Friday, April 8, 2011

Knocking Over My King

The most annoying thing about some games is that when it’s very clear that you have lost, it’s considered poor taste to forfeit. I hold a very different view, maybe because my first serious game was chess.

I love that in chess, you can just knock your king over and the game ends. It’s right in the rules, it’s seen as an acceptable decision by any opponent, and it’s also a great bit of symbolism. Sometimes when all I have left is a pawn and my opponent has something like their queen, a bishop and three pawns, I like to put myself in the position of my lawn piece guarding his king.

I think “Is it really worth it for me to die just so this jerk can live a few more turns?” The answer is obviously “No,” so I topple my king, shake my opponent’s hand, and we start a new game. If this was Monopoly, I might get stuck playing for hours after it’s clear I cannot win. I hate Monopoly. I should be able to light the hotels on my only three properties on fire and collect the insurance money so I can retire in the Caribbean.

Perhaps the most annoying part is when people who are winning play incompetently. This seems impossible, as someone who is horrible shouldn’t be winning, but it happens quite often in games of chance (which a pathetic number of board games are).

However, it should be understood that part of the fun in playing a game is overcoming the odds. The first time one experiences difficulty in a match is not a good time to quit. After all, some of the most rewarding wins are those where you come back from the brink of defeat.

And yet, when I’m clearly going to lose, I can’t help but thinking… isn’t there something better I could be doing?


  1. Ehh...Sometimes the only winning move is to not play at all.

  2. You can't win if you never play.


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