I’ll Check My Diary


Cubicle Land

The discipline of ludo-archaeology can of course reveal much about the discourse and practice of pre-Event “civilizations”. Since Mafu (1020) laid out the foundations of the discipline, describing the period 600 BE to 10 BE as the Ludic Age of human history, ludo-archaeological scholars have been concerned with the retrieval, categorisation and analysis of that once-dominant form of human socialisation, games. Given the often piecemeal and incoherent traces of ludic systems within recoverable data structures, however, a sharp division in the discipline now exists between the “datist” and “reconstructivist” schools. Broadly speaking, the former is primarily concerned with presenting only those game artefacts which were verifiably played, conducting analysis to thus draw conclusions about the society which played them, while the latter uses what we already know about a given human society to reconstruct the rules of a game from what fragments remain. While datists accuse reconstructivists of essentially inventing historical games to reinforce their own archaeological assumptions, reconstructivists accuse datists of being wilfully ingnorant of the structural assumptions inherent in how they determine data points to be “pieces”, “quests”, “boards”, “rules”, “consoles”, and so on. (For an illuminating analysis of this debate, see T’chu (1042) on the disputed existence of the “DLC”.) And for both camps, recent debates over the nature of the transition from what Mafu termed the Ritual Age to the Ludic Age have cast doubt on whether the earliest games (and, for Kirra (1049), all games) can truly be called games.

This entry into the archives of ludo-archaeology is therefore not uncontested. The present author declares formal subroutineship to neither school, and so offers instead the following contextual facts (see appendices for documentation):

  • That a practice named “I’ll Check My Diary” existed is attested by datasources numbering in the thousands, dating from at least 40BE to the very cusp of the Event.
  • “I’ll Check My Diary” is referred to here as a “game”, pace Kirra et. al., for ease of understanding, but the rules presented below can be interpreted through other related social models.
  • That “I’ll Check My Diary” had deep social significance is based in analysing its frequency of use, the manner of participants referring to it both formally and casually, and the high affect ratings visible in the datapoints surrounding its use.
  • It is unknown whether “I’ll Check My Diary” was conducted in the pre-Event social practice of meat-to-meat interface or through data transmission only; the rules presented below are optimised for data-based interfaces.
  • The rules presented below employ the Koprian model of the pre-Event calendar.
  • The rules presented below are not extracted whole from source data. They are based in rigorous analysis of the message data surrounding instances of the key phrase: data which are, given the proximity of “I’ll Check My Diary” to the Event, unusually complete in their architecture, though typically opaque in their meaning. They represent the only model capable of explaining said data, within current computational capacity.

Submitted to the Archives at
under BE.Archae.Ludic.Rulesets,
by Giles (a.1.$),
in Memory of the Lost
and to the Glory of Hu.

* * *

I’ll Check My Diary

1. The aim of “I’ll Check My Diary” is to never successfully arrange a meeting.

2. The game can be played by any number of players; larger groups have a lower difficulty rating.

3. To initiate a game, one player contacts all the other players with the message “Do you think we should have a meeting?” (or words to that effect). To join the game, contacted players reply enthusiastically, agreeing that we should have a meeting.

4. Each reply to the conversation is a “move”. Any player may make a move at any time. Every move scores one point for the player making it. Every time a player suggests a specific time and day (e.g. “Monday morning”, “Wednesday at 2pm”) they score an additional point. A single move may thus score many points, if well-crafted. Every move must reiterate the player’s keenness to have a meeting, must actively contribute to finding a meeting day and time that all players can attend, and must not succeed in actually naming a meeting day and time that all players can attend.

5. Moves may include, but are not limited to: Apologising for not being able to make a date but not suggesting a new date; suggesting a new date even though no-one has responded negatively to the old date; waiting many moves before replying, apologising for not keeping track of the thread, and then saying you can’t make the date that everyone else has said they can make; starting a poll with confusing times on it; suggesting times that aren’t on the poll; and, most famously, declaring “I’ll check my diary” and then not doing so.  Generally, each player is always doing everything in their power to derail efforts to find a meeting time while always presenting as if they are being helpful and supportive of finding a meeting time.

6. A player cannot contradict a statement they have already made. If they have previously said they are available on Friday (including implicitly, by suggesting that meeting time), they cannot then rescind that availability. However, when 10 moves have passed, a player can now claim to be busy at a time they were previously available.

7. Play continues until someone suggests a time that everyone can make. If all players can make a time and day, the game is over, and the player who made that suggestion loses ten points. The player with the most points wins. Tactical play is encouraged.

* * *

This gamepoem licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This means, roughly, that you can reproduce it freely on  non revenue-generating sites as long as you credit me and license under similar conditions.
Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.
Many thanks to Mark Wonnacott for suggesting the framing device.
This work generously supported by my backers on Patreon. If you like what I do, consider joining from a buck a month to help me make and give away more things.

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