For many, the last day and first day of the year is a day for gathering with family and friends. For me and those I often spend this time of year with, games are an important part of the festivities.
I love board games, I love the strategic nature of testing myself against the games. Some times my ideas pay off, other times I learn a really good way to not play that game…
I do not mind losing at a game especially early on as I am working through the processes necessary to meet the objectives of the game. I will often test different theories in relation to what I understand of the rules, available actions or processes that can be taken, as well as the defined outcomes that are desired as victory conditions of the game.
Today was no different. As I was introduced to a new game, I had an experience worth sharing.
The game was not a complex game by any means and with a good teacher, it only took about 10 minutes to learn. In brief, you were to use actions to collect sets of cards to be played to perform a standard task that fits with the theme of the game. You were rewarded points for cards used to complete that task. After completing about 2 to 4 of these tasks along with the necessary turns required to gather the needed cards the round would end and a new one would begin. Another way of gaining points was to gain mastery in an area by collecting sets of two matching cards and claiming a related mastery skill in that area, then once you had that mastery skill anytime you played that matching card in a standard task you gained an additional point. Each mastery skill could only be gained by one player.
It happened that on my first or second turn I had the matching cards to gain one of those skill cards, suddenly I had 2 points and was in the lead. On my next turn, I was able to ignore what was going on on the mainboard and gather another skill and 2 more points. So it continued that I ignored the main method for gathering points and continued down my skill acquisition path. After gaining my 4th skill and awarded points it was commented on by the games teacher that in previous play the whole group had not collected many more skills than I currently had in their entire game. I continued to ignore the task point gaining method the others were involved in and continued my pursuit of these mastery skills. At one point, I even declared that was to be my strategy. I remained in the lead by a small margin.
By the time the other players started to look to follow my strategy, I had a good process in place and was able to continue my success in this area.
After most of the gameplay had transpired I finally completed my first of the standard task and leaped ahead. As it rolled around to my turn again I completed my second standard task of the game and brought the game to a swift end with a rather large margin of victory. I won the game by employing the standard task (most commonly taken) only twice.
It was clear to all that my strategy was a solid one and I am certain when we play again the others will employ a similar tactic and the competition for gathering mastery skills will be much greater. I will also be looking for new ways to improve the process and other paths to win. There will possibly be someone else that grasps victory and we will all have had another enjoyable time.
Reflecting on this today there are a number of insights worth considering, one I will share here—I may bring this up another post sharing other insights. For now—in relation to goals, we need to understand that getting our desired outcome might be made easier by adjusting our focus to acquire new skills. It is good to consider the path that might be traditionally followed, but we want to make certain we have explored ways to improve that path to victory. Have we honestly considered what new skills might be needed to reach our goal? Are we making enough time to improve these skills? Is the shiny object (gold at the end of our rainbow) actually distracting us from the best way to get there? It may seem that moving our focus takes our eyes off the desired outcome, but the reality just might be that we are finding a better and faster way to get our desired objective.