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How Not To Play A Game

A few year ago Tatchee started playing Flying Squadron (飛行棋). He liked it so much he grabbed me to play all the time. Each player of the game has four planes. You advance the plane by a number of places determined by rolling a dice. Once a plane fly around the circular course it can land in the player's home base. Whoever landed all the planes wins. You can also shot down your opponent's place when you land on top of it. In that case the shot down plane has to start over from the launching pad.

flying squad

Tatchee was only a few years old then. The funny thing is he did not really grasp the objective of the game. He knew how to roll a dice and to make a move. But he has also invented funny rule like giving away a dice roll of "6" to the opponent, who needed the "6" in order to launch a plane. When you have a long steak without rolling any "6" and all your planes are stuck in the hanger, it is really great that he will give you what you need. Since he was so nice, I have also refrained from shooting down his plane when I have a chance. Somehow we have subverted a game that is competitive in nature and turned it into a cooperative game. He was so innocent then. But it was also refreshing to play the game in such new way.

He has grown up and learned of course. Now he plays to win, just like everybody does. No more giving advantage to the opponent. Why would anyone do that? But the extend he would go to be the winner bugs me. How about playing game because it is fun? Is winning really so important. Sometimes it really bothers me when I see him tried so hard and he also incline to cheating and sabotaging. Sometimes he insist to make invalid moves to advance his position. Other time when he is facing a losing position, he simply swept all the pieces or the board and decided he don't want to play anymore.

Today he has asked me to download a new mobile game. Initially he was enthusiastic about the new game. But after awhile, he couldn't figure out what to do in the game. Soon the 15 minutes time I rationed him has ran out. He erupted into an emotional outburst, calling the game stupid and that it cheated him the 15 minutes of game time. He went on raging for a while and even dropped tears over that.

Games just do not seem to be much fun sometimes.




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