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• Victory Condition -By Ide Tamaki (discord handle /NOT ME)
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Victory Condition -By Ide Tamaki (discord handle /NOT ME)

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:52 am
by Ide Yesugei
Victory Condition
-By Ide Tamaki (discord handle)

Well that did not go as expected. Thought Ide Tadaji, his hand gently stroking his chin. His thoughts were referencing both the difficult game of Go in front of him and the incident that happened at the Imperial Court not that far in the past when the Emperor had made his decree, that no laws would be created or altered till an Emerald Champion had been selected. His Go opponent, Shosuro Takeru, had taken advantage of both the conversation and his wandering thoughts and created a number of difficult battlefields for Tadaji on the table of white and black pebbles sitting before them both.
The serene location of the Imperial Water Garden’s island that they played on normally helped give his thoughts clarity but now everything just seemed clouded; like the marching feet of an army of issues plowed through garden, disturbed the still water surrounding their small island obscuring the details in the pond with billows of mud and sand. He barely heard his friend after the second attempt at calling his name snapped him out of his heavy thoughts.
“Is everything alright?” asked Takeru, true concern peeking through his thoughtful face.
“It is certainly not right at this moment. It’s just for once I’m unsure how or which direction to mend things into becoming right.”
Takeru looked puzzled at his friend. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so lost in your thoughts before. Perhaps if you speak aloud it will clear your mind and channel your thoughts, progressing the game.” He motioned to back to game before them. Tadaji had not ever forgotten the game, but the concerns jumping in his head were more jumbled than he was able to ordinarily sort out and kept distracting him from his turn. There was just too much unknown information. Too many different problems. The suggestion to speak aloud was most assuredly a ploy to read deeper into the the plans of the Unicorn as a whole, but if the only information he spoke aloud were things his friend already knew then perhaps it wasn’t such a bad idea to have an outside opinion be able to react to the conflicts of his clan.
Finally and deliberately a clack sounded from the purple robed Daimyo placing his piece on the table. Folding his arms inside his sleeves he breathed deeply. “My thoughts lie with poor Iuichi Shahai. I have only been able to visit her once since her arrival but I cannot imagine the pressure she’s been put under. The swift aggression from the taking of Hisu Mori Toride by the Lion had taken all of the other clans aback. The tensions rose expectedly to war, albeit I did not quite expect such a decisive claim, such as from your recent attack here.” He compared his thoughts of the recent events to the Go board, motioning to an area occupied by a number of white pieces that were spread out but clearly placed with the purpose to aggressively threaten a contest into the center of the board while nearly securing the edge territory for white’s gain. The scorpion courtier placed his piece as he listed to Tadaji continue.
“Toshi Ranbo’s citizens must feel cursed as the city has gained the attention of all of the clans now. Their fear and powerlessness in such a fierce struggle that they have no control over must be devastating to their wellbeing. The rumor of jade mines in the area reduced the once nearly unobjected treaty that we crafted to declare Toshi Ranbo an Imperial city to ash. It seems the city is doomed by the fates no matter what it does, just as this position is.”
Delight at the challenge to sneak past his friend’s insight bursted from Takeru’s eyes. “Oh come now, the game isn’t lost for you just because you were bogged down from thought.” Tadaji eyed his friend slyly with a coy smile reaching his own lips at both Takeru’s reaction and the beauty of the strategy from his friend’s moves.
“You can’t possibly think I didn’t notice this,” gesturing at the board. “If I contest here, as you’ve lured me to with the temptation of a weakness in your defenses on that part of the board, you’ll gain this area and have an uncontested 4 point advantage of me after two moves. If I choose not to take your bait and instead attempt to reduce your territory elsewhere, you’ll respond by testing my area here, in essence making an even transaction with you already having the advantage.” Ide motions to the part of the board where white threatened capturing a board edge while provoking center. “You’ve created a situation by which no move I make will better my position.”
“Excellent deductions my friend!” Takeru smirked, his eyes alight from the in depth analysis and the clear sight of his tempting decoys. It was like Tadaji was reading his mind. To be read like a book at the end of a masterful play, to see the fate of the characters when you already know it’s too late was the best part of any experience. Though in this case it was a little earlier than he’d like to reveal his grand strategy, his friend was right that he had created a difficult puzzle to solve. Takeru’s heart wept a little at how uncanny their game was reflecting reality. True, this meant that the scorpion had done their jobs well to undermine any possible overgrowth in the power of the other clans, but the Unicorn were under some particularly hard times with their leader denying the first chance in two hundred years that they had at becoming true Rokugani again.
He turned his thoughts away from his sympathy and decided to suggest a change of pace to distract his friend.
“If you truly believe that to be case, if you have the time, would you like to concede and we could start again with fresh minds?”
The friendly cockiness that sometimes peered through his friends eyes gave light to the stubbornness and playfulness in Tadaji’s heart. Now it was his turn to smirk.
“Thank you for the consideration but I must decline your suggestion as I find this particular game an impressive reflection of current events and would like to continue.”
The scorpion was taken slightly aback as the clack of Tadaji’s immediate action and the determined face spurred his thoughts. He must have a different goal for this game now. Takeru thought. But I can’t possibly imagine how that move puts him any closer towards winning. The piece was placed close to the middle of the board, in a space that didn’t seem like a threat to white but certainly tried to contest the center. Normally in Go it’s best to fight at the edges of the board, solidifying your control and working your way towards the center. This piece did nothing to contest what spaces Takeru was threatening on the edges nor did it shore up his opponent’s own defenses.
A simply poor move won’t contest my advantage. He thought, and made his play as the purple clothed Daimyo called out, solidifying his position on a corner for the 4 point advantage.
“Now you have heard my thoughts Shosuro-san. May I hear yours such as if you were in a position like as mine?”
Takeru expected this after Tadaji had been so open with his thoughts to the scorpion. His response was markedly friendly, yet methodically coy.
“Sadly you know that you ask of me is impossible. I could not seek a victory for the Unicorn as I do not think like a Unicorn. I think like a Scorpion. Though through the efforts of my clan I’m confident we would win regardless of the actions of our opponent.”
“Even if you’re version of a win is to have the appearance to lose?”
It was like Tadaji could see through the mask he wore into his face. “I would take pride in any victory that showed the strength of the Scorpion Clan, regardless of the conditions for that victory.”
Tadaji nodded. He knew it was foolish to ask how his friend would solve a problem like a unicorn; he knew that wasn’t the answer he’d receive. But the answer that was given made the waters in his mind instantly clearer for the needs of his clan as his thoughts marched out of the garden, leaving the water clear and still once more.
“Thank you for your thoughts Shosuro-san. These games shared between us are always most enlightening.”

Time passed. Takeru’s perplexed thoughts remained hidden from his friendly exterior. The game had ended a minute ago and the points had been counted up. The game was a draw. He stared at the path the two friends were walking on as servants cleaned the game board and took the pieces away. The scorpion turned to Tadaji as they walked.
“That was an impressive display you made. Did you mean to draw the match or were you that close to almost succeeding yourself?”
Tadaji shook his head. “I didn’t stand a chance at winning that game. You had thoroughly and successfully created catch after catch to force my decisions into a losing position. But your plans had been designed to take advantage of a desperate opponent who sought to win and take any advantage offered. It was only while I wasn’t playing to win that I was able to find the clarity to even our battlefields.”
Takeru’s mind stayed puzzled.
“I don’t see the genius in playing to lose”
“Oh no. I wasn’t playing to lose by any means. But by playing to win defines that there must be a loser. I was playing as a Unicorn should. To create an option where no one loses.”
“But no one won, inherently doesn’t that mean we both lose?”
“In that case it depends on what you consider a victory. I’m sure you’re quite familiar that winning is not always a victory and losing is not always a defeat.”
Coming to the entrance to the garden Tadaji breathed a breath of fresh air with a smile peeking through his face.
“You have reminded me of a great lesson Takeru-san. Thank you.”
The now less puzzled scorpion bowed as Tadaji did, glad that he could give his friend something and that he gained some new and very valuable insight about the Unicorn’s tactics.

Re: Victory Condition -By Ide Tamaki (discord handle /NOT ME)

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:27 am
by Utaku_Yamada
Love these two! And Taddy!