Rules & Procedures
Welcome to Goldfish Rush! Inspired in part by The Genius (a Korean reality show that features weird strategy games) and Proletariat (a previous game that I created; see here and here), this is a non-reality-based competitive fish-breeding corporate parody game. It is a purely social/strategic game that does not include timed challenges at all. While the rules are indeed intricate, the day-to-day gameplay (see the section: Days 1-5) is relatively simple.
Goldfish Rush takes place in a not-too-distant dystopian future where science has gone too far and the corporate elite rule society. (In other words, it takes place in 2017.) After being compared unfavorably to a dead fish for years since her appearance on America’s Next Top Model, Lluvy Gomez has decided to capitalize on her brand by founding CarpCorp™, a company that farms genetically synthesized goldfish bred for their valuable scales. As the CEO of CarpCorp™, she is responsible for steering the company in a direction that is beneficial to its shareholders. Sales have been so successful, that Lluvy is planning to divest from the corporation to move on to her next endeavor. However, before she can do that, she must find a worthy successor among her employees who has the strategic savvy and organizational competence to take CarpCorp™ in a positive direction after her departure. She designed this game, Goldfish Rush, in order to test her employees for the qualities of a successful CEO. However, if she finds no one to be worthy, she will continue to head the company herself; and if things go really badly, CarpCorp™ might go under entirely. Either way, Lluvy looks to make a tidy profit off of her image. And who knows, she may someday be President.
The following posts detail the Rules & Procedures of this game.
Goldfish Rush is divided into Phases. There will be six Phases total, followed by a Final Phase. A Phase is basically an entire rotation of gameplay, which will last approximately 7-9 days in real time. During a Phase, there are two moments where eliminations will occur. You can expect 2-6 players to be eliminated during each Phase; obviously, more players will be eliminated toward the beginning of the game and fewer players will be eliminated toward the end of the game.
- Social Ranking
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Bonus Round
- Taxation and Subsidies
- Performance Review
The following descriptions describe a Phase in general terms. At the beginning of each Phase, I will announce the specific details for that Phase. These details include the number of Ponds, taxation and subsidy rates per Pond, the number of players per Pond, and how many eliminations will take place during the Performance Review and Downsizing sections of the Phase.
At the beginning of the Phase, the Social Ranking will occur. This determines two important elements for the Phase.
First, it determines the Pond divisions. A Pond typically contains 5-7 players. Your Pond assignment is like a Survivor tribe; you will be isolated from the other players and unable to transfer or receive items from players in different Ponds. Additionally, the Ponds have different rates of taxation or subsidy. As you might expect, the players ranked lower socially will experience higher taxation, while players ranked higher will enjoy the benefits of subsidy.
Second, the Social Ranking will determine the order of predation for your fish. This will be arranged such that each player’s fish can eat other fish of exactly one other color, and each player’s fish are vulnerable to be eaten by fish of exactly one other color. So, in a Pond with five players, you would see something like this:
Red fish eat only Orange fish.
Orange fish eat only Blue fish.
Blue fish eat only Violet fish.
Violet fish eat only Magenta fish.
Magenta fish eat only Red fish.
The lists will be used as follows: the players with the best average ranking will be placed into the best Ponds. Within each Pond, the player with the best average ranking will be named the predator of the player in the Pond lowest on their individual list; this player will then become the predator of the player in the Pond lowest on their list, and so on. Whichever player is left over will become the predator of the best average ranking player in the Pond.
In the event that a player fails to submit a list, or submits an invalid list, all the ranking points they would have distributed will be assessed to themselves as a massive penalty instead. This will likely place these players in a low tier Pond. In the event that a player is required to make a decision for predation, their previous list will be used. If they have never submitted a list in the entire game, they will choose the next player alphabetically (rolling over to the beginning of the alphabet if they are last).
In the event that players have their ranking tied with another player, the player with the higher current wealth will prevail; if this is tied, the player who submitted their list earlier will prevail. If the tied players did not submit lists, the player who signed up for the game earlier will prevail. The full results of the Social Ranking will not be publicly revealed; I will instead reveal which players are in which Ponds, and the predation order (starting with the first player alphabetically, who may or may not be the player ranked the highest within their Pond).
For each Phase of the game, each player begins with an identical set of fifteen fish in their color. You will have three fish of each size from 1 to 5. Additionally, each player will receive one Poison Pill for free that can be fed to one of their fish before releasing the fish into the Pond.
Each of the five days will give players 24 hours to submit their choices of three fish to release into the Pond. During these 24 hour periods, players may also exchange scales at the Bank (see the Bank section) or transfer scales, Poison Pills, or other purchased Prizes to other players (see the Transfers section).
In the event that a player fails to submit their choice, or submits an invalid choice, their smallest three fish will automatically be selected. Note that on the final day of the Phase, you will not have a choice as you will have exactly three fish remaining. The Poison Pill can be played on whichever fish you want, on any of the five days. Poison Pills do not expire and can be saved for future Phases.
Once each player’s fish have been released into the Pond, the fish will begin eating according to a very specific and predictable set of rules:
- Each fish can only eat fish of the target color. For example, if red fish are targeting orange fish, red fish can only eat orange fish.
- The smallest fish will always move first. If a fish has no valid moves to make, fish of the next highest size will move, and so on. Based on this rule, this means that one fish could move several times before a much larger fish has a chance to move.
- Among identically sized fish of the same color, a fish with a Poison Pill moves last.
- A fish can only eat a fish that is a smaller size. It cannot eat a fish that is the same size or larger than itself.
- If a fish has multiple possible options to eat, it will always eat the largest possible fish.
- If a fish can choose between multiple same-sized options, but one of the possible targets has a Poison Pill, the fish will avoid eating the poisoned fish for as long as possible.
- When a fish consumes another fish, it will grow immediately into the size that is the sum of its previous size and the size of the fish that it ate. For example, if a size 5 fish eats a size 3 fish, it will grow into a size 8 fish.
- Any fish who eats a fish with a Poison Pill will become the new holder of the Poison Pill.
- Once all valid moves have taken place, any fish holding a Poison Pill will die before it can be scored.
After all valid moves are taken place, the Pond will be declared to be in equilibrium once no more moves are possible. After equilibrium is reached, the Pond will be scored. This signals the end of each day. I will publicly reveal the moves that occurred in the Pond, and announce who has received scales. Scales are distributed according to these rules:
- For each surviving fish of your color, you will receive one scale.
- The largest fish in the Pond will earn a bonus of five scales for its owner.
- In the event that multiple fish are tied for the largest, the five-scale bonus will be distributed as evenly as possible among those owners; any remainder will be taken by Lluvy. For example, if two fish have tied for the largest, each owner would receive two scales, and Lluvy would receive the fifth scale.
- If six or more fish are tied for the largest, Lluvy will receive all five of the bonus scales.
After all five days have taken place, meaning that players have exhausted their stock of fifteen fish, the Bonus Round will occur immediately, along with eliminations. This means that day five is your last chance to use the Bank or transfer scales before a player is eliminated from your Pond.
The Bonus Round will be calculated automatically as it requires no player input. In the Bonus Round, all the surviving fish from the five days of gameplay will be released into the Pond together. The fish will then begin moving, according to the same set of rules as is used during the five previous days. The main difference is that there is no possibility for Poison Pills to come into effect during this Phase.
At the conclusion of the Bonus Round, extra scales will be distributed as double the prize from a typical day:
- For each surviving fish of your color, you will receive two scales.
- The largest fish in the Pond will earn a bonus of ten scales for its owner.
- In the event that multiple fish are tied for the largest, the ten-scale bonus will be distributed as evenly as possible among those owners; any remainder will be taken by Lluvy.
- If eleven or more fish are tied for the largest, Lluvy will receive all ten of the bonus scales.
Once the Bonus Round has been completed, eliminations occur. Within each Pond, the players will be evaluated according to how many scales of the current color they hold. For example, in the first Phase of the game, the players will be evaluated for how many Copper Scales they earned. The eliminations will occur as follows:
- Within each Pond, unless otherwise noted, the player with the fewest scales in the target color will be eliminated. Note that this means a player might be eliminated who has higher overall wealth, if that wealth has not been upgraded to the correct scale type through interactions with the Bank.
- All the scales and Prizes belonging to this player will be transferred to the player(s) with the most scales in the target color. If these scales are distributed among multiple players due to a tie, Lluvy will collect any remainder that cannot be equally distributed.
- In the event of a tie for the lowest number of scales, the player with the largest fish in the Bonus Round will prevail. If a tie persists, the player with the better performance on the most recent Social Ranking will prevail.
The number of scales in the relevant color held by each player at the time of the Performance Review will be publicly revealed.
Once eliminated, players will become shareholders who are no longer eligible to win the game but will be tasked with a role in the Final Phase where they will have a minor influence over which player ultimately wins.
For Phases where multiple Ponds are in play, taxation will occur. Taxation in this case involves the transfer of wealth from socially outcast Ponds to socially elevated Ponds and/or Lluvy. At the same time that the Bonus Round and Performance Review is calculated, taxation will occur. For example, consider a situation where the lesser Pond experiences a 10% tax to subsidize a higher rated Pond. (The actual Taxation rates will be explained at the beginning of each Phase.)
For the Pond under a 10% tax, each player remaining after the Performance Review from that Pond will lose 10% of their scales in the current color (scales from previous rounds are exempt from taxation). The tax rate represents a minimum that must be reached, meaning that the scales removed will actually round up. For instance, if a player has only 8 scales under a 10% tax rate, they will still lose one scale. In reality, this loss represents a 12.5% tax; however, this is necessary as losing no scales would be below the minimum tax threshold at 0%.
Once taxes have been collected, they will be distributed evenly among the surviving players in the subsidized Pond linked to the taxed Pond. Again, any remainder that cannot be evenly divided will accrue instead to Lluvy. So, for example, if I collected a total of 19 scales in taxes from the previous Pond, and the subsidized Pond had four surviving players, each of those players would receive four scales. The remaining three scales would go into Lluvy’s account.
After the Performance Review has taken place, players will return from their Ponds and will meet up at the Marketplace. At the start of this round, each player will receive a private message detailing their current Inventory, which includes both Prizes and scales. During the Marketplace period of the game, players are not restricted in terms of who they may transfer items with. Additionally, there will Prizes available for sale that can give you an advantage in subsequent Phases; however, as you will see shortly, buying these items comes at a substantial risk.
The Prizes available for purchase do not have a set price; in fact, the demand from the players will set the price. During the 24 hours of the Marketplace, you may submit any number of bids on available items. Note that the value of all bids you place may not exceed your total net worth; furthermore, your bids must be a specific combination of scale colors that you own (i.e., if you have only Silver Scales, with a market value of two Copper Scales each, you could not place a bid of 3 Copper Scales, even though the total value of 3 Copper Scales is lower than the value of 2 Silver Scales).
The Prizes will be distributed as follows: for every bid that is equal to or higher than the average bid for that item, that player will receive that item and lose all the scales bid. If your bid is lower than the average bid, your scales will be returned to you and you will not earn a prize. Lluvy will earn money from any bid that is higher than average; she will receive all the inefficiently spent scales that are in excess of average, assuming the scales are divisible. So if the average bid had a value of 15 Copper Scales, and a player bid 20 Copper Scales, Lluvy would earn 5 Copper Scales from that inefficient bid.
The average bid for each item will be revealed at the end of the Marketplace round, but I will not reveal publicly who bought which items.
At the conclusion of the Marketplace round, Downsizing will occur. This involves another elimination (or two). This time, the player with the lowest cumulative wealth will be eliminated. This takes into account the total value of all scales held by that player, expressed in terms of the base currency, Copper Scales. In the event of a tie, the player(s) who produced the largest fish to date will prevail. If this is also tied, the player(s) who had a better performance on the most recent Social Ranking will prevail.
The eliminated player(s) will become shareholders, and their scales and Prizes will be transferred to the surviving player(s) with the lowest cumulative wealth. In the event of a tie for who should receive the eliminee’s Inventory, the scales will be distributed as evenly as possible, giving any remainder to Lluvy. Additionally, Prizes will be distributed evenly (meaning that, in all likelihood, Lluvy will receive them unless the player has multiple copies of the same prize). This is the only moment in each Phase where each player’s total wealth is publicly revealed, although savvy players will be able to make pretty good estimates based on public information provided throughout the game.
Thus, the Marketplace includes a degree of risk — by buying Prizes, you might accidentally eliminate yourself. Additionally, players might intentionally transfer scales trying to collect the scales of the eliminee(s), which could also cause them to be eliminated accidentally.
Once Downsizing has taken place, a new Phase will begin.
The game will end at the final three. This Phase has a few notable differences. First, the Social Ranking will be completed not only by the finalists, but also by the shareholders. The shareholders (eliminated players) will have the value of their ranking weighted according to the value of the currency distributed in the Phase that they were eliminated in. This final ranking is important because the player who ranks first will determine the final predation order with their list.
Additionally, after the Bonus Round for the Final Phase has taken place, there will be one last Super Bonus Round; in this round, calculated automatically, I will take each finalist’s surviving fish from all past Bonus Round Ponds and put them together. Any surviving fish will earn five scales for their owner, while the largest fish produced by the game will earn a 25-scale bonus.
After the Super Bonus Round, the final Performance Review will occur. The finalist with the fewest Unobtanium Scales will be eliminated in third place, with their wealth going to the finalist with the most Unobtanium Scales. Immediately following this is the final Downsizing. At this point, the remaining finalist with higher wealth will be declared the winner. In the event of a tie, the finalist who produced the largest fish throughout the entire game will be declared the winner. If this, too, is tied, the player with the higher Social Ranking in the Final Phase will be declared the winner.
However, fair warning! If, at the end of the game, Lluvy’s cumulative wealth, earned through the inefficiency, greed, and bitterness of the players throughout the game, exceeds the wealth of the most successful finalist, all finalists will be eliminated. At this point, each shareholder will cast a public yes/no vote in the thread, weighted equally. If a majority of players vote “Yes,” Lluvy (Estquer) will be declared the winner of the game. If a majority is not reached, or the players cast a majority vote for “No,” Lluvy will also lose and the game will end with no winner.
The winning player — if any — will earn this achievement:
Last edited by Estquer; 12-31-2016 at 08:05 PM.
Additional Gameplay Elements
Here is an explanation of the other gameplay elements that have been mentioned throughout the phase instructions.
- Lluvy Gomez
- Quitting & Expulsion
- Extensions & Lateness
Prizes are available for purchase at the Marketplace; the selection available will differ from Phase to Phase and will not be announced in advance. Prizes may be available at multiple Phases, or only once. The rules for each prize for sale will be publicly announced at the Marketplace.
When Prizes are purchased, I will publicly reveal the average bid; however I will reveal neither the players who bought the Prizes nor the total number of Prizes sold.
At any time, you may request your Inventory via PM. I will indicate how many of each scale type you possess, the current fish you have available for this Phase to play, your current wealth, and any items that you currently own.
I will also send this out automatically at the start of each Marketplace round of the game.
The key currency of the game is scales. Scales are earned through the daily gameplay, and can also be received from other players. The scales given out will increase in value from Phase to Phase. If it’s helpful, think of a Copper Scale as a $1 bill, a Silver Scale as a $2 bill, and so forth. The scales themselves, like a paper bill, cannot be subdivided since there are no “coins” in this game. Here are the values of the scales:
- Copper Scales: 1
- Silver Scales: 2
- Gold Scales: 4
- Platinum Scales: 7
- Diamond Scales: 11
- Obsidian Scales: 16
- Unobtanium Scales: 22
Since Copper Scales are the smallest unit of currency, your total wealth is expressed in terms of Copper Scales. So if you have four Silver Scales, a Platinum Scale, and an Unobtanium Scale, your total wealth is 37.
At any time during the Social Ranking, Days 1-5, and Marketplace sections of the Phase, you may exchange scales at the Bank. The reason for doing this is that you might need scales of a specific type (i.e., Platinum Scales) that you don’t currently have. To use the Bank, send a private message to Estquer proposing an exchange of scales between Lluvy and yourself.
If your proposed exchange results in Lluvy receiving more wealth than the player gets, the exchange will be approved. If your proposed exchange is even or benefits the player, it will be rejected.
So, if you propose this exchange:
Player to Lluvy: 3 Gold Scales + 7 Copper Scales
Lluvy to Player: 9 Silver Scales
Lluvy would approve this transfer, since the player would be giving 19 and receiving only 18. However, if the player were to propose:
Player to Lluvy: 3 Gold Scales + 6 Copper Scales
Lluvy to Player: 9 Silver Scales
Player to Lluvy: 3 Gold Scales + 7 Copper Scales
Lluvy to Player: 10 Silver Scales
Lluvy would reject the exchange, since she does not benefit from it. Lluvy’s profit from each proposed exchange will be added to her total wealth.
During the Marketplace and Social Ranking, you may transfer scales or items to the player of your choice (including Lluvy). All transfers are final. Transfer recipients will be notified of the gift; note that while you may not reject a gift, you are free to transfer it to someone else.
During Days 1-5 of the round, you may only transfer scales and items to Lluvy, or players currently at the Pond with you. You may not conduct any transfers during the Bonus Round, Performance Review, or Downsizing; these are all processes that occur automatically without player input, so you may not take advantage of the time it takes me to complete these posts.
Throughout the rules, there are scenarios where Lluvy — the host — will accrue wealth due to the greedy or inefficient actions of players. Here are all the rules regarding Lluvy collected into one place:
- During each day, Bonus Round, Performance Review, subsidy, or Downsizing where scales must be divided evenly among multiple players, Lluvy will collect any remainder.
- During each visit to the Bank, where players exchange scales to a different scale type, Lluvy will collect scales through the exchange rate that will always benefit her by at least a little bit.
- During the Marketplace, Lluvy will collect any excess whole-value scales from inefficient bids.
- At any point while they are still in the game, players may freely transfer scales to Lluvy.
- If Lluvy finishes the game with higher wealth than the top performing player, the three finalists will all lose. The eliminated players will then cast a Yes/No vote to decide whether Lluvy should win the game instead; if No is selected, then the game will end with no winner.
Quitting & Expulsion
It is not possible to quit this game. Since the game controls for every situation where player inaction could occur, there is no process by which you can disqualify yourself intentionally from the game. The other players are free to control around you and transfer wealth to zombie players who have attempted to quit in order to keep them in the game against their will. Since there are no challenges, it is also impossible to be expelled from the game for cheating. Even if a player is banned from the site, they will still remain in the game until eliminated through the natural process of the game. For a player who attempts to quit, I will cease sending them game related private messages; if they wish to un-quit, they may state so and start receiving private messages assuming their corpse is still in the game.
Extensions & Lateness
Since there are no timed challenges in this game, I will be relatively intolerant of extensions. The maximum extension that may be requested is 12 hours. Extensions requested after the deadline has passed will be ignored. Other players may submit/update decisions during someone else's extension time. However, the extension time will end if the requesting player has submitted before the extended deadline has arrived.
I will not accept late decisions, even if they are submitted to me before I have compiled the results.