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Old Mar 13, 2010, 10:44 AM   #1
ash88
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Team MERLOT

Team MERLOT



(Recommended Background Music While You Read) 1 2 3 4

Mission Statement
We all know democracy doesn't work online. Everyone becomes a selfish grade-schooler on the internet. So let’s try something different - let's re-embrace Monarchy. (I want to farm some wine anyways). Crushing some serfs under your oppressive heel sound appealing to you? Of course it does. You play Civ4. Our mission is to have a lot of grape-stained fun. We want to discuss Civ 4 stuff. We want to do it inside of a governmental system that works better on the internet. We don't want to have to debate about whether to settle the NE square or the NW square for 2 days. We want to place someone in power who has excellent vision and listens to us, and boot them when they stop. We want to have cool important sounding medieval titles attached to our names and bite our thumbs at people with less important titles. We want to farm some wine. But most of all...

Long live the King!

What will this team be like?
You are part of a noble ruling family - so are the rest of us on the team. Every 15 or so turns (we can decide at the outset) we will run an open ballot (everyone can see who you support) to see whether the King has enough support among the nobles to hold on to his throne, or whether he is overthrown. As a family member we respectfully advise, discuss, and suggest things to our King as he requests, but it is the King who ultimately makes all decisions regardless of any advice.

Team Merlot is an absolute Monarchy. As such all members of Team Merlot suspend any perceived rights to freedom of speech, freedom of self expression, being treated "fairly," or any other such modern nonsense. Commoners are common. We are the nobility and closer to God. But our King is appointed by God. And who are you to argue with God? That’s right – you are nobody. Got it? Good.

His Majesty can play his God-given turns or appoint someone to play his turns on his behalf. He can choose to grant titles, have cities renamed, etc. He can choose diplomats. Etc. Etc. When a new King takes the throne he can inherit his predecessor’s structure or wipe the slate clean (and inevitably tick off a lot of people!)

Election of a Monarch?
The check-and-balance of the Monarch was that they often needed the support of their wider royal family to attain a throne. Although there was nothing as formal as a vote members of the royal family will “support” a candidate for King. The person with the most support will be King. This way the people who are brightest, most diplomatic, and (more realistically) most popular will be put on the target. Remember, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So is this a democracy?
Not at all. Bite your tongue. Instead of micro-voting on every single annoying issue that crops up in the game we vote on someone’s vision, direction, and past indiscretions. If they tick enough people off by not following advice and going it alone they get the boot (or the guillotine?). If they carefully balance all ideas and build consent on the forums for good ideas - well - what a successful game we will have! And that person deserves a long and prosperous rule as an absolute Monarch!

Role-playing?
Although I'm not a huge role-playing-on-a-forum fan, I admit that Team-Merlot is a good role-playing opportunity. You don't need to talk in Ye old English! You can pretty much be yourself provided you know that everything you say on the forums can be used against you. The only "Role-playing" that is required is this: in order for our little Monarchy to work we all have to surrender our hard-won freedom of self expression for the purposes of this game. I know, it's a hard pill to swallow. The current King has absolute power. If he calls a discussion closed it is closed. Unless the Administrator opens a specific OOC [Out of Character] thread then everything you say on the forums can be scrutinized and held against you by the King or anyone. You have to do whatever the King asks. And by "whatever he asks" I really do mean it. He can single you out, just you, and say that you are no longer permitted to speak on the forums. Kind of rubs our Democratic minds the wrong way doesn't it? During his reign he has absolute power. Suck it up and learn what to do about it.

Gah! What if I hate the King?
You do have some options. As a member of the Royal Family you need to find a replacement and then privately (through private messages) build support for that member. When the post comes up in 15 turns that says, "Who will have their name on the ballot" make certain that the person puts there name forward and that they have enough people committed to vote for them to win. Overthrowing a King should come as a complete surprise to the King. After all, there is no forum to discuss things you are unhappy about. There is no place to give "constructive criticism" (whether it is constructive or not). No, the incite-full, passive aggressive posts thinly veiled behind a coating of "just trying to help" strategy will not work in a Monarchy. Well, if the King has any sense it won't.

King's Limitations
This is a very short list. The spirit of the team is that the King has absolute control within the mechanics of the game and within the posting rules of the forum. He can't delay a succession vote. He can't eject people from the team. He may only be King for 15 turns after all. The worst he can do to someone is demand they stop posting in public areas. At which time they can still send private messages and build support for other Kingly candidates. A king that does this too often and to posters who are popular is not going to remain king for very long. A King that silences people that are widely considered dumb asses and Trolls may be publicly applauded! In all things a wise King will build consensus for his ideas, but you can't please 100% of the people 100% of the time. We all know some people will never be swayed… the role of the King is a tough one!

Power of his Sovereign Majesty
The King may silence anyone from speaking in public (through the forums) for any reason. Anyone that speaks against the King, regardless of how subtle or how veiled, should expect this to happen. This “banishment” will come with a timeframe (3 days, for a first offense, for example) or a condition (Kiss the Kingly ring in public to show your submission) or nothing at all (at which time the King knows he has made an enemy as you have a strong interest in seeing him overthrown! You must have said something particularly bad! Is it to late to apologize in a private message to him?). For purposes of keeping the game “fun” might we humbly suggest to his royal highness that a first time offender who has a minor infraction receive a light sentencing in order that they might learn from his highnesses wisdom? The King can also be generous to those he favours. In ruling over the land he can choose to get his hands right in it and do everything himself but lets face it – there is Kingly revelry to be had! And the King probably owes some of his family some favours for throwing their support behind him and keeping him in power! Gifting land and title is one way for his Lordship to encourage your support in his god-given place on the throne.

Lands and Titles
These titles are baseline suggestions. The King can choose to call you whatever he wishes. He is the King after all. However for the sake of simplicity and clarity it would be beneficial to have a standard frame of reference. When a new King takes the throne he may choose to retain his predecessor’s structures, appoint new nobility, or some combination of the two. It is encouraged that you put all of your current titles in your signature of your forum post. These titles are listed in a general order of importance. Generally if you are speaking to someone higher than you on the list you need to be more respectful (aka, pucker up). If you are speaking to someone lower on the list they are your inferior and should be mindful of that – but remember they may not be your inferior forever.

The King is under no obligation to have any of these positions filled at any time aside from the position of Scribe. In fact, there is a delicate balance between keeping some power centralized and other power decentralized. Just because a position is listed does not mean it should be assigned. Sometimes the King is the best person for the job. The King should know his own strengths! The King can, if he chooses, have more than one of a position which is typically filled by one person (denoted by “The” like “The Chamberlain”) – but that would significantly devalue the role (and be a bit offensive) as it would indicate that neither person were capable of filling the role on their own. Likewise if he has 2 people as Commissioners for a single diplomatic relationship then that would devalue the role. But in all things the King can do whatever he wants.

Quote:
The Chamberlain manages the trusted affairs of the King such as logging into the game and enacting the will of the King or making the will of the King known to the King's Court (forum).

The Grand Marshal manages all affairs of the military, navy, and airforce and logs into the game to enact the will of the King by controlling these units.

The Arch Bishop charged with all affairs of the church and managing the spread of all beliefs.

The High Commissioner manages all diplomatic affairs, communication and agreements with all nations and logs into the game to enact the will of the king in these matters.

A Grand Duke(9+) A Duke(5-9) A Count(2-4) A Baron(1) (Collectively called Lords) manages all affairs within specific cities (the number of cities indicated in brackets) and each logs into the game to enact the will of the king in these matters.

The Steward settles disputes between nobility in the name of the King such as land use, and even forum issues. When performing in his role he is given more respect.

A Marshall manages the affais of the military, navy, or airforce and logs into the game to enact the will of the King by controlling these units in a single theatre/front and logs into the game to enact the will of the king in these matters.

A Commissioner manages the diplomatic relationship, communication and agreements with one specific nation and logs into the game to enact the will of the king in these matters.

The Scholar manages the research priorities for the Kingdom and logs into the game to enact the will of the king in these matters.

The Almoner manage the taxes (and other sliders) for the Kingdom and logs into the game to enact the will of the king in these matters.

The Scribe retains an accurate record of his Highness's glorious reign for the benefit of all. (Required under the game rules). It is encouraged that the Scribe use a certain medieval Monarch-y kind of glorious flare to his writing. It should be kept all online in a post.

A Herald a voice on the public forums. Only those whom the King proclaims as Heralds may speak in forums and formats which can be viewed by those outside our glorious Kingdom. Anyone can be proclaimed a Herald.
Threats to YOUR Throne
Your enemies are continually and secretly conspiring for your throne!

As the King you walk a very delicate line – you must find the most competent nobility to rule key points in your land and gain and maintain their unwavering support through the gifting of title, land and the wagging of your silver tongue. You must continually show prosperity and success through all the land or the nobility may conspire to find your replacement. You must quickly silence any nay sayers in the court who would identify themselves as banners for your enemies to flock to. All this, and, oh yes - you must protect the Kingdom, expand it against it’s external threats, and bring us to our rightful place as gods chosen nation! And have some fun doing it – you are King afterall!

Quote:
Examples of Play from the Scribe
Taken from the annuls of a the Scribe of the Kingdom of PurePwnage, a selection of texts:

Example 1: The King with lots of nobility in the ranks: The King has let it be known that he wishes to make an offensive on the Eastern Front to capture the city of Arrrrrrrrrr so that the Baron of Munchhousen may expand his holdings. He states that all Lords except Duke Smiley are to provide offensive units to Grand Marshall Billy Bob in the City of Bloomberg within 5 turns. Tally here the level of your commitment so that it may be properly discerned.

Example 2: The King planning the Kingdom: The King, being too distracted with his Royal harem to ride out and see his newly conquered lands, has appointed Barons to all 4 of his cities. He indicated that by the end of the year they must provide him with a survey of the land and a long term plan of what the best course for the city would be, along with a dot map of the land.

Example 3: The King doing it all The King, your Mighty Liege, has requests the council of his court so that he may enact his will forcefully on the barbaric, stinking Chinese who have the ignorance to affect his northern border. You have 12 hours to state your view after which time the King will enact his will by his hand.
The Administrator
There is some coordination that has to take place in managing Team Merlot. The creation and guidelines in this document for example. We call this the “Meta Game” and making sure it runs smoothly so everyone has fun is the job of the Administrator. The Administrator is not an in game role; he has no powers in game. He is not appointed by the King, and he is not above the King. He is likewise not an “Umpire” of the self-policing Monarchy and their sometimes devious ways. The Administrator is there to make sure that Team Merlot stays on course as a Monarchy, that the succession votes happen, that the King doesn’t disappear in real life, etc. All of the things that would ruin the game. The Administrator is a book keeper. He makes certain that everyone on the team respects the spirit of our game as an absolute Monarchy. In order to ensure impartiality there are limitations put on the Administrator:

- He cannot run for King.
- He cannot ever have private communication with a sitting King, or use a third party to do so.
- He cannot ever hold another title aside from Administrator.
- He cannot vote for a King, aside from casting a vote in the case of a tie.
- In his role as Administrator he cannot be silenced by the King. If silenced by the King he may only post in his role as administrator.
- He can publically participate in the forums and give advice publically.
- He can privately encourage someone to take the throne and act as an advocate of that person up until the throne is taken.
- He can hold an early succession vote if the King goes missing for 2 turns
- He can hold an early succession vote if 85% of the nobility contact him to "OVERTHROW" in a 24 hour period

In the case that the Administrator wishes to resign, fails to perform his role or disappears another can be elected by gathering nominations for 48 hours and a simple majority poll vote held for 48 hours in the forums. The reward for the Administrator is to create the spirit and social tapestry of Team Merlot – make it fun. Team Merlot is a very cool social environment, and being a part of shaping that is a really cool place to be.

Court
The "forums" - a place where the royal family (team members) may speak/advise/comment on the goings on of the kingdom at the Kings request and leisure and for his benefit. The King has absolute power to "remove" your privledges to speak in court. You must obey this, it is enforced in the metagame by the Administrator. There is a reason people need to stay on the good side of the King - in our game this is a big one. So don't go posting messages about how you would make a better King so "vote for me." ... this isn't a democratic vote. If the King senses you are trying to rally support to over throw him he can take away your voice in Court and then use his voice to propaganda all over your muzzled face. Keep it quiet. Get your support quietly from people you see who have ideas similar to your own. Or, if the King is doing a damn fine job, maybe it's best to just wait for him to screw up? Maybe he won't? Maybe he will actually be a good King who listens to you and acts on your advice? So many decisions... So complex a polticing world.

Everything you say in the Forums is considered in Character unless the Administator has specifically opened a Out Of Character topic. This is to stop the deceptive, underhanded habit some people have of opening an OOC topic to start rabble rousing against the King under the veil of OOC. The Administrator will be wise to that. If you want an OOC discussion write a PM to the Administrator and request it. If you are posting in an OOC topic keep it on topic or the Administrator may flag it as an IC [In Character] comment in an OOC thread. Keep in mind we are going to try to keep OOC conversations minimal.

Ballot Vote
An election for a King is done by sending a Private Message to the Administrator as your Ballot. After the time expires the Administrator posts the results of the vote. The results will clearly indicate who each member of the royal family supported along with the results (simple majority required). There is no annonymity in a Monarchy; we will all know who backed who. Grow a pair and support your candidate openly.

A Final Word
Team Merlot forms an exciting political layer on top of Civ 4. It is designed to intelligently deal with many of the short comings we have all seen playing in a forum-based game in a fun way. Peel it all back and you have a leader who is accountable - and whether you are living in a Democracy, a Monarchy, or anything else everyone is accountable to someone!

If you have read this far you are either ready to embrace your Royal bloodline, or you are an enemy of our King spying on His Kingdom. You filthy, unkempt bugger! A word to our would-be enemies: Even you must realize the greatness of our Kingdom. Stand in awe of the righteousness of our God ordained King. It is best that you come forward now and be a participant in His glory rather than be scattered to the wind by Righteousness. Perhaps even one as lowly as you has been pre-ordained for Majesty?

How to Sign Up?
All you need to do is 3 simple steps:
  1. Respond in this thread with the words, "LONG LIVE THE KING!"
  2. follow this Link to the Sign Up Thread and respond telling them that you are on Team MERLOT. (A Triumphant "Long Live the King" is probably a good idea as well -- in fact, smattering "Long Live the King" all over the boards is probably a sure fire way of reminding our disgusting enemies that they are all doomed. Also feel free to remind everyone you are of noble blood - and they are not. They appreciate being reminded of that. Trust me.)
  3. Request access to our Forum here.



Last edited by ash88; Mar 22, 2010 at 08:52 AM.
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 11:23 AM   #2
DSYoungEsq
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Long Live the Head Wino!

(that's Merlot speak for the King)
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 12:34 PM   #3
Aivoturso
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Long live the King and country!
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 07:00 PM   #4
wideyedwanderer
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Sounds like a good idea. Wish you guys the best of luck. Hope to see you on the battlefield. Er...play field. I was in no way implying that our two glorious civs might go to war against each other...
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 09:20 PM   #5
rspeer
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Huzzah!

Long live the King!
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Old Mar 14, 2010, 03:28 AM   #6
Lord Parkin
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I suggest you keep an updated list of the current team members in your first post, like most other teams are doing.

Best of luck to you all in the game.
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Old Mar 14, 2010, 04:21 PM   #7
mgsmuhammad
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Long Live Glorious Leader!
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Old Mar 14, 2010, 06:24 PM   #8
slaze
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long live the king
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 04:51 AM   #9
DSYoungEsq
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Amazingly, no one has had the chutzpah yet to say, "Long Live Me!"
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 05:41 AM   #10
Indiansmoke
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This is exactly how a team should be run
I will join, no time to actually turn play but my wisdom is in the king's service.

Long live the


P.S I love the Merlot photo

Last edited by Indiansmoke; Mar 15, 2010 at 06:32 AM.
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 11:52 AM   #11
Aivoturso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Amazingly, no one has had the chutzpah yet to say, "Long Live Me!"
I'd presume 'tis because there's common rabble loitering around. It is not becoming of the nobility to discuss matters of succession around the prying ears of the lesser folks. Thus we should wait until we get into more private quarters before we begin talks on the matter.

Long Live the Sovereign!
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 12:07 PM   #12
Earthling
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Good luck, you're going to really need it, and hopefully not too much internal conflict! (for my team to exploit...)
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 01:48 PM   #13
ash88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthling View Post
Good luck, you're going to really need it, and hopefully not too much internal conflict! (for my team to exploit...)
Well I'm convinced. Afterall, democracys are always a bedrock of internal stability in an online game community.

An example of a young knight's first encounter with a "Democracy" Team.

Long live the KING
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Hail to The KING, Baby
TEAM MERLOT, Founder & Administrator to the Throne
CIV4 BTS Multi-Team Democracy Game: Play on a team, because playing with yourself makes you go blind.
Join the Monarchy. Become the King. Rule the World with Absolute Power.


Trolling is... a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community.
Trolling is not... someone who disagrees with you and says so plainly or posts why they believe you are wrong, and regardless of how them disagreeing with you makes you feel.
Any questions?

Last edited by ash88; Mar 15, 2010 at 03:47 PM.
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 02:37 PM   #14
Aivoturso
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Sir, I have to commend you on your excellent taste and the inspiring references to Britains greatest gift to the world, Monty Python. As long as we are on the matter comparing governmental systems may I remind of the lot of these so called "democrats" also by aforementioned experts of jestery.

Long live the King!
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 04:20 PM   #15
maus
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Mob Rule?! Preposterous!!

Long may HRH THE KING live to see this threat contained!
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 06:35 PM   #16
Donovan Zoi
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LONG LIVE THE KING!

This threatens to be much fun........
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 07:18 PM   #17
General_W
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I hope I have more time to participate than I expect!
This sounds like fun.

Long Live the King!
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 07:28 PM   #18
Caledorn
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I have never partaken in a Civ 4 demogame before, but THIS just seems like too good an idea to pass up. So if you want me onboard, then .. Long live the King!
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Old Mar 16, 2010, 07:47 AM   #19
whb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Amazingly, no one has had the chutzpah yet to say, "Long Live Me!"
When one is royalty, one does not need to announce oneself. (We are quite content to let others wish us a long life.)
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Old Mar 16, 2010, 11:29 AM   #20
Zorag
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Long live the king!
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