Home • v1.3 • Created 2021/6/18 • Updated 2022/10/6 • Read Time 8min • Discord

:: About ::

We got tired of playing games that are supposed to be 'intellectual' but do nothing to make you a better person or grow any kind of practical skill; Chess, Go, and similar strategy board games are touted as very heady but the people that are masters of them tend to have very narrow personalities and are not very good at solving real-world problems. So we made this game, killing a thousand birds with one stone.

Some of the ideation behind this game came from formal debates but those are equally limited just the same as the board games named above, as most conversations don't follow formal logic rules, and even if they did, most people don't believe or aren't willing to admit they've lost an argument even if they are aware of the rules of logic. So this game integrates the subjective internal frameworks people use to keep track of whether they are winning or losing territory in verbal debates by basing the objective score of the game on the self-reported values of the players, making it a true fusion between objective and subjective forms of argumentation.

This is a game for rhetoricians, it focuses on ethos plus pathos forms of reasoning instead of pure logos. Because of the nature of how this game is set up, you can play with people without them knowing they are playing. Further, this does not use an arbitrary system of scoring, and while some of the rule choices below may not be intuitive, they are based on many psychological and game theoretical principles for maneuvering among and manipulating rational (or irrational) agents verbally. That being said, this obviously does not tell you who is actually right about an argument, but it will tell you who ought to think they are right about it, and any discrepancies past that point inform you on how to deal with your interlocutor and get what you want out of them.

:: Rules ::

This game starts only when there is a disagreement about something, not an agreement. There are two groups of statements that count towards points in this game. The first are affirmative statements, which include: 'I agree', 'I am convinced', 'I think that', 'I suppose', 'I understand', 'I believe that', 'I know', 'I see why', 'I'll give you that', 'I'll concede that', 'I suppose', 'That's a fair point', 'Yes', 'Correct', 'Sure', 'Affirmative', and other explications of agreement. The second are statements of denial, which include: 'I disagree', 'I am not convinced', 'I don't think that', 'I don't suppose', 'I don't believe that', 'I don't see why', 'I won't give you that', 'I won't concede that', 'No', 'Incorrect', 'Negatory', and other explications of disagreement. One of these explicit denials is required to start the game. In order to score points or win the game outright, these statements always come in groups of 3.

POINTS: You can score a point by getting your opponent to break or flip a series of affirmations or denials. Statements and clauses between affirmations or denials do not count towards these totals. If your opponent gives two affirmations and then one denial, you score a point. The reasoning for this is that this typically signifies that someone is not willing to bite the bullet or follow through on their own premises. If your opponent gives two denials and then one affirmation, you also score a point. The reasoning here is that this typically signifies that someone's hand is being forced - making you the stronger verbalizer. If the game isn't automatically won under the conditions from the section above, then game winners are determined when someone leaves the conversation or asks to change the subject or topic of conversation to something else other than what you are pressing them on; the player who exits first loses two points. The points are then totaled and the greater number wins. If the scores are tied, then the match is called a draw and each player is awarded 1/2 match score. One could implement the ELO system for this and be super pedantic about it lol.

AUTOMATIC WINS: If you get three affirmations in a row, or three denials in a row from your opponent, then you win the match automatically. The reasoning behind this is that three affirmations in a row means that in the vast majority of typical conversations you have successfully convinced the person you are talking to. Three denials in a row mean they are typically not willing to give up any territory and are being obstinate. Statements and clauses between affirmations or denials do not count towards these totals. Additionally, if someone says an overt and ver batum contradiction they automatically lose the match. An example of this would be stating something like, "I think the sky is blue," and then some time later stating, "I do not think the sky is blue." The contradiction must not make use of equivocation or existential quantifier switching like a shift from all X to some X, however if you get an opponent to rephrase a statement and make a quantifier swap, you win a point.

INDIRECTION: An opponent's failure to directly respond to a question wins you a point. This applies to specific prompts and specific responses only, meaning you have to ask something that explicitly indicates their personal opinion is being requisitioned. This includes statements like, 'what do you think about X', or 'do you agree that X'. These prompts require one of the affirmation or denial statements to be given by your opponent in their very next sentence (teaching them to be direct). Failure to do this counts as an indirect response. Similarly, if their response includes an affirmation or denial, but is in reference to a different subject-verb combination than the one that was used by the prompting question, this counts as an indirect response. Three indirect responses automatically wins you the game. These stack and do not have to be back to back. Both indirect and agnostic responses count towards this 3-point total.

AGNOSTIC RESPONSES: Statements from your opponent of opinion-ambiguity like, 'I don't know', 'I'm not sure', 'I don't understand what you mean', or simply, 'What do you mean,' win you a point. Three of these statements automatically wins you the game. These stack and do not have to be back to back. Both indirect responses and agnostic responses count towards the same 3-point winning total. If someone gives an agnostic response as an indirect response, this counts as double points, but this is a tentative rule and is subject to changes. Plain requests for more information that don't make reference to the speaker, meaning statements like, "Explain what you mean," that don't use the word 'I', do not count as an agnostic response. The reason we track these at all is because misdirection and confusion are valid and useful tactics when arguing with people.

CONCATENATIONS: If you say you dis/agree with X but as your next statement you say you dis/agree with X and/or Y, then this only counts as one denial/affirmation instead of two. The reason we count conjunctions and disjunctions as saved statements is because the re-iteration and concatenation of prior statements or beliefs slows down the conversation and forces both sides to pace at a more appropriate speed. Slower, more cautious thoughts tend to be far more exact. In formal logic 'but' counts as an 'and', but for the purposes of this game it doesn't.

ALTERNATIONS: Alternating your own responses from affirmation to denial or vice versa is the only way to stop your opponent from scoring points on you. Why is the game set up this way? What advantage does this give you in real life arguments? This makes your position seem way more dynamic than it actually is, makes it much harder for people to mount attacks on your views, forces you to substantially broaden how you talk about your positions on things, and in turn makes you sound far more intelligent than you actually are. This is all fair play in rhetoric but without education in formal logic this will also probably turn you into a sophist, so ideally you would practice both.

:: Miscellaneous ::

It should be noted that what wins you points in this game is what your opponent says, not what you say (at least not directly). The point of this game is to control how someone else talks, which is a very specific kind of skill, a very powerful skill.

However, bouncing yes's and no's out of someone doesn't necessarily mean you've convinced anyone of anything, so why is this called A Convincing Game? What you will find is that as you get better at this game, you are developing real rhetorical skills and ethos plus pathos forms of argumentation that really do make you better at convincing people of things. In fact, it has been the experience of those of us who have played for a long time that this form of arguing with people is passively convincing and will get people to agree with you fairly rapidly about things they may otherwise have strong convictions about, making you sound far more agreeable than you actually are and making this a highly practical skill for navigating the world.

This game was published for the fifth anniversary of the Diogenesis Table Society.