When I got started in tabletop gaming, I would win here and there (often by a fluke or an opponent’s mistake), but I enjoyed the experience regardless. Over time, I developed a talent for some games. I feel skilled at things like Lords of Waterdeep, Battlestar Galactica, and on the occasion, Magic the Gathering.
My husband and I started Initiative : Tabletop a little over a year past my first true tabletop introduction. When we did, we decided to go back and play some more traditional games. Settlers of Catan was one of those games that we had seen frequently on retail shelves and in game libraries, but had never been interested in it. We finally chose to give it a try, and, well…I loved it.
Catan became one of those games that I found myself good at. And it was a good thing, because I frequently anger(ed) my fellow players to the point where I had played full games where no one would trade with me. Ever. Leaving me to have to try to gather and manage all my own resources without outside help. My friends even joked and began calling the game “Settlers of Kae-tan”. As much as I enjoy the game, it became increasingly difficult to find joy in a victory due to the agitation it seemed to instill in others. I’m not the type of person to just sit back and intentionally lose the game when I have a win within reach, and its difficult to be happy about a win when people get legitimately upset about it.
And then, there’s games that I completely suck at.
Seriously, Netrunner is my enemy. I’m not good at it, I can’t win it, and while I know many people praise its concept and mechanics, I just can’t get into it. It began simply by playing it and being unable to win. I even took time out of the day when we weren’t playing anything to just sit with the cards and try to understand how it worked. I appreciate the art for the game, but beyond that, its not my thing. If any game came the closest to making me ACTUALLY flip a table in frustration, its freaking Netrunner.
One of the philosophies I have stuck to as a gamer is that if you don’t like a game…don’t play it. It saves energy and time for both parties, and I believe that it just makes sense. I don’t play Netrunner, for the reasons explained. If I were to volunteer to play it or agree when someone asked, knowing I would walk away aggravated, it’d be self-defeating.
So, I’ll pose the question to readers out there – what game are you just naturally good at, and what game can you not win? Has the joy of a victory been spoiled over time?