We had a very interesting game situation last night. An interesting thing about this game: it has a history. Crush someone today and they will remember for next game. There is a consequence even for success. Most of the players at the table started off hating me. They know how dangerous I can be. 🙂 The 3 players that know me quickly warned the 2 new players. So I immediately start off at war with the whole table. I was Russia. I figured I had to play very aggressive just to survive. Luckily, most of the company cards fell within easy reach: Poland, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Urals, Caucasus, Siberia, Korea, etc. I was able to seize about ½ the world’s production by turn 2. That put a damper on their war plans!
I was most worried about Gabe in Europe. He is good, he knows me and he can easily get to me. He immediately started building lots of armies. He became alarmed when I drove into Poland on turn 1 with all my armies. I seized a US grain company there then stopped to rest. (heck, it’s only turn 1!) On turn 2 Gabe pulled a big Polish mineral card, sighed and automatically handed it over to me. Then, I had brilliant burst of inspiration.
I told him to keep his card in Poland. I told him that I didn’t want to fight a war and that if he would stay peaceful I would pull most of my troops out. He was surprised and cautiously agreed to a truce for now. I kept my word and immediately pulled out most of my armies in Poland. Little did he know that I planned on this anyways. I sent them east to smack down the Japanese that landed in Vladivostok, then south to seize the British oil in Iran. While there I overran Iraq as well. Why? A big Euro oil company there. Did I seize it? Nope. Again I offered mercy but this time with a condition. Europe must help me by attacking his allies: the US and the UK, who immediately howled in protest. I had the better argument:
- I already showed that I could be peaceful and trustworthy by not attacking him.
- They were massing troops all around Europe to attack me but that looks threatening. They could just as easily change their mind and invade Europe instead.
- I had the ability to wipe out 2/3 of his economy in an instant. How could he fight me with no oil or minerals?
- I also suggested that his so called allies (US & UK) were using him to do most of their fighting for them. He was the one that would suffer most of the damage in a war. Russia had no navy. I couldn’t touch them. I also would not be able to build a navy if I had to fight a big ground war in Europe.
Gabe squirmed. Then…… joined the dark side. He took my offer. Partially from fear. Partially from logic. It made more sense. My plan fit the conditions of this game better. In spite of his hatred for me and his strong desire to see me lose, he chose the option that made the most sense in this game. Fascinating.
We discussed this critical junction after the game. Often new players automatically seize any company they can. What would have been the impact on Gabe if I did that? I would have just proved him right. He would have become even more bitter and permanently entrenched in the alliance against me no matter how bad the outcome or sacrifice. Yes, he would have likely lost and for what? To defy me?
My plan was subtle but gave him an out. I gave him a chance for peace and to grow stronger. I could have taken his companies but I didn’t. This is why a sword in its sheath is stronger than one that is drawn.