I’ve been getting a huge number of ‘Inception-moments’ from Venkatesh Rao’s blog Ribbonfarm since Matt Webb linked to the ‘Brief History of the Corporation‘ post last year. But I had trouble thinking through applications of Venkat’s recent post about the state of détente to anything other than Risk Legacy.
Risk Legacy is great. It’s basically a short version of the boardgame Risk. But you play 15 of those games. And, as you play, the rules and the board start to change. At the end of fifteen games the winner is the person who has won the most games.
I’ve been playing a campaign with four friends of mine. Three games in and I’m ahead, having won two of them.
But my tactical advantage fell away in the third game. I went to neuter one opponent, assuming two other players would keep another at bay. But only one of them held up that silent bargain.
I realise now that the other didn’t because he didn’t believe I could commit to a truce-state. And that’s fair. The manner in which I’d won the first game involved flat out breaking a truce and the other involved a feint that cost another player the game. I’m projecting all the tactical nuance of a dirty rotten scoundrel.
Long-term, that’ll ruin me. Whether I win the next few games or not, I need to make sure that I appear – indeed, am – honourable in all actions. I need to be able to avoid costly, low-stakes battles to focus on the ones with much more riding on them, and those probably won’t happen for a few games just yet. In that mindset détente is critically important.