The Unorthodox Thirty-Six Strategies of Erepublik/Opportunistic Strategies

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The Unorthodox Thirty-Six Strategies of Erepublik

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

The "Opportunistic Strategies" thrive on situations where vulnerabilities can be exploited. The idea is to capitalize on all opportunities so as to gain the advantage.

Creating Something from Nothing

 During the An Lushan rebellion, the Tang general Zhang Xun was under siege by the forces of general Linghu Chao. Outnumbered twenty to one, the defending Tang forces soon ran out of arrows. To remedy this General Zhang ordered his men to make straw dummies and dress them in black uniforms. That night the dummies were lowered over the city walls by ropes, accompanied to the beat of war drums and gongs. General Linghu thought the enemy was launching a surprise night offensive and ordered his archers to shower the figures descending the walls with arrows. Once the dummies where riddled with arrows, the Tang soldiers pulled them back up over the walls, thus restoring their supply of arrows.

The next day General Linghu, feeling humiliated, attacked the walls in revenge. That night the Tang again lowered the dummies but General Linghu ordered his men to ignore them believing it was the same trick to get more arrows. When General Zhang saw that no one was firing at the straw dummies, he ordered five hundred of his best troops to be lowered instead. They made a lightning raid on the encamped soldiers, catching them completely by surprise. The siege was lifted and General Linghu's army fled the field.

Direct attack and indirect attack are interchangeable depending on the enemy's expectation. Here a feint (Nothing) becomes the direct attack (Something) which, due to the enemy's assumptions, is in fact an indirect attack.

If you use the same feint twice, having react to the first and often the second as well, the enemy will be hesitant to react to the third feint. Therefore, the third feint is the actual attack catching your enemy with his guard down.

This is another efficient battle strategy. Feint a false attack two times, and the third the enemy will be unprepared. You can use the media or the enemy spies to spread rumors about your battle plans, and secretly send other orders to your troops. If you deceive your enemy, you'll be able to surprise them.

Secret Escape through Chen Cang

 Toward the end of the Qin dynasty, Liu Qi was given the governorship of the remote province of Han, after helping with the capture of the capital for the rebel lord Xiang Yu. This in effect exiled Liu Qi, because Xiang Yu was afraid and ashamed of his superiority, and spared the threat of his presence at the new court.

The shortest path to reach Han was through a precipitous valley where part of the road consisted of a wooden walkway that ran along the steep cliff walls and which was supported by beams inserted into deep holes carved into the solid rock. Liu Qi's advisor, Jian Liang concerned that Xiang Yu might think them to much of a threat to allow them to escape said, “Would it not be wise to burn and destroy the wooden roadway which you have passed over? This would prove to the world that you have no intention of marching east again and thus set Xiang Yu's mind at ease.” Liu Qi agreed and the army burned the walkway as they passed.

However, after a month of preparation, Liu Qi was ready to march east and fight Xiang Yu for control of the empire. First he ordered a large work detail to begin repairing the wooden walk-way while secretly sending his main force along narrow mountain trails through Chen Cang. When news that they were repairing the walkway reached Xiang Yu, he ordered the king of Yong, Chang Han, to lead an army and position themselves at the terminus of the walkway. There they could bottle Liu Qi's forces in a narrow valley leaving them with no chance of breaking out. This was the obvious strategy for such a situation and Liu Qi had counted on whoever was sent to oppose him to use it.

Liu Qi's general Han Xin, who had set out weeks earlier, came out of the mountains well behind Chang's troops who were waiting at the valley entrance. They launched a surprise attack from the rear while Liu Qi and his troops charged out of the valley from the front. Chang was defeated and Liu Qi would triumph in the end and become the Emperor Liu Bang of the Han Dynasty.

Against seasoned and wary opponent, feints will prove to be ineffective. Instead one must make an actual attack to gain his attention. Once his forces are concentrated in defending the obvious attack, you attack from a second direction, thus catching him by surprise and dividing their army.

This can be a difficult strategy to implement in the game, but you can complement the “Clamor in the East, Attack in the West”. A true convergent assault is vastly different from a feint or bolding attack by one force with the aims to divert the enemy from the main blow, while the other aims to divide the enemy forces.

If you think the enemy will know your feint for the next battle, you can surprise them again with two true attacks. They'll divide their troops between different objectives to try to predict your true attack, or they can try to wait until the last moment to select the objective to defend. If you strike several objectives, you can surprise their forces (again) and reduce their defensive response.

Observing the Fire on the Other Side of the River

 In the early years of the Three Kingdom period, the warlord Cao Cao had defeated and killed his rival Yuan Shao. After his death, Yuan Shao's three sons began fighting over the succession. Cao Cao decided to launch another attack, but as soon as he began to mobilize his troops the sons united their forces against him. Then one of the ministers, Guo Jian, said, “When we attacked we provided the three sons a common enemy to unite them. Let us bide our time and allow them to resume fighting amongst themselves. After they have weakened themselves we can attack again”. Cao Cao withdrew his army and soon the Yuan brothers renewed their squabbling. Eventually the two younger brothers won out and the eldest brother was killed. During this time Cao Cao had started attacking outlying provinces. By the time the eldest brother was killed, the two remaining brothers feared engaging Cao Cao and instead fled to a distant province in the northeast, under the control of Gongsun Gang. Some ministers urged Cao Cao to pursue the brothers before they could elicit the help of the barbarians, but Cao Cao ordered his troops to withdraw and assured his minister that Gongsun would soon send him the heads of the two brothers.

Shortly thereafter a courier brought the two heads neatly wrapped and boxed. When asked by the confounded minister for an explanation Cao Cao told them, “If I had attacked the brothers, Gongsun would assume that he would be next to fall under my dominion and his logical choice would be to unite with the brothers against me. But if I provided no threat to Gongsun then the success of the two brothers would be his next immediate threat. Since I did not present the threat, Gongsun was able to eliminate his next possible threat ten and there”.

An ancient parable says, “Sit on the mountain and watch two tigers fight”. This strategy is similar to “Looting a Burning House”, but in this case the enemy will be engaged with another enemy, not an internal turmoil. If you delay entering the field of battle until all the other players have become exhausted fighting amongst themselves. You'll have the upper hand, and will fight with full strength, picking up the pieces.

When there are several players each competing with the other to attain the same goal, restrain yourself from being drawn into the fray. While it may seem opportunity is slipping past, wait and watch. Either the goal will reveal itself as not worth fighting for, or you can attain it later with far less effort.

As has been told with other strategies, wait until your enemies (or friends) are weak after fighting and then strike to achieve your own objective. Patience is one of the sharpest weapons.

A Dagger Hidden in a Smile

 During the Warring States period, General Yang of Qin invaded the state of Wei and laid siege to the city of Wu. The king of Wei, already weakened from a previous battle, was unwilling to face another engagement and asked his counselors for advice. One of his officials, minister Ying, said, "General Yang was originally a native of Wei and in our youth he and I were close friends. I therefore request to be allowed to go personally to appeal to our friendship and try to persuade him into lifting the siege." The king agreed and sent the minister to Wu.

When he arrived, minister Ying sent a message asking for a meeting outside the city walls in three days to discuss a mutual retreat. When general Yang received the message that his old friend was in charge of the city's defense and was requesting peace negotiations he readily agreed. Three days later minister Ying left the city and, to show his good faith, was accompanied by only three hundred men. General Yang greeted his old friend with open arms and invited him and his men to a banquet. During the celebrations, minister Ying and his men were seized and their uniforms taken. Dressed like Wei soldiers, the men of Qin marched back to the city and ordered the gates opened. As soon as the gates were open they rushed in and seized the city. The trusting minister Ying was taken back to Qin as captive.

Charm and ingratiate yourself to your enemy. When you have gained his trust, you move against them in secret. In any contest where the stakes are high, kindness and goodwill are quickly discarded. To hide sinister intentions behind the facade of friendship and loyalty is standard practice in the upper echelons of power and politics. You can always talk about peace and ceasefires to weaken the enemy defense, or tell different things to two enemy countries to begin a war between the two.

Use with caution tactics like this, because in a game like Erepublik the image of your character for the world can be very important. If you always manipulate and lie to your allies, nobody will entrust your words and at the end this strategy will be useless.

Sacrifice the Plum Tree in Place of the Peach

 While in residence at the Qi court, lord Meng Zhang sent his retainer Feng Xuan to collect the taxes from his little fief in Xue. Before he left, Feng asked his lord, "Is there anything I may buy for you when I return?"

"If you see something my house lacks, buy it", replied the lord.

Feng Xuan went to Xue and sent out officers to summon the people to settle their debts. When he had collected all the tallies Feng feigned that he had received an order from Lord Meng absolving all outstanding debts. He returned all the money, burned the tallies, and returned to Qi. The next day Feng called on Lord Meng who was surprised to see him return so soon. "Why have you return so speedily? Have th edebts been collected? asked the lord.

"They have already been collected", was the reply.

"What did you purchase on your return?"

"My Lord asked me to see if there was anything your house lacked. It was my humble opinion that your castle was filled with precious objects, that your stables abounded with steeds, and the lower palaces with beauties. It seemed that only one thing was lacking, and that was fealty. This I bought my Lord."

"How can one buy fealty?" asked Lord Meng.

"At the moment you hold the little fief of Xue, yet you do not cherish the people there as your own children, but look on them as a source of profit," replied Feng. "Your servant took it upon himself to feign an order from you relieving the people of their debts and they cheered your name. That is how your servant purchased fealty."

Lord Meng was displeased but said, "So be it! You may now rest, sir."

A year later the old king of Qi died and the new king distrusted all of his predecessor's advisors. Lord meng was informed he was being relieved of his duties and sent back to govern his own fief. Lord Meng and his entoruage set out to return to Xue, but when they were still a hundred miles from the city, all its people, even the elderly and children, came out midway to welcome their lord in joyous celebration. Lord Meng turned to Feng and said, "Your purchase of fealty on my behalf is apparent to me today."

"My lord", replied Feng, "even the wiliest rabbit needs more than one bolt hole to escape to in order to survive".

There are circumstances in which you must sacrifice short term objectives in order to gain the long term goal. In order to gain one thing it's ofter necessary to lose another. Trying to hold on to everything at once may cause you in the end to lose everything. Instead sacrifice smaller concerns to strengthen your more important endeavor.

Never hesitate to do whatever is necessary to achieve your objectives. It could be money and gold, or a region to be used as a decoy, or the wellness of some of your fighters, the most important is the final goal. If some sacrifices turn easy to achieve the true goals, it'll be a good exchange.

Seize the Opportunity to Steal a Sheep

 During one of the north expeditions of Zhuge Liang during the Three Kingdoms period, his troops were having problems with provisions. Zhuge Liang tried to bring on a battle, and daily sent champions to provoke a combat. But the men of Wei would not come out. Then Zhuge Liang called Jiang Wei and certain others to him and said, "The enemy refuse battle, because they know we are short of food. We can get none by way of Chencang, and all other roads are very difficult. I reckon the grain we brought with us will not last a month. What must we do?"

While thus perplexed, they heard that many carts of provisions for Wei were passing by from the West Valley Land, and the convoy was commanded by Sun Li.

"What is known of this Sun Li?" asked Zhuge Liang.

A certain man of Wei replied, "He is a bold man. Once he was out hunting with the Ruler of Wei on Great Rock Hill, and a tiger suddenly appeared in front of his master's chariot. He jumped off his horse and dispatched the beast with his sword. He was rewarded with a Commandership. He is an intimate friend of Cao Zhen."

"This is a ruse," said Zhuge Liang. "They know we are short of food, and those carts are only a temptation. They are laden with combustibles. How can they imagine that I shall be deceived by this sort of thing, when I have fought them with fire so many times? If we go to seize the convoy, they will come and raid our camp. But I will meet ruse with ruse."

Then Zhuge Liang sent Ma Dai with order: "You and three thousand troops are to make your way to the enemy's store camp and, when the wind serves, to start a fire. When the stores are burning, the soldiers of Wei will come to surround our camp. That is how we will provoke a battle." He also sent Ma Zheng and Zhang Ni with five thousand troops each to halt near the camp so that they might attack from without. These having gone, he called Guan Xing and Zhang Bao, and said, "The outermost camp of Wei is on the main road. This night, when the enemy see a blaze, our camp will be attacked, so you two are to lie in wait on the two sides of the Wei camp and seize it when they have left." Calling Hu Ban and Wu Yi, he said, "You are to lie in wait outside the camp to cut off the retreat of the force of Wei." All these arrangements made, Zhuge Liang betook himself to a summit of the Qishan Mountains to watch the results.

The soldiers of Wei heard that their enemies were coming to seize the grain convoy and ran to tell Sun Li, who sent on a message to Cao Zhen. Cao Zhen sent to the chief camp for Zhang Hu and Yue Chen and told them, "Look out for a signal blaze; that would mean the coming of the army of Shu, and then you are to raid the Shu camp immediately." Meanwhile Sun Li marched over and hid in the west hills to await the coming of the men of Shu.

That night, at the second watch, Ma Dai came with his troops all silent. They saw tier after tier of carts on the hills, making an enclosure like a walled camp, and on the carts were planted many flags. They waited. Presently the southwest wind came up, and then they launched the fire. Soon all the carts were in a blaze that lit up the sky.

Sun Li saw the blaze and could only conclude that the troops of Shu had arrived and his own side were giving the signal, so he dashed out to attack. But soon two parties of soldiers were heard behind him closing in. These were Ma Zheng and Zhang Ni, who soon had Sun Li as in a net. Then he heard a third ominous roll of drums, which heralded the approach of Ma Dai from the direction of the blaze. Under these several attacks, the troops of Wei quailed and gave way.

When Zhang Hu and Yue Chen saw the fire, they threw open the gates of their camp and sallied forth to help defeat the army of Shu by seizing their camp. But when they reached the Shu camp, they found it empty. So they hurried to set out to return. That was the moment for Hu Ban and Wu Yi to appear and cut off their retreat. However, they fought bravely and got through. But when at length they reached their own camp, they were met by arrows flying thick as locusts. For Guan Xing and Zhang Bao had taken possession in their absence.

They could only set out for headquarters to report their mishap. As they neared Cao Zhen's camp, they met another remnant marching up. They were Sun Li's soldiers, and the two parties went into camp together and told the tale of their victimization. Cao Zhen thereafter looked to his defenses and attacked no more.

While carrying out your plans you must always be flexible enough to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, however small, and avail yourself of any profit, however slight. This is not really a strategy, since it's dependent on fortuitous circumstance which you cannot apply at will. Instead, this strategy advises one to always remain alert to the current situation and search for unexpected opportunities.

There are always certain events that can change the course of a war if you are enough clever to use them to your advantage. National holidays of the enemy country, a scandal, the sale of an important company. If it's necessary modify your strategy to match the opportunity.