Same Ol’ Enemy Tactics
By Anthony Casperson

One of the more recent games to be added to my tabletop gaming collection is Oathsworn: Into the Deepwood.

The game is a story-driven boss battler. A little less than half of each chapter revolves around the story. The characters spend time investigating some trouble that ails the townspeople around them. And then—after hopefully discovering information about the trouble—the players engage in battle against the chapter’s foes, which represents the rest of the experience for each the game’s 20+ chapters.

During the time of battle, a deck of cards directs the bad guys’ actions. The players look at the top card of the deck and have the enemy/enemies act as specified. Certain cards of the deck make reference to the Encounter Board that is unique to each chapter. This board then explains certain things that are true of the foes.

Without going into too big of spoilers—because the game designers have asked the community for such things—at least one of the enemies returns as an additional encounter in a later chapter. Players use the same miniature on the board and the same deck of cards for the new chapter, but the Encounter board changes things up a little bit.

Thus, players should have knowledge of how the enemy engages in battle, even though a few things are a little different because it’s a later experience.

Just because a number of factors have progressed in the story doesn’t mean that their tactics have changed, though. The players shouldn’t be surprised when encountering this enemy again because they have previous understanding of how the enemy battles.

In certain ways, we followers of Jesus should find ourselves in similar understanding of enemy tactics when it comes to Satan. This enemy (which is what the name Satan literally means) has battled with God and his people for millennia. And yet the basic method of turning humans away from the truth of God hasn’t really changed that much.

The very first human encounter with this fallen angel shows him questioning the claim of God in regard to life and death. In Genesis 3, we see Satan—in the form of a serpent—approach the couple in the garden and ask the woman if God has kept back anything from them. After the woman responds with a statement about not eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we witness Satan’s tactic play out in verse 4.

“You will not surely die.”

Essentially, “God doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You’ll be just fine if you don’t listen. And as a matter of fact, he’s keeping you from something really fun and special there.” And this lie leads to the couple partaking of the fruit.

From a very ungodly perspective, the half-truth of “you will not surely die” was right. The couple didn’t flatline at that exact moment. Their brain activity didn’t cease to function right then and there. Their physical lives continued on for centuries after this encounter. And yet death did descend upon them—and all of creation—that very day.

Spiritual death with many broad and long-lasting ramifications. A single lie that urged humanity to doubt God’s perspective on life and death led to the separation of many people from their Creator.

Though millennia have passed, and though God’s plan to redeem his favored creation from our sin has come to fruition through the cross, Satan’s tactics haven’t changed. To this day, he urges humanity to question if life and death depends upon something that hangs on a tree.

“Did God really say that the only way to life is by bowing before a dead man on a cross? You will not surely die if you reject this offering. God just wants to keep something good and special from you. Enjoy a life free of his tyrannical commands.”

And hordes of humanity fall victim to his lie. The consequences seem to be nonexistent in the short term. But there is still the broad and long-lasting ramification of spiritual death upon all who reject the commands of God.

Encounter upon encounter have occurred between humanity and our hateful enemy, yet his tactics haven’t really changed. We shouldn’t be surprised when the tactic card is flipped. We’ve seen it before. And we’ll see it again.