Center for Ludic Synergy Game Links


Games you play by changing the rules. See the Nomic FAQ below for links to more metagames, including Bartok, Mao, and the German game Das Regeln Wir Schon! (We'll Settle This Yet!). When we have more experience with those games, we'll add links to them here.

Role-Playing Games

  • Osprey ... The Open-Source Paper Roleplaying System Y. (Y? Because we like you.) To the best of our knowledge, this is the only paper-and-pencil roleplaying game available under the GNU General Public License. The author of this page is Osprey's Chief Writer (writing up the rules designed by Chief Designer Chris Goodwin and the rest of the team). The idea is to come up with a free (free as in freedom, free speech, not free beer) universal RPG to replace the ilk of GURPS, which, of course, is very far from free.
  • Steve Jackson Games ... publishers of GURPS, Toon, Car Wars, Illuminati: New World Order, more. They slapped their trademark all over their reprint of the public-domain Principia Discordia, many people think they did White Wolf a great disservice with their GURPS translations of the World of Darkness games, they had no sense of humour at all when we tried to rename Osprey as GNURPS (the GNU Role-Playing System), and Robert Anton Wilson himself has reportedly called them a fucking pack of thieves (or words to that effect), but if you can stand them, they do make some pretty good games, and at least they're not owned by Hasbro! (Yet.)
  • Anders Sandberg's Mage Page ... more great stuff from the redoubtable Anders Sandberg. He out-Mages Mage. Info for a role-playing game that's not only weird, but also GHODDESS'S OWN TRUTH!
  • Cosmic Encounter

    Cosmic Encounter (not to be confused with Cosmic Wimpout) is "the game that breaks its own rules." It was the primary inspiration for Magic: The Gathering.

  • The Warp ... Shaping up to be the main Cosmic site on the Web. Nifty. Take a look.
  • Cosmic Encounter FAQ ... the HTMLified Cosmic Encounter Frequently Asked Questions List.
  • Cosmic Encounter WWW Page ... another CE page, and a pretty darn good one. It's maintained by Aaron Fuegi of the infamous Framingham, Massachusetts Cosmic Encounter group. (Not "cosmic encounter group". For that, try www.esalen.org.) The Framingham group is scary. They invented many of the CE expansions available on the Internet, and they play with lots of them at the same time. (The author of this page played with the Framinghamers once. That was the night he stopped to ask for directions near Framingham and discovered he was in a combination donut shop/cop equipment depot -- a donut shop filled with cops, with billy clubs and plexiglass shields for sale hanging all over the walls... But that's another story. A long one.)
  • Cosmic Encounter Online ... play against other people in real time! Cool!
  • Diplomacy

    Ah, Diplomacy. A game superficially resembling Risk, but with simultaneous movement, and enormous amounts of negotiation -- and treachery -- among players. It has spawned a huge subculture with email play, snailmail play, Diplomacy zines on- and off-line, Diplomacy variants, and a Diplomacy dictionary/encyclopedia that runs to about 250 pages single-spaced.

    The two main Diplomacy sites on the Web are The Diplomatic Pouch and The Diplomacy Archive. The latter contains an HTML version of one of the only two books on Diplomacy ever commercially published, The Game of Diplomacy.

    Diplomacy proper is set in Europe, beginning in the spring of 1901, but you can find variants at the Diplomacy Archive and elsewhere set in many other times and places, including the entire planet Earth, the Middle East in Biblical times, the Star Trek universe, and a popular variant called Downfall XIII set in Tolkien's Middle-earth.

    If you're new to Diplomacy or all this Diplomatic maneuvering gets too dizzying, remember to consult these sources:


    Icehouse is an unusual board game. Actually, it's not a board game; there's no board. There are no turns, either. You play by placing coloured, pyramid-shaped pieces in real time on a table or other flat surface. You point the pyramids at other pyramids to attack them. Play is positional and geometric; the angles of the pieces and how far apart they are matters. It's pretty strategic; the rules themselves can fit on a page, but the strategy fills a small book.

    Just as you can play more than one game with a deck of playing cards, you can also use an Icehouse set (the coloured pyramids) to play a bunch of other games. (The author's gaming group has become fond of one called Zarcana, which is played on an extensible board made of Tarot cards, each of which has its own power.)

    There is an online version of Icehouse called XIcehouse. It runs under X on Unix systems. I ported it to Debian GNU/Linux, and the binaries are compatible with Red Hat. Email Ron Hale-Evans if you're interested in playing some games online.

    There's a whole mystique around Icehouse, just as there is with Go, for example. People make and paint their own regulation-sized pieces. One of the authors of Icehouse even wrote a readable science fiction novel called The Empty City about it. I liked it. The Wunderland Toast Society subculture which the authors of Icehouse have helped build, and of which Icehouse is only a part, embodies the principles of the philosophy of Ludism admirably. You can find out more about about them at www.wunderland.com.

    The only unpleasant thing about Icehouse is that it's patented, and therefore not free.

    Finally, here are two of the better unofficial Icehouse pages: EZ's Icehouse Page and the Unofficial Icehouse Home Page.

    Center for Ludic Synergy home

    Maintainer: Ron Hale-Evans, rwhe@apocalypse.org
    Page last updated 5 March 2000.