Wednesday, July 26, 2017

That Light Bulb Moment

I know I've talked in the past about "that light-bulb moment" that I get to see with some games. Mr. Jack is the one where it's most common.

What I haven't mentioned is how rarely I get to have those moments about myself.

See, I know what I like in a game, and what to look for. Most of the time, I can tell from a rulebook whether I'm going to like a board game or not, based on the elements in play.

For example, I love auction games.

But I'm not very good at trading and diplomacy. Part of that is because my circle of friends just assumes that I'm going to backstab, because I'm the experienced player, here, right?  Part of it is because people assume I'm really good at these games, and so they trade more harshly with me than they do with other players. And a not-small part of it is because I'm an extreme introvert. Trading games are exhausting, because of the amount (and type) of interaction with other players that they require.

A few weeks ago, I was playing Mega Civilization again. My on-board play was good. I had (mostly) non-aggressive neighbors, and I was able to support my cities. But I wasn't getting any traction. I wasn't going anywhere (I wound up in twelfth place out of eighteen players - and that was an improvement over the previous game).

The folks there were (mostly) friends that I'd gamed with at Phoenix. Folks I don't see very often, anymore.  Between turns, I would retreat to a quiet corner (or a separate room), because 17 people is an exhausting number to interact with. My friends know me, and they approached me in ones and twos to just chat during down time. Because they apparently miss me, too. It was a good time.

But I was complaining to one friend about how poorly I was doing. "I'm doing everything well but trading ... " and I trailed off mid-sentence.

Because the heart of that game is all about trading.  You can be perfect on the board, but if you don't trade well, you won't be able to afford any civilization advances. Or, more accurately, it'll be forever before you can afford the advances.  You can have passive neighbors and plenty of room in which to grow, but if you don't trade, you aren't going to win that game.

I traded decently well, but I'd do one or two trades, and then I was done.  A room full of people shouting, "Looking for Ore!" or "I have Wine!" is just draining.

But now that I've had that moment, I think I'm now better-prepared for next time. I need to grit my teeth and just trade.

And it'll probably make all the difference in the world for my score.  Provided people trust me enough to trade with me.

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