Friday, April 5, 2013

Lesson Learned

Chris McGinty (According

You will likely hear a lot about the board game Nathan and I are creating when we start our Kickstarter in May, but my post today, while related to the play-test session we had tonight, is actually about a life lesson that presented itself.

When we’re doing our Kickstarter coverage, starting in May, I will tell you about the biggest fight Nathan and I have had during the game design, a card called (ironically enough) Constructive Criticism. The short version, so I can get onto the life lesson, is that Nathan feels that the card doesn’t cost the player enough (in game turns) to play it. I feel that while it is a powerful card, it costs right about where it needs to be. More about this in a future blog.

In order to test my point, I suggested that Nathan and I play a game in which he has the card in his hand and uses it every time it would apply in the game. If the card was truly broken, I would have trouble winning the game. I feel it is a testament to the depth of strategy that our game offers that I was able to find a way to combat the advantage that having consistent use of the card gave Nathan during the game.

This is where the life lesson occurred to me. We have advantages in life, and sometimes those advantages can do us more harm than good. This happens when we don’t excel at something because we don’t have to. It’s the point where we lose the advantage that we have to rethink our strategy. We usually do better in life when we’re struggling because if we don’t do better, we will lose.

The best example of this I can think of is a person who is living paycheck to paycheck. If they get behind on a bill one month because they overspent elsewhere in their budget, they end up having to tighten their belt the following month to catch up. Because of that struggle, they run their finances better than they normally do, because if they don’t they’ll lose.

So why not arbitrarily give yourself the disadvantage before it’s for real? After you pay your rent next month, pretend that you didn’t pay it. For the next month, you have to pretend that not only do you have to get together the full amount of rent, but they’re also charging you fees. You have until the end of the month to get that amount of money together, plus pay your next month’s rent as well, without borrowing money.

What would you do? How would you do it? You would work extra if you could. You would cut back on spending, because if it was for real, you wouldn’t want to be homeless. You might not win this little challenge, but it’s ok, because it was a simulation. You would come out ahead, and you would have learned new skills for getting by. Sometimes playing the game at a disadvantage can make you a better player, and that includes this game we call life.

I can hear Nathan rolling his eyes right now and muttering something that sounds like, “Hippie.”

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