It’s been a long time since I did a game review on this blog, but that doesn’t mean I no longer enjoy games. I’ll admit that I don’t play them as often as I used to, but I still love to pull out a board game with family or friends when the opportunity presents itself. And I’ll tell anyone who asks that I don’t care if I win or if I lose; I just genuinely enjoy playing games.
And that’s true…mostly.
L.(4) has been asking me to play games with him lately, and I’m happy to oblige. We play a handful of somewhat obscure games (like Orchard, Froggy Boogie, and Snail’s Pace Race), but he recently got a couple old familiar games out of the cupboard and asked me to teach him how to play — specifically, Connect Four and Trouble. While he’s still a bit young and inexperienced to comprehend blocking someone on a diagonal or deciding which piece to move in order to best position oneself for the next turn, he likes the pieces and the excitement…and, of course, the chance to win.
L. loves winning.
And that’s one reason I want to play games with him. L. doesn’t take it very well when he loses…or when someone (such as…well…me) does something “mean,” like blocking him or sending his piece back to the beginning. I know this is completely normal for a four-year-old (and apparently, for a handful of adults that I’ve known), and I know he’ll learn to handle it better as he matures, but it’s still something we can begin to gently work on.
The other day, we did just that. As we played a rather heated game of Trouble, I purposely sent him back to Start, and showed him several opportunities he had to send me back to Start, too (which he gleefully took advantage of). We talked about how that’s “just part of the game,” and that it can be fun to have a little back-and-forth as we both try to win. We talked about how if I sent him back to start, then I shouldn’t complain when he does the same to me…and vice versa.
Though he agreed in theory, it was still a little rough in practice. At one point, when I only had one piece left that had to reach the finish line, he told me that if I won, he was never EVER going to play Trouble again. EVER. For real.
I kept offering calm guidance on how to be a good sport and encouraged him to hang in there.
Happily, he won in the end. Fair and square. He was thrilled, of course. But he told me “Good game, Mom,” in a very good-sportsmanlike way. And I graciously accepted defeat.
Because I always graciously accept defeat…
Or do I?
Have you heard of Words with Friends? It’s a Scrabble-like game that you can download for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
I discovered it a while ago and have enjoyed playing it with a handful of family members. Perhaps it’s been so much fun because I’ve won every single game. Playing against my tween, my teenage nephew, even my very smart husband…I’ve been the Words with Friends champion.
But then my friend, Debbie, got an iPhone. And Debbie…well, let’s just say she’s competitive AND she’s a word game master. Silly me — I recommended that she get Words with Friends and play with me.
What was I thinking??
In our very first game, she beat me 361-315. (My first Words with Friends loss. It was rough.)
And just now — as I was typing this post — I received a notification that she played a 32-point word to pull into the lead in our current game.
I will stand by my claim that I enjoy playing games whether I win or lose. But I’ll also admit to feeling just a tinge of something inside.
Part of me is thinking, “We are just going to have to play game after game after game until I
crush beat her.”
But another part of me is thinking, “How many games can I lose before I have to tactfully suggest that we take a break from playing?”
I suppose that’s just the grown-up version of a 4-year-old who prefers winning over losing.
Looks like L. isn’t the only one who needs a little practice with losing…
Played any good games lately? Are you a 100% gracious loser or do you sometimes feel a twinge of “something,” too?