Thursday, April 12 2007

Objectives, Games, and Ludicrous Conspiracy Theories

(Before we get started with a discussion of games and how they relate to logical analysis of current events, read this article by Bill Whittle at Eject! Eject! Eject!)

As I have mentioned, one of my hobbies is playing games of all sorts.   Card, board, miniature, roleplaying, computer, console... you name it. Although it may seem simple to say, the key to success is to always remember what the objective of the game is.  Again, this is often something that seems simple to do.  In chess, your objective is to put your opponents king in a position where he cannot save it from capture.  In Clue, your objective is to determine which suspect, location, and weapon card have been set aside.  This is generally pretty easy to do.

Matters are complicated when you start determining what series of steps are necessary to reach that final objective.  There is an old board game called Assassin.  It's generally similar to Monopoly, in that you travel around a board amassing money and resources, with the added step of then using the money to hire assassins to attempt to kill the other players.  The objective of the game is to be the last player alive.  But you can't do that without hiring assassins to remove other players, and for that you need money, and so most of the game is about making money.  The problem gets to be with players who focus on making money to the level of forgetting about the part about spending the money to off the other players.  He who dies with the most money, still dies.
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