The Unorthodox Thirty-Six Strategies of Erepublik/Deception Strategies

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The Unorthodox Thirty-Six Strategies of Erepublik

Opportunistic Strategies · Offensive Strategies · Desperate Strategies · Deception Strategies · Confusion Strategies · Advantageous Strategies

Deception is commonly used in war to create advantages for oneself, and to handicap the enemy. Such strategies are designed to mislead the enemy.

Replace Superior Beams and Pillars with Inferior Ones

 In the Warring States period Qin invaded Zhao and the two armies confronted each other at Changping. After several skirmishes the Zhao forces dug in and waited behind fortified positions refusing to come out despite daily taunts from the enemy. Knowing it was futile to lure the Zhao out, and that a prolonged stalemate worked in their favor, the Qin general schemed to remove the Zhao general leading the defense.

Spies were sent to the Zhao camp to spread the rumor that the only thing Qin feared was that Zhao Kuo, son of the famous general Zhao She. When reports of this rumor reached the king he relieved the current commander and replaced him with Zhao Kuo. What the king of Zhao didn't know was that years earlier when the famous general Zhao She was still alive he had tested his son on the art of war and found him wanting. While the son proved knowledgeable in all aspects of war his father still disapproved. When asked why, he told his wife, "To fight war entails fatal danger, but Zhao Kuo passed it off as something easy in his talk. It would be better if our king did not appoint him as commander. If he does, he will surely be the one to lead our troops to doom."

When Zhao Kuo took over command he set about restructuring the army, reissuing orders and rules, and dismissing many senior officers. When the Qin general heard of this he attacked. Using the strategy "Luring a Tiger down the Mountain" he faked a retreat. Zhao, overconfident and self-assured, assumed the retreat to be real and abandoned his fortifications to give chase. The Qin then circled back and destroyed the Zhao supply depot. Forty days later the Zhao troops were starving.

The Qin general knew that a seasoned general would never fall for such an obvious tactic, but playing on the younger general's weakness, he succeeded in neutralizing their initial advantage.

Disrupt the enemy's formations, interfer with their methods of operations, change the rules in which they are used to following, go contrary to their standard training. In this way you remove the supporting pillar, the common link which makes a group of men an effective fighting force. Commanding a large body of men is like dealing with an unthinking beast: its actions are not determined so much by what is logical as by circumstance of terrain and habit. An army that is invincible in a certain formation can be useless if that formation is broken. By changing the rules and habits under which the enemy is used to fight, you take away his physical and moral foundation.

If you achieve to change the leader of the enemy army in the middle of a war (through deception, lies, rumors or brides) you'll be able to disrupt their forces and attack tactics. If you spread rumors that you have intercept the enemy communications and their messages about the war, they will be forced to change the medium in the middle of the war. The military leader of the enemy army is a good objective to attack to mess up their troops.

Pointing the Mulberry but Scolding the Locust Tree

 During the Spring and Autumn period, Duke Jing of Qi appointed Sima Rangchu as general of the army to lead the soldiers against Qin. Sima said, "I was formerly lowly and menial. If my lord pulls me out from my village and places me above the high officials, the officers and troops will not be submissive and the people will not believe in me. Since I am insignificant and my authority light, I would like to have one of my lord's favored ministers, someone whom the state respects, as supervisor of the army. Then it will be possible." Duke Jing consented and appointed Zhuang Jia as supervisor. Sima met with Zhuang Jia and they agreed that they would begin the march at midday the next day. Sima went on ahead to the army camp where he gave orders to prepare for the next day's departure. He also ordenred his guards to place a water clock in the parade grounds.

The next day Zhuang, who had always been arrogant and aristocratic, assumed that since Sima was already at the army camp and preparations were under way, it was not urgent for him to be there. His friends and relatives from all around gathered to detain him with drinks and entertainment. By midday Zhuang had still not arrived so Sima gave orders for the army to depart. By evening Zhuang had finally caught up with the army. Sima asked, "How is it that you arrived after the appointed time?"

Zhuang acknowledged his fault saying, "High officials and relatives saw this simple one off, thus I was detained."

Sima said, "On the day a general receives the mandate of command, he forgets his home, when he enters the army and takes control of the soldiers, he forgets his loved ones, when he takes hold of the drum sticks and urgently beats the drum, he forgets himself. At present, enemy states have already deeply invaded our lands, while within the state there is unrest and movement. Officers and soldiers lie brutally cut down and exposed on the borders. The fate of the entire population hangs upon you, so what do you mean by being seen off?"

Zhuang was speechless.

Sima then summoned the provost marshal and inquired, "What is the army's law regarding those who arrive after the appointed time?" He replied, "They should be beheaded!". Zhuang was terrified and sent a messenger racing back to the capital to have the duke issue an immediate pardon. But before the messenger returned with the pardon, Zhuang had already been executed. Thereafter the officials and nobles were all terrified of Sima and no one dared hesitate in following his orders.

A rule of leadership states to always reward in public but to criticize in private to maintain the morale high. However, there are times when others need to see the possible consequences of their behavior by making an example of someone. In that cases you must be impassive and make a public example of your commanding powers. To have respect and assure the obedience of your soldiers, they must know not only the rewards, but also the punishment, and they must take them seriously.

One way to do that when you are new in the leadership is to follow strictly the rules of the army, and wait until someone breaks a rule. If you can't wait until that happens, you can always fake a success. That time, you must punish the offender without mercy to show the rest of the soldiers that they must follow the orders and rules or they will be punished. But be cautious, because in a game like this, soldiers can leave the army when they want and you'll lose their strenght and the leadership.

This can be useful if you can't get their respect as a leader by your actions. If soldiers doesn't respect your capabilities they can fear punishments (like dishonor expulsion from the army). With this you can guarantee that they will follow your orders in battle.

Feign Madness, but Keep your Balance

 Just before his death, the founder of the Ming dynasty, Hongwu, bequeathed that the throne be passed over his sons to his grandson Huidi. Only sixteen when he was appointed emperor, Huidi was counseled by treacherous advisors to eliminate the other branches of the family. One by one the young emperor's uncles were summoned to court to answer to charges of corruption. Always found guilty, they were stripped of their rank, reduced to the status of commoner, and exiled to a remote district.

A year later five of the princes had been eliminated, leaving only one uncle that still retained position in the government: the prince of Yan. The prince was alone and isolated, waiting for the inevitable summons to court which he could not refuse since his own sons were held as hostages in the capital. To give himself time to plan a way of saving himself, he feigned madness. He ran through the streets of Beijing screaming and yelling, stealing food and wine, and sleeping in gutters. For days he sank into deep depressions and would see no one. In warm weather he sat by the stove, shivering and complaining of the cold. But it was all a smoke screen meant to deceive the emperor.

When the emperor heard these reports he said, "Alas, my poor uncle has gone truly insane. Let us release his sons to him in the hope that they may bring him back to reason." This was the young emperor's fatal mistake. With his sons safe, the prince of Yan was free to openly challenge the emperor's authority. He raised an army and by 1402 the young emperor was dead and the prince of Yan assumed the throne as Emperor Yongle, one of the Ming dynasty's greatest rulers.

An ancient text says, "When an eagle is about to attack, it will fly low and draw in its wings. When a fierce cat is about to strike, it will fold back its ears and crouch low. When the sage is about to move, he will certainly display a stupid countenance".

It is well known that the strongest contender in any sphere of activity automatically fears, and therefore becomes an enemy to the second strongest. To hide your strength, feign madness since without the power of rational thought, all other powers are useless. When you cease being a threat, hostile attentions will be focused on the next most powerful. This buys you time to scheme for victory.

This strategy has many uses. You can hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a possible traitor to create confusion about your intentions and motivations. Lure your opponent into underestimating your ability until, overconfident, he drops his guard. Then you may attack to they weak points.

You can also use this strategy to hide the true power and organization of your country. It's always difficult, because new players usually write articles criticizing the internal organization of the army and recommending changes (you must be cautious, because some of them can be spies). Feign a disorganized military structure and poor leadership, and your neighbors will be calm and relaxed until you attack them by surprise.

Lure the Enemy onto the Roof, then Remove the Ladder

 After defeating the rebel kingdom of Wei, the famous Han general Han Xin was sent to quell the other two kingdoms who had revolted, Qi and Chu. General Han set out towards Qi, but Chu sent its general, Long Chu, with a force of two hundred thousand men to intercept Han's invasion of Qi. The two armies met on opposite sides of the Wei river.

General Han ordered his men to fill over ten thousand sandbags and carry them up-river to dam the flow of water. The next morning General Han led his army across the lowered river and attacked Chu, but after a short engagement pretended defeat and fled back across the river. General Long announced, "See, I always knew Han Xin was a Coward!" and he led his army across the river in pursuit.

Through a prearranged signal, General Han had his men break the dam and free the pent-up waters. Only hal of the Chu army was across the river when the flood cut the army in half, drowning those caught midstream. General Han then wheeled around his retreating forces and attacked the advance guard of Chu, killing General Long Chu. The remaining troops panicked and fled in all directions, but in the end were captured by the pursuing Han soldiers.

Every type of terrain can provide both an advantage for one form of warfare while a hindrance for another. With baits and deceptions, lure your enemy into treacherous terrain. Then cut off his lines of communication and avenue of escape. To save himself he must fight both your own forces and the elements of nature.

Each army has his own advantages and disadvantages. First you must know the important advantages of your group and then lure your enemy to provide you with the best scenario.

Some armies have an important number of coordinated soldiers to attack at the last minute, so you must mislead your enemy to cut down the number of troops in the state you want to attack. Other armies have some really strong heroes who can destroy the enemy forces using some gold, so it's important to deceive the enemy to accumulate troops in a zone for some time, before you can send these characters to lower their wellness and weapons stocks. Others have soldiers full of supplies and rich enough to expend some gold in wellness packs during a full assault, this can be a good way to weaken your enemies troops with a direct combat between both. Always choose the battle scenario that benefit you.

Deck the Dead Tree with Flowers

 During the later Han dynasty, the Qiang barbarians revolted and invaded Han territory. The Empress Dowager Teng appointed General Yu Xu to raise an army and drive out the barbarians. The Qiang led several thousand troops to occupy the strategic pass of Yaoku to await the Han. Outnumbered, General Yu halted his army some distance from the pass and publicly announced that he would wait until reinforcements arrived before venturing any further.

When the Qiang heard this they relaxed their formations and divided up into raiding parties to plunder the local countryside. Taking advantage of their scattering, General Yu broke through the pass and advanced at double the normal speed covering more than a hundred li a day (a li consist of 500 meters or 1640 feets). The Qiang regrouped to give chase, but the Han already had a day's head start on them.

During the pursuit, General Yu sought to dissuade the Qiang from attacking. On the first night he ordered his soldiers to light one cooking fire for every man. On the second night each man was to light two cooking fires, and on the third, three. Seeing that the number of cooking fires increased each night the Qiang did not dare to attack.

Someone asked, "Sun Bin reduce his cooking fires but you increased them. Furthermore, accordint to Sun Tzu, an army on the march should not exceed thirty li a day, yet today you have advanced a hundred. Why is this?" Yu replied, "The enemy troops are numerous while our soldiers are few, so is wiser to avoid direct attack. When the barbarians see our fires increasing each day they will certainly interpret it as evidence that reinforcements from the garrison are joining us. Believing that our numbers are many while our speed is quick, they will hesitate to pursue us. Sun Bin manifested weakness, but I now display strength because our relative strategic power is different. With our troops at their rear, they will hesitate to invaded any further."

The Qiang became ever more wary of engaging in battle and finally decided to disperse and return to their homelands. It was then that General Yu turned about and pursued the retreating barbarians inflicting severe causalities and driving them out of the territory.

While it is important to learn of your enemy's plans, it is equally important to conceal your own. Through the use of props, facades, and camouflage, you keep the enemy in doubt of your strengths and weaknesses. Use artifice and disguise to make something of no value appear valuable; of no threat appear dangerous; of no use, useful.

Information is vital in warfare, but more important can be to hide your own information from the enemy. Things like number of troops, squads, number of resources in the market, help from foreign countries and pacts and the most important, how well (or bad) organized is your army. You must conceal all this information to make more difficult to plan an attack or a defense, and whenever is possible deceive the enemy about your true forces. If you are weak, pretend to be stronger to force peace or a treaty; if you are strong, pretend to be weaker to give your enemy hopes and keep him unready for your final blow.

Exchange the Role of Guest for That of Host

 In 180 B.C. empress Lu, the wife of the first Han emperor passed away. For years after her husband's death she had held power, supplanting the authority of the late emperor's Liu clan with her own family, the Lü. Upon her death the Liu family plotted to reclaim their control over the empire. One of the few remaining members of the Liu clan who had escaped the empress's purge still held a high position as the king of Qi. He received a secret message asking him to raise his troops andmarch on the capital of Chang'an where he would be assisted by other Liu supporters from within.

The king of Qi ordered his general, Wei Po, to secretly ready the army for mobilization, but the primer minister of Qi learned of the king's intentions. He intercepted the general's orders and using the imperial seals in his possession , ordered the army to surround the king's palace and keep him prisoner until further instructions arrived from the capital (the prime minister was appointed by the court to watch over the conduct of the king).

General Wei Po went to speak with the prime minister, pretending that he had no involvement or knowledge of the king's plot, and said, "Even though the king wants to send out his troops, he cannot since he does not possess the Tiger Seals of the Han court which would give him authority to do so. I beg you allow me to take command of the troops for you and keep the king under guard!"

The prime minister, believing that Wei Po was on his side, handed over the seals and put him in charge of the troops. But as soon as he had taken command, Wei Po had the troops surround the prime minister's offices instead.

"Alas!" said the prime minister. "The Daoists have a saying: 'Strike when the hour comes, or suffer the ruin that follows.' This, then is wat they meant!" The prime minister then committed suicide. The remaining members of the Liu clan rose up in revolt and destroyed the entire Lü family.

The strategist of the old have a saying: "I dare not play the host, but play the guest; I dare not advance an inch, but retreat a foot instead." When you are weak but your enemy is strong there is no chance for victory in a direct contest. Instead, by assuming a subordinate position, you may have the chance of undermining and subverting your enemy's power.

Defeat the enemy from within by infiltrating the enemy's force under the guise of cooperation, surrender or peace treaties. In this way you can discover his weakness and then when the enemy's guard is relaxed, strike directly at the source of his strength (internal unity, alliances, economy, or whatever makes your enemy strongest than you).