Last weekend some friends of mine invited me to sit down and jump into a game they were playing.
On the table there were about fifteen decks of cards, all shuffled and stacked into three big piles. In front of each person there were five to ten separate piles of cards. “Don’t worry, it’s easy,” they assured me.
I sat down. I usually enjoy a good card game. And then they attempted to explain the game to me. Four different people started shouting out twenty different things all at the same time. In my brain they were all screaming at me, panicked and sure that they each had the most pertinent information for the next millisecond of my learning. I tried to tune into each of them together. “You can’t go out till you have two junk piles and two true piles” one of them said. “Your threes are worth one hundred but not the black ones,” another said.
After about fifteen minutes of everybody trying to explain it, I had no idea how the heck the game was played.
And then one of them gave the best instruction of all. “Let’s just start playing, you’ll get the hang of it once we do.”
And sure enough. By the end of the game, I started to pick it up. And by pick it up, I mean that I lost horribly, but I at least kind of understood how that loss came about.
There are two kinds of games in this world. The kind I enjoy and the kind I don’t.
The kinds I enjoy are the kinds where I can sit down and not think about much of anything. I like the kinds of games where I can catch up with friends, goof around, and be social. The kinds I don’t enjoy (and by don’t enjoy, I mean that I’d prefer sticking my hand into boiling fondu rather than play them) are the ones where I have to think and strategize and plot and plan.
I’m sure those games have their saving grace. But man, the rest of my life is already so full of thinking. It’s so full of strategizing and plotting and planning. Playing games should be a break from all that. Shouldn’t it?
After that game, they pulled out Pass the Pigs. It’s a game where you roll two little pigs and get points based on the position they land in. No thinking required.
It was just the mental release I needed. I’ll take Pass the Pigs any day.
PS. How about you? What are your favorite games? Do you like thinker games or more social games?