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This page is written by the game's inventor, Rich Hutnik.

Vox Populi Chess variant

This idea is a variation on Kasparov vs the World.  However, instead of the World side playing against a single player, the World side plays against itself.  Vox Populi Chess is a game of shifting sides, with everyone driven by self-interest, and ultimately one winner.  Vox Populi rules can be applied to just about any chess variant, or abstract strategy game.


This depends on the base game that is used.  Use normal set up for the pieces.  For the Vox Populi setting up of sides, us either a random or deterministic method for dividing the crowd up into two sides.  Dividing up of the crowd into sides will be discussed a bit more below.


Same as in the chess variant normally.


This is a way to have a crowd play itself at chess (or chess variant):
1. Divide the crowd up into 2 teams.  This can be done randomly, or crowd members can select one side or another real-time.  Need to make sure there is a minimum number on a given side to start.
2. One team votes its moves (most popular move at a given time is shown.  Maybe show the top 3 or 4, ranked).  Members of one team can change their votes within a given time limit.  After that, then the top vote getter is that team's vote.  First move selected becomes the default move.
3. Other team does the same.
4. After both teams have made their moves, players have a set time to decide whether to switch teams.  This is done in secret and simultaneously.
5. You also provide a third side called "Draw".  Once a players selects Draw side, they no longer can change sides.  They would score one point for for each turn they are part of draw side at end of game, in event game ends in draw.  One way to add intrigue is to have people who decide game will end in a draw not declare they are on the Draw side.  They would keep voting on a move for their side (it wouldn't count), in order to score a point for a draw.
5a. In games where draws are impossible, picking the draw side is not an option.
6. Members of the crowd on both teams score one point for each turn they voted for a move while part of the winning team.  Member of crowd that was part of the winning side the longest wins.  In event of tie, possible tiebreaker would be player who voted for same move of winning side (draw side excluded from this).  A member of the crowd must cast a vote for a move to get a point in the end.
7. Game would continue until a judge determines the game is over, or one side has no players on it.  At that point, players who had the most points advance to next round to play again.  Play continues until there is one winner. 
7a. How to determine if the game ending in a draw or one side wins needs to be determined.  One idea would be if more players are in the Draw position when the game ends, the game is considered ending in a draw.  If more players are on the one of the sides, that side is to have considered to have won.  Game can also end normally. 
8. Multiple games would be played until there is one crowd member left.  That crowd member would be considered the winner.

In regards to defecting, it could be that each side MUST have at least one player left on it.  If a side is left with no players, all players trying to defect are blocked in a given turn.   Another way to deal with draw issues is... the side with LESS members on it is able to count a draw as a win, or at least half the points they would normally win? This way, the side looking at bad odds, and less people, would still have a chance to win, if they can cause a game to become a draw. You also can have a side/faction which consists of players who drop out, if a game ends in a draw, and score full points, if the game ends in a draw.  You could also have a draw side, not sure which side would end up drawing, that scores if a game ends in a draw. Players defecting to draw side end up not playing but await gaming ending in a draw. So, in a draw, the side with less players AND the draw side score points.

A simple way to do this is to only allow people on winning side to advance on to a future round.  Everyone on winning side up until last turn advances on to next round.  If playing multiple rounds and using elimination, these are various conditions by which someone is eliminated (player leaves the game with as many points as they would of scored had they not been knocked out, but they can no longer score).  These conditions would be:
1. The side player is on loses the game while they are on it.  Player is done with series of games/tournament, and score what they would of normally scored and weren't eliminated.
2. If, when a player switches sides (during switch side phase), no players are left on the other side.  When that happens, all players switching sides from losing side to winning side, are out of the game/tournament (series of games).  

If playing a set number of rounds, player on losing side (eliminated) would score zero points for a given round they were on losing side (or if defected to winning side with no one remaining on losing side).  Players play set number of rounds and highest score would win.  If want to combine rounds with elimination from game, can eliminate players below a certain scoring bar or in a bottom percentage of points.   A devious variation on this, is that a player on a losing side after multiple rounds, could end up losing ALL his points in the game, if he is on a losing side.   In multiple rounds, it might be worth considering keeping points a player scores secret from all other players, along with what side they are on, in order to prevent ganging up.  In rounds, players need to suggest a move.  This could be reworked as far as going through a replay of a game that players don't control, but they do stay with one side or another, and score that way, for each round they are with the winning side.  To use multiple rounds without elimination, players get zero points for a round if they are on losing side.

I think this is a way to come up with a balancing mechanism to make sure the game goes to conclusion. If a top player thinks he can get a game to draw, he will stick around for points.  The elimination method above may do this.  The above method of elimination can do this.

To be able to work this as a gameshow, you have two players battle each other.  The crowd decides who to side with, or even draw.  They give suggested top move to players.  Game doesn't end if a side has no one in the crowd on their side.  Crowd is a secondary game.  Multiple rounds are played.  Winner of the crowd could end up battling the top player.  If there is no winner after a set number of games, and one crowd member who won, that crowd member could be considered the winner.

Other ideas:
1. To handle inactivity by a side: One way is to randomly select a move and put it first on the board.  That side must come up with at move that has at least two people supporting it (vote/suggest it).  Another way is if no move is selected, then that acts as a pass.
2. If having it so that players will lose all points in multiple round game, allow players to bank.  One way is to bank the points and players is out of game.  Other way, if not out, is to have either a multiplier or bonus points given for not banking (a bit like weakest link).

In a boardgame format:
Each players have a number chit they will put on a board for their team (if chess, they have two chips, to and from).  First player to attempt to make a move for a side grabs the two stones of their side's color.  The stone always goes on the space with the most player markers, or first one suggested if tied.  Players move their markers about.  Then next team goes (or more than one team).  Then, after all teams make moves, players then happen to pick what side they are on.   

Equipment needed: 
- Color card for each side, and each player (this could be such that players use their voting chip.  Number side up represents one side, blank side represents another.  This is done simultaneously).   A possibility is players move physically to side they want to be part of.
- Two stones, to mark the top chosen (or first selected) to and from moves.
- Number chips (two for each player).  This is uses to mark place on board for voting position to move on board (to and from).
- Way to track score.  Perhaps have a scoreboard, +/-  Each time player votes for a side, the chip moves one way or the other.  Track number of passes.

Vox as a casino game:
All players pay in.  Top point winners get paid evenly from pool.  Remainder stays for future rounds.  Have people pay more if they join a side with more players on it.  Can also have it so players can pay money into pool to switch sides.  They pay in 2x initial amount, minimum in order to switch.  All players on winning side at end pay back what they initially put in, a share is recorded for each vote players put in on winning side (each player gets a share for each vote players made on the winning sided).  This amount of shared is doubled and divided into the total pool of remaining shares to determine how much each share is.  This amount is rounded downward to nearest penny.  Players are then paid the amount of money for each share times the number of shares they have.  The remaining half of the money is divided among the top vote getters.


This idea came about when thinking about a game that was found to be "Kasparov vs the World", and thinking of gameshows.  The end result is Vox Populi.

Vox Populi was created in 2008 by Richard Hutnik (Copyright 2008. See conditions below for details on copyright).  Please feel free to distribute these rules, implement this game out, and try it out and provide feedback.  If you plan on using these rules to make a profit, please contact the Richard Hutnik, so he can help coordinate and be part of the process.  Richard can be reached currently at (by email):
rich [at symbol:@] IAGOWorldTour [dot] com .  Again, the last part after the @ is

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By Rich Hutnik.
Web page created: 2008-07-19. Web page last updated: 2008-07-19