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About the various rulesets

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1 About the various rulesets on Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:49 am

Has any agreement already been reached about how picking a rule-set will work? Because it looks to me right now like there are lots of different, all very good sets of rules. I've even been pondering adding my own to the mix. It seems like eliminating all but one of these would mean losing a lot of very cool stuff. Has there been any agreement reached on how it'll all be handled? Perhaps waiting for the various rulesets to take playable shape, then voting on one to use? Or maybe even having multiple official rulesets?

Has there been any discussion about this? If not, what do people think?

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2 Re: About the various rulesets on Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:08 am

Hi Wootfish. Generally speaking, PHYLO is game to have as many different rule sets as the community provides. And the key for prominent placement on the website is primarily due to how far they've been worked through or tested, and whether feedback is positive or negative overall (this we'll also be monitoring quite closely once the education aspect kicks in in January).

Overall, however, it seems to be working as follows: as rules get presented on the forum, they will tend to get worked on to varying degrees. I've been watching these as they come up, and essentially, I'll put them up on the phylo gameplay section when there seems to be a variety of comments already in place. From there, it's hope that as the site picks up speed, people can contribute directly at the site by leaving comments until the rules get more and more polished. Related to this, I have some funding to hire the odd copy writer here and there to clean up text as they happen over time. This will also hopefully make rules clearer as time goes on.

In many respects, this places me (and my lab) in a moderating role, although I aim to be as diplomatic as possible (i.e. if it's clear that a lot of folks are digging something, I'll essentially always go with the flow). What's great about the current set up, is that since we're working virtually on a website, there is plenty of room for many many sets of rules.

From a strategic point of view, folks in my lab are paying particular attention to rules that young kids can use (something really simple - simple where it probably isn't that much fun to older kids). Something that aims to make use of the classification tags would also be cool (i.e. evolution stuff like the thread that was sort of started).

As well, at a certain point, there won't be any room left on the card to put additional information - this is also something that will factor in on new rule sets. i.e. the website is not currently in a position to create different content on the cards for different types of games. Ideally, there's a convergence to key information on the card that is both descriptive and concise and can be used for all types of rules. Of course, whether this is realistic is something we're probably going to find out soon enough!

Thanks for the starting this thread though. It is a good one, and something that could generate some interesting ideas.

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3 Re: About the various rulesets on Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:31 am

Thanks for replying so quickly! My main concerns about having multiple rulesets are:
  • Confusion among players if there's info on the card that has no connection to whatever ruleset they're using. i.e. "Apis mellifera has a MOVE value of 2" could be perplexing to people using SilverAdept's rules. Seems to me like for this, the only solutions are to expect people to figure it out (unsure about the wisdom of this) or to allow printing of cards with any of several different descriptions (which you've nixed), so that's problematic.

  • There's no easy answer when someone asks "OK, so how do you play?"
    As a subset of that, confusion when people want to learn to play. The need to pick a ruleset or learn multiple ones could drive people off. Or people decide to get together to play, but they've learned different rulesets, etc etc.


Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of the idea. But someone has to be devil's advocate.

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4 Re: About the various rulesets on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:02 am

It may be that there has to be a decision about what will be going on the card, and that all proposed rulesets and their variants must only use the things that are on the card. This is the easiest way to avoid having ruleset-specific text on a card. That may make for interesting ways of making the rules work (movement, for example, or seed dispersal), but if all the cards have are attributes pulled from a controlled vocabulary, then the rulesets are free to tell us what those rules actually mean for the context of that game.

Scale number for the exploration game may mean something different than the predator-prey game and something else entirely for the ecosystem game. It's up to the rule creators to tell us what the numbers and attributes mean, and which ones we actually have to pay attention to.

Event/Environment change cards may also have to be genericized to some degree, or it might be that we're allowed to get more creative with the text on those cards - "Flood", for example, might have one variant that says "Any creature that does not have a water habitat is destroyed" and another that says "Creatures of a Scale number lower than X are destroyed.", and they all might have "Change the active environment to Water." on them. It will then depend on the ruleset makers to tell us whether to use the effect text or ignore it.

Short version: We might need a controlled vocabulary. Once we have that, we can let the rulemakers tell us what effects that vocabulary actually has.

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5 Re: About the various rulesets on Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:49 am

Short version: We might need a controlled vocabulary. Once we have that, we can let the rulemakers tell us what effects that vocabulary actually has.

Totally, this is why I think the best attributes to use on the card will be ones that describe basic properties of the species (there's a thread on this somewhere). i.e. in many respects, the cards are just info holders and the games will hopefully be designed to work around this. This is why the attributes on the card are pretty basic right now - it keeps things relative low maintenance.

Attributes right now include:

Where do I live? (TERRAIN, CLIMATE)
How big am I? (SCALE)
What do I eat? (FOODCHAIN, DIET. If the diet is very restrictive, we can limit species it needs to build from)
Can I get around? (MOVE - plants MOVE too in a way - they just spread, but you can still use the MOVE value)
What kind of organism am I? (classification, name, latin name)
Can I do anything special? (special keywords like INVASIVE, PARASITIC, etc - hopefully more of these can be thought up over time with specific descriptions that can be tailored to a certain rule set)

Overall, these values just represent the basic biology of the organism, and in theory should be transferable to any set of rules. I think one good possibility for an additional piece of information on the cards is stuff that categorize the same organism (i.e. a larvae card versus a pupae card, etc, or a worker versus a queen bee) - this I think might work nicely. It kind of adds:

What version am I? to the list of info on the card.

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