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Feeling Lucky

Posted July 14th, 2012 at 05:36 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
I have been trying to redefine how I perceive luck.

My one son is very logical. He plays Scape statistically, using probability. Usually he doesnítí have as much fun as my other son and I. To us itís about stories, about characters and battles and situations. Legends. My logical son usually wins, but he doesnít enjoy it as much as we losers do. Sometimes he actually has a bad time slaughtering us. Isnít that funny?

I usually roll really badly. Is it logical that I can roll the same dice that my middle son rolls and he will usually get what he wants and I never will? I guess some part of dice rolling involves quantum probability- you get what you think youíre going to get. So I roll poorly, my middle son rolls very well and my logical son gets what he logically would.

I used to play cards with my dad; he thinks he is a very unlucky man. I always won. He used to curse his luck, curse the cards, and wonder why he was so unlucky. We also used to play a game called crokinole- a game that involves flicking small wooden disks at opponentsí disks on a large board divided into point regions. Itís mostly skill. Yet my father would have the same terrible luck and would get mad and curse the game and curse his luck and occasionally he would even flip the table. Isnít that funny?

I donít play games with my dad anymore. It wasnít any fun. It was nice to beat him for a bit- he had always been a bit of a bully, - but I quickly got over that little joy and just wanted to play for fun. But he couldnít play for fun. He was all about winning.. I think as you probably do too now, that my father had neither good luck nor bad luck- what he really had was a poor attitude.

I like games and I also win a lot at certain games- but those are games Iím very familiar with and usually the people I play against are less experienced. I feel lucky in those games but really Iím just a better player.

I never do very well at Scape and frequently comment on my terrible luck but I know that the truth is Iím just not a very good player. Itís a game where you have to take advantage of every bonus you can- height, synergies and special powers and to do that effectively you have to plan ahead. My middle son, the logical one, the chess champ one, does this quite well. I donít and I lose not because I have bad luck, but because really Iím not a very good player.

I have a friend who rolled six 20s on a twenty D in a row during an RPG game once. It was rather astounding, he said, and people were either cheering or in shock. Thatís real luck- rolling something that is improbable.

There is a casino in the city where I live. I have never been there. I figure maybe one day when I donít have to worry about bills and I have extra money- meaning never- Iíll go to the casino. Times are tough right now so the casino isnít doing well. But in its heyday it was taking in thousands of dollars a day. I heard some stats and figure out that the average person lost $90 a visit. I have a friend who goes regularly and about twice a year heíll tell me that he won Five or six hundred dollars. But he never tells me when he loses. I think we all know that casinos are not about luck. They are carefully organized- a few people might win but everybody else looses. Itís sort of like a dam on a river- a lot of fish are swimming upstream but only a very few can jump the dam and win. Everyone else loses. The casino wins.

My logical son will never make a bet unless he is certain he will win. He doesnít even play the odds. He thinks gambling is the same as losing Ė so he only bets on a sure thing. I think thatís smart.

Now, back to Scape- I really love playing you know. Our version isnít quite the same as your version, but sometimes we play every single day. And when we donít play weíre usually thinking about some aspect of it- maps, customs, or making trees. IĎve had a few incredible wins- though they were deemed incredible by my logical son, not by me. He usually had a powerful army that he was confident with- perhaps he takes it for granted that he usually beats me- but a couple times I had decent forces in their best possible situation- and I beat him badly. He didnít enjoy that either. But once again I think it didnít have to do with luck Ė it was just a good situation and for once I played well. Having the right units and knowing how to use them is truly the essence of the game.

Overall Iím just happy to play, and to have someone to play with. That is true good luck. I may have a sucky job right now and a wagon load of other problems, but I consider myself a lucky man.
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chas's Avatar
My Dad taught me chess, and we played occasionally until as a teen I finally won a game--after that, he would never play again. This repeated itself last year before he passed away. In his assisted living facility he'd teach people how to play, but when we played one game at his apartment, I won and he wouldn't play again. That was that.

You are right about Scape; and I'm in the same spot vis a vis better players in my group. Its one of the reasons I have no interest in tournaments!
Posted July 15th, 2012 at 12:21 PM by chas chas is offline
 
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