Micro-Game, Macro-Game

One of the less productive debates around these parts of the Internet is the debate about what exactly “game” really is. Is it your actual personality? Your seductive ability with women specifically? Your wardrobe, job or lifestyle? Your overall social skill?

The fact is when people talk about someone’s “game,” they can be referring to any point on a spectrum of all these things. (This truth has been used as a strawman by critics desperate to nail down some definition of game so they can feel they’ve discredited it.)

A while back I articulated an idea on another blog that tried to split these out. I separated the personality/behavioral/social interaction factors, which I called “micro-game,” from demographic and structural factors, “macro-game.”

“Micro-game” is how to tune/change your behavior to increase a woman’s attraction to you or to otherwise influence her behavior to be more favorable towards you. Behavior in this sense is verbal and body language in social interactions – leadership and verbal social dominance, maintaining frame, passing fitness tests, communicating emotionally, captivating her imagination – distinct from your fitness, paycheck, etc. This is “game” in the original sense of the word – a piece of a man’s personality that is orthogonal to the other parts and specifically addresses how he deals with women.

“Macro-game” is the overall structure of who is attractive and why, whether the overall structure of you is attractive, and all the ways you can change your attractiveness and the relationships around you. This involves not just your social skills but your life habits, your fitness, fashion sense, the trajectory of your life. It is here where your job, your body composition, the social group you hang out in, the kind of car you drive, what neighborhood you live in, etc, come into play.

Another way of looking at it is to consider what questions each idea is trying to answer.

Micro-game is why two guys with basically the same look, lifestyle and job might get very different results from women – one of them may understand better how to socially interact with women, and thus capitalizes better on opportunities.

Macro-game is why, in the college SMP, jocks and frat guys get sex on speeddial while Poindexter in the library struggles to get a date – at that age especially, realized sexual market value exists in athletic prowess and social dominance far more than it does in intellectual firepower.

Micro-game almost always leads to macro-game in a guy’s improvement plan, because better social skills can only take you so far if you don’t have an improved lifestyle to back it with. It’s a notable sequence in Neil Strauss’ book “The Game” that almost as soon as he started get rudimentary results using PUA tactics (PUA game is largely micro-game focused), he undertook other changes in his life to enhance his personal quality, including shaving his head, getting lasik eye surgery, and taking up surfing. I almost never hear of a guy who has gotten some success with game who hasn’t bootstrapped it to make other positive changes that all synergize. Put another way, once they realize how to market themselves to women, they can’t resist improving the product they are marketing as well. Improvement is infectious, as are its rewards.

A similar idea to the micro/macro frame was discussed in my post “Game As Part Of Your Attraction Palette.”

Meanwhile, a number of writers have riffed on this dichotomy. Danger&Play has consistently banged the drum for “lifestyle game,” emphasizing that men should cultivate a masculine and interesting lifestyle ahead of investing an immodest amount of time in honing their (micro) game to perfection. He asserts that a properly masculine lifestyle will do the bulk of the attracting and framing. To this end he has encouraged men to stuff their brains in their youth and develop healthy habits.

Athol Kay, writing for a rather different set of readers, had a great post arguing that most long-term attraction is structural – in other words, macro-game – and that coupled guys will generally get more bang for the buck working to improve or fix their structural background than trying to (micro) game their women.

For the typical single guy, changing your verbal and body behavior can get you almost instantly improved results in the sexual marketplace. For LTR or married guys, you can’t just go approach a new girl and start over, so the focus is on how to better arrange your life habits and structure to get better treatment from your wife. As discussed in the original Dalrock thread and elsewhere, if you have structural issues taken care of (keep a job, keep a house, be a responsible adult), your “LTR game” becomes a matter of NOT doing the things that turn your wife/gf off – stop whining, keep your hobbies, don’t beg for her approval. It doesn’t fix every case, but it’s an 80% solution that cuts through some typical reasons for strife and oh my the way sets you up for future success in the event that your relationship does go south.

The final thing is that the micro and the macro live in balance. You can be a fit, interesting dude, but if you are wearing baggy clothes and can’t communicate your personality to others, your results writ large are going to suck just as bad as if you have a slick wardrobe and a gift of gab but ultimately haven’t done jack shit with your life.


Filed under original research

9 responses to “Micro-Game, Macro-Game

  1. Tilikum

    good post, good breakdown

    the bigger issue for me has always been once you figure this stuff out and can reproduce it at will, getting lazy lion syndrome. as I get older (late 30’s) the girls stay the same age…but they are much less worth my time as the respond to the same basic stimuli making not one special. my challenge is gone.

    same for lifestyle. i could go get a job tomorrow selling (pick something) and kill it, but why work that hard if you can do it whenever?

  2. Ray

    Macro game is something that you may or may not improve on when you are in your 20s and early to mid 30s. In other words, when you are in the aforementioned age bracket, you can still reasonably attempt to improve your socioeconomic status in society. As you get beyond that age range however, barring any lucky good fortunate, your macro game becomes largely fixed. Why? Because as you get older, your socioeconomic status becomes more entrenched due to various societal barriers such as age discrimination in dating, job prospecting, and socializing, as well as in overall risk-taking in life (you become more risk averse). Hypergamy (always looking around the corner for something better) becomes less of a factor, and you are more willing to settle for an imperfect mate (no one on this planet is even close to perfect though……no matter who you are….lol) rather than take the financial, legal, psychological, and emotional risks of trying to find something better and starting all over again.

    As far as micro game, that is something you can always work on throughout life. However, even here, as you get older, you begin to care less about dazzling someone in an extraordinary way (not that you give up on trying to make someone happy though in a more modest and reasonable way), and more concerned about making yourself happy.

    Game today is much more focused on a micro level, as opposed to a macro level. You can have a 9 incher with a great body and a smooth personality, but without the right socioeconomic status, very few of your relationships will go medium to long term. In other words, you can entice a woman with the above factors, but without a suitable socioeconomic status, the vast majority will not stay enticed for long. The bottom line for micro game: how to physically seduce women in a short amount of time with little regard for developing LTR. After a while, one physical seduction after another gets old. Ever hear of The Law of Diminishing Returns in college level microeconomic courses? Well that definitely applies here! Lol!

    My advice: don’t pretend to be someone your not. Just be yourself. Period! So when that special someone comes along, as it did for me under these same pretenses, you can just relax, be yourself, and just focus on the fundamentals of maintaining and growing the relationship…..without all the unnecessary drama! Lol!

  3. Ray

    Modern game focuses on doing ‘whatever it takes’ to entice women into your fold and, hence, giving you more ‘options’ in life. If that means largely or totally abandoning your principles of who you are as a person, then so be it, as long as you reach your ‘objectives’ and provide yourself with more ‘options’.

    Alas, modern game is nothing more than a glorified version of hypergamy for men. Internet dating feeds right into this concept of hypergamy, by giving us the impression that we can simply ‘shop around’ in a voluminous and efficient manner to easily find our next mate. What hypergamy does not consider though is that we as humans have an insatiable appetite in such a way that no one person will satisfy us in every facet of life. Life is imperfect, including ourselves. Hypergamy is a risky and dangerous pursuit that only leaves many of us unfulfilled, unhappy, and emotionally numb, and makes that ‘wish list’ longer and longer. Again, the Law of Diminshing Returns applies here.

    Having a meaningful LTR with someone has nothing to do with game, hypergamy, or having a wish list. All of that is irrelevant. What matters is being yourself and having someone who loves you for who you truly are, regardless of your imperfections. After all, we are all imperfect.

  4. Revo Luzione

    Excellent post. In military terms, micro-game is equivalent to how you move on the battlefield, moving soldiers from house to house, taking cover, laying down cover fire. It is tactical, and short-term.

    Macro-game is how a general moves entire brigades in a theatre of battle, the location and protection of critical supply elements. It is strategic, and takes place on a longer timeline.

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  6. Ray said: “My advice: don’t pretend to be someone your not. Just be yourself. Period!”

    Teddy Roosevelt was weak and effeminate in his youth. He made a conscious decision to change who he was and dove head-first into masculine activities.

    Which was the “real” Teddy Roosevelt: the effeminate youth or the masculine adult? They both were. A person’s personality–their very nature–can be changed and molded by the way they live their life.

    * The pushed around kid that takes martial arts training.
    * The slob that learns the rules of dress and hygiene and starts following them.
    * The shy “bedroom guitar hero” who joins a band and starts playing regularly on stage.

    All of these people will be changed–their personality and their core nature–simply by engaging in the activity.

    Is the kid who only plays his guitar in his bedroom, because he’s afraid people will make fun of his playing the real person, or is that same kid who after a year of playing with a band in front of a live audience now struts around the stage like a confident peacock the real person? They both are. The experience of playing in front of a live audience transformed one into the other.

    Your advice reeks of defeatism. “Accept who you are, because you’ll never be anything different than you are at this moment.”

    The core advice of game (at least as it is presented on this blog) is to learn a new skill and to put that skill into practice. And just like the people listed above, the act of learning and putting a new skill into practice will change your personality–your very nature.

    It’s not pretending to be something your not. It’s transforming yourself from what you are into what you want to be. Teddy Roosevelt did it, and so can any other man.

  7. Jimmy


    “Just be yourself” is the laziest and most useless advice that could ever be given.

  8. Morpheus

    Your advice reeks of defeatism. “Accept who you are, because you’ll never be anything different than you are at this moment.”

    The core advice of game (at least as it is presented on this blog) is to learn a new skill and to put that skill into practice. And just like the people listed above, the act of learning and putting a new skill into practice will change your personality–your very nature.

    It’s not pretending to be something your not. It’s transforming yourself from what you are into what you want to be. Teddy Roosevelt did it, and so can any other man.

    + 1000. “Just be yourself” is terrible advice for both men and women especially when “yourself” simply isn’t good enough and self-improvement is warranted. For example, there is no reason to take pride in being fat and out of shape. Get your ass into a gym and work.

  9. Ray

    Hi 8 to 12 and Monty,

    I was not advocating that people should not change themselves for the better. If they are doing it for themselves rather than solely for someone else, these changes can be very empowering. Developing good habits and a healthier lifestyle can and will improve one’s life. No question about it.

    What I meant by ‘being yourself’ is for one to improve themselves for the right reasons. Not everyone is cut out to be an alpha female or an alpha male. Not everyone is cut out to be in top physical condition with 10% body fat and washboard abs. Not everyone is cut out to be executive material making a great six figure salary. Not everyone has the ability to achieve above average looks. Hence, one needs to be true to themselves, as to who they truly are in terms of their goals, aspirations, and happiness.

    The problem today is that dating sites, dating services, and others try to give you ‘their formula of success’, but that may not work for you. Since most aspects of modern game focus on the micro, all the above try to convince you that ‘you need to become an alpha male or alpha female’ to be successful in your game. That’s pure bullshit. Sure. It might increase your chances of getting laid, but does nothing to help you develop a LTR.

    I hear it from women all the time: ‘there are a lot of fakes and pretenders out there, pretending to be someone that they are not’. I happen to agree with this since many of these same men were sold on the idea of thinking and behaving like an alpha male to achieve success. In reality, few of these men will be able to maintain a permanent changeover to alpha male status, since that is not who they truly are. For most of these men, the ‘real person’ will eventually surface and the women will discover the forgery. Internet dating is full of fakes and wannabes for men and women. 75% of all people online lie on their profiles. For example, the age demographics on online sites varies drastically with census data. That only means one thing: people are lying about who they are.

    Again, try to improve yourself…..yes….but also be honest as to who you truly are and what you want out of life. Being yourself is NOT bad advice. Openness and honesty is my policy and it has served me well and saved me a lot of drama and aggravation.

    Some people like to be fat. That is their choice. We may not agree with that choice, but that is their right, and if that makes them happy, then so be it. Who are we to question their choice for their own happiness?

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