Mod's WNA League Primer

Hiyas kids! In light of everything else going on, and the fact that it’s probably a good idea in general, I thought I’d spend a little bit of time putting something together that covers the basics of our games – and instead of it just being a list of the rules/guidelines/my thoughts, I’ll touch on the “why” behind them. If the rules make sense to you, they go from seemingly arbitrary to being logical. Worst case is you waste a few minutes reading stuff you already know, but maybe you’ll take something away from it that will help. As such, I encourage all of our league players – new and charter members alike – to read through all of this.

League-wide-ish Stuff

Game Time
Passwords
Spelling/Structure/Punctuation
Clean/Adult
Chatcros
Setting Topics
Pandering
Game Timers, Nudges and me

Individual game formats

General Acro (GA)
Couch
Winner’s Choice (WC)
Story
Something Else (SE)
Friday Night Survivor Acro (FNSA)
Mono Mania in Hedgie’s Igloo

League-wide-ish Stuff

These are things that apply to the vast majority of our formats, and exceptions will be noted. While it’s a bit longer than the individual format breakdown (which will be brief for the most part), this is the more important of the two overall sections for everyone to read. Survivor players should definitely read that section as well.

Game Time

We’re pretty clear on when games start and when we would like you in the lobby (15 minutes before game start!). Late arrivals can throw a wrench in the works, especially if it’s right at start time and we have to go from one room to two. It’s a serious headache for Janie. We have an unwritten but well known rule about not leaving players out of games – which applies right up until when Janie decides if we’re going one room or two. At that point (usually 5 minutes before game start), we’d like to think we made the right call on number of rooms. If you’re going to be there for sure but will/might be late, just let us know and we’ll save you a spot. We promise.

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Passwords

If Janie is in the lobby, she gives them out. If Janie’s not in the lobby, I give them out. Period. We do it that way so Janie knows who’s going where while I’m setting up, and so that password requests don’t distract players after the games start. If someone from the lobby asks you for the password, feel free to ignore them. Seriously. Since you’re not allowed to give out the password, you’re not expected to have to deal with it. Or, if you’re feeling nice and/or know them, either refer them to me or let me know who’s asking (and let me know if you know them/will vouch for them since if they don’t know to ask me, I probably don’t know them).

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Spelling/Structure/Punctuation

They matter to us. Please play and vote accordingly. And that’s not to say a typo or missed punctuation acro should never be voted for, it’s just to say think about it. In Adult, that includes Using Title Case and a single ! on your acro. In clean, we don’t like excessive punctuation!!! I guess I can’t give much insight into a reason for that other than it’s just common sense that a well-written acro would be, well… well-written. And FNSA aside, we should be voting for the best all-around acro. In GA (and to a degree in general) “Shoot for one thought, one sentence.”

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Clean/Adult

Please keep them where they belong. As a reminder, our rule for clean has always been “Squeaky clean: no profanity or innuendo”. I used to be overzealous about my enforcement of that rule (to the point it’s become a dead and well-beaten hor… errrr, running joke of sorts), but at this point I might be a little lax on it. We’re adults – innuendo will happen, even by accident, and especially with dual-meaning words and context. I get it. We can snicker about it and move on – it’s the dwelling on it that comes across to me as just wanting to push the limits (or just irritate me, I can’t decide). Anyway, I won’t return to being a Nazi about it, but I will ask you to think about it a little bit. A new player was recently shocked when I mentioned via /pc that the rules call for squeaky.

As for adult, I have a strangely similar note: Adult calls for adult in nature. It doesn’t require profanity by any means. As it happens, I also got that wrong early on in the league (not being an adult player is my excuse). Anyway, just thought it was worth mentioning for anyone who isn’t big into swearing, per se. Adult can be a lot of fun.

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Chatcros

Acros in the room instead of the game. Yay for chatcros! Sometimes I just feel the need! The league has no formal rule on chatcros, but I will give you my personal stance on them. I absolutely hate having an acro in, minding my own business waiting for the round to end and the voting screen to pop up when BAM – there it is in chat. Or one similar enough to it to be annoying. Even if mine is better, it suddenly appears not only less original, but slower (since it comes up after the chatcro). So what I personally do is wait. Wait until the voting screen is not only up, but usually until around half the players have voted. I figure at that point my chatcro won’t detract/distract from a player’s acro. I think the acros being played should always be given the “first read”, so-to-speak. At the very least, I wait until the voting screen is up and I’ve scanned them to make sure there’s not one similar to what I have. Honestly?… I get aggravated when I see chatcros before the voting screen even appears. But there’s no formal rule on them, so it’s hard for me to say anything. That’s why this is here – to let you know I think it shows a lot more respect for the players if you wait.

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Setting Topics

We do not allow “chat topics” – a/k/a topics that are entered using /me instead of /st. The reasons are lag and confusion. Lag issues can either cause the topic to scroll by quickly and get missed, or not show up before the round begins. Also, depending on the format, the bot will provide a different topic in the game, causing confusion. So unless /st is used and accepted by the game (shows up in the upper right corner), it’s not a valid topic. So it’s extremely important for the round winner to enter the topic correctly and as early as possible. What happens if the topic isn’t entered correctly is listed here under Rules of Play.

And yes, I’m well aware that sometimes that same lag can cause a properly entered topic to not show up in the game like it should – but those are the breaks. At least with a blanket rule against chat topics, we can be consistent, even when the game isn’t. Hope that makes sense.

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Pandering

Acroing about someone in the room. We have one night per month when pandering is allowed – Winner’s Choice during WNA. And then it’s only allowed when called for in a topic. This applies to clean and adult. I know, I know – sometimes the stars align just right and the letters fall into place for that perfect pandercro. Here’s how I personally feel about them: they’re against the rules; sometimes rules suck, and you just want to have fun; it should be more against the rules to vote for a pandercro than to enter one. But here’s how I feel about them officially – it’s against the rules to pander (except when called for in WC), so please do not do so. And, if you do see a pander on your voting screen, no matter how funny or insightful or whatever, it should not be voted for.

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Game Timers, Nudges and me

Patience is a virtue in WNA. Here’s why… ME!

The game gives players 60 seconds to enter an acro every round, but automatically ends each round when all players have entered an acro. Since Mod doesn’t acro, the timer will always go the full 60 seconds. Which on 3- and 4-letter acros can seem like forever since most of you are geniuses who type at hyperspeed. Just remember that those rounds are no longer than those 7-letter rounds with 4 Q’s and an X, they just feel that way. In particularly small rooms, and especially in adult, I’ll enter just the letters or complete gibberish to stop the round and force voting. I try to minimize it somewhat because it carries risks of it’s own – namely, I could catch someone in the middle of editing their acro, causing them to have bad looking acros when they expected to have the time to edit. I’m aware that editing acros always carries that risk, but it’s not always when someone is expecting to have time then suddenly doesn’t because of me.

Similarly, for voting, the voting clock always counts all the way down because I never vote. There’s nothing I can do about that one. Again, remember that it’s generally the same amount of time to read all the acros for 3-letter rounds in a room with 6 players as it is for 7-letter rounds with 17 players – it’s all relative.

Additionally, I try to put a countdown timer thing in chat when it’s quiet and there is still time on the clock so people don’t think they’re frozen. I also pay pretty close attention to the timers and whether people have acroed/voted, and commence nudging people shortly after the game should have moved on. Generally, typing /me will help free you up. Personally, I use /ll quite a bit as it does the same thing without my being intrusive in chat. Players who see themselves get nudged are encouraged to try to chat or type /me when they can, doing so before seeing nudges is usually you just waiting on the timer to finish counting down.

Hope that helps explain some of the apparent delays.

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Individual game formats

I’ll step through the different formats we play, hitting the major points and pointing out a few nuances you (especially newer players) might not have thought about. So here goes, from the most basic onward…

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General Acro (GA)

Not much to say here: no topics; clean/adult as appropriate for format; no pandering.

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Couch

First round is always General Acro, round winners set topic from there on out. GA and pander are not acceptable topics. Topics must be entered properly.

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Winner’s Choice (WC)

Round winner sets topic – GA and pander are acceptable topics. Pander only when called for. Round winners are allowed to let the bot pick a topic – so always go with the topic to the upper right in the game.

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Story

Important for first round – must use title case and quotation marks as it’s the title of the story. So your acro should look like this: “Title Of Story”
Round winner continues storyline with next topic. Topic must be entered properly. As a Mod note, I’d like to add how nice it is when topics are entered quickly. It really helps me get the recap up faster, as well as calms my fears that there won’t be a topic entered (or entered correctly).

For some reason the league has an affinity for murder mysteries, so story titles that lend themselves well to that seem to do well. That’s not to say that’s all we want to see, it’s just an observation I thought might help.

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Something Else (SE)

Room host provides all topics in the game. Due to a glitch in the game, topics are entered in chat for games two and three. I always try to enter the topic when there are 15 seconds left before the next round begins, then in games 2 and 3 I enter it again just as the round starts. Laggy nights always kill the timing on that, but when things are running smoothly, I figure it might be helpful for you to know it’s timed that way intentionally.

All topics are submitted by players in advance and posted on the league’s website in advance of the SE night. We are always accepting topic suggestions, feel free to email them or submit them here.

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Friday Night Survivor Acro (FNSA)

Our most unique format, and therefore the most confusing. One player is eliminated each round until there is only one person left. So if the game starts with 10 players, there will be 10 acros in round one, 9 acros in round two, etc. until the final two players “face off,” leaving our sole Survivor for the game. So yes, if you’re voted off in the first round, you don’t get to play the rest of that game, though you’re still encouraged to vote.

Here are the basics. Always enter your best acro. Always vote for your least favorite. Always acro AND vote until voted off the island. If you don’t acro or vote, you get no points and can’t be voted off the island – so it’s like cheating. If you don’t enter an acro or vote, you’re off the island (and whoever got the most votes that round is granted “immunity” and is allowed to continue playing), so even a bad acro is better than no acro at all.

If you don’t get an acro in and should have, please let us know ASAP in chat, preferably using /me so we can see it. Same with if you didn’t vote for some reason. By the same token, please do not say things like “I’m out!” in chat unless you missed your acro – logically you might mean you just don’t like your acro, but it gets confusing. We rely on the honor system a lot here to make things run more smoothly. I usually know how many acros to expect and who’s still in for the most part, but it can get confusing. So we ask you to help us along. And if you happen to notice that the acro you voted for has zero points when the scores show up – mention it to us as it means that person’s vote didn’t register and they should be out (provided it’s not a game glitch like no voting screen).

Speaking of glitches – lags and boots are game killers. Well, they definitely destroy the flow of the game and make it harder to track who’s in and who’s out. We appreciate your patience on those nights.

Late players – you’re at my whim as to whether I let you play that game. I try to be fair. And while I seriously doubt anyone is intentionally showing up late just to be “safe” for a round or two, there also comes a point where it’s not fair to the players who were voted out that might not have been. My word is final on that topic.

If the game reaches faceoff mode, it usually means I’m an idiot and set the room to 30 instead of 40. We ignore the faceoff rounds entirely and wait them out. After they time out, the players who were remaining on the island are the only ones to acro. We try to put enough reminders in chat about who should acro and who shouldn’t, but it still gets people. Please try to pay attention (or, you know, just remember) so you know if you should acro after faceoff rounds.

A new room is formed for each game. That’s because the end of our quest for a sole Survivor doesn’t coincide with the program’s idea of faceoff. So we start a new room with the same password to reset everyone to zero and start each game fresh with a full slate of players. It also conveniently allows for a break between games – typically 3 minutes from when I set up the new room.

No matter when you come in and whether or not you’re on the island, you can always vote, and should always vote least fave.

Helpful tip: do not rush your acro, you not only have the full 60 seconds, but there’s an edge in entering late, particularly in the rounds with fewer letters – you don’t want speed points, if you dupe with someone you want theirs entered first. Fewer points for you is better. So take your time, edit if you think it needs it, whatever – you’ll always have the full 60 seconds and being first can actually work against you.

There’s a learning curve on this format, and I’m almost always around with help and reminders every round. Follow my cues and you should be fine. And FNSA is a great format for socializing – free time to chat is great (though see my thoughts on chatcros above).

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Mono Mania in Hedgie’s Igloo

Single-syllable acros only. I defer to Hedgie 100% on all aspects of her Igloo. If she says something, listen. It’s the only one of our formats where I’m relieved of 100% of my Mod duties, and I will fight to keep it that way! That said, since it’s under the umbrella of our league, I’ve been known to slip into Mod mode from time to time. It’s never intended to step on Hedgie’s toes or anything like that, and I apologize if it causes any confusion. It’s just hard to break the habit sometimes.

In Conclusion

I made “have fun” one of our rules many years ago. That’s what we want out of the league, and that’s what the players should be here for. I think we offer a great framework for that to happen within, so we expect you to at least stay within the spirit of our rules, if not the letter. So thanks for taking a few minutes to read through this – and as always, if you have questions, feel free to ask. Someone might even answer!

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