The Candidates We Deser…. I mean… EN TARO ADUN.

[Note from Ken: this post is the latest in a series of Derricks' efforts to explain American politics using Starcraft, which is as legitimate a method as any you see on cable.]

Oh man.  Let's do a quick recap of the situation:

So MidClassMitt comes out with the most uninspiring victory out of the Primary FFA that I've seen in recent memory.  I mean, compared to Dubya's staggeringly cynical moves against Mc41n in 2000 and then Mc41n's horrifically awful choice of a playing partner at the end, this year's [GOP] narrative is pretty boring.  Blah blah blah lots of econ blah blah blah Santorum spammed with tons of Banelings blah blah blah Banelings self-destruct so it's only a good strategy if you're smart enough to follow up with actual troops blah blah blah Santorum is not smart.  I'm no expert, but if the narrative surrounding your campaign generally goes along the lines of, "WTF… THIS guy?"… there may be some issues.  In any case, as a war criminal once said, "You go to war with the army you have."  That was my logic when I got married, and I've been stuck in that quagmire for about as long. ANYWAY.



Disclosure of bias: I'm in all likelihood voting for Obama.  I'm down with the gays and I will NEVER vote with the evangelical right on anything.



TheGrinch: Had one good win, got cocky, got steamrolled in the next fight, and then proceeded to FREAK THE FUCK OUT.

AtlasFan: Just like last time, he alt-tabbed out of the game to play some EVE Online (which in this case is a massive 500mb Excel File that his son sent him as a joke 8 years ago).

AggieFanWWJDForgot where he was.

Oh, and MidClassMitt picked a sabermetrician asshole as his playing partner, so that happened.



0b4m4.BuiltThat: Holy shit Diablo 3 is awesome.




And that's really been it.  And now we're in THE MATCH.  We're covering the debates here, and it will be 100% fluff.  Who gives a shit about the issues anyway.  We're not watching the debates because we're looking for an honest exchange of ideas and visions of America.  We're watching for ZINGERS and ammunition for drinking games (which are SO over now, by the way.  Palin was the high water mark, it's all downhill from here.). It's like watching a football game, you end up rooting for SOMEONE right?

Pretty standard opening so far, both teams have strong openings and strong econ.  Some standard posturing and scouting.  Otherwise, aside from the usual sniping over chat, it looks like the game will be settled like it always does; it will be all about getting a couple small exp's to provide that extra resource advantage.  OB4M4.BuiltThat is already cocky from his last major victory, in which he won so brutally that one player ended up leaving StarCraft altogether, instead making some YouTube videos that no one gives a shit about (AS IT SHOULD BE).  The [DEM] team seemed solid, good build, decent Marine-Maurader-Medevac (MMM) mix… pretty standard stuff.  But they didn't expect something…

MidClassMitt came to play.


FIRST FIGHT: MidClassMitt vs. OB4M4.BuiltThat



MidClassMitt was very aggressive in the first battle, and simply overwhelmed with about every single piece of bullshit cheese a Zerg player can bring.  But that's part of the game, and I put the blame purely on [DEM] for inadequate preparation.   He just seemed… off.  Like his instincts were totally wired for another game, all hitting the 1-4 keys and dragging his mouse button around.

As Omar would say, "When you come at the king, you best not miss".  [GOP] scored a solid victory here, showing [DEM] as woefully unprepared.  At this point, everything has been scouted… you know what's coming.  Mitt came with the counter.  Obama attempted to hedge the damage with superior-micro, but who gives a shit.  You're already hedging.  In any case, good job by [GOP] with the early attacks and I'm sure they all were giving each other pick fucking pats on the back.


SECOND FIGHT: BigJoe_TransAm vs. Ryan_Rapture


Ryan_Rapture loves him some Bioshock.  But it's not because of the Ayn Rand influence, oh god no.  No he LOVED the game for the GAMEPLAY.  Even that shitty part at the end.  And of course, the fact that the Ideal Man of Rapture, the man that Andrew Ryan hoped to create, was ultimately an inhuman monster who got beaten by a bunch of little girls… well that's just video game stuff, not any sort of political point.  It's just a delightful game about the beautiful ruins of an underwater city, and not about how a completely unfettered free market economic society led to the powerful few fighting a civil war, using the oppressed many as their pawns in an ugly game.  And there's mutants somewhere, and kids with slugs in their bodies.  And the illusion of choice.  Look, it's just a game and not how Ayn Rand is full of shit and the people who subscribe to her philosophy just want to be assholes without owning up to it.  I think I read that on Gawker once.

He also talks about Crossfit a lot.  Like, a lot.  He's moved onto p90x now though, but they're both "super awesome, bro!" And he's a dirty liar about his marathon time.

In any case, Ryan_Rapture plays StarCraft with all the passion and fire of lukewarm bowl of oatmeal.  He's almost… too much substance.  This leads to tangible strengths in the game.  When you just KNOW how the economy works, intrinsically  your build order can become incredibly efficient.  Once you hit 150 minerals, BAM the hatchery goes down.  Ryan_Rapture is almost never supply blocked (that is, he builds Overlords at a steady pace so he always has space for more troops).  But if you get that far into the weeds, you can lose track of the overall game.  Brains are fun, but games are often won with your balls too.

BigJoe is ALL balls.  And that's really the analysis.  He's going to do what he does.  And he wins more often that not.  In fantasy football, he's that guy who shows up to the draft SLOPPY DRUNK, and makes at least two homer picks.  Sometimes he forgets to set his lineup during the bye weeks.  And you can count on him to make a couple boneheaded trades.  And yet, more often than not he's making the playoffs.  The rest of the league can't believe that he does it every year… but they can't seem to digest possibility that maybe… he knows his shit.

Watching this match was interesting.  Because it felt like BigJoe was going all-in.  It MEANT more to him.  He'd throw a big blob of crap at Ryan's troops, and then throw another one, because fuck-you-Ryan.   In the matchup between Obama and Romney, it was obvious who did their homework.  Someone know how to counter a MMM build.  You could tell you scrimmaged against that build order.  In this matchup though… how can you practice against someone who's only predictable move is, "I'm coming for you, and it's going right through your pants."  You can make a plausible argument that it was a tie (whatever the fuck that means, both armies lost guys and there was no clear winner).  But I'm calling it for BigJoe… if only because of THIS:

This dick ain't going to suck itself, ladies.


Now we got another big match.  OB4M4.BuiltThat is looking for some redemption, so he's going to come pretty hard.  At this point the big-boy units are coming out.  So I'm expecting a MMM ball with some fancy Siege Tanks dancing around.   MidClassMitt feels super confident, and he's got the momentum.  But you know what, I felt super confident in my fantasy football match on Monday Night, but Philip Rivers had other plans.  And Zerg bases can be a bear to manage, one slip and all of a sudden one base is talking about rape or building too many drones.

Debates aren't about issues and zingers, it's about setting a narrative.  Obama's narrative was pretty damn shitty in the first debate.  Romney is an Asshole and Things Really Really Sucked in 2008 is not a compelling argument (though I think we've all conveniently forgotten just how shitty it was).  So I think it'll be interesting to see what the new narrative is.  Romney's big concern isn't necessarily his narrative, I think he's settled on one that kinda works.  HIS problem is that he's in a party where assholes like to say stupid shit.   And that feeds into several other narratives, none of them good.

In any case, I plan to watch the 3rd debate drunk, I suggest you do too.


In other news, XCOM Enemy Unknown is AWESOME and everyone needs to buy it.  Official Popehat AAR coming soon.

Last 5 posts by Derrick


  1. Aufero says

    I'm sure the third debate will make a lot more sense if I'm drunk. (Plus it might help with my incoherent ranting, which I've been practicing while answering those automated telephone opinion polls.)

    And yes, the new XCOM game is incredible. (Except when my Assault specialist misses three times in a row while trying to shoot a Muton Berserker.)

  2. Tobias says

    I have no idea how all these Starcraft analogies came in to this, but it makes way more sense this way.

    Maybe the world should just settle all future political debates over a game of Starcraft… although that way south korea would have world domination by 2015.

  3. Gal says

    It's about goddamn time a worthy sequel to the original XCOM games was made. Other than UFO: Alien Invasion, that is (a free fanmade game, and yes, I'm plugging it. It's incomplete, but quite good.)

  4. APStorm says

    I played UFO: Alien Invasion… Was kinda meh. Preferred UFO: Extraterrestrials Gold. Also, Xenonauts looks like it's got the right idea. Like the look of Enemy Unknown, but just can't get it yet.

  5. Christopher Swing says

    Sorry couldn't hear you over the sounds of these ridiculous guns in Borderlands 2

    But yeah I need to get on that X-Com. Someone even remade Carrier Command, I don't know what to do with myself this month.

  6. Steve Florman says

    Did some crazed teenager just sneak in and hijack Ken's laptop while he was in the head? What the hell was that?

  7. LT says

    … this might be the best breakdown of the debates I've read so far. Mostly because the idea of LAN parties in the WH amuses the hell out of me, but there's also some good points made. In video game analogy. Which, of course, makes everything awesome.

  8. Nicholas Weaver says

    I love me the new XCOM. I'm playing it in the same recreational mode I've played the previous ones: CHEATING. I just like to see ET get it…

    Yes, the team of Sid Meier, Ken Levine, Joe Kelly, and Otto Zander, plus whatever disposable drones and SHIVs want to come along for the ride and draw fire scout the enemy, are ripping through those sectoids like a hot plasma stream through butter…

  9. Dan Weber says

    I love this series even if I don't understand half of it.

    I'd probably be playing X-COM non-stop if I bought it. That's the only reason I haven't bought it.

  10. Aufero says

    Unfortunately, I understand every word of this series.

    I say "unfortunately" because a) my understanding reveals that I spent far too much time playing Starcraft, and b) Starcraft analogies are far too accurate in the context of political campaigns. It's a bit scary.

  11. Dreampod says

    I'm glad you guys are really enjoying X-Com I feeling that it is a good, but not great game. The tactical part is quite solid but the strategic is boring and doesn't include any meaningful decisions.

  12. says

    Speaking as someone entirely unfamiliar with Starcraft (hey, that's me!) this post does not compute. If one has played Starcraft, it's apparently funny as hell, but if not… yyyyeah.

    Don't get me wrong — I diss not the Starcraft players among us — I just play different games.. *nod to the Voltron and He-Man figures that I ordered earlier this week*   :)

  13. Phlip says

    So, I come here and get presented with a post full of Starcraft, then I head over to Day[9] and get treated to a video talking about Magic: the Gathering. If Limited Resources this week ends up being talking about free speech and censorious lawsuits then I'm going to end up thoroughly confused about my world.

  14. says

    My problem is that these are not "Real Time Strategy" games, they are "Real Time Tactics" games. Real strategy involves needing to get bullets to your troops and managing food and supplies all the way to the field, the need to prepare for the tactical engagements.

    Granted actual Real Time Strategy would be no fun, but it just wouldn't have been that hard to call it what it was.

    (Strategy doesn't change during battle, tactics do)

    The Roman person Aelianus Tacticus would be very angry for having his name besmirched in favor of the effing Greek military position of Strategus. Its the wrong kingdom and it isn't even a guy…

  15. darius404 says

    My problem is that these are not "Real Time Strategy" games, they are "Real Time Tactics" games. Real strategy involves needing to get bullets to your troops and managing food and supplies all the way to the field, the need to prepare for the tactical engagements.

    I believe the type of genre you're looking for would be more accurately described as "Real Time Logistics" which, sadly(?), does not exist to my knowledge.

  16. trevalyan says

    Look, if Obama wants to play Diablo 3, whatever- to each his own. Too bad he's a PROFESSIONAL Starcraft player, which means that playing Starcraft is his fucking job! And if you can't do that job, no matter what else you're doing, you're going to have a lot more time to play things that aren't pro Starcraft in the near future.

    Derrick, you're a fun commentator, but your bias is showing. Even though his micro and macro are both good, Obama's systemic problem is that he doesn't have a solid map strategy. To be fair, Romney's current strat is completely different from his playstyle in the primaries, and maybe he's not playing it as well as possible- but by God, it's working, and Obama had better wake up to that soon with a strat of his own. He's down 0-1-1, and Biden just landing a tie with Ryan means the 2v2 has serious issues heading into the last match. You think a funny forum post of Ryan flexing won Biden that match? Hahaha, that's adorable.

    Nothing short of a miracle will save Obama at this point, and it's a miracle he's not getting. Even if he broke out a God Strat in the next match, Romney will just counter with "Well, why the fuck weren't you doing that all this time?" It isn't a credible hope. Maybe Obama's skills will allow him to crack Romney's strat, but that's not a position the reigning champ should be in.