Oberon wrote:So, despite your insistance that all of Erfworld believes that on their own Side's turn that the enemy may as well be playing Chess and unable to take any action except watch the Side whose turn it is act, here are two characters who know much better than that.
Probably because unlike you, they pay attention to the details of the comic and don't make false and sweeping generalities that have no value.
And yet, despite knowing that some minor off-turn actions are possible, this character left a giant airforce of dwagons with a croakamancer, foolamancer, and many high-level warlords floating in the airspace of his city, while he did minor things like talk to Jillian, finish of the remnants of Ansom's force, talk to Jillian some more, talk to Slately, talk to Charlie...
...yeah, he pretty much assumed that anything they can do is minor and insignificant. And neither Slately, nor Antium, nor anybody who saw any of that - you know, leaving a giant army in the back door of your city while you do other stuff - none of them gave it a second thought. Slately didn't order the tower defenses to fire as soon as possible - he waited for Tram to get back, chatted, chatted some more. Antium wasn't worried in the slightest about what would happen as they sat there. Are they all "holding the Idiot Ball"? The ONLY person in this world who thought that an army in an airspace was still dangerous off-turn... was Parson.
OK, so not quite like Stratego. But damned close.
Trem's holding of the idiot ball has absolutely nothing to do with Parson using rules in a different and innovative manner, and everything to do with having utterly failed to do what a smart diplomat is supposed to be able to do: Communicate his intentions to his opponent.
And, let's look at WHY he was unable to communicate his intentions: because he was INTERRUPTED. He expected to have a nice long chat with Ossomer and then the chat with Parson. He (thought he) knew that the GK army was helpless - they could throw a tantrum, but they'd keep sitting in airspace for as long as it took him to give the order to open fire or the order to end turn.
So yes, his failure to communicate was ENTIRELY due to Parson using the rules in a different and innovative manner - he planned on an hour-long fireside chat, not knowing that the chat could be cut short ten seconds in. (PERMANENTLY cut short, not just interrupted by a tantrum, to be resumed after the tantrum is over.) (Actually, the chat might as well have never happened - Ossomer was sent with orders to stall, not to report back what was going on in the negotiation. So Parson might not even have known what went on in that negotiation - so there might not even have been ten seconds of opportunity to say something useful.)
Current events appear to judge Tram's approach more harshly than you, if we judge of the objective basis of results rather than a subjective like or dislike for a character. Tram wanted to speak to Parson, and failed. Tram wanted to forge an alliance, and that also failed. Tram felt that forging that alliance was very important to the turning point in a war which his Side started and organized, but which has his Side and at least one powerful ally (TV) nearly bankrupt, and the target of unaligned and aligned Sides alike who smell their weakness. But Tram certainly didn't take the matter of the survival of his Side very seriously when it came time to open negotiations, and instead issued orders and insults like he was about to begin the typical Royal recipe of insult, then attack. How large a pile of fail does it take before you can recognize it?
It takes a fail larger than what would be expected of any Erfworld character who did not know Parson's plan.
Tramennis - and every other Erfworlder - would expect that they can let the negotiation take as long as they feel like letting it take. If you're saying that makes it an epic fail - that makes every Erfworlder be holding the idiot ball, basically at all times, and you might as well not read the story. Because, as the story is going, I'm pretty sure that Parson will continue to make Erfworlders looks stupid by playing the game entirely differently than they do and violating their assumptions of how their world works.
I've given plenty of reasons why Tram should have known that he was under time pressure
And none of them trump the fact that Tram had just watched that huge, giant army sit there for hours in airspace doing nothing while he went on his merry little business.
In fact, as omniscient readers, we know that Tram was NOT under time pressure. Parson gave the order not to attack as long as the parley started - Tram could have, and did, take as much time as he wanted. Once the negotiation started, well, Tramennis didn't have any time at all - Parson gave the order before even hearing anything Tram had to say.
There's no reason why Tramennis would expect Parson not to be interested in a direct call. He did, as far as he was concerned, hold all the cards.
And, if as far as he was concerned, he held all the cards - there was no need for a direct call. A direct call would only be necessary if he felt there was time pressure - i.e. there was something GK could do that would prevent him from finishing what he was saying, or prevent him from making the call later. That is, he'd think that a direct call is necessary only if he *doesn't* think he has all the cards, for this fight at least. If he holds all the cards, there's no need to rush.