The Tao of Board Gaming VII

The Tao of Board GamingKoans I-III can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming I (December 2009). Koans IV-VI can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming II (April 2010). Koans VII-IX can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming III (October 2012). Koans X-XII can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming IV (May 2014). Koans XIII-XV can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming V (December 2014). Koans XVI-XVIII can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming VI (April 2016).

XIX. The Buddha Nature of Cooperative Games

One day a seeker came to speak with a lama about the Buddha nature of cooperative games.

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The Tao of Board Gaming VI

The Tao of Board GamingKoans I-III can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming I (December 2009). Koans IV-VI can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming II (April 2010). Koans VII-IX can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming III (October 2012). Koans X-XII can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming IV (May 2014). Koans XIII-XV can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming V (December 2014).

XVI. The Buddhist Nature of Munchkin

There was once a gamer who seemed to have a perfectly Buddhist nature. When he played Monopoly he simply nodded as all of his money was stolen away by fat cats. When he played Risk he had a light heart when his armies were cleared from the map of the world, even unto Australia. When he played Munchkin he smiled when he lost cards, and even levels, as his opponents cried out, “Take That!”

However the Buddhist gamer’s nature seemed to crack when his gaming group began to change their play from American games to their European brethren. He was still able to accept the loss of a meeple in Carcassonne, of a route in Ticket to Ride, or of a hex corner in Catan. However, he then took no joy as he collected his points, completed his tickets, and built his civilizations. Worse, he became agitated and unhappy, losing the Buddhist nature that was his core. Continue reading

The Tao of Board Gaming V

The Tao of Board GamingKoans I-III can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming I (December 2009). Koans IV-VI can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming II (April 2010). Koans VII-IX can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming III (October 2012). Koans X-XII can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming IV (May 2014).

XIII. The Problems of the World

The best gaming store in the world was located in an urban center that was peopled by progressives, anarchists, minorities, and other persons who sometimes felt the need to speak out against the establishment. Thus, the student of gaming who regularly attended events at that store sometimes found his route there blocked by protests arising from questions of social justice.

This was the case one day in the long winter when reports revealed that protesting in the urban center had turned into looting, vandalism, arson, and assaults. Sadly, this was not unusual.

Undeterred, the student of gaming set out for his regular gaming evening.

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The Tao of Board Gaming IV

The Tao of Board GamingKoans I-III can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming I (December 2009). Koans IV-VI can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming II (April 2010). Koans VII-IX can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming III (October 2012).

X. The Serious Gamer and the Silly Game

Once there was a serious gamer who enjoyed playing more thoughtful games. He loved riding the edge of the bankruptcy express in Age of Steam, and enjoyed tallying his precise incomes and expenses in Power Grid. If there was a game that could make your eyes water as you counted out the math or that could make you wince as you figured out your moves three turns in advance, the serious gamer loved it.

But then a new game appeared at the gaming club, where you took on the role of monsters. You flicked discs around, threw wooden vehicles, and collapsed buildings constructed out of cardboard and meeples.

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Life Lessons from Board Games

Everything I needed to know about life, I learned from board games.

7 Wonders taught me that it’s good to hit someone before they hit you, and that it’s even better to go after a totally helpless opponent who has no aspirations toward conflict.

Aeroplanes taught me that we should wait around forever in the hope that multinational megacorps will eventually give us what we want.

Age of Steam taught me to take stuff from other people even if I’m going to put it to considerably worse use.

Around the World in 80 Days taught me that game titles can be very deceptive — or at least not good goals if you want to win.

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The Tao of Board Gaming III

The Tao of Board GamingKoans I-III can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming I (December, 2009). Koans IV-VI can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming II (April, 2010).

VII. The Tao Master Plays a Game

One day the Tao master joined his students in their game playing.

Though the students respected the master in all matters of Taoism, they thought themselves more proficient upon the playing field of games, and thus expected to better him here. And, if they were not entirely certain of their own gaming mastery, they were certain that their master’s kind and peaceful nature would keep him from truly seizing the advantage, as is required by a game winner.

So they played Dominion and were surprised when their master beset them with Curses and Ruins. They played Galaxy Trucker and were surprised when their master exactly equalled the blaster gun strength of pirates solely so that he could send them back at his students. They played Aeroplanes and were surprised when their master stomped their older airports to gain majorities in Europe, Africa, and the East alike. In all these games, their master was thoughtful but aggressive — and he won them all. Handily.

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The Tao of Board Gaming II

The Tao of Board GamingKoans I-III can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming (December, 2009).

IV. The New Release that Went Up in Smoke

There came a time when the interwebs began to fill with stories of a new gaming release. It was to be created by That Game Designer who everyone looks up to and it would be a return to The Classics of his Golden Age. When it was previewed in the city of Essen, there were those who, without irony, called it “The Next Puerto Rico” and when it was released in the city of Nürnberg, there were some who prophesied that it would achieve the premier spot on a Certain Website within the month.

Seasons turned and the game was announced in A Country that lies across the ocean from Germany, and then a release date was set. Some considerable time after that it finally appeared. Time dims enthusiasm, but there had been so much emotion already packed into this small game box that it was still purchased quickly and in quantity by those who cared about such things.

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