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Wikipedia Nomic?[edit]

I'm surprised that this page hasn't been more rigidly edited and improved. Perhaps we need to start giving D6 points for successful edits to either the article or talk page... --McGeddon 21:29, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Can we have some examples of what sort of rules a player might propose? I'm coming to this page having never heard of the game, and having read it I don't have a clear idea of how it would play. Foolish Mortal 22:14, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
You can propose any rule whatsoever. The limits are on whether the rule takes effect, originally determined by majority vote.


I'm requesting that a disambiguation page be created for "Nomic". I actually came here looking for something entirely different -- an Amateur Radio accessory made by West Mountain Radio called the Rigblaster Nomic (or NoMic, depending on who you ask). It's a device used to attach a radio to a computer which has become rather genericized. If you do a Google or other web search for "nomic," aside from results relating to the game which is the subject of this article, most of the other links will be radio related. If not a full disambiguation page, perhaps at least we could put a "This is about the game "Nomic," if you're looking for information about the radio, see x," where x is a link to something amateur-radio related. -- Kadin2048 17:21, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

You can do this yourself, if you start an article on the radio nomic. All the available templates are described at Wikipedia:Disambiguation. {{Otheruses4}} looks like what you're looking for. — Laura Scudder 17:26, 3 February 2006 (UTC)


I played the game with a small group. We got bogged down. Not in rules or rule making. In waiting for the other players to take their turn. In getting a required number of votes. Still it went on long enough to become quite complex (another drawback, actually). And few of us ever pretended to know what the current status of the rules were. Regardless how "long" games have lasted in the past, these things seem to make the game self-limiting.

I came up with a variation called ETHICS. The idea is that anyone may write a rule at any time, no turns, no votes. All rules are open to discussion and will be understood as amended owing to the fact that any rule is necessarily in conflict with all other rules, such that only through discussion can there be group consensus, and whereby even rules assumed to be popular might nonetheless bring about discussions to the contrary.

I see this as an open ended game and one that builds community. Those who are confused by the rules are no worse off than those who understand their inherent contradictions; and after all, it is the enforcement of them -- in this case through group awareness -- which makes such "no rule" rules binding.

Online Nomic[edit]

I played an online game of Nomic in 1982 at Carnegie Mellon University, played using the university e-mail and bboard network. This must be one of the earliest such games ever played. --Dtobias 18:08, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I found this article through mention in the Mornington Crescent article. I had not previously heard of nomics. However, there is one popular and comparatively well-known self-modifying game, the card game Fluxx. Is a mention of it in the article relevant? --Liam Proven 03:56, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I don't think so - although the players are able to change the rules by their actions, they're only able to do so within the confines of the pre-printed cards, and there's no formal way for players to modify this mechanism. Fluxx isn't really that different to any other card game where the cards you play affect what happens in the game. --McGeddon 21:20, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
I came to this page with exactly the same question. That means there are more of us with this question then are coming forth to speak. This answer was most helpful. Perhaps explain on the article page why Fluxx doesn't qualify? Just my $0.02. -- TheInfamousJ -- 08:19, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
I think here we touch on a deep problem of nomic games; McGeddon's reason for not believing Fluxx to be a nomic game is because while Fluxx's rules can indeed be modified, there is no mechanism in the game to modify the meta-rules, and becuase he thinks more properly nomic games have meta-meta-rules, for modifying the meta-rules. But the problem here is where do we draw line? Isn't the prior definition of a nomic game not as nomic as a game with meta-meta-meta-rules? And come to think of it, doesn't the 3meta-game still put a large number of restrictions on the game's possibilities? And so shouldn't we add on some meta-meta-meta-meta-rules to make a 4meta-game?
But this could lead to an induction that the only true nomic game is the one with an infinite tower of meta-rules, and such a "game" would be unplayable by humans- I think humans can only handle so many levels.
This leads me to believe that there is a sharp dividing line between games which allow any modification of the rules at all (including all games in that infinite tower of meta-rules and associated games) and games which don't allow any modification of the rules. So while Fluxx may not be very nomic, I would still say it was nomic; the difference would be of degree, not kind. --Maru (talk) Contribs 16:59, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Fluxx comes with several blank cards, and you can buy more blank cards, just an FYI that you can infact change the meta-rules to an arbitrary level given enough time and money. (Of which I've spent too much of both doing just that[for example cards which alter the order of turns{alphabetically, age, shoesize!} or change the order of steps]) many of the Loony Labs Games come with blanks. -Kode 02:41, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Lots of games come with spare blank cards. They only become Nomics if "changing the rules is a move", if the change is a regulated part of the gameplay, rather than something that players do outside of the game. --McGeddon 05:10, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
What makes nomic nomic is that there aren't a hierarchy of rules: rules can be changed according to themselves. This makes it infinitely malleable, but also makes it very confusing. Fluxx should not be here because ther are inviolate rules.

"Nomic is a game in which changing the rules is a move." By this statment which we have in the article quoted from the creator Fluxx is a nomic type game. As such, I'm adding a link back. -Kode 01:06, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

This is just a casual opening sentence from Suber, not a definition; the rest of the paragraph clearly doesn't describe Fluxx at all. Fluxx is no more a Nomic than Magic: The Gathering, Knightmare Chess, Give Me the Brain or any other game where some of the cards you play supercede the default ruleset - if Fluxx was calling its "Rule" cards "Enchantments", this conversation would never come up. --McGeddon 03:29, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
However, in Fluxx the cards are actually called new rules. Fluxx is a "Nomic Style" Game. Nomic is a unique game in that the rules change that's the unique part. We have references in there to Mornington Crescent and Calvinball, neither of which is a real game. It's possible to play any of the games you mention above without changing the rules in the slightest bit. It's impossible to play Fluxx without changing the rules, which should earn it at least a mention. -Kode 02:35, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
As the changed rules are limited by what is on the cards, Fluxx is not a nomic. It could be called a nomic-style or nomic-inspired game, but it is definitely not a nomic, as not all the rules can be modified. (As for the problem of infinite regression, I don't think it's impossible for humans to understand, as it seems likely that infinite regression is the explanation for the problem of universals in philosophy). Finally, having played a game of Mornington Cresecent on the Nationstates forum, I take issue with the contention that it's not a real game. Supersheep 13:34, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Initial Ruleset[edit]

Any objections to removing the initial (Suber) ruleset and adding an external link to it instead? 29 rules seems a bit much for an encyclopedia article, especially when many Nomics use a variant ruleset anyway. Elysion 03:03, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with that. --Vik Reykja  03:12, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Nomic is the tofu of all games.... -- 03:02, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It's a ricepaper recipe book. --McGeddon 21:23, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Nomic is definitely more interesting, and I think it has more flavor.

Cambridge Standard 5 Card Mao[edit]

Nomic sounds very similar to a game called Cambridge Standard 5 Card Mao, which seems to be popular in the geek / Linux / Debian community based in and around Cambridge in the UK. Has anyone come across this? Does the name in fact refer to Cambridge, England, or to Cambridge, Ma.?

Mao also has a Wikipedia page. --McGeddon 21:22, 26 October 2005 (UTC)


Wasn't there a nomic Discordian card game? I can't remember the date, but it might predate the one Hofstadter delineated in his column. --Maru (talk) Contribs 06:38, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

It's existance is rumored, but no confirmed reports have been found. It your duty to find a url proving it's existance, or create such a url. Good luck. Mathiastck 21:36, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Calvinball, Drinking[edit]

I've played Calvinball and some drinking games that are clearly related to Nomic. I have no referrences though. Scix 07:13, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

One such game is: Asshole Drinking Game
The article for Calvin and Hobbes mentions Calvinball as being nomic in nature, and links back to this article. B7T 03:44, 30 March 2007 (UTC)


"Agora has been running since 1993" - This is the only reference to Agora in the article... what is it, and why has it been running since 1993? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:23, 29 January 2007

It's a game of Nomic. The full sentence is "Games of Nomic sometimes last for a very long time - Agora has been running since 1993." --McGeddon 17:38, 29 January 2007 (UTC)


Would the board game Bonkers qualify as nomic? I was thinking of linking it back to this article. B7T 03:48, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't look like it's quite a pure Nomic; not all rules are changeable. Certain aspects of the game board can change based on cards played on it, so it's got a degree of mutability not found in typical board games, but it's still not freely alterable the way Nomic is. *Dan T.* 03:57, 30 March 2007 (UTC)


The article holds that the game's ruleset was first published by Douglas Hofstadter in his Metamagical Themas column in Scientific American in the early 80s. I clearly remember the game discussed years earlier by Hofstadter's predecessor Martin Gardner in Gardner's Mathematic Games column in the sam publication. Unfortunately I don't have my collection of SAs fro the 60s and 70s any longer. Can anyone verify that somehow? It may have been a game under a differently name, but the rules were the same. -- (talk) 00:30, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Minimum Nomic[edit]

In one academic paper, Masaomi Hatakeyama and Takashi Hashimoto pare down the rules of nomic to a minimal subset to study rule dynamics. I believe this would be a notable addition to the variants section, especially since it simplifies the initial ruleset while explaining its rationale for every rule it kept. --Havvy ( (talk) 20:29, 10 August 2011 (UTC))

cleanup tag removed[edit]

there was no stated reason for the tag, no relevant discussion here on the talk page. typically, i find that when i want others to do my own work, the bare minimum required is telling them what to do. Cheers. Jay Dubya (talk) 20:23, 29 March 2014 (UTC)