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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Liar Game
About the plot of the upcoming pandemic game:
Most of the previous games have had an obvious theme and a more subtle "real theme". Minority rule seemed to be about psychology and guessing how people will vote, but it was actually about using teamwork to eliminate psychology from the equation. Contraband seemed to be about out-guessing your opponent, but was actually about loyalty, the interests of the individual versus those of the team. The fourth round seems to be about convincing people that you're normal so they'll make contact with you, but it will actually turn out to be about sacrifice.
  • A team of seven people willing to be honest with each-other can get six of its members through to the fourth round. First all infected people in the group single themselves out. Then one or two designated "doctors" get two vaccines each and cure the infected person then themselves. Once the entire team is infection free they can theoretically create 4 vaccines each, but since only 6 can proceed to the next round one will have to drop. There is no worry about infected people pretending to be normal since they have nothing to gain by it.
  • The only trouble is choosing the sacrifice. The other 6 would obviously agree to save them, but it still requires that the volunteer trust them. Akagi seems the obvious choice, as he may be willing to trust Akiyama and Nao, and volunteering would achieve his stated goal of helping them and eliminating Yokoya. However, Yokoya will also have was ways of forcing someone to become his sacrifice. In that case it will turn into a race to get enough team-members, something Yokoya is very good at, so Akiyama will have to come up with some plot that totally invalidates my 'team of seven' plan above, and results in them both going through to a final showdown in the actual fourth round.
    • They already created teams in the Minority Game. And it went horribly, HORRIBLY wrong. I am not sure if they will try the same strategy again. But, on the other hand, the strategy was good, the only problem was that someone was exploiting it.

The real source of money for the Liar Game isn't those put into debt by the LGT
  • It's the money they LGT takes in from rich jackoffs that bet on the game. The whole thing is a more mean-spirited Rat Race or less intense (somewhat) version of a Deadly Game. Of course, if that plot twist shows up, it kind of negates the whole idea that anyone can take down the LGT, because they're making money even if everyone DOES end up freed with one person assuming all the debt.

The whole game is Akiyama's elaborate courtship ritual of Nao.
  • Think about it, she's virtually the only girl to participate in a game full of guys, and most of them are losers anyway. And the games just happen to be the kind of stuff that Akiyama happens to be very good at. So she gets to see that Akiyama is obviously the best choice among all of them to be her collaborator. Which might be your best chance to get laid if you're an asocial ex-con with trust issues.

  • I love this theory but I just want to poke this pin into it: why would Akiyama choose Nao? Unless there's more dramatic past building than Roots of A presents, it seems a bit odd that Akiyama would pick Nao. It seems highly unlikely that if Akiyama did pick Nao based on that scene in Roots of A. It seems funny to me that a university student would take interest in a passer-by middle school student who was returning a whatever yen coin to the police. [I have only read up to the "musical chairs" arc so I apologise if my reasoning is irrelevent or already jossed.]

The logical conclusion of the series will be a one-on-one between Akiyama and Nao
  • It's evident that Akiyama wants to destroy the Liar Game by screwing over the system, and Nao wants to save everybody with the winnings. To do either, one of the two has to win. Considering there will only be one winner, the two will eventually face off. Nao has been progressively becoming better at conning than she was at the start, and by the end of the series could possibly be on par with Akiyama, or at least know him so well she can read through everything. The resulting match will be something that puts Death Note and Mirai Nikki to shame with mind-games.
    • Let's hope so!
    • As it stands (as of Chapter 184) the final round is a contest between four teams with four people each. Akiyama is in one group, while Nao ended up in Yokoya's group for the sole purpose of Yokoya preventing Nao from being on Akiyama's team. Not "one on one", but it's close...I guess.

Akiyama and/or Nao VS Fukunaga
  • We know Fukunaga loves Akiyama and is determined to not let him be the one who carries a huge debt, so they battle. Or Nao (and maybe Akiyama) realizes what Fukunaga is after and they have to battle.
  • Yokoya seriously beat Fukanaga in their "revival round". Therefore, this is unlikely.

Akiyama vs Nao Vs Fukunaga
  • A bit of a mix between the previous two. The final match in the final tournament will have the three of them competing against each other in order to see basically who makes the Heroic Sacrifice. Remember, that going by Akiyama's projection, if they continue with their current methods of paying off the debts, nobody will owe the Liar Game anything except the winner who will be burdened with an enormous debt. Naturally, Nao would want to do this in order to save everybody else, but Akiyama would try to stop her and do it himself because he wants to take down the Liar Game and because he wants to protect Nao, and Fukunaga would try to pull it off before Akiyama because he loves Akiyama.
  • Fukunaga was eliminated in the Bid Poker "revival round" where he had to spearhead the assault against Yokoya without Akiyama or Nao to help him. Therefore, this is unlikely.

The seemingly unrelated characters in the Roots of A prequel are characters in the main story.
  • Kaori from chapter 3 may be the female employee of LGT office that delivers information to Yokoya.
  • Fukunaga in chapter 4 (dressed as a woman)
  • One of the contestants is from the couple of @lovers. He/she may even end up as a main character.
  • Asuka Kiryu (Fortuneteller) is the true head of the Liar Game and true Big Bad.
    • He runs the tournament to look for someone with a 100 palm to change his fate of death.
    • Maybe he is different from the jerk Liar Game employees and wanted to prove that Rousseau Was Right, or the complete opposite.

What happens after the tournament is over...
  • We get a Downer Ending where Yokoya wins and we are left with not-so-obvious clues with what happens to Akiyama and Nao.
  • Yokoya ends up as the loser with all the debts from the participants thanks to Akiyama and Nao. The LGT Office takes all of Yokoya's fortune (maybe Yokoya commits suicide, but that's not the point) and the LGT Office is not bankrupt. They are able to continue the Liar Game...
  • Or maybe Akiyama and Nao launch their own Liar Game tournament if the LGT Office is bankrupt. They became cynics or wanted to prove that Rousseau Was Right...albeit in a somewhat questionable manner.
  • It'll all turn out to have been an extremely convoluted Reality Show, which is why the "hosts" of the game are always serving as a Combat Commentator when talking to one another.

The Liar Game All Star Tournament!
  • In the future (or there were enough from the past), there were enough Liar Game tournaments they they hold an all-star competition featuring the winners or particularly impressive players (with mandatory participation, of course, due to them knowing the stakes). We thus get another manga series to read!

The real Magnificent Bastard is Nao
She just happens to be an incredibly sweet and good-aligned one. She's been Obfuscating Stupidity to see who treats her with kindness instead of taking advantages of her, and rewards those who Do the Right Thing accordingly.

Yokoya thinks he's seen through the facade and wants to peel off the mask. He'll be very, very surprised when Nao drops The Masquerade (of naivete, not of her kindness) and cheerfully destroys him...and then turns around and offers to take up his debts, in exchange for a deal he can't refuse.

The 10 billion yen reward for uncovering LGT's dishonesty is a Chekhov's Gun that will come into play during the final round
The LGT agent who explained the rules of the second round promised "If, in the course of the game, the LGT is guilty of dishonesty... the player who uncovers it will be rewarded 10 billion yen". Before this, the agent explained to Akiyama that the LGT simply wishes to crown the true "Liar King". This is the lie that will get Akiyama 10 billion yen. In fact, he might find a bunch of things wrong with the game and stack up an astronomical amount. This will be enough to pay off the debts of every single player who ever participated and lost money in the game (save for maybe Yokoya?).

The LGT isn't actually making money from the tournament, but is actually losing all those millions.
This goes back into the Liar Game Prequel, where we meet Asuka Kiryu, who was a fortune teller who could predict the future, abused that power to make himself rich, but then looked into his own future and saw his death. And the only way to prevent that would be to find somebody who had the same fate number as him. What's going on, is that Asuka is the one holding the tournament, tapping into all his savings in order to hold it. However, the money is only used as a sort of "stick and carrot", an incentive to win, and a potential punishment in case you lose. However, in this case, even if you do lose and go into debt, despite their claims that "they'll collect no matter what the means", they'll actually ignore you, and simply proceed with the tournament, because the debt is actually just a threat.

Akiyama's mother is not dead and works for the LGT Office
We know Akiyama is a genius, right? He had to get his wits somewhere. Perhaps Akiyama's mother tricked everyone into thinking she was dead, and for unknown reasons joined the LGT Office (maybe the insurance company was aligned with the LGT Office?). Perhaps she is the officer of the Pandemic game and delivers tournament information to Yokoya. She also resembles Nao with the hairstyle. Since Akiyama knows that Nao resembles his mother, this could be powerful evidence.

Akiyama has Green Disease from chapter two of Roots of A.
Since it's clear that Shinobu has no set color for Akiyama's hair or eyes, ([1]) I think that Chapter 2's infectious disease may be carried by our male protagonist. Since it's clear that it does not impair vision or concentration as much as it claims, since Kyo is able to have PERFECT ACCURACY at darts, Akiyama could very well have done all the things he does while having green hair and eyes.

speculation about the musical chairs game
-The eliminated people will sit in chairs in exchange for tokens

-The contestants will pick up chairs and hide them somewhere on the island

-Someone will manage to get tokens from everyone, so they get prize money whoever wins

Leronira placed a large wager on Nao
Related to the Rat Race WMG above. Whenever Leronira is shown, he's usually rooting for Nao and/or Akiyama. This is because he placed a large bet on them. Most likely, he placed his bet on Nao because everyone else believed she'd lose. Therefore, the betting odds would be stacked against Nao, so anyone who bet on her can win a ton of money if she wins. Leronira will then use his winnings to help all the players who lost and are in debt because he's a Nao Fan Boy.

Liar Game is a Death Note AU
The Point of Divergence was L dying off early on. As such, the person groomed to be the Alternate (Akiyama) never committed suicide. His span in prison was a convenient cover story while he solved criminal cases around the world with the assistance of Beyond Birthday. The butterfly effect results in Ryuk finding a different way to have fun - organizing the Liar Game. Elsewhere in the universe, Yagami Light is tearing his way through the Game.

The Lawyer will be LGT's demise
Sure, they can't prove the lawyer lied without recordings or whatever... but in his first meeting with Nao he charged a fee for their first meeting. But he isn't a lawyer, so he couldn't legally charge for it. In effect, that first meeting will be Nao/Akiyama's Chekhov's Gun, when the lawyer will be called out about being dishonest, which will grant them the 10 billion prize offered just before the second game.

The Third Revival Round will force Teams Akiyama, Yokoya and Harimoto to work together to advance.
We know there's probably nobody who could beat all of them working together, but after everything they've been through, there's little chance of that. The game would be like the Contraband Game, where each player is in it for their own personal gain as well as that of the team. Akiyama wants the money to pay off those who lose, Harimoto wants it to keep it away from the "evil" contestants, Yokoya wants it because he's a dick, and Nao is the only thing that can bring them together.

The LGT office purposefully lured Akiyama into the game
That may seems weird, but think about it. The LGT office chose Nao, a girl with no wits at all, but resembles Akiyama's mother so much that it worries him, and will follow to protect Nao. Having entered the game, Nao would try to find help and will bump into the lawyer - who did guided her to Akiyama, who just conveniently got outta jail. And a lady (suspected to be from the LGT office) just happens to lose her money on the second round, made a way for Akiyama to directly play the game. Just send him a postcard with money would fail right away, since he doesn't care, nor does he want to enter the game at first.

The LGT office is in fact the Japanese Central Bank, trying to implement quantitative easing
Let's start with the facts: to run the games, the LGT office requires massive resources, in more than one way. Not just massive piles of cash (which is harder to obtain and keep secret than you might imagine), but also finding the hundreds of people with the right psychological profile so that they'll participate, doing all the little things required to keep a check on them and even the necessary resources to keep anyone who <might> go to the media/cops quiet (be it by bribes or having the authority). Sure, all of this could be accomplished by a private/illegal/criminal organization, but it's also suggestive of the government being the LGT office, as it could do pretty much all of that, with much less hassle.

Also note something: we've yet to meet someone who was in debt and decided to give up the game and should be suffering the consequences. Now, this is very much in line with the somewhat ambiguous nature of the LGT office and there's one potentially very good reason for why this is the case: if my theory holds true, then anyone who's in this situation will simply have their debts forgiven and are subsequently allowed continue on their lives, no penalties enquired.

Ok, but why then? Wouldn't the LGT office lose money this way? Why would the government want to lose money? Well, the fiscal branch wouldn't want to do this, most likely, but for the Central Bank of Japan, losing money would precisely be the point. Allow me to explain: Japan has had deflation/been on the zero bound of interest rates for over 20 years now. The reasons for this are complex, but basically after the late 80s/early 90s bubble burst, inflation collapsed, as did interest rates, without a corresponding increase in economic activity since then. I.e., the main tool available for the Japanese Central Bank to deal with low to zero growth, cutting interest rates, has simply ceased to exist (much like the US and Europe is undergoing right now).

So what can the CB do in such a situation? Well, one solution, which empirically seems to be working at least a bit in the US and the UK, is to do quantitative easing. What's QE? well, effectively QE means expanding the money supply and it is normally done by buying bonds and equities. The thing is, the Japanese CB has never tried this strategy, in part because it's been afraid that if it did and QE didn't have much effect on growth, it's reputation and effectiveness would be ruined. That's where the Liar Game comes in.

If the LGT office does as I've proposed and forgives debts, then it means that it's 'losing money', i.e., it's giving money away to the winners, with an overall net deficit... which is, to some extent, what QE does/should do. If this (weird) version of QE works, it would pick-up economic activity and the best part: denialbility. I can't stress this enough, as the CB (like almost all CB's) jealously and actively guards it's reputation, which would explain this convoluted method of doing QE.

See, by doing things this way, the CB doesn't risk it's reputation and it still allows it to try QE without anyone suspecting with the bonus that, if it's successful, they can even try doing it through legitimate means in the future. I mean, if they wanted to implement QE secretly, they could do it other ways, say, just giving out cash to random stranger, but that would raise suspicion quickly. Doing via a system that seems to make money for the people behind it (even though it doesn't, if they forgive debts) and seems illegal, means there's no suspicion of the real reasons and the people behind the Liar Game.

Want more proof? Well, so far the games chosen are heavily laden and constructed with game theory, something the LGT officers clearly understand like a second language. And game theory is an economist's basic tool set; in any CB, even though CBs have much more experts in macroeconomics, there should still employ large numbers of economists who understand game theory to fault.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense too... it even explains why they don't mind that Shinichi's implementing his 'one big loser' strategy; to them, it's not too bad a thing, because although it does reduce the effects of the QE, since the more people win and lose (and have their debts forgiven), the more money enters circulation, they can just run more tournaments in the future without him; it's better not to raise suspicion of their real motives than to have a more effective QE.

The LGT doesn't make its money when people lose and end up in debt
They make it when people withdraw from the game, and pay a percentage of their earnings. That's why they make it so easy to get out of the game when you win a particular game, and so dangerous to keep on going.
The whole LGT is an empirical test of Tit-For-Tat Game Theory
If you look at Game Theory, it predicts that in games like the Prisoner's Dilemma, you can have more positive equilibria if the game is played over many consecutive rounds, allowing players to punish defectors and cheaters, and reward those who co-operate. But how do you actually prove it works when it comes to human beings?

That's where the Liar Games come into effect. After the initial game, the follow-up games take place in isolation, over many rounds, with incentives to both cheat and work together. This is all to see if, when actually placed into an appropriate situation, Tit-For-Tat will actually work.

The entire thing takes place in the Leverage universe
In a more lighthearted WMG than the ones above, I suspect this. Gambit Roulettes are way too familiar for it not to be. Akiyama also has some striking similarities towards Nathan Ford, including the dramatic backstory related to Insurance Companies and being a former Con-Man with a heart of gold. Some day in the future The Leverage Team will come after the LGT (after all, as it's been said along the story, they prey on the poor and weak to work as participants) and the Gambit Roulette to end all Gambit Roulettes will be ON.

Kanzaki Nao represents Jesus Christ
She sacrifices her financial freedom to pay the debts from other players...they just need to believe her.


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