Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rules of War

No, not that war. I was playing the card game with one of the short people (we actually were using the "Non-Violent, Politically Correct War" cards whose suits are love, peace, unity, and diversity). Short person was down to his last card and I had all the rest. He flips it over and it is a 6. I flip mine over and it is a 6. What happens? He has no cards for a showdown. The game cannot proceed.

Is it a stalemate? On the one hand, that would make it a tie which seems unfair to me since I have all the other cards. On the other hand, to declare me the winner based on the fact that I have the rest of the cards seems wrong because he has not lost unless he loses this round and until this round is over, he still has a card. The round cannot seemingly end.

The OldMan suggested that I could flip another card to see if that new one can beat the 6, but if this really is, in some sense modeled on warfare, then that is the metaphorical equivalent (I love the phrase "metaphorical equivalent" -- it seems oxymoronic, yet meaningful) of bringing in reinforcements and the cards should get added, but then that means we're back to declaring me the winner of a tie because I had the most cards. That seems like the ball perching itself on the middle of a net in a tennis game and awarding the point to whoever had the lead in the match, a fact that seems irrelevant to the individual point.

Would the case be any different if on the first flip of the game, the top cards and then every fourth card thereafter were the same? That seems like a legitimate stalemate and tie, but what really is the difference in the two cases?