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To make a game harder, the LSAT writers have two methods available. One is to make the relationships between the elements more complex and subtle. This is the hard way. Working out all the connections possible for a complex condition can be very time consuming, and thinking up a subtle condition can require much creative inspiration. The other way is to obscure the conditions and answers. This is the easy way.

The LSAT writers do not resort to obfuscation as often with games as they do with arguments because games are inherently difficult, whereas arguments are inherently easy. Still, five tactics are occasionally used.

With games, the most common obfuscation ploy is the leading question. The question “Which one of the following must be false?” leads you to look directly for the false answer. However, it is often easier if you reword this type of question as “All of the following could be true EXCEPT?” Then search for and eliminate the true answer-choices.

It is much harder to make a difficult game than it is to solve one. The easiest way to make a game harder is to convolute the wording of a condition.
For example, the complex condition
“if O is off, then N is off; if O is on, then N is on”
means merely that
“O is on if and only if N is on,”
or even more simply
“O and N are on at the same time.”
Often information contained in a condition is obscured by wording the condition in the negative when it would be more clearly and naturally worded in the positive. In these cases, use the contrapositive to rephrase the statement.
For example, the condition “If Usain Bolt enters the 100-meter dash, then he will not enter the long jump” may release more relevant information when reworded as “If Usain Bolt enters the long jump, then he will not enter the 100-meter dash.”
Adding many conditions to a game can obscure the more important ones. Typically, a game consists of two or three core conditions from which nearly all the questions can be answered. Master these few conditions and you’ve mastered the game. To obscure this fact, the LSAT writers sometimes surround the core conditions with other conditions that relate to only one or two questions, if any.

Another way to make a game harder, or at least longer, is to word a question so that you must check every answer-choice (see Indirect Proof, page 51).
For example, questions such as “All of the following could be true EXCEPT” often require you to check every answer-choice. Unfortunately, there is no effective countermeasure to this tactic.* If pressed for time, you should skip this type of question. Remember, whether a question is short and easy or long and difficult, it is worth the same number of points.
Advanced Concepts:
The last and most pernicious obfuscating tactic is
to apply subtle changes to the standard wording of a question. We have already seen an example of a question with the wording “Which one of the following is a complete and accurate list of . . . ?” In this case, the correct answer must include all the possibilities. But sometimes (though rarely) the verb “is” is replaced with “could be”: “Which one of the following could be a complete and accurate list of . . . ?” In this case, the correct answer could include all, some, or even none of the possibilities. Mercifully, this tactic is not often used. But it can occur, so be alert to it.

As you work through the examples and exercises in this chapter, notice how the five tactics of obfuscation are used.

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