The Kobayashi Maru is a fictional no-win situation from the science fiction franchise Star Trek that is used in the series as a training exercise. By definition, no-win situations always result in negative outcomes. Nevertheless, strategy and execution may be able to minimize losses. The Kobayashi Maru is used to test strategic abilities in no-win situations and other factors such as stress handling and character.
OutlineThe Kobayashi Maru is a disabled manned spacecraft that has drifted into the territory of the Klingons, a powerful extraterrestrial civilization. Any attempt to enter Klingon territory to rescue the ship will result in an interstellar incident such as an large scale war. A Starfleet ship arrives and the captain must decide how to handle the situation. The simulation is rigged so that rescue always fails.
Value to Game TheoryThe Kobayashi Maru appears in film and fiction dozens of times, each with an interesting attempt to solve the problem. In many cases, characters taking the test are able to detect that the situation is rigged to be no-win. In such cases, characters may attempt to confuse or hack the simulator by creating logical paradoxes and other situations that may break the test.
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