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War Game

 

Explanations > Behaviors > Games >  War Game

Purpose | Game play | Discussion | So what?

  

Purpose

Primary: Power, Revenge

Secondary: Social capital

Game play

  • B feels threatened by A or wants something that A has.
  • B attacks or threatens A.
  • A feels outraged and attacks B back even more viciously, either alone or by calling in allies.
  • B feels even more threatened and outraged by A's escalation.

Discussion

Wars appear in many places, include families, workplaces and (of course) nations. They are often harmful to all involved and often much easier to start than to stop. Even after a war is 'won', niggles, recriminations and follow-up games may continue for a long time.

Both sides in a war feel justified and always seem to have 'God on their side'. 'Feud' is a minor form of niggling war that can drag on for centuries.

There are a number of common patterns in wars, including:

  • Alliances and drawing other people into the two sides.
  • Taking, defending and attacking of positions.
  • Battles and skirmishes, that become ends in their own right.
  • Massive commitment of resources to the war.
  • Extreme goals and actions that can include total extermination of the other side.

So what?

Beware of starting wars - they are very difficult to stop. If you are caught in one, see if you can take a mediation role.

See also

Blame Game, The Third Side, Warfare, Power
 

Eric Berne, (1964), Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Balantine Books

Thomas Harris (1996), I'm OK-You're OK, Avon books

 

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