How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Losing

With Labor Day weekend over, it is time to regretfully close the book on summer. Camping, grilling, brewing, mowing the lawn: Every day was filled with joy. That is, until I sat down in the evening to play a board game with my wife, friends, or family.

And then I lost. And lost again. And then lost some more.

Like my beloved but hapless Minnesota Twins, I spent most of the summer getting thrashed by the opposition. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that every Memorial Day I declare a “summer of victory.” You may also remember that last year, the Summer of Victory III, didn’t go so well. However, it was nothing compared to the utter debacle that was the Summer of Victory IV: Actually, the Summer of Defeat, Don’tcha Know.

The overall number of games played went up slightly this summer, 43 compared to last year’s 38. Of these 43, I went 14-29, a .325 win average. This is a huge drop compared to last year (.447 average). In two player games, 26 in all, I went 14-12, again a huge drop off from last year, when I was 15-1-2. I attribute this to the fact that I was playing my wife a lot more, and she has proved stiff competition this summer, winning 8 of our 14 games.

The most popular games of the summer of loss were Hive (11 games played) and 7 Wonders (7 games played, no lie!). These are also the two games that Sara and I purchased together this summer, and we played them a lot. And it seems 7 Wonders is the new Carcassonne for me, as I have not yet won a single game of it. On the other hand, I finally snapped my 17 game losing streak in Carcassonne, winning for the very first time in the two years I’ve owned the game! That was a small bright spot.

In the end, I think this was a summer during which I learned to “stop worrying and love losing.” I don’t mean that I’m trying to lose, but that it doesn’t bother me like it used to. I’m much more focused on playing games that provide a bit of fun and some tough decisions as well, but even more importantly, I am enjoying the company of those with whom I’m playing.

A warmer, fuzzier John? Perhaps. But I’m still declaring a Summer of Victory V next Memorial Day!

5 Responses to How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Losing

  1. Russ says:

    Sad things is, I think you still have a winning record against me. Time for me to find some obscure game, obsess over it all winter and the insist on playing it every time we meet next summer.

  2. Joe says:

    Good post John. Love the title. It’s not whether you win or lose. I find that past success has made it very difficult for me in multiplayer games, especial at my dad’s house! His motto is, “when in doubt, attack Joe.” Laura has also taken to seeking me out for destruction. I’m guessing that the same is happening to you. Personally I embrace the challenge.

    • John says:

      You know, I don’t think it’s about the pile-on mentality with my family. However, I do think I have always had a harder time with more abstract Euros. I’m not great at games that require you to “build a strong engine” for some reason. But I’m still intrigued by them, and I enjoy playing them!

  3. Rick says:

    John, maybe board games just aren’t your thing. Maybe you should pick up a new hobby, like knitting or something.

    Of course, I’m thinking you’ll be getting a win soon here in Washington’s War…

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