This weeks gamer challenge was to “play a game you think you’ll lose”, from the moment I read that, I knew what game it had to be.
Ticket to Ride is a “gateway game”. It’s easy to pick up, but has many of the slightly more complicated elements found in euro gaming. It’s also something my husband is amazing at. Often in our household, we count who ever comes in second as being the real winner, because we know he is going to come in first. There really is no question. Because of this, Ticket to Ride was immediately set aside to play this week.
For those who may not know, Ticket to Ride is a train game. You are building trains across the United States (or other countries, if you have one of the sequels) in an effort to complete certain routes. Routes that you complete earn you points. Routes that you do not complete lose you points. You build your train via collecting sets of colored cards that match the track on the board you want to build. Compared with other Euro games, this is a dreadfully simple one. (It’s also dreadful for teaching kids geography).
One thing I hadn’t expected was that when I sat down to play, my husband wouldn’t be available to do the same. He had started a game of Nightfall in the other room and was still in the midst of combat. With no sign of getting him back soon, we forged ahead without him. After all, even though I knew I would lose to him, I really didn’t feel confident that I would win versus the other players I had either.
The game started and was going pretty good. I took an early lead, as I often do, and received some good nature ribbing from my fellow players, “Hey, I thought you were suppose to lose this week!”. But as the game continued on, it didn’t take long for the tide to turn. My momentum in this game slows down to a crawl, as I struggle to complete certain links, rather then just building whatever links I might have the cards for. This narrowing of focus ends up killing my point generation, and it’s not long before my 20 point lead turns into a ten point deficit.
In the end I lost, even by our normal house rule standards of “who ever came in second is the real winner!”. I got third, out of four people playing. This really just felt like a continuation of my losing streak from Who’s Yer Con. However, this all reminds me of a quote from the father of role playing games, Gary Gygax:
“Games give you a chance to excel, and if you’re playing in good company you don’t even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.” – Gary Gygax
Speaking of Gary, we would like to take this moment to remember him. This week is the fourth anniversary of his death, and the loss is still felt by the gaming community as a whole. Without his influence upon the world, a great many of the things that we love would not have come to pass. There would be no Dungeons and Dragons, nor any of the other RPGs that followed in it’s wake. Gary was a pioneer who left a great legacy, and he will be missed.
Next weeks challenge is one that I think most gamers already do: Play a board game on a phone or tablet. I have a couple in mind, but I would love to hear suggestions of others.
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