Freya’s Day

Even though I had plenty of opportunities to check my e-mail earlier in the day, I didn’t get online on Thanksgiving until after dinner.  So, by the time I saw a request to write a Thanksgiving post, it was rather late to think about what I would want to say.

I was reading an article about how gratitude is good for one’s health.  Besides being a more positive outlook than the converse, the article was explaining that showing (real) gratitude increases connections between people.

What is valuable?  Someone at work was looking into engagement rings.  Stereotypically, I have no respect for the cost of such things.  I can understand that symbols have value in a way that an engagement ring is far more than just a piece of jewelry.  At the same time, it’s precisely the symbolic value, the value in memories and nostalgia and emotional investment that is worth anything, which has nothing to do with diamonds and their cut, clarity, color, and carat or how many months of salary one is supposed to spend.

To answer the question from the last paragraph, I’m in the camp that it’s experiences in life that have value.  Give me thousands of dollars over and above paying for food, rent, medical expenses, and whatnot and my inclination is to travel*.  I was hoping to make the London Olympics.  But, I was pretty sure I would never be in a stable enough financial situation to make a legitimate effort to achieve that.

*  Preferably travel that involves playing games.

To be thankful.  It’s a bit of an awkward way for me to view it, so let’s try to be appreciative or satisfied.  Besides having more than the basic necessities of life, I appreciate that I’m able to pursue my hobby, gaming.  I appreciate that so many times when I’ve needed help there have been those to provide it.  I’m a relativist, at least when it comes to measuring happiness, so it’s a matter of setting reasonable expectations.  Given how things could be, possibly should be, I should be a lot more grateful.

Anyway, I try to stay on topic – that this blog attempts to analyze subjects that relate to gaming.  I’m sure I could ramble on about a few things.

Why do people play games?

This seems easy, but then, you realize it’s more nuanced [nuanced is my overused word at this time].  Games are for enjoyment.  We play games because we want to have fun.  But, fun for people varies.  Some people enjoy the competitive aspects to gaming, where others are not so much inclined.  Some enjoy griefing others, others not so much.  And, so it goes.

It’s just interesting to observe how often people don’t seem to be having fun playing a game.  If it’s not fun, why bother?  I used to be heavily into trying to persuade people to play the games I wanted to play because one can’t play without opponents.  At some point, I gave up.  Sure, there are those who don’t realize how fun something is and will never realize it unless encouraged, but I’ve run into far too many situations where people do play something and don’t enjoy it.  There’s always something else.

I had a lot of bad games of the Babylon 5 CCG, but I miss it.  I miss two-player CCGs.  My Feng Shui campaign was awesome.  I … perhaps … miss creating hundreds of characters that will never see play.  But, there’s always something else.  It’s fantastic that I still get to play V:TES.  It’s the last CCG I play that I’ve wanted to play.  Without it, I might have to learn to like Magic or give up on CCGs all together.  I may GM more and play less RPGs than I used to, but then, there were many years when I played no RPGs at all.  I may care far less about boardgames than RPGs and CCGs, but they all share the element of getting together with other people.  Everyone I choose to interact with outside of family is due to gaming.  My last two jobs came about because of someone I met through gaming, for instance.

Perspective.  Perhaps it’s a sign of ego, but I perceive a lack of perspective when it comes to gaming.  If our fellow players aren’t enjoying themselves, which in and of itself causes a lack of enjoyment for me, there may not be fellow players.

Take, for instance, cheating.  This is just a philosophical ramble rather than anything based on actual experiences, by the way.  I used to understand cheating.  I don’t so much, anymore.  I just don’t care.  The gaming results that matter are those of interactions, whether mechanical, thematic, social, or whatever.  I suppose cheating can make things more interesting, rather than less.  After all, many stories about contests have the bad guy cheat to make the good girl’s victory that much more epic.  If I see myself as the protagonist when I play, maybe I should encourage cheating as a way to define myself as the hero of the tale.  Course, I generally see myself more as the jester or fool … possibly a good subject for another post.

Bit of a diatribe, but the point was to be appreciative of having other players so that we can pursue our interests.  I usually use the term “playerbase” when I talk about those who play a particular game, but in truth, games and gaming create gaming communities.  And, that’s nifty.

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