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Comparison of action systems

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This is a comparison of ways in which a BlogNomic dynasty can restrict the performance of actions, using a hypothetical example where the gameplay centres around the building of bricks. (It's assumed that the goal is to build a lot of bricks, but there are unseen other rules in place that make the exact time and method of this more nuanced.)

This still needs expanding, feel free to add more examples, and more pros and cons for those already listed.

Action timing

System Example rule Pros Cons As seen in
Daily actions "As a daily action, a player may build one brick."
  • Easy to understand how it works
  • Level playing field: at any given point in the game, nobody is better at building than anyone else
  • Game noise: Clear distinction between active and inactive players
  • Use-it-or-lose-it forces a decision
  • Forces players to grind, remembering to take the action every day
  • Advantages older players over newer ones: by the end of the game, they will have had more chances to build bricks
  • Stalemate: Often pushes players to take the action as late as possible in the day, so that others have less time to react to it, and they have more time to react to other players
Weekly actions "As a weekly action, a player may build seven bricks."
  • Easy to understand
  • Level playing field
  • Some game noise: Still some distinction between active and inactive players
  • Use-it-or-lose-it
  • Advantages older players
  • Still some grind
  • Stalemate: Pushes players to take the action as late as possible in the week
  • Some game silence: Hard to tell (early in the week) if other players are biding their time, or bored
Weekly topup "At the start of the week, each player gains seven bricks. A player may build a brick at any time."
  • Some distinction between active and inactive players
  • Advantages older players
  • Still some grind
  • Stalemate: Pushes players to take all seven actions as late as possible in the week
  • Game silence: Patience and boredom broadly indistinguishable
  • Encourages stockpiling
Currency "At any time, a player may pay a coin to buy and build a brick." (Other game rules output coins in a complex way.)
  • Visible status: Easy to see how prepared each player is to take build actions
  • Still advantages older players over newer ones, but easier to balance
  • Stalemate: Players with coins may wait to see what others do, before spending their own
Finite personal resource "Players start with 50 bricks each. At any time, a player may build one of their bricks." (Rules generally do not output additional bricks.)
  • Level playing field: Newer and older players start with the same mechanical budget
  • Game noise: Bursts of game activity can happen at any time during the day or week
  • Stockpiling: May require a mechanic that pushes players to invest their bricks over time (eg. auctions, where you spend bricks to gain something else of value).
  • The context that brick exist in differ between older and newer players, which may bonus or penalize one or the other.
  • Newcomer advantage: Can give too much power to newer players, late in the game
Ruleset 147#Bankroll (?)
Finite shared resource "The group starts with 250 bricks. At any time, a player may take one of the group's bricks and build it."
  • Game noise: Bursts of game activity can happen at any time during the day or week
  • Use-it-or-lose-it: Encourages players to act sooner rather than later
  • Tragedy of the Commons: needs balances to stop a bad actor from emptying the pool in one go
Turn-based "The active player may build a brick at any time. It then becomes the turn of the next player."
  • No race condition; there is no advantage in reacting quickly
  • Needs rule machinery to handle the turn sequence, and inactive players
  • With a static queue, later players are able to copy good moves from earlier players; may also be an advantage to being immediately after a careless player
  • Lots of downtime, very slow-moving
  • Ruleset changes coming mid-round can create a fairness issue, or require delaying mechanisms
Ruleset 155#Crates,
Ruleset 182#Turns,
Ruleset 172#Battle_Actions,
Simultaneous reveal "Players submit build orders secretly to the Emperor. As a weekly action, the Emperor applies all submitted orders."
  • No race condition
  • Actions do not depend on other players' earlier actions
  • Complex
  • Players may forget to submit orders
  • Needs Emperor moderation: complex resolution systems can become a dead end
  • Secrecy can delay the noticing of mistakes or loophole abuse, if a player submits an illegal or surprising order
Ruleset 120#Notes,
Ruleset 169#The_Watch
Synchronised actions "Players announce build plans publicly and can change them. When nobody has changed their mind for 24 hours, all plans are built."
  • No race condition
  • Actions don't depend on those of others
  • Weakens last-minute loophole actions: a player using one reveals it to others, who can also use it
  • Requires a complex processing step
  • May need a restriction on repeatedly changing minds, to stop a stalemate
Ruleset 179#Wagers
Date-based income "Players have as many bricks as the numerical difference between the start date and today. They can build a brick by increasing their personal start date."
  • Eliminates grind, as gains are automatic.
  • No advantage to older players, as new players can catch up.
  • Stalemate
  • Encourages stockpiling of time
Ruleset 170#Workdays
Infinite "A player may build a brick at any time."
  • Easy to understand and implement.
  • No advantage to older players: any player can take this action however much they want at any time.
  • Risk of game silence while players wait for the ideal moment to perform the actions.
  • Encourages burst activity, where nothing happens for a while and then everything happens.
  • The gained resource can become fool's gold.
  • Can possibly turn into a race: having the amount of built bricks unknown until the moment having bricks is useful to the player.

Action modifiers

Modifying how the action is performed can mitigate some of the downsides in the above table.

Modifier Example rule Pros Cons As seen in
Downside "Whenever a player builds a brick, the wolf attacks them."
  • Removes grind, if the downside is enough that players will not always want to take the action.
  • Can reduce an advantage to older players by having the downside affect them more than it affects new players.
  • If the downside is currency-like, it may introduce the downsides of currency (advantages older players and stalemate).
First-mover advantage "The first player to build each round build 10 bricks, the next 9, etc."
  • Reduces stalemate.
  • Can be difficult to balance; too much of an advantage and it becomes a race to take the action.
Randomly determined "As an X action, a player rolls a die and builds that many bricks."
  • Reduces the advantage to older players, if newer players with luckier rolls can catch up.
  • Introduces chance which may favor certain players regardless of their skill.
Resource cap "A player has a pool of up to 10 bricks to build with, and gains 7 per week."
  • Prevents stockpiling
  • Use-it-or-lose-it forces a decision
  • Disadvantages less active players, who may (even if they only miss a few days of play) fall behind.
  • The maximum stockpile allowable might be limiting to engaging gameplay.
Cost actions by frequency "A player may build a brick at any time but must pay one additional brick for each brick they've built today."
  • Lessens burst activity, because bursting is expensive.
  • Adds game noise by encouraging players to do something every day.
  • Hard to keep track of.
  • Can reintroduce the grind and stalemate of daily actions.
Caretaker roles "A player may build a brick by announcing this in a blog post. Any caretaker may apply the gamestate changes."
  • Allows action complexity to be handled by a subset of players (possibly just the Emperor) who are comfortable with it.
  • Reduces the chance of the gamestate becoming illegal.
  • May give some admin advantage to the caretaker players.
  • Game can stall if the caretakers idle or are otherwise unavailable.
Hidden information "Each player has a secret shape they are trying to build."
  • Reduces stalemate: with some of the game hidden, players aren't just watching each other take verifiably optimal moves as late as possible. An early move can be a successful (or double) bluff.
  • Requires an active Emperor (or complex hash system) to track.
Shared playing area "Each player places bricks of their colour on the same shared building site."
  • Reduces stalemate: a good opportunity seen early in the week may be unavailable by the end of it, encouraging players to seize the day.

Action phrasing

How an action is written can affect how players use it.

Modifier Example rule Pros Cons As seen in
Linked actions "When a player does X they may also build a brick."

"When a player does X they may build a brick or ..."

  • Can be a useful replacement for daily or weekly actions, when players want to add a mechanic that does something.
  • Can overload actions and fragment what the host action does across the whole ruleset, which can make it take longer for players to know all of their options when taking that action.
Specifically the "Craction" from Ruleset_155#Crates

Combined examples