I've received inquiries from professors who want to know more about the possible use of Eunomi in the classroom, and in research. These roles for the game have actually been primary ones for me from the beginning. I haven't emphasized them so far, as distinct from the "just pure fun" role, since it might be a bit off-putting to some pure gamers. But the reality is that Eunomi is designed to be an excellent teaching tool, and research laboratory, in a wide range of academic subjects.
Accordingly, in order to attract more interest from academicians (and other institutional participants), I've modified the top end of the Eunomi rewards structure in two ways. First, the top tier pledge (senior board of advisors) has been lowered from $5000 to $2500. Second, every backer at $250 or more gets (your pledge amount)/50 (rounded down) transferable pre-auction admissions to Eunomi Instance 0. For example, if you pledge $425, you get 8 "seats at the table" to distribute to your students. If you pledge $2500, you get 50.
Eunomi is designed to work within a wide range of disciplines, not just economics. International Relations and Trade, Public Policy, Sociology, Political Science, Geography, Natural Resources, City Planning, Business, Law, are all possibilities. It's not designed specifically around the standard curriculum in any one field. Instead, it's designed to be easily adaptable to many different curricular needs. Custom, private Instances of the game, populated entirely by your students, are possible. Competitions between the students in your class, department, or school and those of another are easily arranged. One blogger suggested that an Instance be created that pits teen-age gamers against economics professors. What fun that could be! Students can be asked to share in the cost of game maintenance (around $10/player/month) within their textbook budgets.
As a research tool, Eunomi can be used to test a wide range of hypotheses regarding the behavior of real human actors on the global economic stage. The effects of dwindling natural resources, alternative specifications of technology, tastes, welfare functions, and political structures; these and many more things can be studied in Eunomi in an experimental setting that has, until now, been unavailable to social scientists.
So here's your chance to get in on the ground floor, to be among the first to influence and benefit from this exciting new teaching and research tool. Questions? Ask away. And please back Eunomi today.
I've received a few comments to the effect that Eunomi seems like a kind of "high brow" game, like it might be difficult for "ordinary people" to play. I want to completely crush this idea. I said in the video that, if you can read a bus schedule, a bank statement, or a phone bill, then you have everything you need, in terms of intellectual firepower, to "get" everything, and to be competitive. Actually, you don't even need that much. I've got a PhD in Economics, I DESIGNED and BUILT Eunomi, and I have trouble with my phone bill.
Eunomi is mostly about building and sustaining relationships between people (players, that is). It's not AT ALL about math and theory and all that. That's the stuff I've done for you, and buried it "under the hood". Do you need to know all the details of how a car works in order to drive? Or a computer to surf the web? No. Same idea with Eunomi.
So it's not rocket science, at least from the player's point of view.
Still, who is Eunomi "for"? Admittedly, it's not necessarily for everybody. It's not a "causal" game like Farmville(tm) or Angry Birds(tm). Before enough players become active in the game world, and in-game "culture" has developed, players who spend more time in the game space will probably have an advantage over those who spend less. So you might say that Eunomi is, at least at the beginning, for "serious" gamers.
That said, it's important to understand that Eunomi is for those who are already "serious" gamers, but not just for them. Hard-core gamers will find a whole new kind of world in Eunomi. One where killing and conquest can be a part of life, but not one that's focused entirely on these things. One where there's a clear and direct connection to the real world, and not one that's set in some imaginary universe.
In addition to veteran gamers who are looking for new and different challenges, Eunomi is meant for people who WOULD be serious gamers, BUT FOR the features of existing MMO games. For people who want to develop their understanding of the world we actually live in. For people who find didactic, academic discourse to be too dry and distant from the headlines that they want to interpret and digest. For people who want to figure out how they can make a positive difference, but don't have the time or other resources to go to college or read thick books.
I've imagined that Eunomi's "first adopters" might be young, smart, and ambitious. College age, maybe, but not necessarily IN college. Gamers, maybe, but tired of the usual stuff. Women. I've worked hard to avoid embedding any kind of ideological prejudice in Eunomi. It's not, intrinsically, about proving that capitalism or any alternative is either good or bad. If you have your own opinions, you can come into Eunomi to see how they "play" out, hopefully in competition with others who think differently. Whether you're an "occupier" or a "tea-partier", you're welcome.
But there's another market for Eunomi, aside from individuals who find it interesting. While I'm hoping that as many as possible will join on their own, I believe that there's also a substantial institutional market for the game. It can be used by governmental and research institutions to investigate the effects of alternative policy options. It can be used as a fun, effective, and efficient training tool for colleges, universities, and other organizations that deploy bright minds to meet global strategic challenges.I'm inclined to pursue the first of these two markets, the individuals, first, before the institutions. But I honestly don't know which market will develop first.
In spite of everything I've said so far, the bottom line on the question of who Eunomi is for, is this: it's different enough from everything else out there that it's hard to know for sure. This makes it a hard sell to conventional venture capitalists and game publishers, at least at this stage. Their formulas are always based on how other SIMILAR products have fared. So there's a built-in bias against originality. But Kickstarter is different.
So let's find out. Please back Eunomi today.
Eunomi has all that. The "official" goal is to maximize the "well-being" of your people. Economists usually use the word "welfare" instead of "well-being", but I've avoided that term so far because, to most Americans at least, "welfare" has the connotation of "government handouts" . In Eunomi, "well-being" is a mathematical formula whose value is determined by your population's consumption levels, health status, leisure time, and other measures of their standard of living.
Every two weeks (which is once a year in Eunomi time), there's an "awards ceremony" where prizes are handed out to those who have the highest welfare (I'm switching words now) scores, those with the most improved welfare score, and a few other categories. The prizes are subsidized by player subscription dues. As an economist, I'd like them to be cash, but they might have to be merchandise or other kinds of things, like Kickstarter rewards. Anyway, every player competes against every other to win something of much greater value than their dues, every two weeks.
But that doesn't quite cover it. It seems like a lot of the most popular games out there are all about conquest, domination, and even murder. This observation may be a commentary on human nature. Are games what we do instead of really killing each other? A "sublimation" of an instinct for war, as Sigmund Freud might have said? In any case, a game that's focused on everybody competing to play nice is going to leave something to be desired for a lot of gamers.
So Eunomi players are free to forgo the "nice" official goal; and instead set out to conquer the world. The game is designed to make this "naughty" goal difficult, but not impossible. If any player succeeds, that means the game instance ends, and the conqueror gets everything left in the prize cache. That might mean a better overall payoff for the conqueror than playing nice over the long term, but it might not. And would-be conquerors will undoubtedly face tough resistance.
There won't be any "hot" war in Instance 0. No bombs, no missiles, no armies. That's not because I don't think they belong. War is, to paraphrase Carl Von Clausewitz, economics by other means. It's not in Instance 0 because it's much harder to model in a satisfyingly realistic way than "peaceful" economics is. Still, with your support, hot war will be built into later instances.
There will be all manner of "cold" trade war in Instance 0. Boycotts, tariffs, embargoes, you name it. If you have the right position, you can starve other players into submission. Getting into that position won't be easy, but it won't be impossible. There is also all manner of alliances and coalitions possible in Eunomi, and all manner of deceit and double-cross.
The potential for extremely exciting, competitive game play is right there. Imagine yourself a part of the coalition that's trying to save the Euro, or part of one that's trying to bring it down. The welfare of entire nations (eg. Greece) is at stake. How about Iran? You want all-night white-knuckle crisis management? You'll have it.
So Eunomi isn't just a goody-goody educational planet-management environment. It's not even just a game. It is, in a deeper sense than any other, THE game.
Please keep the difficult questions coming. I love them.
Hi everyone. Vince here.
Huge thanks to everyone who backed Eunomi on day 1. I'm really excited about the results, and I'm now confident we're going to make it to the goal. I've gotten some questions about the game, which I will answer in this space in the coming days. Today, I am travelling south, to be with my aging mother for a while. But I'll be fully connected and engaged by tomorrow morning. So farewell til then.
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