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Games in which rules are invented

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Arthur Wohlwill
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Joined: 05/30/2015

I attempted to make a game for the latest GDS, but it didn't quite work. I wanted to implement a mechanic in which players created new rules. More specifically, they would create new worker placement sites. The game would start with some inefficient sites, but one site would allow you to make a site. For example, the original site might say (3 widgets for one VP) and the new site would say 1 widget for 1 VP). The creating player would get the widgets from other players who use the site. A problem would be that once such a site was invented, another player could create one which undercut the original (3 widgets for 2 VP!). Perhaps there could be a system in which the player had to pay for the site and the cost depended on the efficiency or output of the system (This seemed too cumbersome for the GDS which required a very simple rule system, but perhaps there is a way to do it that would work in general.
Any ideas?
Are there games out there in which players invent rules?
Thanks,
Arthur

ElKobold
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Yep. There's this card game

Yep. There's this card game the name of which I can't remember in which you have 1 rule at the start - 'You may draw 1 card and play 1 card during your turn'.

The rest of the cards modify rules and add victory conditions.

kevnburg
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The game ElKobold is talking

The game ElKobold is talking about is a silly party game called Fluxx. To expand a bit on it, it's a bit different from your idea here because, nstead of having players creating their own original rules, it has players adding new rules to the game by playing "rule cards" from their hand (e.g. "Rule: Everyone draws 3 cards at the start of their turn" or "Rule: Everyone discards 0 cards at the end of their turn"). In Fluxx, the rule changing mechanic is chiefly about making the game crazy/absurd.

let-off studios
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Fluxx = Dvorak

There's an "open source" version of Fluxx called Dvorak, and this website explains how to make the game work:

http://www.dvorakgame.co.uk/index.php/Main_Page

You can also download decks and rules/versions of the game made by various contributors at no cost.

X3M
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I have one game where there

I have one game where there are no rules added.
- But players are allowed to invent their own soldiers and tanks on beforehand. Simply choosing statistics, which also forces the price and playable size of the unit on the player.
- I have Event cards, which are sometimes rule changers as well. Temporary or permanent. Once again, it is due to changing a certain statistic.

Instead of letting players write their own rules. How about letting them choose one? In a way they will bend the rules in their favour. However, you also might add a mechanic that the rule might bite them back later on.
I am thinking of the following:

1 Card contains 3 possible rules. This time regarding the defence of workers at a site:
1 - each worker has 2 defence.
2 - when a player has 1 worker at a site, it has 3 defence. With 2 workers, each worker has 2 defence. With 3 workers, each worker has 1 defence. Thus when 1 dies, the defence of a worker goes up.
3 - each worker adds 1 defence. Thus with 3 workers, the third worker has 3 defence. Thus when 1 dies, the defence of a worker goes down.

But then again, I think this suggestion is a bad one since I don't know what exactly you have in mind.

Arthur Wohlwill
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Joined: 05/30/2015
I apologize if I was being

I apologize if I was being too vague. Your reply is helpful since inventing soldiers and tanks is similar to my inventing worker placement sites. How well does this work in practice? Is it straightforward to create a tank? Can they get too powerful? In this sense it does seem a bit like Eclipse in which one can arm one's ship in numerous ways, but the rules for doing so are well spelled out.
Choosing rules is an interesting idea, but I would still like players to make them.
Thanks,
Arthur

DifferentName
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Nomic

Nomic is a game about making rules. Sounds a bit buraucratic with it's mutable rules and amendments and appeals, but has the freedom of letting players invent the rules instead of just using what's on a card. The game can become anything. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomic

X3M
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Trying not to create a TLDR post

While others talk about card games. This example of mine is a board game. Like ASL or Memmoir'44.

Arthur Wohlwill wrote:
How well does this work in practice?

I could create a TLDR post about this. But it is better to keep it as short as possible. Instead of experience explained, how about I give you the conclusions?

In short, it doesn't work. And I estimate that only 1 player in 1000 could do it right. There are a lot of reasons for this. Because, well, there is a lot of freedom at first.

--->
Limit the freedom for players to make their own rules.

Arthur Wohlwill wrote:

Is it straightforward to create a tank? Can they get too powerful?

Designing is very straight forward. Simply filling in numbers. Easy huh? No, not at all apparently!!!
With each statistic having several consequences in the game. And with having 15 statistics for each unit. This is a NO GO for new players. They do not know where to start without having played the game.

--->
Only players that are half way might make the right choices in designing their own units. Allow them to have a bit of freedom, after "learning" the game.

Eventually, I felt like only allowing a bit of freedom in campaigns.
Where the first mission does not allow anything. You only get 1 basic unit to learn the game.
The second mission allows for players to adjust their first basic unit by being able to choose from 3 or 5 different designs. And add 1 new unit of a new class.
In the third mission, they only may adjust their second unit. While being able to choose a new third class.

--->
If you plan on something similar. I suggest having fewer statistics. Like only defence and attack which would only create costs. Thus only 3 in total. Not 15 like my game.

***

If you feel like having trouble making rules for your own game. Imagine how players would feel like when having to do this during the game.

--->
Just give them choices instead. That would be my primary advice.

It would also prevent things like a "I win" or "You loose" card.

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