While I was doing my usual morning round of feeding the menagerie and listening to the radio this morning I heard a rather intriguing report. It was about the lack of rationality in decision making within the banks. Apparently there has been some survey that says the bankers were driven by greed and recklessness, not rationality (what a surprise). As they kept going on about (banking) rules it was not a big jump for me to wonder about how this worked in games.
In terms of rationality, how many decisions do you make in a game that are carefully considered, and how many are impulsive, seat-of-the-pants and irrational? I know I intend to plan stuff, and sometimes I do, but not always by a long chalk. Particularly when I feel like I’m already winning, I’ll relax a bit and not be so careful in my moves. It’s only natural. The same goes for if I feel angry or stressed (often due to events outside the game): I’ll play more impulsively. Knowing this, can you exploit it?
I find this an idea worth pondering as it leads onto the subtleties of the mind games that you can play within any game. Playing the opponent rather than, or as well as, his army. Perhaps a simple statement of the objective for these mind games is to encourage irrationality (and therefore mistakes) by your opponent. One gamer I know is well known for this intentional badgering of opponents, purely to put them off their stride and confuse their thinking. For him this isn’t cheating, it’s simply part of the meta game. For me this is perhaps going a bit far, but it’s contextual too. It seems more widely accepted as reasonable in tournament environs where winning is more important. That too is understandable.
But is it right?