Don’t you just love winning? I grew up playing board games and I still play them whenever I can. Â Apart from my forays into the digital gaming realm as a 15-21 year old, I largely play only board games. And I love to win. Â Probably more than I hate losing.
I stopped playing Scrabble because I have never lost and I want to keep it that way. Â I’m competitive and it turns me into an intense person when I am playing a board game.
So I wanted to write a post that justifies my obsession with outwitting the competition in board games.
One of my favorite things about playing games is that they operate within a specific framework. Â It is quite simple to know how to win. Â I don’t like games of chance – you can never learn and improve.
Life is so much harder than games. Â School is a little more similar. Â In both games and school you have a clear goal – get an A or win the game, and they tell you how to do it. Â To be a successful person after graduation is a different story because nobody gives you the rulebook.
I can concentrate for an hour during a game (In a long game that may last several hours, I learn how to concentrate only at the key moments). Â Likewise, for an exam in school, I could buckle down and learn the stuff.
Here is my theory about how to use board games to be more successful by bringing a game mentality to the rest of your life.
For example, check outÂ The Email Game, so you can race yourself to get your email done fast.
Parents have figured out about the “who can clean the room the fastest game”. Â People love getting promotions and titles, because they are clear evidence you just won a round of the game.
Here are my game playing tactics for life:
1. Give yourself a clear definition of what it means to win. Â In games there is a clear objective such as take all the opponents pieces or score 10 points. How will you know when you are successful in life? Set a concrete markets – $ per year, X number of clients, etc.
2. Break down important tasks into small steps. Â I’m not sure I can focus long enough to win a multi day game tournament, but I am pretty confident I can win a single game. Â If you want to network your way to your dream job for example, that probably means contacting lots of people. Â Winning the game can then be broken down to mean writing one awesome email before noon. Win another game after lunch.
3. Â Know the rules. If you don’t know what is allowed and what isn’t, then you can’t optimize your strategy. Learn what is acceptable and learn what the strategies the winners use (think about how people optimize their tax bracket by donation write-offs, etc.). Â Don’t be afraid to try new strategy – Â depending on how old the “game” is, the strategy may still be developing (Instagram business models).
4. Come up with a winning strategy. Â Strategies make it easier to make good decisions (does it fit with your plan?) Chess openings area largely similar in their goal – control the center of the board, because the center gives you leverage to win. Likewise, you strategy can alert you that you are spending too much time chasing something that is not getting you closer to the overall win . Â Take a look at your resources, weaknesses, and strengths. Â Play to your strengths. In between games, work to improve or eliminate weaknesses.
5. Know when you need to focus. Â In a poker game, there a only a few hands that really make a winning night. Â Make sure you are present and purely focused at the key turning points in your strategy. Â When the stakes are low, I try to back away from my emotional investment, and enjoy playing. Big opportunities lead to disproportionally big gains Â – be ready to invest a lot in executing those moments well.
6. Collaborate and build long term relationships. I also try to remember to connect with those playing with me (easiest when it is not your turn). Â In multiplayer games, where there can be only one winner, you still need to friends for most of the game. Â Collaboration is a significant advantage to winning games like Risk, Settlers of Catan, and Monopoly. Â You can ensure future victories by playing fairly the first time- just like in real life, people have to want to keep playing with you (just like in negotiating, be aware that there will be future negotiations).
Thanks for reading, keep on outwitting the competition!
Question: What is your favorite game strategy for real life?