Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Game Psychiatrist

Dr. Meepolous: Hi, Mary. How are you today?

Mary: Not so good, Doctor. I'm feeling anxious and very impatient. I can't sit still and can't concentrate on anything.

Dr.: First you should sit down and try to relax. Take a deep breath. - - - - O.k., you move first.

M: What!? I came here to talk through my problems and you want me to play DVONN?

Dr.: Yes, I have it all set up. It'll help you to relax and focus. {And I get to play games while doing my job. }

M: Alright, you're the doctor.

Dr.: Now, why do you think you're having these feelings of anxiousness and impatience?

M: It's the new games, Doc, the ones that haven't been released yet. I HATE waiting--never been good at it.

Dr.: But don't you have plenty of games you could play?

M: Yes, but....I don't know, it's the thrill you get from something new and different. A new game is like getting a new car: the smell, the feel, checking out the accessories. Taking it out for a test drive and seeing what she can do. It's just so exhilarating.

Dr.: Hmmm, yes. {Nice move. I could be in trouble here}

M: Since this is all confidential, I gotta tell you: I blame Rick Thornquist.

Dr.: What? Why would you blame that nice man for your problems?

M: Sure, he sounds like a nice man but I think he's got a bit of a sadistic side, too. He's always got the latest news on what's coming out and sometimes he even tells you how they play, but you have to WAIT! It's sadistic, I tell you. I wouldn't hear about most of these games till people had them in their homes, enjoying them, if it weren't for that man. Now I'm drooling and I don't even get to kick the tires.

Dr: {I need to get her outta here before the game is over--she's killing me.} Would you rather he quit his job so you wouldn't have these games to look forward to?

M: No, I guess not. It's a good kind of anticipation, like waiting for Christmas.

Dr.: Would you rather someone else do his job?

M: No, he does a great job. I....well, I trust him.

Dr.: O.k., then. Do you feel better now that we've talked this through?

M: I do, actually. I think the DVONN game helped, too. Let's just stack these babies up, shall we? - - - - - - Whoa, Doc! You need to practice!

Dr.: How did you do that? You weren't even paying attention!

M: Yeah, I know. That's why I came in here, remember? Thanks, Doc. See ya later.

Dr.: {Great. Now I feel irritable.}

(For my friend, Richard Fawkes, who suggested I needed to take another trip to the psychiatrist.)


This week Mike brought RoboRally again, by request from me, and this time Richard got to play, too. I could tell that he really liked it because he actually said so! Usually I ask him, "What do you think of this game?" and the reply is often, "It's o.k.". So to hear him gush over a game ("I like that one. How much does it cost?") is a sure sign that it was a hit. And I don't think the fact that he squeaked out a win had anything to do with it!

We also played Vinci, which is popular with us. I've only played 3 games or so of Vinci which might explain the bone-head decision I made with my first civilization, which included Mountaineering that let me conquer mountain regions for 1 less and also score mountains, and Currency which let me score +1 for every province including mountains. I took the bait and gobbled up the northeast corner of the board while somehow ignoring the fact that the points would not continue into its decline. The result was a nice lead with the first civilization, but a steady decline during the next civilization. I have to admit that I'm the hard-headed type and have to learn from my mistakes, but I DO learn so I won't overlook that point in future.

A new game also hit the table, Rheinlander. I bought it thinking it would be the same depth as Kardinal und Konig (China), but after the first play, I'd have to say there are more decisions to be made and more ways to manipulate the lay of the land (so to speak). We were still discussing the ways the rules fit together and the options it gives you after the game had been put away. You know this is usually a good sign.



A choice was made,
A road was taken;
All other roads
Must be forsaken.

Every day our lives are built
On decisions too numerous to name;
And whether for good or ill,
That life will never be the same.
If you don't reach your destination,
You have no one else to blame.

Until next time, may your roads be the longest ones.



Mark Haberman said...

You are my new favorite blogger. Your writing is always interesting, insightfull, and witty. Thanks!

gamesgrandpa said...


You are a natural! This was very entertaining and imaginative. And poetry, too -- you are indeed versatile and creative. I am definitely a fan! Look forward to reading more and more from you.

Joe Gola said...

Yeah, Rick Thornquist has a lot of nerve logging onto my computer and adding games to my wishlist without asking.

Those Canadians are a sneaky bunch.

ekted said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ekted said...

Why do you listen to Richard? He's crazy like a Fawkes! :)

Rick said...

I like your shrink Mary - he didn't once mention your mother! (And he didn't charge you either... unless the bill's in the mail.)

Thanks for the post - it made my day. :)

sodaklady said...

Richard, I pay him in Monopoly money. :)

DWTripp said...

Seems to me that the good doctor could use a little help himself. You are just bartering with him I assume Mary... he counsels you while you teach him strategy.

Thanks for yet another great contribution.

GROGnads said...

Hey! What was the ''Deleted'' item? from the 'comments' here? anything worthwhile?