Finding balance in a chaotic world

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December 2017
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Game Strategies

GamesAs I’ve mentioned before, I love to play games. I have a fairly extensive board game collection and at least once a month, I get together with some friends and play. Around the world there are conventions held with the sole purpose of playing games. People fly in from all over and enjoy one, two, sometimes even four or five days of doing nothing but playing games. It should come as no surprise that I have attended my fair share of these events and they are always a lot of fun. One of the draws for these conventions is the chance to play games that you have never played before and also to play with people you’ve never played against. It is playing against these new people that really make the convention interesting.


Why? Well many of the games I play have a lot of strategy involved in them. Obviously in a game like Monopoly, the strategy is buy everything you land on and hope you roll better than your opponent. For the newer type of board games, sometimes called specialty or modern board games, there are often multiple valid strategies that you can pursue. What is interesting is that when you play with the same people often enough, everyone falls into a similar strategy pattern. While they may not play the exact same strategy as you, all of their assumptions about how the game works are the same as yours. In essence, everyone falls under the sway of “groupthink.” So now you are playing the same game with a completely different group of people and your strategy is not working as well as normal. Why is that? This new group does not have the same perceptions of the game as your old group and thus they do not fall into the same strategy as you. It is ok, because you are also not on the same page as them.


This may sound confusing but I have witnessed this many times. What you think is the “perfect” strategy turns out to not be as foolproof as you thought. It is strange how people who do something together often enough fall into a similar pattern of thought. I know that sometimes I’ll be playing a game and see someone attempt a strategy that I’ve tried and failed at before, but since they are coming at it from a different angle, suddenly it works. That is why I love playing familiar games with new people. It changes the way the game is played.


The same phenomenon applies to other aspects of our lives. If you turn to the same group of people for advice, the advice you receive will be similar in its point of view. If you ask a different person, suddenly you will receive advice from a totally different perspective. Is that a good thing? Possibly. The important thing is to realize what their perspective is. Everyone loves to give advice (heck, I’m a perfect example of that) but is their advice in your best interest. I’ve known many people who told me what to do, not to better myself but to puff themselves up. It is important to identify where they are coming from if you hope to benefit from their advice.


So feel free to solicit new opinions. Often it will open up your perceptions to avenues you were not aware of. Just be certain to understand their point of view and determine if following their advice is in your best interest.