Gobblet … And Other Nerdy Ways I Spend Fridays

Later Friday night Blake came by and I showed him how to play the wii. He picked it up right away and crushed me in tennis. We will never play wii again.

We decided to go to a movie that started in an hour. But, in the ensuing hour of watching TV, we ditched that idea deciding it demanded way too much work. Blake also confided that he felt that a movie in a theater was often too much commitment. However, at home he watches the whole of terrible movies like Anaconda, just because he has the option of breaking it off at any time. This is a real commitment issue and I wish him luck as he moves five states away to try living with his girlfriend in Alabama.

Instead, knowing Blake’s distaste for board games, I broke out Elissa and my most recent find: Gobblet! . It is a variation on tic-tac-toe, a game I was never good at (foreshadowing). The game takes all of 3 seconds to learn and unlike chess, at first it looks amazingly simple. Then you start thinking about all the possible board positions and it gets impossibly hard. Blake is the annoying kind of person that vocally abhors anything at all nerdy (like “reading” and “politics”), but then turns out to have a real knack for kicking your ass at these things. I got my shots in, though.

Here is a picture of Blake looking all of 13. For some, the camera adds 10 lbs. For Blake, the camera subtracts as many years. I swear he’s old enough to drink.

Blake Gobblet.jpg

The fun thing about Gobblet! Is that you develop a strategy based on the preceding games with the opponent, so it’s almost always a completely different context in which you end up playing.

My personal philosophy for games is that the more strategy they demand and the less luck they require, the better. It wasn’t always this way, but losing to Elissa at backgammon 84 times in a row kinda soured me on games with dice. Remember playing the card “game,” war, as a kid. Well, I don’t. My brother loved that game and I always remember thinking we might as well just write numbers on a bunch of scrap paper, put those scraps in a hat, and draw to see who “won”. For me, this is the same kind of torture that is employed in Bingo and even slots. When playing those games I am always conscious of this strong sense that I don’t even need to be present or conscious for the game to work.

Blake and I played fairly rapid games and it was pretty fun (for me). Later that weekend I played with Brian and my other cousin Jonathan. They both have a tendency to fixate on their moves—possibly over thinking each possibility—and, in the end, my brain felt so worn out that I was ready for a nap, or a strip club.


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