Friday, February 6, 2009

Board Games

I just finished playing Tsuro with my family tonight - a board game that calls itself "The game of the Path." Each player puts tiles on the board that connect into a path, and the object is to stay on the board and not let an inadvertant move or another player's move change your path such that you go off the deep end. You have to keep moving forward, no matter where the path may lead. You can shape and connect the path, but ultimately much of the path has been laid and connected by others.

Lessons for my life at Julep abound. To wit: always try to keep all the paths and potential paths in view so you can make the best choices. (Of course, I got knocked off the board twice by my spouse tonight - but managed to survive my seven-year old). Strategy is all about seeing ahead, and not being blinded by satisfaction of the immediate next move. Keep moving forward, making the best moves you can through the criss-crossing maze of options. And try not to be beaten by a seven-year old.

I've also enjoyed playing Blokus with my son. The object of the game here is to take over as much of the board as possible with your color pieces, and leave as little space as possible for your opponent. While I don't think of the world is as being as zero-sum as the Blokus board, this game still MAKES YOU THINK. The first few moves feel just like building a start-up in the first days. As you stretch out and take up as much of the board as possible, each move is exhilerating - anything is possible, each step builds momentum and feels like a bridge to victory. The last few moves feel like navigating through a tough economy - thinking hard about where to put your limited resources, what will make the largest impact, how to conserve your space while still going for the ultimate goal.

Of course, the ultimate lesson is that it's fun and energizing to engage with the people I love - over a gameboard or anything else. And maybe that I should stop drawing work-related lessons from a game board. . .

But if you have kids around age 7, or are in any kind of leadership role in your life, or both, I highly recommend Tsuro and Blokus.