The Underlying Axioms Of Game

A few weeks back Professor Ashur was nice enough to link to my post about stone soup as a metaphor for game or any other behavior modification exercise.

Societies change, and therefore Game must change. This leads to an interesting return to our Stone Soup storyline. Is it necessary to have a stone to use the Stone Soup method? Or is the stone a mere prop for a person who is a master at motivating others. Consider that the stone worked because it was a new tactic. If half a dozen SSAs (Stone Soup Artists) in the same village started using that process to get a free meal from time to time, the efficacy of the method will diminish. Eventually, a Neil Strauss equivalent will write a book called The Soup, chronicling his road from hunger to satiation. Meanwhile, a diligent curator of human behavior from the capitol will write STONE, and then eventually DAY STONE, along with additional literature on making stone soup in Columbia or Poland. Many will hate him for his success, even as they fail to understand that his partners in soup-making do so willingly, even happily.

The excellent discussion got me thinking about the mental framework in which game operates. Much discussed has been rules of game, such as heed women’s actions and not their words; don’t take dating advice from women; don’t buy women drinks, and no dinner dates early on; approach quickly and often; always be escalating; withhold commitment except for very deserving women; and so on. There are explanations and justifications for the rules, which range from pure empiricism (what works and what doesn’t) to biblical and biological explications.

But the rules aren’t the core level of structure to game. When you talk about any system of knowledge or a strategy or process for accomplishing something, there are subtextual assumptions in the framework that can get lost in the discussion but are important to recognize as the movement progresses. Think about, say, geometry or ontological mathematics, which has postulates and axioms that are taken for granted in general use. While those same postulates are the subject of endless and intense debate among philosophical mathematicians, your basic contractor or surveyor or football coach just needs to be able to apply the basic rules to his field. Likewise, a good number of guys who want to improve their lot with women are not going to get into the deeply-fleshed discussions we have in the Manosphere. They want practical discourse that will benefit them in the field. But let’s not lose sight of what drives the discourse in the first place.


The – THE – key subtextual assumption of game is that a man can take action to change his results in the sexual arena. It doesn’t have to be romantic Roulette. You don’t have to pray for a soulmate. YOU can affect WHOM you attract, WHOM you engage with romantically, WHAT sort of relationships you enter into and HOW your partners treat you. In other words, by acting differently we will get different results.

We get into so much debate about HOW we change our results that we lose sight of the fact that compared to society at large, positing that we CAN change our outcomes is a radical proposition. It becomes clear how radical it is when we try to expose a new, plugged-in guy to the world of game: “no way, that totally doesn’t work on women.” “A girl either likes you or she doesn’t.” Challenging his delusion only makes it stronger.

This sort of learned helplessness is so anathema to the self-reliant gumption that men are supposed to be exhibiting. To judge from reading single-girl blogs and women’s magazines (not to mention surveying our own dating lives), women have made a first-class art form out of constructing victim narratives casting themselves as flat actors without agency, buffeted by the people and events around them.

Meanwhile, men seem to just throw up their hands, and sigh “I don’t know man, women are fickle and capricious. You just gotta deal with it.”


A secondary assumption, one that is as much if not more often opposed by critics, is that game is worthwhile and adds value to a man’s life. Raise your hand if you’ve ever read something like this on a game forum or blog comment section: “I can’t believe what a bunch of losers you guys are, don’t you know there’s more to life than getting chicks?” It’s easy for a woman (who never has to wonder how she’s going to get her next spurt of attention from the opposite sex) or male naturals (who have never been thirsty in the desert) tell guys trying to get better with women that what they don’t have isn’t really important.

But we who have been on both sides know that the journey and the destination are worth it – for the adventure, for the increased fitness and self-confidence, for the feeling of power and influence, for the sexual satisfaction, for the formation of relationships on our terms, meeting our emotional needs instead of as scaffolds of sexual blackmail.

A variant of the “game isn’t worth it” chorus is the finger-wagging warning from busybodies that game makes you miserable, directed at men who have through their expanded experiences grown cynical and disappointed with the large swaths of low-quality offerings in the sexual marketplace. Let’s put aside the fact that a lot of this criticism is projection from women whose own casual-sex experiences were disastrous (and also put aside that game can be productively practiced without entailing a casual-sex lifestyle). The truth is that game didn’t make these guys cynical, in fact it’s just the opposite; realizing that women respond to game (polished and practiced) ahead of responding to real value in a man, seeing the craven social tricks you can pull to make people like you and trust you that have nothing to do with your actual personality or character, is what induces the nihilistic ennui. Game only gave them the tools to discover the emptiness of the mine. Of course, game can also be the tool that gives you a way out without becoming an ascetic. Because going back to sexual irrelevancy is hardly a solution.


A third assumption is that the changes in behavior that change the results we get in the SMP can be practiced and learned. One doesn’t have to rely on a spiritual change, or a shift in monetary or power value, to effect change in his luck with women. Thousands of men have honed the learning and practice process before him, and a handful have  inscribed their methods in print. They know how to teach and coach the game. Trust them. Danger & Play has a great post on jumping in. Trust him.


Commentators who lose sight (or never knew) the axioms can criticize game as a sort of shapeshifting concept, since rote definitions of game change depending on who you’re talking to and the explanations for social data (i.e. who’s attracted to whom) changes with environment and the people involved.  They seem to be desperate to get a hard and fast definition so they can immediately begin “debunking” it, or to discredit it as a field of empirical study and claim they are just repackaging someone else’s self-help material.

A chunk of commenters, writers and critics say that game is simply rediscovering “traditional masculinity.” This is especially common among those who have an irrationally optimistic view of humans and try to deny what we see in the field with our own eyes, for example denying that girls dig jerks, or saying that you don’t need game, you just have to be confident. It’s also popular among those who don’t want to really grok that there is a large casual-sex environment out there. Confusingly, I see a lot of this from Christian writers, whose faith explicitly and intrinsically acknowledges mankind’s proclivity for wickedness.

But game is different than a paeon to masculinity. To start with, “traditional masculinity” is an archetype, a big-picture concept, and a cartoonish one at that – not a code or manual of male behavior (except in the self-parody “man law/bro code” meme), and certainly not synonymous with a set of behaviors that are effective in attracting women.

Secondly, the normal connotations of “masculinity” are simply outside the realm of dealing with women. Your traditionally-masculine father or grandfather might very well have little constructive advice for you when it comes to women –  he came of age in an era of different roles and expectations, his constitutional commitment to said tradition itself being a barrier to his understanding the brave new sexual world we have wrought. The structures of his day, in which he was expected to pursue women in his “league,” and they were expected to say yes lest they fade into spinsterhood, doesn’t exist today, which requires a order of magnitude more male effort to actualize his romantic desires. Teaching you to fish and hunt and go to work on time is different than teaching you to approach, converse with, attract and date women. Imitating the man’s behavior thinking the interested women will just appear may do little more than get you a reputation as an obtuse relic.

Conversely, no one would ever call the dandy (emo) a masculine frame, but the dandy act has been effective with women for centuries.

I suppose to the degree that “traditional masculinity” contained an element of presumptive chauvinism, it could be likened to modern game which seeks to back off on female pedestalization. But the fact we’re splitting these hairs shows the weakness of the reasoning.

You might also say that “game empowers males.” But that’s too shallow an analysis. Game IS male empowerment, integrally. Ipso facto, game has as a core principle of itself that men can and should become empowered – see axioms #1 and #2. That men DO become empowered is a not a cause-and-effect outcome of practicing game, it’s simply the seed of of game’s axioms.


These axioms provide an existential value to the concept and practice of game, without which the concept and practice would be a dinner-party discussion between the dessert and the cheese plate (and in fact would be a uniquely non-threatening discourse).

Going back to Ashur’s post, my point here is that while the outer shell, the tactics and schemae, of game will change (just as girls get wise to certain overdone shticks as they got wise to what’s your sign and can I buy you a drink, and other routines and personas just fade into cultural irrelevance and anachronism), the basic postulates will always be there and need to be re-emphasized with every tactical refresh. And internalizing those postulates is what makes a man able to “roll his own game” – he has the raw materials to construct new skills as his environment and the social landscape change.

Descartes wondered if he actually existed, and eventually developed a heuristic that defined existence as a lucid dream – the fact that he could think proved his existence, “cogito ergo sum.”

We men who are thinking about game go a step further and wonder if we can actually affect the micro-world we’re living in. The answer is yes. We’re already doing it. Never lose sight of the core axioms; you can always go back to the basics.


Filed under original research

25 responses to “The Underlying Axioms Of Game

  1. thayer

    I have little doubt that “Game” accurately describes women’s attraction triggers and the male behaviors to hit them. I think that it provides useful guidance for a man who has the basic tools for success, and needs to refine his thinking and his approach.

    I do, however, question how much a man can radically change his position in the SMP. Just as some men are fortunate to be tall or intelligent, others are naturally confident and extroverted, while some are the opposite. To say that Game will allow a short, shy introvert to bang 10’s in clubs strikes me as farfetched.

    I think that Game has been oversold by those in the business of selling books or running bootcamps.

  2. greenlander

    Great post.

    There’s nothing new in here that hasn’t been discussed before, but you did a good job of summarizing it and putting it all together.

  3. sunshinemary

    Thank you for linking to my post. Just to be clear – I don’t think rediscovering “traditional” masculinity is going to be sufficient all by itself in the current sexual/marriage market, though some of the commenters on my original post do think so. In my view, things are presently too broken for that, and using game-based tools to find a decent wife and maintain a good marriage may be appropriate for Christian men who desire to marry.

  4. mikec74

    Second that. Great post. You hit on a number of excellent themes…I want to highlight this:

    Teaching you to fish and hunt and go to work on time is different than teaching you to approach, converse with, attract and date women. Imitating the man’s behavior thinking the interested women will just appear may do little more than get you a reputation as an obtuse relic.

    I’ve noticed a really big uptick recently is this notion of just reclaiming being a “traditional manly man” and that is all you really need. That’s all well and good, and probably better to go fishing then shoe shopping as a hobby, but it is BS that is all you need to interact and attract women.

    I think more and more people are waking up and realizing the feminization of men that took place in the 80s through this past decade has been a colossal failure on many counts and now you’ve got a mad landgrab going on for who is going to define and frame the “new masculinity”

  5. Opus

    I regret to say I remain entirely sceptical – although I appreciate the underlying axioms. I have yet to come across or read of, so much as one man who went from zero to hero because of Game and even if I did, it is always possible that the reason for his doing so, is entirely unconnected with the tenets of Game.

  6. ASF

    Badger, great post.

    Opus, why does it have to be zero to hero? That is an (your) artificial standard. I haven’t seen the weakest man in the world work out and become the strongest man in the world, but that doesn’t vitiate the benefits of lifting weights.

    I’m not sure what your standard is for zero, but game is not a panacea. You do need some kind of basic foundation before game is going to be useful. If you are the proverbial fat dude who lives in the basement and plays video games all day, it would be necessary to make additional life choices (obvious ones) before game would start being beneficial.

  7. Eoin MacAodh

    This is a good summary of why Game detractors just don’t make any sense. If you accept the premise that there is any way that a man can deliberately change his behavior/outlook/appearance which will increase his romantic/sexual success by any noticeable degree, then you must accept that Game exists and the only thing left is to work out the specifics.

    Do you accept that a man can change his romantic prospects by practicing daily hygiene? By learning to listen? By learning to speak in a way that is more interesting? By developing confidence? By getting rich? By learning to dance? Well, that means you accept Game; whatever you believe about the efficacy of Neg is just nitpicking. Even the hairy-legged hacks at Jezebel would have a hard time claiming that nothing works.

    Think of it this way. Imagine you want to sell a delicious desert to a group of girls. You know that 2/3 of all girls like chocolate, 1/6 are ambivalent, and 1/6 dislike chocolate. You know that 1/3 of all women like vanilla, and 2/3 dislike vanilla. No one in their right mind would say, “It doesn’t matter if you use chocolate or vanilla, they’ll all like it the same.” No one would say, “Some girls don’t like chocolate, so you should use vanilla.” No one would say, “Just use your own favorite flavor, it doesn’t matter what your prospective customers like.” And yet when we’re talking about Game, suddenly that same troll-logic becomes acceptable.

  8. Ulysses

    These terms can be so nebulous and many of us redefine words in the lexicon at will. Perhaps it’s not traditional masculinity as you describe it, but it is a more classical, self-serving state of being than playing nice and never shooting and skinning a wild animal. Is that sufficient, in as relationship or in the urban wild, no it isn’t, but it’s the stones upon which the other ingredients may be laid. Those with a Victorian view of women can disagree, but Victorian men weren’t necessarily badasses.

  9. thayer and Opus hit on a key strawman, and ASF provided the answer – game augments other forms of value, it doesn’t replace them.

    thayer, what credible game writer/blogger (i.e. who isn’t obviously a keyboard jockey talking trash on the Internet) has told you that their techniques will have you banging 10’s? Seriously, who is saying this? Anybody? Give me links and quotes.

    Mystery’s book is subtitled “how to get beautiful women into bed.” That’s the most superlative statement I can recall in the world of credible game literature. Roosh’s book is marketed as “more lays in 60 days.” David deAngelo’s tome is “double your dating.”

    These guys are making much more modest promises than beer ads and cologne campaigns, which either take an already-attractive guy and attribute his success to what’s in the bottle, or surround average men with gorgeous women at the pop of a top.

    Roissy, whose understanding of game’s place in the overall sexual hierarchy is second to none, has a rule of thumb that game is worth 2 points on the traditional 10-point SMV scale (a scale I don’t use, but that’s beside the point).

    Of course, if you have anti-game and aren’t getting ANY attention from women, then automatically you are going to have a dramatic increase in success even if all you do is eliminate negative behaviors and start performing where your SMV “should be.”

    More on this last point on Wednesday.

  10. “This is a good summary of why Game detractors just don’t make any sense. If you accept the premise that there is any way that a man can deliberately change his behavior/outlook/appearance which will increase his romantic/sexual success by any noticeable degree, then you must accept that Game exists and the only thing left is to work out the specifics.”

    Excellent logical flow (obviously lost on haters who are thinking emotionally).

    This is why axioms 1 and 3 are separate items – #1 says that a man can change his sexual value. #3 says that behavior (which can be learned) influences sexual value. A lot of critics argue that “you gotta be hot, tall or rich to get girls, the game stuff is really irrelevant.” #3 is for them – behavior matters.

    Interestingly, sometimes we see the opposite – guys with good looks or high status who think this or that game tactic or line is what’s getting them results, when they probably could have said anything or nothing and succeeded.

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  12. thayer


    Two points.

    First, I think you underestimate how difficult it is for a shy, introverted person to change his behavior.

    Second, what are the “tells” for an obvious keyboard jockey.

    Mind you, I do not dispute the validity of Game in identifying female attraction triggers, and I have no doubt that the typical extrovert who has pedestalized his high school sweetheart and is a little self-conscious around pretty girls can really increase his SMV by applying Game precepts.

    But what about the shy, introverted guy who can’t think of a thing to say even to unfamiliar men, or to extended family members he doesn’t know well? My point is that there is a certain baseline self confidence and social fluency required before somebody can even think about using Game.

  13. Bobby Jo

    Axioms? Hell no. As you already stated they are things that are taken to be granted for the system, i.e. they are assumed to be true and any demonstration of their proof is entirely outside of the system.

    However, game is not a deductive system so to talk about axioms is irrelevant.

  14. Mike,

    “I’ve noticed a really big uptick recently is this notion of just reclaiming being a “traditional manly man” and that is all you really need. That’s all well and good, and probably better to go fishing then shoe shopping as a hobby, but it is BS that is all you need to interact and attract women.”

    Asolutely, I just saw another one of those blog posts yesterday. I think part of what is going on is that socon/tradcon/church types have started reading about how easy it is to game girls in their sectors (engagin the rationalization hamster in twisting morality into self-interest) and they’ve responded with their default shaming argument, telling guys that “being a real man” is about nobility and selflessness and other things that have caused men to get used and rejected over the past generation.

  15. Bobby Jo,

    Do you often let pedantry get in the way of thinking?

  16. thayer, you’ve got a whole lot of stuff knotted together here.

    “First, I think you underestimate how difficult it is for a shy, introverted person to change his behavior.”

    Au contraire, I’ve written on this numerous times.

    But as the first link states, you need to get it straight that shy and introverted are two different things.

    If you are introverted, you lose energy being around people and thus have a limited tolerance for social activity, especially with new people.

    This can be a barrier to game if you make it so. On the other hand, an introverted person has no real need for the all-consuming social approval that causes extroverts to blather on and on and on. So we have an advantage of being able to easily disengage from conversation (the “takeaway”).

    Shyness on the other hand is a phobia, a psychological block.

    I am not quiet and I am not shy. I am strongly introverted, meaning I tire of mindless chatter quickly and find the need to pace myself during a big day of social outings. I have been all three in my life, so yes, I know exactly how difficult it is to change your behavior. You know what? It’s hard for extroverted people to change their behavior. They have their own problems like learning to leave people alone.

    “But what about the shy, introverted guy who can’t think of a thing to say even to unfamiliar men, or to extended family members he doesn’t know well? My point is that there is a certain baseline self confidence and social fluency required before somebody can even think about using Game.”

    Quit arguing on the Internet and open any one of a dozen game books. They contain tons of openers and conversation topics to address precisely the issue you cite.

    “Second, what are the “tells” for an obvious keyboard jockey.”

    Basic sales intuition. Overselling his system or his successes, not talking about his failures, stories that don’t pass the smell test. When you’ve been on the Internet as long as I have, you can tell when someone is full of shit. People make up personas with totally bogus information all the time. (See the number of women commenting as men on male-interest blogs.) It’s weird to me, but people do it. Some of them just want attention. Others are just nutballs that wander in off the street.

  17. Jason773

    Thayer, it just sounds like you are making excuses for a certain subset of guys. And as it has been stated, there is no one out there who is considered credible that is selling the super chump—>banging 10s ideal.

    But even 2 points can be a huge win in terms of quality of life for a guy. Take your average guy who is a 5. Maybe he is 5’8″, cubicle farm job, slightly pudgy, nothing too appealing about his facial looks and not super suave. Due to hypergamy, the best he can get is some 4 who weighs as much as him and who bitches constantly because she knows she can get away with it. Now, get that guy in the gym, better clothes, more inner confidence, an alpha awareness and a better understanding of game. Now, he may never be an actual alpha, but he can get himself up to a 7 and subsequently find a 6 who legitimately is attracted to him and cares for him. He never had a chance at banging 10s from the club, but his life is infinitely better with his different outlook. That’s what it’s about.

  18. Mike C

    My point is that there is a certain baseline self confidence and social fluency required before somebody can even think about using Game.


    I’d pretty much agree with that. Someone isn’t going to be able to understand calculus and analytical geometry if they can’t even solve 2x + 2 = 8 for x.

    I don’t think you’ll be able to implement social interaction with women for the purpose of generating some sexual interest/attraction if you can’t even interact with a group of guys. To me, the guys who can see a quantum leap with Game are “cool” guys who can already socially interact with a group of guys, shoot the shit,, be one of the guys but just has a fucked up frame when it comes to interacting with women.

    A guy who can’t even socialize with a bunch of guys needs to develop that skill set first and make some guy friends and just hang out and get social with guys before they can even think about “running Game” on women. You aren’t going to be able to do things like playful teasing if you can’t even have a normal conversation with a guy.

  19. Mike C

    Cosign Jason 773. It is important to have realistic expectations. A 5’5″ ectomorph isn’t generally going to pull 8-9s even with the tightest Game. But Game will allow for incremental success and more choice.

    Badger, can you give Jason 773 my e-mail. We’ve been trying to connect, but I don’t want to just put my e-mail out on the web. Thanks.

  20. Martian Bachelor

    > …we can actually affect the micro-world we’re living in.

    Is this like admitting you have a small dick, too?

  21. Oh, that’s very clever. Do you have any other knee-slappers?

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  25. If you can’t reveal your inner-most vulnerabilities to your girlfriend or wife, (i.e. connect with her not only on a physical level but also a TWO-WAY, UNSELFISH, and multi-dimension emotional or psychological level), then you shouldn’t be contemplating a long-term relationship with that person. Period! If she is not your best friend, then you shouldn’t consider commitment with her. Period!
    With divorce rates now approaching 60%, the aforementioned fact is an essential prerequisite for a successful marriage nowadays. Otherwise, you will most likely become a statistic and move from partner to partner every 6 months or year (if you’re lucky). What type of meaningful relations is that between men and women? Emotional intimacy, which is selfishly desired, controlled and dictated from most women as to what is acceptable, without any sense of long-term commitment? “Honey, I know I have stated that I love you and am committed to you on many occasions, but since you revealed your emotionally vulnerabilities to me, I no longer want you and desire you”. It almost seems as if even a modest amount of need for emotional intimacy by a man can circumvent any sense of prior-stated commitment from a woman in many cases.
    The GAME leads indirectly to promiscuity on both sides as well. Also, without a sense of long-term commitment, how can you be largely sure that the person you’re dealing with has solid character, integrity, honesty, and can be trusted?; all the while, sex and one-sided emotional intimacy continues as if the relationship is going somewhere….lol! What a farce! Ladies, why are you so willing to open yourselves up sexually to alpha-male men who you cannot trust, and who can’t be open and honest with you, and who in many cases are promiscuous? That makes absolutely no sense!
    EVERY MAN has an innate need for emotional and psychological intimacy. Why should that be denied? Why is that a weakness? Why must that be ultimately determined by women? TO ALL MEN OUT THERE: by playing the alpha-male game, you are not only denying yourself your fundamental right to emotional and psychological intimacy, but you are also, on a macro-level, ceding control of the GAME to women! As a result, over the short and medium-term, most men will find themselves unfulfilled and unhappy because their basic needs of security with a woman are being denied. Why should only a woman have a right to receive emotional security from a man? Men have that same need as well! IT IS A TWO-WAY STREET! To deny that need as a man is to deny who you are as a person, which will ultimately leave you, as I said, unfulfilled and unhappy.
    To cut through all the bullshit advice about “how to be an alpha-male” and “how being an alpha-male will enhance your connections with women”, just BE YOURSELF! BE YOURSELF! AND NOTHING ELSE! If a woman can’t accept you for who you are, then she is not worth your time, your heart, your commitment, not even for sex (unless sex is your end goal)!

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