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When You Begin A Game

WHEN YOU BEGIN A GAME…

Dr. Pulsipher –

When you begin a game, you must first learn something about each of your opponents. Sometimes you will know quite a bit to begin with, but you can also ask people who know the opponent better than you do. You want to know if your opponent is generally reliable or not, what his objective is, whether he is a classical or romantic player, and whether or not he is good at negotiation, strategy, and tactics…

Whether a player’s style is “classical” or “romantic” is tricky to define. Briefly, the classical player carefully maximizes his minimum gain. He pays attention to detail and prefers to patiently let the other players lose by making mistakes, rather than trying to force them to make mistakes. He tends to like stable alliances and steady conflict in the game. He tends to be reliable and good at tactics. The romantic is more flamboyant, taking calculated risks to force his enemies into mistakes, trying to defeat them psychologically before they are defeated physically on the board. (Many players give up playable positions because they’re convinced that they’ve lost.) He [the romantic player] tries to maximize his maximum gain, at the cost of increasing potential loss.

If you skimmed the above two paragraphs, please immediately go re-read them carefully. I say without exaggeration – this is one of the single most insightful and important lessons I ever learned, in all of life.

The classical player carefully maximizes his minimum gains.

The romantic player tries to maximize his maximum gain, at the cost of increasing potential loss.

— The Strategic Review by Sebastian Marshall || Link to the post