Tales from the War Room

“War must be the first last, and only concern of the Prince” says Machiavelli. To this end war simulations have been a consistent part of life for students of history and international relations. Recently, I had the privilege of attending one of these and I pass on the notes from this austere gathering in hopes that you can all gain some of the same lessons I did from this noble practice.

———-The Lead Up———-

Tension is high in the tiny space of Williams Hall where battle will be joined. The setting: Vietnam, 1964. To my right, the players North Vietnam and Laos; to my left, South Vietnam and the US. I myself am China. I am also on my first Nyquil and whiskey, the drink of choice when your head and your conscience hurt. The inciting incident is announced, a guerilla attack in South Vietnam and we retire to our groups to decide our battle plan. I have no group, but with the second Nyquil and whiskey, the vague apparitions that will be my advisers are taking form.

———-Turn 1———-

The first round of moves are announced, Cambodia is tense. Their overbearing prof has made this game worth 45% of their grade and the second member of Cambodia just broke up with the US leader last week. He looks like he is out for payback. North Vietnam has just finished deploying 12 divisions to the border when the piercing cry of “BITCH” rings out. South Vietnam’s leaders are none too happy that they are about to get a can of invasion opened on them. The South’s intelligence apparatus suggests that perhaps if the North’s leader did not pull bitch shit like this all the time, his GF wouldn’t have walked out on him. The North promptly doubles the invasion force to 24 divisions, all on instructions to “Get those asshats.” I consider intervening but with my third drink, my chief military advisor, Field Marshal Mighty Mouse, has informed me that it is far more important that we secure cheese supplies along the South China coast. I announce to the room that 250,000 men will be sent to do just that. They look at me like I’m mad, but fuck them; I have all the cheese now.

———-Turn 2———-

A lifetime of passive aggressive frustrations are being played out. Cambodia 2# has been informed by the US that failure to get back together with him will result “all the B-52 your dipshit country can handle.” Cambodia 3# and Cambodia leader urge Cambodia 2# not to sink their grade; Cambodia 2# is weighting an F against getting back together with that douche. South Vietnam meanwhile is crumbling as his US ally plays real politick with his sex life, but has released a press statement detailing the bedroom inadequacies of the North Vietnamese team. The North is requesting my aid in the war but, 6th drink in hand, my full cabinet is in chaos over the very real dragon threat on our metaphysical border. Chairman Easter Bunny advocates firing nukes at right angles to reality while General Yig-Soth of the Thousand Eyes suggests that we learn the language of the dragons and breed them with rabbits for use as ground troops. This seems a far wiser plan and I announce my wise diplomacy to the room. I demand top hats and monocles from the North for all my dragon-bunnies. They agree in hopes that at some point, I will send them aid.

———-Turn 3———-

Cambodia 2# has decided her dignity is more important than her grade and has informed the US that he will be getting action, provided he opens talks with his right hand. In the ensuring diplomatic repartee, Cambodia is nuked twice, incendiary bombed once, and invaded by “every US soldier EVER!!!” North and South Vietnam, previously bitter foes, have unified into one army after being informed by the moderating professor, an enthusiastic devotee of the Sam Bieler school of beverage that they are under attack by 1 million dragon bunnies in monocles and top hats. Resistance is futile and I am promptly given my demanded title and land as Monocled Overlord of all South East Asia. This I trade to Cambodia for her number. If I recalled who she was or what she was like the next morning this could have blossomed in to something beautiful.


(Or maybe USSR, I don’t really remember. Shit, maybe it was Laos? Did we even have a Laos?)

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