The Art of (CP) War

How applicable are traditional military treatises in the world of CP warfare?

Military treatises. In the real world, if you were to become a general, you’d have read a couple of military manuals, guides on strategy and tactics, and all sorts of stuff that should help you win battles. It’s a bit of a surprise to me that no one has yet to write a military treatise for CP armies (not one that I’ve heard of anyway), since after all, the army community has produced so much written work over the years- no guidebook on leading in war at all?

Alright- that isn’t the main topic of what I want to talk about today. Instead, what I want to look into is how applicable are existing real-world military treatises in CP armies. The first thing we need to recognize is that there are many aspects of real-life warfare and CP warfare that is similar and different. No, in CP we do not have things like terrain, weather, and supply lines; what we do have are good generals vs mediocre generals, tactics and strategies. This should mean that at least some areas of a real-life military treatise would be applicable in armies? Right?

General Sun Tzu

We’ll see. I’ve picked a certain treatise to use as an example today, and it’s a famous one. It’s called The Art of War, and it was written by a Chinese general called Sun Tzu more than two thousand years ago. The Art of War has been used over the centuries mostly in East Asia as a must-read treatise for generals, but in the past few decades we’ve seen it used in so many things in the Western world, most importantly business. If The Art of War can be applied to business, then surely it can be applied to CP warfare too? We’ll see here.

The Five Factors

Sun Tzu wrote that “the art of war is governed by five factors”. He lists them as:

  • The Moral Law
  • Heaven
  • Earth
  • The Commander
  • Method and Discipline

I’ll analyze them and see if any of them applies to armies.

THE MORAL LAW: This simply means ‘which side is right?’ By normal logic, the defending side would be on the ‘right’ (as they’re the ones being invaded), while the ones invading do not have the ‘moral law’. Armies in CP have an invading and defending side, so I’d say this is applicable.

HEAVEN and EARTH: Weather and terrain. (What season is it? Is it mountainous? How long does the army have to march?) Most people know that terrain is something that has to be chosen carefully before a battle. However, in CP, all servers look the same (sadly), and so this is not applicable.

THE COMMANDER: Sun Tzu said that:

The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.

Basically, which side has the better general? Leaders are probably one of the most important parts of CP warfare.

METHOD AND DISCIPLINE: This simply talks about the quality of the army. Here in CP Warfare, it’d be how big the army is and how well they can execute tactics.

Sun Tzu declared that he can ‘forecast victory or defeat’ according to this. It’s like a checklist. Before a battle, you check through these and add up your points- if you have more checks than your enemy, then Sun Tzu predicts you’re going to win. So a checklist in armies would look somewhat like this:

  • Your army is on the defensive
  • Your army has a more experienced and able leader
  • Your army has a larger size than the enemy
  • Your army can execute tactics better than the enemy

Wouldn’t it be fun trying to predict battles this way. 😉

Picking out the tips…

I’ll go through The Art of War and see if there’s anything interesting that applies to armies as well as real life.

There is no instance of a country that has benefitted from prolonged warfare.

We’ve seen this many times now. Lately, armies bent on destroying each other have been doing continuous war- and it’s proved to be very destructive for army sizes. Morale plummets, sizes drop- in the end, no one really gets much from a ‘long’ war. What Sun Tzu suggests is for you to wage war quickly and try to gain a quick victory.

Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards.

Armies have been going through this sort of thing since the beginning of armies. Writing propaganda posts on the army site that help boost morale, and later awarding medals and ranks to people who attends events- they’re almost the structure on which the army runs.

It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.  If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

This one is very interesting. It suggests that if an army is smaller than the other, running away is the best option. Obviously, asking for peace if you know your army can’t beat another could be a good idea (losing all your servers isn’t fun), but then others view it as cowardice. I’ll let you think about it.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Another interesting quote. What Sun Tzu says here is that you need to know both how well your army performs, and how well your enemy performs. This will allow you to plan accordingly. He goes as far as to say that if you know both the enemy and yourself, you’d win a hundred out of a hundred battles.

Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen.

I like this one. Those who know a lot of history will know of a tactic. It’s called the ‘feigned retreat’, and it’s when an army attacks another, pretends to retreat, and leads the other army right into an ambush. That’s why Sun Tzu says never to pursue an enemy who is retreating wildly. We could reverse it though and apply it in armies- have a tiny division of your army go into the enemy, attack and retreat out into another room, and have the base of your army waiting there. That’d be fun wouldn’t it? 😉

There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general: (1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (2) cowardice, which leads to capture; (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults; (4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame; (5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.

Personally I don’t think this one needs much explanation. The bad qualities of a general- outlined. If you’re leading an army, you might want to make sure you don’t have too many of these qualities.

What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.

Here, Sun Tzu suggests the use of spies to obtain knowledge that can help bring you victory. After all, intelligence is important. Knowing your enemy’s plans before they use them can help you gain victory. This is also supporting the quote on knowing your enemy and knowing yourself.

* * *

I’ve only taken a few quotes here and there to give examples of how real-world tactics, treatises and battlefield strategy can be transferred to CP. The Art of War is actually relatively short, and it fits all in one webpage.  Now, this post wasn’t meant to teach you much- it’s only a short post with some tips, anyway, but what I wanted to suggest is that perhaps by thinking about tactics that real-life generals use, applying it to armies could help you to win an easier victory, especially if the enemy leader doesn’t know a thing about what you read. The Art of War is actually a good place to start, since there’s a lot of tips in there that you could use, not just in a leadership of an army, but in many places- I’ve already mentioned that it’s already being applied for businesses.

You know, knowing a bit of history and tactics could perhaps change the way you lead. And maybe, just being a more innovative leader could bring your army some unprecedented victories.

Thanks for reading.


CPAC Vice President

25 Responses

  1. A fine edition of Splasher’s Philosophy Posts.


  2. Mother of God. What a post. Well done.


  3. Nice post!


  4. ily splasher and his posts


  5. Absolutely fantastic post. If this was warming up I’ll be amazed to see what your posts are like once you settle in fully.


  6. Very good, and very interesting. A lot of the things that Sun Tzu mentions are quite obviously more applicable than a lot of us might see at first, and your analysis is very good. I agree with what you said at the start as well, that it is strange that no one has written no military treatise.


    • I think it takes a great deal of maturity for a leader to step up and read something like this once in a while, realise their mistakes, and try to change the ways they lead, rather than simply believing they’re a great leader. Overconfidence gets you killed in real life warfare, and it could be said that it gets you get couped in CP warfare. If only leaders read stuff like this more often, then some armies would be greatly improved.


      • I highly doubt that my post would lead to any meaningful change in the community, I do wish that leaders would read it and perhaps maybe apply some of these tips into their leading. A lot of armies could be changed and warfare might become more interesting (at least the tactics wouldn’t be as stagnant as it is right now).


        • Yeah, although I wouldn’t go as far as calling it ‘boring’ and ‘repetitive’ i think if some people were to study the art of war then some interesting concepts of war could be applied.


  7. boring. I pressed CTRL+F to see if I was mentioned in the post, and I wasn’t, so this post automatically sucks.


  8. I’m always jealous of you. But, man, I haven’t seen you in this much power! Great post, more than great. Fantastic post. Clearly describes everything necessary in armies and a lesson taught to armies as well. Well done my friend.


  9. I disagree. I think there is virtually no military strategy involved with CP armies. We merely stand in a line for half an hour mindlessly pressing buttons. And leaders, during battles, have command over two things. What emote to do and what way the line is facing. I think the real war is alot more political. (the royal) We started out as arbitrary colors having massive snow ball fights on the childrens world of Club Penguin. But (the royal) we have evolved so much since the. Now, we have chats, and websites, ranks, and divisions,and much more. And the leaders use them well. They make propognda posts, they schedule leader meetings, they have debates. I believe that is the true war. I also think that Club Penguin has the potential to be a battlefield for strategy as well. But so long as we are fixated on lines, we won’t get there. I think this is the next step on our evolution. Strategic conquest. I think there will be a new leader who will have the audacity to attempt the inthinkable. Use true stratigic maneuvers during battle. And slowly but surely, others will follow. When will that occur? No idea.
    But the again, that’s just one Goblins opinion.


  10. The Light Troops have done this, its called the owner guide :p


  11. Needs more pictures for edd


    I’m sure this would be more relevant to armies, despite appearing to be unrelated.


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