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I am a strange dictator.

I meet with three of my fellow leaders at a square table. In discussions I'll always agree with whoever's across from me and almost never agree with whoever's next to me.

My mood changes often, and my subjects often curse me, but they rarely defy me.

For although I cannot speak, many are put to death for disobeying my orders.

Who am I?

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You are

A traffic light.

I meet with three of my fellow leaders at a square table. In discussions I'll always agree with whoever's across from me and almost never agree with whoever's next to me.

Green across from green, next to red. Red across from red, next to green.

My mood changes often, and my subjects often curse me, but they rarely defy me.

Curse that light! Now I must stop.

For although I cannot speak, many are put to death for disobeying my orders.

Failure to stop at a red light could cause a fatal collision.

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Are you perhaps

a bridge player?

Explanation:

Bridge is played with four people, with teammates on opposite sides. In the bidding at the start of a bridge hand, teammates are generally trying to get the same suits as trump (those that the team is strong in), and their opponents want different suits as trump.

My mood changes often: This could refer to different tricks requiring the player to play different cards.

My subjects often curse me, but they rarely defy me: Here, "curse" could mean "cause harm" rather than "swear at"; sometimes in trick-taking games, there's a card that you don't want to play (but you have to). But the "subjects" never defy the players because they are inanimate objects.

For although I cannot speak...: In Bridge, the players cannot communicate except using the bidding at the start of the hand.

...many are put to death for disobeying my orders.: "Put to death" could refer to the cards being played, not to be used again in that hand? And "orders" could perhaps refer to either the leading suit (where, if you do not play according to the leading suit, your card cannot win the hand). Alternatively, "order" could mean the literal ordering of cards in terms of value, where lower cards played will be claimed by someone else.

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  • $\begingroup$ Check my answer, which you definitely lead me to $\endgroup$ – Kevin Mar 30 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ I think it's specifically the qhzzl — who cannot speak. $\endgroup$ – msh210 Mar 30 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ +1 Not the intended answer but clever $\endgroup$ – H Rogers Mar 31 at 0:05
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I think @deusovi is close but the actual answer is

The trump suit in Bridge. The trump suit changes every hand and is determined by you and your partner bidding against your opponents. It beats (i.e. puts to death) the other suits. You don't normally play trump against your partner unless they lead it, and you want to play it against your opponents when they don't lead it

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  • $\begingroup$ How does that explain the "agree with whoever's across from me and almost never agree with whoever's next to me" part? $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mar 30 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi See edit $\endgroup$ – Kevin Mar 30 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ If this is the intended answer I sense a tongue-in-cheek hidden meaning in the comparison between rot13('Gehzc' naq 'qvpgngbe') ;-) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Mar 30 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Stiv Don't even need to rot13 that to know what you are talking about, lol $\endgroup$ – Kevin Mar 30 at 20:08

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