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.
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.
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, email@example.com
Page last updated 5 March 2000.