Last night a few friends and I won Nomic-Monopoly (or Nomicopoly). It was a cooperative victory as we achieved the Objective as stated in Rule 223-1:
1) If every eligible property has at least one house or hotel, all players win the game
I’d better provide some context...
A Nomic-style game allows the players to modify the rules mid-game. Nomicopoly starts with the base rules of the classic board game Monopoly and some basic rules about the creation and modification of rules. At the end of each player’s turn they can propose a new rule or strike an existing rule; then the proposal is decided by majority vote. Further, the existing Monopoly rules start out as ‘immutable’ and require a successful vote to make them ‘mutable’ (i.e. we can then pass rules that change them).
We had five players, three of whom had played Nomicopoly a few years prior and developed a byzantine set of rules involving a mayor and a judge. We started out with a clean slate for this game.
We used one Google Doc to track the current corpus of rules and another to queue up new rule proposals. We also used Slack to facilitate backchannel negotiations and scheming.
The game was a blast to play; coming up with new rules - and lobbying for them - was immensely fun.
My early focus was on changing the movement rules so the players would have more agency - players could now choose to use the movement from one of their die rather than the sum of the dice or they can choose to move backwards. After an initial surge of support, it was balanced by a second rule that forced players to pay rent on the initial dice roll, regardless of where they moved. Here were the final movement rules:
- Players may use their movement to move backwards
- After rolling the dice, you can choose to move only one of the die amounts rather than the combined number.
- A player who chooses to move only one dice’s worth of spaces must pay any rent that would accrue as if that player had moved both dice’s worth.
We also created a Treasury as distinct from the Bank and then taxes that fill the Treasury. There were several rules created specifically to limit an early advantage gained by one or a a few players:
2010: AFFORDABLE TRANSPORTATION ACT
1) The rent for landing on any railroad property shall be fixed at $25, regardless of the number of Railroad properties owned by the player who owns that particular property.
213. SMALL BUSINESS ENCOURAGEMENT ACT
1) Players may develop properties with houses and hotels without owning all properties in the color group. This takes precedent over restrictions imposed by Rule 212 “Houses” and Rule 115 “Hotels”.
214. THE LIQUIDITY ACT
1) All players immediately receive $1000 from the bank. A one-time payment.
As the game progressed, our self-serving legislation became increasingly bold:
1) If a player owns red properties, yellow properties, or Baltic Avenue, they receive $1000 on the beginning of their turn, except for the current turn, when the current turn’s player receives $1000 immediately.
By the mid-game, we had already eliminated the original objective of the game “The object of the game is to become the wealthiest player through buying, renting and selling of property.” and nixed the possibility of elimination through bankruptcy.
Toward the end of the night, I proposed the GREATER MONOPOLY CO-PROSPERITY SPHERE as a possible route to cooperative victory. It passed unanimously and we spent the next few turns achieving it. Everyone won!
It was an incredibly fun night and I highly recommend trying Nomicopoly or another Nomic game if you have the chance.
I’ll leave you with some of the more interesting proposed rules that didn’t get a majority vote:
PR 018: You can escape from Jail with a 15+ Dexterity Roll, which may be attempted once per the jailed player’s turn.
PR 029 - THE SUNLIGHT IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT ACT - If a law is passed, its original two sponsors must each pay $50 to the bank.
PR 040 YIMBY DEVELOPMENT ACT: Additional houses may be added to the housing supply, not exceeding the number of Settlements in the Settlers game under the coffee table.
PR 045: CASUS BELLI - if a player moves into another player’s token’s space, they may steal $50 from that player.
PR 50: One dollar bills are now worth One Million dollars
PR 060: THE ROOM AND BOARD ACT: To promote the common defense, a token representing THE MILITARY shall be advanced forwards around the board starting initially from Go at the end of each round according to the roll of one die. When THE MILITARY lands on a property, its owner must pay the RENT to THE DEFENSE BUDGET.