Move along; there are no games here.

This whole week of civil unrest is weighing on me. It was a powder keg waiting to go off and I sincerely hope we see substantive change as a result. As an American in 2020, I’m trying to do my part to slow the spread of Covid-19 out there while also trying to quell the spread of horrible misinformation on the internet when I find it.

Of course what I’d rather be doing is designing games and puzzles! But there’s no puzzle to be made from all this unrest. And any game ideas I have can easily be held until things settle down.

Yet my puzzle constructor brain won’t shut down. I see the game inside so many of these events in the news. I feel like Ed Harris in Westworld methodically scalping robots amid the insanity, looking for some higher meta-puzzle. Except that he was clearly evil (I’m not spoiling anything there… it’s Ed Harris, people!).

So I wont make a game from what I see in the news, but I nonetheless see a lot of games playing out. After all, it takes a gamer to know a gamer… or a player to know a player.

    Talking crap about an area of the Scrabble board so that your opponent focusses there and plays right into your hands.

    In the real world, I saw it play out in the news and on Twitter the other day. The real troublemakers post “ideas” for general areas of the city in which to protest. This gets protesters together on a similar page. The instigators throw out names of streets and parks in the area. Unsuspecting protesters indicate a few preferences. Those controlling the game then nudge the fired-up parties toward nearby areas with upscale stores. Internet-savvy looters send out an updated rendezvous location and time. They get their cars together while many other opportunist looters simply show up with no coordinated planning. If and when protesters show up, the two schools of looters blend into the crowd, they guide them toward the intended stores if they can, loot and escape under the cover of civil demonstration.

    From my estimation, the above happened almost verbatim yesterday (June 1, 2020) in Van Nuys.

    This is no indictment of the protestors. In a time of unrest and grassroots energy, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. It’s easy to forget to check sources. Unfortunately, in this media dominated arena, the message that somehow comes across all too often is that there are some bad people out there you should be afraid of… and then unscrupulous propaganda machines use that to their own ends.
  2. Diplomacy
    Setting up a skirmish with an opponent on one of your fronts on the map board and then running to other players complaining of oppression to get their sympathy.

    Perhaps you saw scenes of the homeless man in Austin whose mattress was supposedly set on fire the other day by protesters. There was an online war sparked by alt-righters saying it was an indictment of the protest, and then a response from the other side insisting it was the right wingers who staged the whole incident.

    I have my doubts that it was legit. And at any rate it was used as a tool to sow division. This happens way more than we think. And in the end I’m willing to bet that the people who always seem willing to bandy about the “crisis actors” claim are in fact using that term because A) they devised that term, and B) they use that tactic themselves.
  3. Stratego
    Pulling a trusty high-strength attack piece back, hoping your opponent forgets which one is which so you can spring it on them later.

    There’s no doubt that the police department takes care of its own. When an officer gets too much heat on them, they seldom remove them or retire them. Instead, they pull them back from the public eye and they let people forget. It has also come to light that there are somewhat arbitrary and premature end dates on their databases of complaints alleged against their ranks.

    The system clearly needs more oversight, but do you know the name of the oversight board for law enforcement? Or how many there are? I looked it up. There are purportedly a lot of them, but none of them are on the tip of our tongues to be sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if you heard from them once in a while, as opposed to the old “Rest assured it’s being reviewed by Internal Affairs” chestnut.

    One the other hand I applaud the fact that we see body cam footage much more these days than we used to. I’m honestly impressed by how quickly that was adopted and (often times) how quickly the footage is made public. We need more of that.

  4. One Night Werewolf
    Creating a problem (dead villagers, usually), waiting until the townspeople are in a frenzy and then swooping in to be the voice of reason when in fact you are one of the werewolves.

    Let’s see if I can think of some examples:
    – Letting a pandemic get worse so that you can try to be the governmental savior?
    – Creating and/or allowing unfounded information to flourish so that you can come in and “clear things up once and for all”?
    – Letting someone do your dirty work and then firing them?
    – Blaming others from something you did and then finding a scapegoat?
    – Dropping hints and speculation just to see which way the wind blows so you can side with your voting constituents?

    Okay. This one I’m just gonna call out straight away. We have an orange werewolf in the White House.