Daniel Lepage on Wed, 11 Jul 2007 08:50:40 -0700 (MST)

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Re: [s-d] Ministries independent of the rules

On 7/11/07, Peter Cooper Jr. <pete+bnomic@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Daniel Lepage wrote:
> > Say, why do we need to define the Ministries in the rules at all? The
> > Metaministry could be responsible for listing the duties of each
> Ministry
> > as well, and we could create new ones directly by vote (or maybe even by
> > some sort of Administrator's decree?).
> I suppose it's really whether we want to have everything about the game in
> one document (the Rules), or whether we want to spread the game state
> around more (like we've already started to do by separating Victory
> Conditions). It's kind of just a matter of preference of organizing
> things.
> I kind of lean toward the everything-in-the-rules philosophy, but I could
> really go either way.

I have two main objections to the "everything-in-the-rules" philosophy.

The first is that it encourages huge rules. I'm thinking especially of the
legendary Rule 301, The Grid, which contained several entire subgames, and
at its peak came out to something like 20 pages all by itself. After the
first great rules reset, our ruleset as a whole was shorter than Rule 301
had been. Much of the rule's content was in defining various objects that
could be found on the Grid.

The second is that it's harder to change. We could, for example, make an
Administrator who had the power to unilaterally create or disband
Ministries. If Ministries are separate objects, then this is easy to do. If
they're defined in the middle of rules, though, then we need all sorts of
safeguards to make sure that the Administrator can't make arbitrary changes
to the ruleset by wrapping them in Ministry decrees.

The downside, I suppose, is that we couldn't have ministries with more
complicated behavior. For example, the Ministry of the Force, long ago,
bestowed a number of special Force Powers on its Minister; that required
special rules. We don't want something to be defined both by a rule and by a
separate object, either, because then we have loose ends if the
Administrator dissolves the Ministry of the Force without touching the
related rules.

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