Re: virus: Virian Tarot

KMO prime (
Sat, 28 Sep 1996 18:21:40 EDT

>>...concepts that should be included in the set of symbols

>equilibrium / homeostasis
>Prisoner's Dilemma
>speciation / schism
>hybridization / synthesis

convergent evolution
generat & test



the web
the net
the Zitgheist (sp?)
the self
the wave
the black box
the homunculus
the leader
the super-organism
the parasite
the commando team
the shaman
the architype
the axe-maker


Reed sez,

>Didn't we have a list of core virus ideas somewher in the archive?
>sounds similar...

As I recall we assembled a list of concepts we value, i.e. memes we
thought valuable and worth propagating. I'm sure we could mine it for
creative feul.

>Another game we might learn from is "Magic" [clip]
>Eventually, as the players resources became exausted and their lives
>to suffer from their addiction the sales stabilized. My local hobby
>no longer accepts personal checks, though. Of course, all this
>before with baseball cards...but that's even more encouraging since it
>indicates this isn't a one time phenomena...there seems to be a
>we might take advantage of...assuming we can differentiate the product

I had the Magic bug for about six months. It has three very effective
hooks any one of which would facilitate wild-fire propagation. It
capitalizes on the collecting bug. Players tend to ammass huge
collections of cards which they typically organize and store in mammoth
three-ring binders. It appeals to our competeive nature, and the art and
"story" appeal to our predelection for fantasy. Advanced players
construct theme decks which are designed to expoit a very specific
offensive/defense strategy, and players who play against the same
opponents all the time tend to construct and modify their decks in
response to the theme decks of their opponents. The other player will
then modifgy his or her (unlike other wargames and role-playing games,
women comprise a sizable portion of the Magic playing public) deck to
compensate for whatever weakness his/her opponent has learned to exploit
and the players soon find themselves in full scale arms-races in the
evolutionary sense.

Wow! I never realized any of this while I was playing the game. Other
Magic phenomena of interest: Each player has finite resources with which
to feild creatures spells and artifacts. The same amount of resources
can feild a few powerfull creatures or a swarm of 'weenies.' Weenie
decks almost always beat decks that rely on a few really tough critters,
e.g. the afore mentioned Lord of the Pit. The weenies die in droves, but
who cares? They're cheap. You can generate more next turn.

As players field cards they develope a power structure. The speed with
which that structure evolves is crucial. A deck that can develope a
modest offensive mechanism quickly will beat the juggernut decks that
take several turns to unlimber.

The effect of a card can be altered by applying the effects of some other
card to it. These modifications accumulate and new modifications can
radically affect the character and effectiveness of the entity which it
modifies much as genes can co-opt exeisting genetic material to exploit
some new strategy. And just as a parasite will hijack a complex mechanism
and direct its efforts towards a different end, there are ways to let
your opponent expend his/her resources summoning and "coking up" a
powerful creature and then snatch it away from them.

>Another characteristic of "Magic" is that some cards have the same
>but use different artwork. I think this is a neat idea...we could
>have a
>number of different pictures of "chaos" for instance.

Another game to consider is Illuminati: New World Order. It too is a
competive card game something like Magic the Gathering meets the X-Files.
Unlike the magic, the art of INWO is unified in theme and style and it
exploits our fascination with conspiracies and paranormal phenomema.
It's heavy on the irony, and it lampoons media, corporations,
politicians, celebrities, and other cultural icons. There's also a
"screaming meme" card. I only played twice. The games take forever to
complete. I was more interested in just reading the cards.
Unfortunately, you HAVE to play to make the kinds of observations that I
made about Magic the Gathering.

Making the Virion tarot competetive might be an effective propagative
strategy, but I'm primarily interested in generating a set of visual
artifacts that will be useful in the same way that the tarot is useful
and which incorporates Virian, Up-Wing, Extropian, and Transhumanist

I do like the idea that users of the Virian Tarot (we should probably
find another name for it) can pick and choose amoung a very large set of
cards (or whatever) to customize their "deck." There could be suggested
guidelines for generating all new items.

Take care. -KMO