion
and that what you love is all that's real
[ Parent ]

Card disposal (3.66 / 3) (#78)
by fluffy grue on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:25:50 PM EST

What if, after a full day of honest contemplation, you decide that burning the card is wrong and should never be accomplished?

Like, what if it has a symbol sacred to you on it? The reason many people write "God" as "G-d" is that they believe that the word "God" should never be defaced, and by putting it on a piece of paper which will eventually be thrown out, burned, or otherwise "defaced," it will lead to the defacement of the word. (Personally, I think this is a silly belief, but who am I to judge?)

Also, what if the mission is, "Burn this card?"
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

If the mission is "burn this card" (none / 0) (#80)
by Otto Surly on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:32:57 PM EST

Then either you burn the card because the mission should not be performed, or you burn the card in fulfillment of the mission. It is merely a matter of your take on things. ;)

Indeed, it is possible that you might have a card that you don't want acted on, yet you dare not burn. "Life is hard." If I were in that position, perhaps I would simply sit on the card forever, or abandon the game because it is intrinsically evil for forcing me to compromise my position, after which the rules would, of course, not bind me.

And, of course, obeying the rules is simply a matter of personal integrity. There is no enforcement unless you decide to form a gang to enforce them.



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
What if (none / 0) (#101)
by rusty on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:24:10 AM EST

What if the mission is "Do not ever burn this card." :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Not a valid mission IMHO (none / 0) (#103)
by astatine on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 05:16:26 PM EST

since it can never actually be accomplished.

Society, they say, exists to safeguard the rights of the individual. If this is so, the primary right of a human being is evidently to live unrealistically.Celia Green
[ Parent ]
Then... (none / 0) (#108)
by sab39 on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:59:30 AM EST

I do not believe that mission should be carried out, so I'll burn the card. (You have to either carry out the mission or burn the card...)

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]

Reminds me of a thought I had yesterday... (none / 0) (#92)
by frankwork on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 06:35:34 PM EST

...as I was picking up after my dog in the park.

The plastic bag I was using was printed with an American Flag and had some message like "United we Stand" on it.

I thought to myself that while the US flag code doesn't have any specific wording regarding the use of the flag as a pooper-scooper, it's probably in violation of at least one of the guidelines on showing proper respect.

So am I at fault, or is it the silly bag manufacturer who in essence cheapened the symbol of the flag by printing on a disposable plastic bag?



[ Parent ]

The bag monger is (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by MadDreamer on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 07:15:04 PM EST

According to flag rules (laws?) the symbol of the flag is not to be printed on anything that could be thrown away (i.e. gift paper, pamphlets, plastic bags) and therefore the blame falls to the bag maker. The irony is that I got these rules off a cheap pamphlet that came with a flag my roommate bought at Wal-Mart and which, of course, had images of the flag printed on it.


[ Parent ]
Why the name? (none / 0) (#85)
by Rasman on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:07:49 AM EST

You never explained why you call it "SOS". It seems as good a name as any, I guess...

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
How about: Si Opus Sit (Latin: If Necessary) (none / 0) (#94)
by quasipalm on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:33:38 PM EST

I think this would be a cool meaning for the name SOS... It's kinda like "I'll do what this card tells me to, if necessary."

Interestingly, SOS doesn't mean anything. It was created because of it's catchy ". . . _ _ _ . . ." signal, not because SOS stands for something.

Therefore, since it's not an acronym, it's "SOS" not "S.O.S."

(hi)
[ Parent ]
I was always taught... (none / 0) (#96)
by sab39 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:01:37 PM EST

I was always taught that SOS stood for "Save Our Souls". Do you have any references?

...

...

Me neither, of course.

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]

save our ship? (none / 0) (#104)
by fenix down on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:17:35 PM EST

I thought Save Our Ship. I think it's mostly just supposed to be easy to recognize. It doesn't matter what it means, as long as it's a short pattern the radio guy can recognize when he's half asleep.

[ Parent ]
Reference: (none / 0) (#109)
by quasipalm on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:53:35 PM EST

From Infoplease:

SOS

SOS, code letters of the international distress signal. The signal is expressed in the Morse code as . . . -- -- -- . . . (three dots, three dashes, three dots). This combination of letters was selected by the International Radiotelegraphic Convention at London in 1912. The letters (SOS) do not refer to any words but were selected because they are easy to transmit. The use of Morse code for sending distress calls is now almost entirely superseded by automated systems using satellite relay. The distress code by radiotelephony is MAY DAY, which corresponds to the French "m'aider." The signal NC, not followed by a message, also has the same meaning.

(hi)
[ Parent ]
Acronym or not... (none / 0) (#98)
by Rasman on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 03:07:38 AM EST

It's still pronounced like "es oh es", right? Or does it sound more like "sauce"?

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of some other games... (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by sab39 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:39:56 PM EST

I recall in high school playing some card games that at least vaguely remind me of this. That's not to say that I don't like this game as an independent variation on the same theme, and it's not in any way an accusation of plagiarism, just a (hopefully) interesting observation.

Unfortunately, I can't remember much about either of them!

One of them was invented by a friend of mine and was the card game equivalent of Mornington Crescent. I'm not sure of the name any more, but it might have been Skolob (say it backwards and pretend you're British...). The game was played with one, two or three decks of standard playing cards, and the sole objective was to convince any onlookers (and, sometimes, your opponent, if you could convince them to "learn as you play, you'll pick it up, it's easy!") that you were playing a real game with intricate and complex rules when, in fact, there were no rules at all. It's actually a very challenging game, because you have to provide the illusion of consistency in the rules (and in things like how you play the cards onto the table, or not) throughout the game and, if you're really lucky, between multiple games observed by the same people. Of course, if you do this by actually inventing rules and playing them, you're not playing Skolob any more, so you "lose" by default, regardless of who apparently wins the actual game.

The other game was introduced to me as Mao, although I believe it may have another name that's used in more grown-up company. This one really did have rules, and all I can remember about it was that you took turns to play cards from your hand and in certain circumstances you were allowed to invent new rules. I think it depended on which cards got played, like a "9" reversed the direction of play, and a "7" allowed you to invent a rule - but I could be wrong. If anyone has a reference to what this game actually was, I'd love to see it...

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

Found it... (none / 0) (#89)
by sab39 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:32:19 PM EST

http://www.shelluser.net/~kwtam/puz/mao.html

This variant seems, coincidentally, to be pretty close if not identical to the version I played. There was a lot about it that I hadn't remembered, but it all came back to me pretty quickly when reading the various sample games on the site...

Not much like SOS, but an extremely fun passtime nonetheless.

Stuart.
--
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]

an idea... (none / 0) (#90)
by xbradx on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:23:30 PM EST

Have a web site where people can 'register' their cards. Registering the card they created gives them a number, which they can put on the card. Then when someone completes a mission they can go to the website and find the card they got by it's ID number. You could have them fill out a little form to add their experience for that card and how the mission went.

It would be interesting if this took off and you got a lot of these little reports. You could track the path of a card you created as it makes it's way through people.

Better than book club (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by thomp on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:00:08 PM EST

My wife and her friends do the book club thing once a month, and they rarely talk about the book they were supposed to read. It's just a time for the girls to meet and talk, no strings attached.

I think an SOS club would be more interesting. Once a month the club could meet and talk about their missions, successful or not. Look past the sheer whimsy of the game. Think about the potential for learning more about yourself and how you interact with the world around you.

My kids have been making up their own games using Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh cards; and I would bet that they will love to play SOS. I'll give it a try, Otto, and let you know how it plays out.

I can think up a bunch of neat cards (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by Hektor on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 06:34:04 AM EST

  • Give 10$ to a person doing a good deed.
  • Offer a cup of coofee, lunch and a shower for a homeless person.
  • Stop the next ten strangers you meet on the street and give them a compliment.
  • Do someone a favor, and don't tell them, that you did.
  • The next time you come across someone elses interesting idea, do your best to see it followed through.
  • Stand up for someone you don't know.
And that's just off the top of my head.

Gyft Card Game (none / 0) (#107)
by heatherness on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:09:13 AM EST

Great idea! We're on the same wavelength. We've developed a very similar game. Basically you acquire a card and follow the instructions on it. The instructions will invariably lead you to give the card away for someone else to play.

This is a good page to see to get an idea though be advised that at this moment there's a heavy page load. You can start at the front page at: www.gyft.org.

We're still developing the website, and there's only about 100 cards up so far, but there are currently over 400 unique cards. We're adding new functionality and data almost daily. Soon we'll have it so you can e-mail cards to each other as well as get printed decks to play in person.

About 20 people collaborated on the instructions and art so far. We've designed the game to accept new art and instructions from people who join the community. We've printed and distributed a total of 1900 cards at Burning Man and Flipside. We're hoping they're still in play, floating around somewhere in North America. :-)

Maybe there's a way for us to work together on it. If what we've done so far looks interesting and you want to get involved, drop me a line.

SOS: A Card Game | 109 comments (88 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!