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Aglet56
Sep 1, 2011


okay, so starfleet has these training simulators with fake starship consoles and fake viewscreens and stuff and they use them to run training scenarios. presumably there's a lot of different scenarios that teach cadets different things

the kobayashi maru scenario is infamous because it's a no-win scenario: a freighter has a hit a mine in the klingon neutral zone, and the captain must decide whether or not to rescue the crew. if they try, they'll face an unbeatable number of hostile klingon vessels

except, why would any cadet think that this is a particularly unusual exercise? if you only ran through the scenario once (and it's mentioned that kirk is unusual for having tried the kobayashi maru multiple times, so presumably most cadets only do it once), you'd think of the scenario as one where you either retreated without the crew or blew up your ship. wouldn't this happen all the time in training scenarios? is the expectation that you'll get a flawless S-rank on every simulation on your first try, and the kobayashi maru is the sole exception? i'd expect that you'd be getting your ship blown up all the time in training scenarios, and afterwards you wouldn't think that the scenario was "no-win," you'd just review your mistakes or whatever.

furthermore, kirk's whole thing about "i don't believe in no-win scenarios" in wrath of khan is dumb because the kobayashi maru scenario seems to be basically programmed like an arcade game: an endless stream of enemies just spawns in front of you. it's framed as kirk being an anti-authority rebel, proclaiming defiant optimism in the face of a staid starfleet command, but really it's more like somebody yelling at nintendo because they didn't include a way to beat dr. mario

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reignofevil
Nov 7, 2008


Sometimes you gotta break the rules.


One time when I was very young I enabled the infinite health cheat and set out to complete the campaign of Dark Forces 2. The first level of dark forces 2 requires you to be brought to zero health in a futile attempt to gunfight with a sith apprentice and so if you have infinite health you can never progress in your military career and the developers all laugh at you. You end up impotently throwing grenade after grenade at this rear end in a top hat with a lightsaber's feet hoping that the developers set this challenge to complete after a certain amount of health has been depleted from the sith apprentice just in case you win. It wasn't.



Kirk cheating the Kobayashi Maru worked similarly in my mind.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



The test exists to be challenged. There is no victory conditions but you get credit for creating edge cases they were un prepapred for. Kirk, iirc, got in trouble for cheating in both timelines so the point narratively is he doesn't want to admit that loss is possible that he will do whatever it takes to avoid that outcome, even if ostensibly he breaks the rules.

Its also mentioned they update the sim and Riker's chosen path only makes sense if you assume they updated the sim to account for attempts at doing what the two Kirks did.

Mooey Cow
Jan 27, 2018



Pillbug

It's special because all the other scenarios involve an abomination spawning from the transporter, or the ship being held captive by the holodeck.

Badactura
Feb 14, 2019

My wish lives in the future.


I thought it just had a reputation among students as the simulation no one had ever gotten a positive ending for. Also in the new movies they klingon aren't endless there's just a lot of them

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





Presumably, the point of mission simulation for Cadets who are aspiring to reach the lowest officer rank at the end of their education is to test their knowledge of Starfleet's doctrines, procedures and the ability to apply them to real-world scenarios they might face in the field, so as to prove that they are ready to face those situations.

If you are presented with the scenario of, say, a freighter attempting to smuggle contraband or a malfunctioning bit of Space Infrastructure, there are clear right and wrong answers, things that the Rulebook specifically demands that you do and things that it demands you don't do. You have to follow those guidelines and also show your ability to adapt if things don't go the way they did in the textbook.

The Kobiyashi Maru is a No-Win Scenario because it puts you in a position where there is no right answer based on Starfleet's rules. If you leave those space truckers to die because of a treaty or if you get your crew killed trying to save them because you violated the treaty, in both cases you're doing something Starfleet Rules say is wrong. That's why its described as a "Test of character," by Kirk when Saavak objects to it. Its testing how you handle a situation where there isn't a correct choice, because that's something an officer may have to deal with once they get out into space.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Badactura posted:

I thought it just had a reputation among students as the simulation no one had ever gotten a positive ending for. Also in the new movies they klingon aren't endless there's just a lot of them

Yeah as presented across the shows and books, they aren't limitless. Its enough ships to feel realistic while just enough to be a nearly assured loss so if you want to go out guns blazing you can but you won't win.

In one of the really lovely books a character completes the exam by using the Kyobashi Maru as a suicide bomb to heavily disable 2 of the 3 enemy vessels and manages to win the fight, although admittedly by triggering a war and killing everyone on the Kyobashi Maru.

Aglet56
Sep 1, 2011


Sanguinia posted:

Presumably, the point of mission simulation for Cadets who are aspiring to reach the lowest officer rank at the end of their education is to test their knowledge of Starfleet's doctrines, procedures and the ability to apply them to real-world scenarios they might face in the field, so as to prove that they are ready to face those situations.

If you are presented with the scenario of, say, a freighter attempting to smuggle contraband or a malfunctioning bit of Space Infrastructure, there are clear right and wrong answers, things that the Rulebook specifically demands that you do and things that it demands you don't do. You have to follow those guidelines and also show your ability to adapt if things don't go the way they did in the textbook.

The Kobiyashi Maru is a No-Win Scenario because it puts you in a position where there is no right answer based on Starfleet's rules. If you leave those space truckers to die because of a treaty or if you get your crew killed trying to save them because you violated the treaty, in both cases you're doing something Starfleet Rules say is wrong. That's why its described as a "Test of character," by Kirk when Saavak objects to it. Its testing how you handle a situation where there isn't a correct choice, because that's something an officer may have to deal with once they get out into space.

But so every other scenario has a clear way to 100% perfectly complete it, and the cadets are expected to do so on their first try? I feel like the whole point of training scenarios is to present these sorts of ambiguous problems. In other words, every scenario should be like the Kobayashi maru!

It's also unclear if there's any kind of grades or ratings that the cadets are getting. Every example of a Kobayashi Maru solution that we see doesn't seem to have affected the cadet's career at all. What are you learning if the only feedback you ever get is "okay cool?"

SidneyIsTheKiller
Jul 16, 2019

She's delusional,
"where's god", etc.
Completely suicidal.
One day she snaps.
She wants to kill herself
but she realizes that
teen suicide is out this year
and homicide is a much healthier therapeutic expression.


Star Trek II was the last of the original crew movies that I watched, and the opening Kobayashi Maru sequence was the most surreal movie-viewing experience I ever had.

I honest to god thought I must have been dreaming or something, because it felt like it was making these connections based on what I already knew and had seen about Star Trek in these sort of dream-logic ways. "This uses the same music from Star Trek III? That can't be right, only the music from Star Trek I ever got re-used. That Vulcan lady played by Kirstie Alley is Saavik? They never recast in Star Trek, and why is she commanding the Enterprise? There are klingons in Star Trek II? What does this have to do with Khan again? Um, those Klingon ships on the view screen are CLEARLY the same shot from Star Trek I. Where's Kirk, anyway? This sure seems like a dramatic battle for the beginning of the movie, they're already abandoning ship. And now the viewscreen is sliding open and there's Kirk, I believe I have been grossly misinformed about this movie....."

It wasn't until they made clear that it was a simulation that I finally accepted that I wasn't hallucinating.

SidneyIsTheKiller
Jul 16, 2019

She's delusional,
"where's god", etc.
Completely suicidal.
One day she snaps.
She wants to kill herself
but she realizes that
teen suicide is out this year
and homicide is a much healthier therapeutic expression.


Aglet56 posted:

It's also unclear if there's any kind of grades or ratings that the cadets are getting. Every example of a Kobayashi Maru solution that we see doesn't seem to have affected the cadet's career at all. What are you learning if the only feedback you ever get is "okay cool?"

I don't get the impression there's any way to fail the Kobayashi Mark test unless you just totally crack under pressure or quit in the middle of it or something. It's there to ensure every cadet faces abject failure at least once during training.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Presumably you do the test again from staff roles, and that would be graded. Its a good test too since you've got a captain trying to come up with whatever horseshit might work so you need to know in your role every obscure weird thing your function can do and suggest as needed to the person roleplaying the captain.

Its basically a very in depth war game simulation like most militaries do except it has a guaranteed "you will lose something" built in.

Verviticus
Mar 13, 2006

Security? Please escort the fan in section 106, row 16, seat 1 out of the building right now and bar him from coming here again!




starfleet is basically the best of the best among people who decided they really wanted to try hard in a society where nobody needs to try hard so its probably not unthinkable that a lot of them generally just ace every test, assignment and simulation to the point where maybe failing one is notable

SidneyIsTheKiller
Jul 16, 2019

She's delusional,
"where's god", etc.
Completely suicidal.
One day she snaps.
She wants to kill herself
but she realizes that
teen suicide is out this year
and homicide is a much healthier therapeutic expression.


Wait a sec, is Saavik the op? Saavik is that you?

Julius CSAR
Oct 3, 2007

Switches Set


I prefer Marinerís simulation in lower decks. At least she has fun with it.

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


Isnít it just a trolley problem? Also there seem to be a pretty clear if slightly edgelordy answer: let the freighter blow up. If it blows up, you lose some miners. If you attempt rescue you start a war.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Torquemada posted:

Isnít it just a trolley problem? Also there seem to be a pretty clear if slightly edgelordy answer: let the freighter blow up. If it blows up, you lose some miners. If you attempt rescue you start a war.

As described in material I think the implication is since it is a simulation and not an actual war, lots of cadets go head to head with it to stretch their thinking and prove themselves. Like if you are told "there is no wrong answer, we merely measure you aptitude" you probably would want to show your stuff and try to impress the people reviewing your simulation run. Hell if you come up with something really clever it can get named after you or bonus commendations.

Further, even if you plan to just fly past and follow regs I assume you'll be graded a) on how you did it and b) given pressure by the simulator to make you doubt your choices.

SidneyIsTheKiller
Jul 16, 2019

She's delusional,
"where's god", etc.
Completely suicidal.
One day she snaps.
She wants to kill herself
but she realizes that
teen suicide is out this year
and homicide is a much healthier therapeutic expression.


The longer you wait you learn that the Kobayashi Maru has dozens of children on board and you hear their screams over the the speakers and members of your crew will threaten to mutiny if you don't try to rescue them. i just made that up but like Spock is fond of saying there are always (*Shatner pause*) possibilities.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




the whole thing is basically a rorshach test and it doesn't have good vidya game balance b/c it wasn't written by pro gamers

that said i always thought the intent of the scene was to establish that kirk's a sore loser (and possibly not somebody you really want in command?)

SidneyIsTheKiller
Jul 16, 2019

She's delusional,
"where's god", etc.
Completely suicidal.
One day she snaps.
She wants to kill herself
but she realizes that
teen suicide is out this year
and homicide is a much healthier therapeutic expression.


Sore loser, probably. But the movie's case is definitely that command is where Kirk belongs. The Kobayashi Maru in the movie is more of a personal thing about how Kirk has avoided facing mortality and can't fully appreciate life as a result.

Yvonmukluk
Oct 10, 2012

Everything is Sinister



Torquemada posted:

Isn't it just a trolley problem? Also there seem to be a pretty clear if slightly edgelordy answer: let the freighter blow up. If it blows up, you lose some miners. If you attempt rescue you start a war.
Well, I mean you're still letting a bunch of innocent people die. Presumably you're not meant to expect the Klingons/Romulans to be there.

SidneyIsTheKiller posted:

The longer you wait you learn that the Kobayashi Maru has dozens of children on board and you hear their screams over the the speakers and members of your crew will threaten to mutiny if you don't try to rescue them. i just made that up but like Spock is fond of saying there are always (*Shatner pause*) possibilities.
The potential mutiny if you don't attempt rescue actually meant to be part of it (the screaming children, not so much).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdTfyKkaQ_Y
This video gives a decent gist of what it entails as well as what various characters do to try and beat it.

RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.



Games Idiot Court Jester


My winning strategy would be to kill the ship myself and defect to the Klingons

BiggestBatman
Aug 23, 2018


Hilarious how every time the KM test seems to be depicted in shows or books its to show how fuckin rad some character is by showing them beating the test in some way (except for saavik lol and apparently sulu who just said I'm not gonna push my luck)

Feldegast42
Oct 29, 2011



SidneyIsTheKiller posted:

The longer you wait you learn that the Kobayashi Maru has dozens of children on board and you hear their screams over the the speakers and members of your crew will threaten to mutiny if you don't try to rescue them. i just made that up but like Spock is fond of saying there are always (*Shatner pause*) possibilities.

IIRC not sure if they pipe in the cries from the abandoned orphan toddlers but apparently some of the crew do mutiny in the exercise if you decide to fly on by, or so I read somewhere

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~


A real-world example might be interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6fSUaZlsWw

The Space Shuttle astronauts trained repeatedly for a variety of possible scenarios. The Shuttle design unfortunately was such that certain failures at certain points were irrecoverable and would at minimum lead to loss of vehicle (if not the astronauts as well). One such scenario would be too many main engines failing too early. The video above shows one such scenario: the Shuttle is ultimately doomed by the consecutive failure of all three main engines and cannot get to a runway. It ends with the crew hopefully managing to bail out while the orbiter is still in the air. (Ditching the Shuttle was extremely unlikely to work; the stall speed is just too high and there's no way you're surviving a 200mph ditch into the water.)

So in this example, the simulation supervisor (Sim Sup) is likely watching and evaluating the crew's responses to make sure they're going through their checklists and doing everything they can to save the ship, and later themselves. There's nothing they could do to 'win' the scenario.

indigi
Jul 20, 2004

picture me workin McDonald's!
I'd rather pull a mac on you
sorry Ms. Jackson, but I'm packin


Pillbug

Sanguinia posted:

If you leave those space truckers to die because of a treaty or if you get your crew killed trying to save them because you violated the treaty, in both cases you're doing something Starfleet Rules say is wrong.

this seems like a problem with Starfleet's rules?


imo the real problem with the Kobayashi Maru is that the computers and poo poo all catch on fire and the crew has to play act being hurt or dead or whatever. like what is that, what does that bring to the training. why is Mr Logical Spock pretending to be dead.

Sir DonkeyPunch
Mar 23, 2007

I didn't hear no bell


Seems like a real lovely treaty if you canít notify the other signatory that ďhey, we need to enter the neutral zone for a rescue, donít blow us upĒ

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

low vis




Sir DonkeyPunch posted:

Seems like a real lovely treaty if you canít notify the other signatory that ďhey, we need to enter the neutral zone for a rescue, donít blow us upĒ

I'm guessing someone tried to do that in one of their runs and it crashed the simulation, like how one of the apocryphal tellings of how Nog beat the Maru test was he that he thought like a Ferengi and just bribed the Klingons into going away and the program crashed because lol federation post-money economics.

Up Circle
Apr 3, 2008


Sir DonkeyPunch posted:

Seems like a real lovely treaty if you canít notify the other signatory that ďhey, we need to enter the neutral zone for a rescue, donít blow us upĒ

fam how do you think they're gonna do exciting episodes about going into the neutral zone with this kind of lax attitude towards crossing lines.

indigi
Jul 20, 2004

picture me workin McDonald's!
I'd rather pull a mac on you
sorry Ms. Jackson, but I'm packin


Pillbug

why can't you go into the neutral zone anyway, the name implies there aren't any rules for either side about going there

reignofevil
Nov 7, 2008


Sometimes you gotta break the rules.


The only side that gets to blow up a bunch of innocent colonies in enemy space and then retreat into the neutral zone are the Romulans.

Snowman_McK
Jan 31, 2010
ASK ME ABOUT MY SELF-PUBLISHED WARHAMMER FANFICTION AND MY KNIFE COLLECTION


Farmer Crack-rear end posted:

A real-world example might be interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6fSUaZlsWw

The Space Shuttle astronauts trained repeatedly for a variety of possible scenarios. The Shuttle design unfortunately was such that certain failures at certain points were irrecoverable and would at minimum lead to loss of vehicle (if not the astronauts as well). One such scenario would be too many main engines failing too early. The video above shows one such scenario: the Shuttle is ultimately doomed by the consecutive failure of all three main engines and cannot get to a runway. It ends with the crew hopefully managing to bail out while the orbiter is still in the air. (Ditching the Shuttle was extremely unlikely to work; the stall speed is just too high and there's no way you're surviving a 200mph ditch into the water.)

So in this example, the simulation supervisor (Sim Sup) is likely watching and evaluating the crew's responses to make sure they're going through their checklists and doing everything they can to save the ship, and later themselves. There's nothing they could do to 'win' the scenario.

There's a story that French train drivers are trained similarly. During a test in which an alarm will sound if they don't do as instructed, sometimes they just fire the alarm, to see how the trainee reacts when something unexpected and not in the rules happens.

Fantastic Foreskin
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



indigi posted:

why can't you go into the neutral zone anyway, the name implies there aren't any rules for either side about going there

Warships are generally frowned upon in neutral territory.

indigi
Jul 20, 2004

picture me workin McDonald's!
I'd rather pull a mac on you
sorry Ms. Jackson, but I'm packin


Pillbug

then itís not neutral itís ďdemilitarizedĒ

Foxfire_
Nov 8, 2010



Aglet56 posted:

except, why would any cadet think that this is a particularly unusual exercise? if you only ran through the scenario once (and it's mentioned that kirk is unusual for having tried the kobayashi maru multiple times, so presumably most cadets only do it once), you'd think of the scenario as one where you either retreated without the crew or blew up your ship. wouldn't this happen all the time in training scenarios? is the expectation that you'll get a flawless S-rank on every simulation on your first try, and the kobayashi maru is the sole exception? i'd expect that you'd be getting your ship blown up all the time in training scenarios, and afterwards you wouldn't think that the scenario was "no-win," you'd just review your mistakes or whatever.
Presumably cadets talk to each other and it's the scenario that you didn't beat, no one in your year beat, none of your upperclassmen beat, and everyone knows is impossible. So just do it the one mandatory time and then go back to training scenarios that aren't run by a malicious DM.

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





indigi posted:

then itís not neutral itís ďdemilitarizedĒ

Based on the context of various Star Treks the rules of the Neutral Zones seem to be that 1) they're not part of any nation's polity and neither power exerts any political authority or can establish any permanent settlements or outposts there 2) the Klingons can go into their Neutral zone, the Romulans can't go into their neutral zone (but do so under Cloak anyway), and the Federation doesn't get to go into either neutral zone.

Asymmetrical treaty obligations are a staple of how the Federation conducts diplomacy. Their society and thus their government places a premium on peaceful relations above and beyond most other potentially competing interests when it comes to other nation-states, so they're often more than willing to give up a lot on paper to get there, especially after the TOS era Klingon Cold War was settled.

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~


even though they treat it as "oh no going into the Zone is an ~act of waaaar~" the feds do get away with violating it too without actually kicking off a war. fuckin' picard charged in because his buddy found a secret ancient alien site and decided the romulans simply couldn't be allowed to have it.

Farmer Crack-Ass fucked around with this message at 08:20 on Jan 30, 2021

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~


Aglet56 posted:

except, why would any cadet think that this is a particularly unusual exercise? if you only ran through the scenario once (and it's mentioned that kirk is unusual for having tried the kobayashi maru multiple times, so presumably most cadets only do it once), you'd think of the scenario as one where you either retreated without the crew or blew up your ship. wouldn't this happen all the time in training scenarios? is the expectation that you'll get a flawless S-rank on every simulation on your first try, and the kobayashi maru is the sole exception? i'd expect that you'd be getting your ship blown up all the time in training scenarios, and afterwards you wouldn't think that the scenario was "no-win," you'd just review your mistakes or whatever.

also i think part of the idea is that the kobayashi maru is blatantly unfair. the klingons just instantly get the drop on you out of nowhere without warning. they crash in with three heavy cruisers. they don't answer hails. the fuckin' doofus helmsman can't get you to warp fast enough. the first shot punches right through your shields and immediately fucks you up. your phasers get broken immediately.


it's not like "oh, poo poo, i should have raised shields sooner" or "i didn't tell the science officer to alternate the phase variance on the dyno scanners" or "i forgot that tractor beams don't work against melconian bulk carriers because they use caninium in their hulls", it's just "gently caress you, none of your choices affected the outcome, gg"

Pick
Jul 19, 2009



Nap Ghost

I would see if I could trick the program into reverting to the core conceit of the original holodeck programming, and offer to have a steamy holodeck orgy between the crew of our vessels

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


most of the canon "innovative solutions" are just hacking the computer, which boomers consider bold innovation

in a real starfleet academy, kirk would be known for beating the speedrun record by finding a glitch which allowed him to beam the kobayashi marus crew to safety without entering the neutral zone

e: by far the best version in the existing fiction is the one vs romulans where someone uses obscure romulan law to challenge the enemy commander to personal combat

Hodgepodge fucked around with this message at 20:13 on Jan 30, 2021

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Pick
Jul 19, 2009



Nap Ghost

The best is Nog bribing them to go

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