Monday, December 1, 2008

Amtgard News #1

"You don't need to pass an IQ test to become a senator."

- Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK), during an interview with Bill Maher


In my Amtgard group, I am currently running unopposed for the position of Champion, which involves designing the battlegames to be played and running them. However despite me being the only candidate running, there are a couple steps I need to go through. The first step is passing a "reeves test," which is a test on the rules of the game. This is a pretty easy test to pass because it's exactly the same test every time, you only need 75% to pass, and the questions aren't that hard. Nevertheless three of us took the test and one of them failed it (fortunately that person was not me). There was also a "vote of confidence" which I passed.

The next step is to qualify in the A&S (Arts and Sciences) competition. This is a competition where you enter your creations in several different categories (weapons, armor, art, performance, writing, etc.) In order to qualify, you have to submit entries that receive a passing grade (3 or more points out of 5) in at least two categories. You can submit in as many categories as you want.

The competition is on Dec. 13, and I am planning on submitting the following items:

1. (Fiction Writing) A fictional account of a debate between two candidates for "monarch," the leader of the group, based on the real presidential debates. For example one candidate will accuse the other of supporting "earmarks" based on his support of spending money on catering food at an event.

2. (Nonfiction Writing) An essay about common aspects of Amtgard rules that lead to disagreements, and how to reduce them. I plan to use this article (which I learned about from here) as part of my argument. The article describes a real court case in which a drug dealer faced a harsher sentence if the deal occurred within 1000 feet of a school, and the debate centered on whether this was to be measured "as the crow flies" or along the path one would walk to get there. My point is that it is impossible to come up with a set of rules that precisely defines allowable actions in every situation, and the best way to proceed is, rather than to try to outlaw specific "unfair" actions, to change the rules in such a way that it isn't worthwhile to do those actions in the first place. (An illustrative example is the "forward progress" rule in football. The intended purpose is to stop defenders from essentially grabbing the ball carrier and pushing or carrying him as far back as possible. Rather than trying to define some rule about how much is "excessive push-back", they simply decided to spot the ball at the farthest point forward the ball carrier reached, eliminating the incentive for the unwanted tactic in a way that does not involve any subjective judgments.)

3. (2D art) An advertising poster for Amtgard as if it were a video game. It will include "review" statements like "by far the most realistic graphics of any game ever" and "you'll feel like you're in the action!"

4. (3D art) A model of a spinnerbox from Fable II. This will even have working spinners.

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