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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Literal Translation:
Stealing while (the house is) on fire

Tactical Classification:

Historical Basis (Wikipedia):
Various. There is no direct elaboration on Wikipedia. This is a common tactic employed many times throughout Chinese history. Early mentions are from Sun Zi 孙子 (otherwise spelt "Sun Tze" by western countries) of the famed Sun Zi's Art of War 孙子兵法.

Stratagem Analysis:
"You slimey unethical weasel!" just about sums up your victim's reaction when you use this tactic on them. Keep in mind that this stratagem was originally used in war, thus crushing the enemy is justified. The basic idea is to either await or create a disaster to strike your enemy; a disaster of such a scale that all normal function is paralyzed or incapacitated. Security is compromised, the leadership is in disarray, etc. Everything else becomes second priority to "putting out the fire". Now is the time to strike, and strike ruthlessly hard. Crush the enemy completely!

Once in a long while, a disaster will strike on its own, but it is perfectly possible to engineer a disaster. For a thorough demonstration of this concept, please watch "Ocean's 11" or any of its sequels. Brilliant movie!

Applied to SGS:
Since this tactic is usually employed by the "raiders" against the "defenders", it is easiest for the Rebels 反贼 to apply this tactic. But when it is "business-as-usual", there is seldom any chance that a disaster will strike the Ruler 主公 in this game. Therefore, more drastic action needs to be taken...

... you will need to create the disaster!

Let me just put this out on the table: getting this to work is not going to be easy. It takes a very sharp team of Rebels that know how to gauge the scenario well. Here's one probable scenario to apply this stratagem:

Scenario A - It is a 6 player game with Player A as Ruler. Players B, C, D, E and F are seated in sequential order. It is already known that players E and F are Rebels, but strangely, players B, C and D all seem to be loyal to the Ruler! That can't be right since there are 3 Rebels, why is the 3rd Rebel feinting loyalty?? After some time, Player B suddenly equips the crossbow and unleashes a barrage of Attacks on the Ruler, severely damaging him. The Ruler and his aides reel in shock. Despite Players C and D successfully wounding B, the Rebels E and F relentlessly strike the weakened ruler. Just like that, in 1 turn, the Ruler is dead.

Q: What determined Player B's timing to strike the Ruler?

A: When the Ruler became complacent and had too few cards on-hand. Player B took the opportunity to strike. This shock effect is the disaster that was created. Players C and D reacted out of panic and failed to make the right judgement, which is to strike Players E and F instead.

Here's another possible scenario...

Scenario B - All the Rebels are dead. There are 2 Loyalists 忠臣 and only 1 Defector 内奸 alive (other than the Ruler, of course). The defector has been very careful not to expose his role, so everyone is a suspect in the eyes of the Ruler. 

One of the Loyalist is using Xiao Qiao and still has 2 units of health. The other loyalist and the defector both  have only 1 unit of health left. For "fairness", the Ruler attacks Xiao Qiao, but Xiao Qiao takes the opportunity to deflect the damage away to the other Loyalist, whom she had been suspecting is the Defector all this while. The other loyalist is unable to save himself and dies. To the shock of the Ruler, he needs to discard all cards since he is the source of the attack! The happy defector takes the opportunity to hack away at every left without mercy!

Requirements for this Stratagem to work:
- Foresight to plan out a disaster
- Excellent spontaneity to react to the disaster
- Patience


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