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Incapacitation Effect

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2011-06-24 03:08:51

Incapacitation Effect

So this study indicates that video games actually curb the incidence of violent crimes. This is despite affirming a relationship between violent games and aggression. The crime reduction is rather caused by a "voluntary incapacitation effect"; would-be criminals willingly take themselves out of play by being spending their time racking up five star warrants in Grand Theft Auto instead of assaulting people IRL.

That's positive in terms of pragmatic outcome - less crime is great, but it's more than a touch unsettling in an "opiate of the masses" perspective.

That made me consider the effects of video game play on other endeavors. I remember reading somewhere that fantasy football costs American employers over a billion dollars a year in productivity. That's astonishing. I wonder if we could've cured cancer and put a colony on Mars by now, if we hadn't been afflicted by the Tetrises, Bejeweleds, and Farmvilles of the world. It'd be ironic if we never develop the holodeck because we're too busy playing games.

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2011-06-22 19:44:48

Diplomacy VI - Fall of 1995

The Adjudicator is a moron. As I'm sure many of you experienced, the website suffered significant outages over the past few days. I wanted to make sure the players had access to the board, so I emailed it to them. Unfortunately, it included some moves I had begun to enter. THANKFULLY, to the credit of our players (Italy in particular), they continued their chosen paths with integrity, and saved the game from being scrapped. The only move with any doubt was Britain's support of Poland's fleet into Sweden. He must have been debating the merits either way, and now none of us (including himself) will ever be entirely certain of the outcome had he not been privy to Russian movement. Oh well, I do believe (with no way to prove it) that he would have executed that order anyhow. Kudos to Russia for handling the situation with aplomb and grace.

My FUBAR made me feel like I was in a Three's Company-style 70's sitcom, in which I mail off an angry letter based on a complete misunderstanding, or leave a drunken break up message on an answering machine - trapping me in a scenario where I'm concocting desperate plans to commit burglary to intercept the missive. At least I learned not to send emails like that so early in the morning before a sturdy dose of caffeine. Thank God I've never done that with a sensitive business email.

Britain revealed his hand. Steve G. was one of the many players placed in dire straits by France's erratic play. Without any resolution of the western political triangle, England's strategic progress was entirely halted. One option was to support France's invasion of Spain, knowing that the Anglo-French cooperation would devolve into conflict once Spain was eliminated. That option would have involved the inevitability of taking on France and Germany solo. The other option, which he chose to pursue, was to throw in with Spain to curtail the F/G abomination, which also involves supporting Poland as a German buffer. This too is fraught with perils, as German (and a Russian) fleets reconfigure against him. At least this course involves having allies into the endgame.

It's less obvious than the situation with Spain, but France severely harmed any reasonable chance Britain had of winning the game, right from the get go. As long he submits sharp tactical orders, Britain can dig in defensively against Germany, and slowly grind his way into France. As the midgame evolves, all he can do is hope the game leaders commit errors allowing him to catch up.

Egypt revealed his hand as well: a grand scheme to shockingly deposit an army in the Italian heartland, to be a hand suddenly and unexpectedly throttling her throat. It was a fantastic (read: accomplishing a fantasy) maneuver that required immense patience, nerve, and most of all, imagination. As I wrote last turn, Steve W. is smarter than any player on the board. But as I predicted, he outsmarted himself, as Turkey immediately geared up to slash Egypt's unprotected belly with yet ANOTHER fleet to dominate the Mediterranean and an army to serve as the actual spear point. I've been deriding French play for actively acting against his own interests, but Egypt has done the same. The difference is that Egypt only hurt himself on a brilliantly daring gambit, as opposed to destabilizing the entire world via a myopic strategy.

France opened the game with forceful negotiations, in the pursuit of an immediate siege against Spain. But Paul completely neglected the demands of his geopolitical triangle. In pursuing British support against Spain, BUT refusing to attack Germany, he completely failed to consider British strategic necessity. This in turn has allowed Germany to act with impunity, and those two rocks have sent tsunami sized ripples crashing across the world. If France had to eliminate Spain, that should have been a midgame objective, once the political framework and angles of attack were in place to properly support it.

Fundamentally, France has significantly injured the chances of victory for FOUR nations. Taken by itself, that sounds like an incredible feat of Diplomacy, until you mention that he himself is one of those four.

Thanks to France, Germany has had free reign to Wehrmacht his way into eastern Europe. Mike's iron boot is inexorably pressing on Poland's neck, but his alliance with France has finally forced him to spend builds for a second front against England. This relieves a modest amount of pressure on Poland. Germany and Poland are natural allies, and Germany needs to polish off this unnatural invasion before his momentum slows to a grind.

Germany is in solid position, but as he comes into contact with the Ukrainian half of the Juggernaut, he's facing diplomatic necessities for the first time since establishing his understanding with France. Intelligent negotiations could propel him to mastery of the midgame, but he has to first overcome the repugnance of French political stink. However, the Russian need for support (and vengeance) acts as a powerful ace in the hole for Germany.

Italy has curiously shutdown diplomatic relations in this, Kodi's most critical moment. True, her chances for victory are negligible, and foreign forces completely encircle her nation, but they all have differing goals and likely need her for support maneuvers and/or to act as a buffer. In accepting her inevitable defeat, she now possesses the complete freedom of acting with nothing to lose. She can still aim to play kingmaker, or to cripple whichever opponent has most incurred her ire.

My assessment of Poland remains the same as last turn. Vargas has come a long way from his first game, where he relentlessly pursued smash and grab stabs for random supply centers he couldn't hold. This is the best game he's played, only to be hamstrung by French designs, and through no fault of his own. He's desperately clinging to survival while anxiously awaiting a Ukranian breakthrough into Russia.

Russia has gone into full on revenginator mode, as Charles sent his dislodged fleet into the Skagerrak AWAY from his defensive configuration. He parlayed a tactically superb delaying maneuver against Ukraine into the use of that fleet for two more turns. Faced with a double team from the game's onset, Russia has played magnificently. He simply refuses to yield before the superior force assailing him, and you can palpably see his diplomatic thumbprint on Germany.

Spain improbably gained a supply center. As France finally pressed onto Spanish soil, Kang is well-prepared for a Thermopylae-style face bloodying. The new addition to the German navy seals British cooperation, and they can slowly look to reverse the even slower French incursion. Even at this late hour, France could have clandestinely negotiated with England, and dissuaded Germany from expanding his navy. But no, Britain joins Spain on France's MUST DIE list, and the West is locked in a multiple full body death grip stasis hold while...

Turkey rolls unimpeded. He has irresistible angles of attack on Egypt, and unless Italy reverses her hyper-defensive isolationist policy, Egypt has no available help. I could analyze Turkey's situation further, but this sums it up nicely (quote used with permission):

"vawce: You should buy France a beer after this game :D"
"Gorbash: Oh yeah, I owe him a round for destabilizing Europe so effectively and preventing anyone from consolidating into a threat on that front later in the game."

Ukraine continues to make progress on Russia, but it's too slow. Yino needs to crack him yesterday. It's a race to do so before Germany cracks Poland. If Germany manages to turn the corner, it would be extremely difficult to put that 800 lb djinn back in the bottle.

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