Friday, April 5, 2013

Breakfast of Champions

There is a board game called Diplomacy.  It is based on Europe during WWI and is profoundly simple in its basics.  Each player starts with one country. Each player gets on move per game. Random chance plays no part in this game; there are no dice.

I know, it sounds a bit boring, but the game has little to do with military tactics and strategy. The most important skill in the game is a talent for serial betrayal; that is, the ability to get other players to trust you while you stand, with a bloody knife in your hand, over the body of the last player who trusted you. Never play Diplomacy with anyone you wish to keep as a friend; I've seen marriages end and bosom friends come to blows over this game.

I would tell you that you should avoid contact with tournament-level Diplomacy players (yes, there are tournaments) at all costs, but that would be futile. Your first instinct upon meeting such a person will be to like and trust them, even knowing their ultimate intentions toward you are against your interest. You will want them to like you, even knowing they are trying to get you to piss into your own cornflakes. And they will be able to convince you to piss into your own cornflakes time and again. Given time, the best Diplomacy players can get their victims to take pleasure in pissing over their own cornflakes.

Over at Honey Badger Coalition (HBC), they're being conditioned to enjoy the taste of urine-soaked breakfast cereals.

In Farms & Fields: Metagame I said that, having cut HBC's leader Montolio's hamstrings, Pandemic Legion (PL) would abandon the coalition and side with Clusterfuck Coalition (CFC) once HBC was sufficiently undermined. In a variation on that theme, Pandemic Legion (PL) engineered a coup in HBC, purging Montolio from the coalition altogether. There are indications that Raiden[dot] was key supporter of the PL power grab and the position of Raiden within the coaliton has been improved considerably as a result. Thus PL, previously something of a trusted advisor in a coalition nominally run by Test Alliance Please Ignore, has assumed outright control.  And when I say that PL is in control of HBC coalition, understand that they are are running HBC in close coordination with CFC, and with CFC's best interests in mind.

In effect, CFC has engineered a takeover of the HBC coalition.

The usual post-purge activities are underway. Those loyal to the new order are being rewarded. A subset of those whose loyalty is in question are being marginalized; either stripped of sov altogether or demoted to marginal sov systems on the Southern front. This forces others who might object to the new order to hesitate, allowing PL to expunge the opposition piecemeal rather than attempting a mass purge and running the risk of civil war within the coalition. Frogs and boiling water, as they say.  Following the CFC model, PL and Raiden have moved to control the HBC internal narrative and announced that key forums and communication channels will be censored in order to maintain intra-coalition harmony.

'Cause, you know, PL is all about harmony. 

From here, I expect PL/CFC will maintain HBC on one of two glide paths to irrelevancy.  Both involve purging any elements troublesome to PL/CFC control of HBC from the coalition or rendering those them ineffective financially and militarily.  In this way, HBC will be slowly emasculated to remove the will or capacity to fight the CFC. Any HBC entities capable of effective resistance to the CFC will be either rendered ineffective or exiled to lowsec to play Faction Warfare. Then it will be a simple matter of choosing between keeping the HBC husk as a puppet kingdom or putting it to the sword in order to provide CFC and PL in-game content.

As they dismantle the only remaining entity capable of challenging CFC,  PL might be tempted to think their relationship with the CFC is special; that the bloody ice-pick presently being employed to lobotomize and emasculate the HBC will never threaten PL.  However, Pandemic's leadership may be just paranoid enough to recall the nature of the CFC metagame; that it, like Diplomacy, depends on a talent for serial betrayal.

I recommend each of you send Shadoo a box of Corn Flakes by way of reminder.