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1:48am on Sunday, 24th June, 2007:

Spies Are Us


Hey, I won something at the Ludium!

For those of you who don't know, the Ludium is an academic conference played as a game. This year, the idea was to come up with a series of propositions about virtual worlds to be sent to every senator and congress member and, oh, I don't know, maybe state governor too, in the USA. Players were divided into teams, with one special team secretly made up of people assigned to other teams — spies, in other words. Spies had to try to push through a predefined raft of measures which had previously been determined by a delta study of prticipants.

I was selected to be one of the three spies (Joshua Fairfield, another one, almost got elected leader — "speaker" — of the conference, he was one of the three finalists; the third spy, Christian Renaud, had to leave early). Anyway, we spies decided that if we said anything out of character we'd be spotted, and the ideas on the list were the most popular ones anyway so the chances were that someone would propose them, therefore our best chance of getting our measures through was to play the game straight as if we weren't spies. This we did. In due course, the players agreed to a large number of measures that were on our list, and consequenty we won it without any effort whatsoever on our part.

The rules might need to be tightened up next time this is run, at least by allowing people to denounce others as spies by paying a hefty fee and guessing correctly. Still, those rules didn't apply, so Joshua and I won phat lewt in the form of a chalice. Josh won it last Ludium, too, so wanted me to take it this time. It would have got squished in my suitcase, though, so we agreed he'd look after it until the next Ludium. It can once again serve as a recepticle for his students' M&Ms.

Overall individual winner of the Ludium was Thomas Malaby, who was elected to the position of speaker ahead of Corey Bridges after Joshua acted as kingmaker by resigning in his favour. The speaker is the one who gets to field questions from the media and government about virtual worlds, and to be honest any one of the three finalists would have been good in that post. Thomas carried the day, though, winning fair and square after the third ballot.

I don't know what would have happened if one of the non-Americans had been elected speaker (there were British, Canadian and Spanish players as well as Americans), but the issue didn't arise.

Fortunately, nationality was not an issue for the winning of the chalice, so yay for the wizards of Koithuo!

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).