The test Kobayashi Maru is perhaps one of the most famous challenges in the Star Trek universe that a Starfleet cadet is required to undergo before embarking on a Federal ship.
We have already talked in the past about some products related to this universe. Here, if you haven't seen it yet, you can find instructions on how to watch the series Star Trek: Picard.
I have a soft spot for Star Trek, although the latest projects have put my faith in serious difficulty. I am so passionate that I have recovered a lot of role-playing material related to this franchise. A manual never really came out called Alea: East, various Modiphius modules and even an adventure, written for the fifth edition of Call of Cthulhu and published in Excalibur, a magazine from the 90s of the last century, set aboard the Enterprise-D. But how much will I like to look old?
But let's not lose the fundamental point of the speech. Let's talk about the Kobayashi Maru test.
A little background on the Kobayashi Maru test
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you couldn't win in any way? A situation where, any choice is the wrong one? No, I'm not talking about real life, even if honestly it is very close to it, I'm talking about the famous test of the Kobayashi Maru.
Would you like to hear the story?
Let's start to introduce you to the ship:
Classification: Class III, Neutronica, ship for the transportation of fuel
Registry: Amber, Tau Ceti IV
Commander: Kojiro Vance
Gross tonnage: 147.943
Cargo capacity: 97.000 tons
Length: 237 meters
Width: 111 meters
Height: 70 meters
Maximum cruising speed: 3 curvature
Maximum emergency speed: 6 curvature
Screenwriting. The ship in question sends a distress call after hitting a magnetic mine. The life system is collapsing and the ship is drifting in the Klingon Neutral Zone. What is the Neutral Zone you will ask yourself (perhaps): with the Neutral Zone we mean two parts of a demilitarized zone to avoid friction between two powers of the sector.
Bad luck wants the ship to drift in the wrong part of the Neutral Zone of the Klingon border.
What are the choices then?
To violate territorial agreements with a power with which you do not yet have a treaty and go to recover the ship surely entering the war? Ignore the distress call? Looking to open a diplomatic channel for recovery?
Whatever your choice will be a failure, unless, like James T. Kirk you decide to cheat. Well in that case you came in second.
What happened in reality?
The Kobayashi Maru test stems from a "real" situation in the world of Star Trek.
In a novel by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangel, the ship in question, in the Gamma Hydra sector, hits a Romulan mine thus becoming a mirror for larks in order to capture the Enterprise ship under the command of Captain Johnatan Archer.
In the meantime, however, some Klingon ships arrive that want to destroy the Enterprise being in its own way "wanted" in the Klingon Empire.
Captain Archer, in numerical inferiority and with drifting systems, therefore decided to withdraw and abandon the cargo to his fate.
The adventure on Drivethrurpg
So, let's spend a few words on the manual in question?
The electronic product, as soon as it is opened, is presented in the canonical style of the Starfleet. It seems to be in front of the computer of the Enterprise-D or any ship of the XNUMXth century of the United Federation of Planets.
Although strangely poor in images, to be a Modiphius manual, what matters is the content. in the fifteen pages that compose it, of which a couple of advertisements, you can live the Kobayashi Maru test in all respects, except for one possibility.
It's not explained in the least how cheating or how Kirk modified the program, but I loved the final part of the document in which he encourages the Game Master to listen to the players' ideas and entice creative thinking.
In certain situations, as a master, I would grant the METAGAME!
Absurd? Not so much. If a player, fond of the saga, wants to create something innovative because in all respects he knows the history, culture and customs of Klingon, then that the metagame is welcome!
Don't feel castrated in ideas! Live up to the Kobayashi Maru test.
Conclusions on the Kobayashi Maru test
Sometimes, in different moments of life, we can find ourselves facing a Kobayashi Maru situation. How many times, seeing what was happening, we said "there is no way out","I will never find a solution”And many many other ideas that have sunk us further?
Undergoing this kind of test should teach us something. First of all, it is right to fail and learn to give our best in any situation. The second is to really start using ethical thinking when you are called to make important decisions.
Is the good of few really more important than the good of many?
But perhaps the truth is another. It is that perhaps we should not react to the situations that life and circumstances put us in front of, but rather to be able to internalize something and go beyond it.
We should really begin to wonder if the lesser evil is perhaps not the best that can be done and, from here, start living with this thought.
In a situation like this, James T. Kirk stated that "it is not only important how we face life, but also how we face the ultimate point of existence, death".
And then, always remember, that if you don't want to lose, you can always cheat, in one way or another.
Before I leave you, I would like to ask you one thing: did any of you ever find yourself in front of a test Kobayashi Maru in your life or role-playing? How did you approach it? I would be very happy to know your experiences in this regard, provided that you feel ready to share them with us.