The Fantasy Rules Committee is a nomic-like game played over a mailing list. It began as a sub-game among the participants of Nomic World. It takes its inspiration from the imperial variant of nomic, but it is chiefly concerned with the development of interactions of the rules rather than acts of legislation (or attempted coup). It has enjoyed a fairly stable core membership from its early days to the present.
Any Round (individual game) of the FRC is conducted under a set of Regular Ordinances which are concerned with setting the environment for a competitive game of creative and logical thinking. Each Round also has a Judge, who sets a theme for the round and evaluates proposed rules (the Regular Ordinances include a method of challenging the Judge). A player's move is the proposal of a new rule that is self-consistent and valid under the rules. The goal is to be the last player who is able to post a valid rule. The winner generally becomes the Judge of the next round.
In the course of the 160+ rounds played (from May 1993 through April 2001), themes have ranged from cryptography to to children's stories. Some rounds attempted to produce a coherent fiction, others simply revelled in wordplay.
Perhaps a few examples:
From Round 11, "La création du monde",
From Round 79 "Limericks",
All rules must set in place one feature (geographic, structural, or mandated) of the world to be created, to wit: This world will contain a mixture of plant and animal life.
From Round 75, "Exquisite Corpse",
There once was an FRC round
Where nothing but limericks were found.
I'd like to see
How fun it can be
So to limerick form this round's rules are bound.
From Round 50, "This is the self-referential theme of this round",
We are gathered here to say a few words upon the passing of dearly beloved Mister McGreavy. We shall all miss him. All the valid rules of this round shall end with an incomplete sentence eulogizing Mister McGreavy, and that sentence shall be completed in the first line of the subsequent valid Rule.
"Mister McGreavy was a good man who always ...
This is the last rule that contains less than two sentences.
The Regular Ordiances of the FRC provide a procedural framework in which to play the actual game of rules-fantasizing. Administration, order of play, scoring, winning, and a means to change the Regular Ordinances themselves are all set forward in this ruleset.
Regular Ordinances of the Fantasy Rules Committee (FRC)
Style Points. For each fantasy rule posted, the Judge shall award X points, where -3<=X<=3. The Judge may use any criteria s/he sees fit for such awards. At the end of a Round the Player who has collected the most Style Points will be the Wizard in the next Round.
Restrictions on Judge's Power. The decision of the Judge may be changed if a proposal is made to do so and that proposal receives a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members voting on that proposal within three (3) days after the posting of that proposal.
- Ordinances. There shall be two types of ordinances: regular ordinances and fantasy rules. Fantasy rules shall have no effect on play except as provided for in the regular ordinances.
- Membership. Any person may become a member of this committee by posting in the committee forum a statement of intent to join. A member may resign from the committee at any time.
- Starting a Round and Posting Rules. Whenever a round of play ends, a new round should begin as soon as possible thereafter. The (new) Judge shall determine the exact time of the start of the round, and he may also suggest a theme for the round and nominate a member to post the first fantasy rule. All members are eligible as if they had posted a valid fantasy rule at the start of the round. Only those persons eligible to play may post fantasy rules. The Judge is not eligible.
- Eligibility to Play. Each valid fantasy rule makes its author eligible to play. This eligibility period lasts for seven (7) days from the time of the rule's posting minus one (1) day for each invalid fantasy rule posted by the same person after the valid fantasy rule.
- End of Game. If at any time after the seventh day of a round, there is only one person eligible to play, then
- all current fantasy rules are repealed,
- the round ends,
- the sole remaining player is declared winner of the just ended round and becomes Judge.
- The Judge. The Judge is responsible for interpreting the ordinances and determining the validity of fantasy rules. If a fantasy rule is inconsistent with itself, previously posted valid fantasy rules, or the regular ordinances, then the Judge shall declare that rule invalid or unsuccesful, otherwise s/he shall declare it valid.
- A fantasy rule can only be declared unsuccesful if the only rule or rules it is inconsistent with are other fantasy rules for which it is reasonable to assume that the poster of the rule had not seen them before s/he posted the rule.
- Resignation. The Judge may resign if s/he appoints a successor who agrees to serve as Judge until the end of the round.
Default. If the Judge does not declare judgment of a fantasy rule within three (3) days after its posting, s/he shall be considered then to have decided and declared that rule valid.
Amendment. The regular ordinances may be amended if a proposal is posted to do so and said proposal receives a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the members voting on that proposal within seven (7) days after the posting of that proposal.
Overrule. The regular ordinances may be overruled for a single round if a proposal is posted to do so and said proposal receives a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the members voting on that proposal within three (3) days after the posting of that proposal.
Where to Do Things. All actions under these rules must be accomplished by a public posting in the official committee forum. The Judge may determine the location and nature of the official committee forum.
Quotations and ruleset are taken from the FRC archive at http://www.win.tue.nl/~engels/frc/
More examples are available there.
It is unknown by the author of this writeup if FRC is being played at this time; contact with the FRC has been attempted.
FRC is ongoing, and began its 200th round on January 13, 2003.
On July 25, 2003, Round 212 was declared closed, with Ouroboros as the Winner, both Wizard and Judge of the next round.