Friday, June 22, 2007

Time is Fleeting

During the first half of last night’s game of Tigris & Euphrates, I drew only red and blue tiles. For approximately the same period of time, Dave drew no red tiles. I took this statistical oddity in stride, but Dave felt the need to denounce the goddess of fortune for playing her little practical jokes on him (which may be the reason why she gets so much satisfaction focusing on Dave).

One reason why the odd luck didn’t bother me was because of my subconscious feeling that there was plenty of time for statistics to travel back to the norm. As it turned out, Dave probably had a more accurate view of the situation than I did, because neither of us ever got the correct balance of victory cubes to win the game.

The belief that there is plenty of time may be why I often do so poorly in auction games. I usually let others win the early auctions hoping to pick up a bargain when others have exhausted their funds. This strategy often fails because the games end sooner than I expect. In one memorable game of Ra, I scored no points at all during the first two rounds, and was soundly beaten by a newbie. I tend to do better with games like Struggle of Empires in which the game’s time frame is clearly laid out, and I can see exactly when the end will come.

In spite of my knowledge of my own skewed time perspective, I don’t seem to be able to change my behavior. Perhaps this is because my feeling that there is plenty of time plays out in real life as well. I was never a young man in a hurry, and I have a strong suspicion that I could have made more of my life if I had not approached it with such a leisurely attitude.

Biographers tell us that John F. Kennedy lived with a sense that time is fleeting. The death of his older brother in World War II, his own brush with death in the Pacific, and his many health problems all reminded Kennedy that his time on this earth was limited. His awareness of the brevity of life can help explain his energy, his ambition, and perhaps his compulsive promiscuity.

I believe that in gaming, as well as in life, it is important to remember two essential truths: our time is limited, and it is later than you think.


Unknown said...

Try playing some TAMSK. That'll give you a whole new perspective on time management in games.

Fraser said...

our time is limited, and it is later than you think.
So that's why I could usually have won the game on the next turn.

I had often wondered, now I know :-)