Saturday, August 30 2008

Election 2008 I

When playing a game, you start by devising a strategy.  To devise a good strategy, you take a look at the rules, the initial conditions, your own and your opponents strengths and weaknesses.  From that, you can identify what you should start out doing to carry out that strategy.

The problem is that your opponent has a strategy, and makes plans based around what he thinks your strategy will be.  If he's good, he will have anticipated your plans and come up with a way to use them against you.  Luck also plays a factor; sometimes things won't go your way.  In some cases, carrying on with your strategy is still the best bet.  In most cases it is necessary to make minor adjustments while keeping the general framework of your initial plan.  Sometimes it becomes necessary to scrap the whole thing and try something else, often something that is quite risky, something that would be quite a poor bet if it had been your initial strategy.

In a game, when your opponent, or one of your opponents, chooses to change to a risky plan in mid game, it can affect everyone else's plans by opening up new options and fundamentally changing the nature of the game.  I've played a number of games where players have the safest path by choosing a logical strategy, with a little luck and skill determining which of the safe players comes out ahead.  If one player chooses a risky strategy, skill becomes irrelevant for any of the other players and may even be counterproductive, making it a viable strategy for a player with little luck.

What we have in the 2008 Presidential elections is a case where both major parties have dropped the usual logical, safe strategies for risky ones.  It's come down to which sound bites are more effective and which candidates will catch on with the population at large, factors largely beyond the control of the party strategists.  A crafty PR person might be able to slightly shift the flow of public opinion at this point, but I feel that it's all in the hands of the public from this point forward.  I'm going to sit back and watch the fun.

Posted by: Civilis at 08: 48 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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