Why I play board games (even though I always lose)

. 2 min read

Most kids like to play games, and I suppose I wasn't that different from most kids in that respect. For example, I loved Monopoly. I was always ready to play it, as long as I got to be the wheelbarrow. (Somehow I always got the fine for speeding. You know, because wheelbarrows.) As a competitive spirit, sometimes I won. I also loved to play Alias for whatever reason - perhaps I thought I was good at it - but that was 10 years ago.

In the recent years, I've played only these boardgames called Carcassonne and Jorvik. In Carcassonne, you lay pieces together on the floor to form medieval French cities, roads, churches, and fields, and try to steal those of your opponent's. In Jorvik, you're a Viking, trying to get a good bargain when buying goods to the craftsmen of your community from deliverer ships, while making sure you keep your military forces at a superior level compared to your opponents.

These games sound awesome when I put them this way. And don't get me wrong, they totally are. But guess what?

I lose both about 95 % of the time.

So why do I still play them, every week in fact? The 5 % of the time when I do win, I don't get the rush of winning. I've lost my competitive spirit. I only feel a little irritated when the opponent manages to strategize the situation so that instead of getting wool, gold, and glass cheaply, I get nothing but temporal bankruptcy.

The answer is simple: I'm teaching myself to deal with defeat.

I learned from How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis that if you're not willing to fail spectacularly and publicly, you'll never get success in life. And while I know losing in some board game harly compares to a spectacular public defeat, it has an impact nevertheless, however small. Most importantly, what would happen if you won every single time you played a game? You'd be unable to deal with the public loss you'll inevitably encounter on your path to greatness; you'd feel ashamed of thinking you could make it and swear never to try anything ever again.

Embrace failure. Become immune to its effects.


P.S. I recently learned I suck at Alias as well.