I used to be good at Terra Mystica

March 09, 2015

TMonline Okay, is it all right if I don't talk about Gloomhaven today? I've been talking about Gloomhaven for a week straight and it's a little tiring. Actually, in relation to this blog, I guess I've been talking about it for 2 months straight. Yeah, I think that's enough of that. Did you know that I used to be good at Terra Mystica? I played that business all the time. I trucked my copy around to every gaming get-together and played it with anyone who showed a passing interest. That was definitely not enough, though, so I started playing all kinds of games on terra.snellman.net, the haven of Terra Mystica online play. Did you also know that I'm super-competitive? I would spend way too long thinking about my moves. If I were playing enough online games, thinking about Terra Mystica strategies could eat up entire days of my life. You see, these online games were recorded - seared into the eternal memory of the Internet. I couldn't accept defeat under those circumstances, so I did everything in my power to win. And I did win. A lot. There were losses, yes, but I was deeply satisfied with my performance. I showed the internet that, as a Terra Mystica player, I was not to be trifled with. Playing games in real life was different, but no less satisfying. I obviously couldn't take hours planning out my moves when sitting at a table full of people, but I knew the strategies inside and out such that I could make fairly optimal moves without spending too much time in thought. Every game was immensely enjoyable. It may seem obvious, but it really is the key to why I played the game so much. You see, my natural state as a gamer is not to go out and try every new board game I can. My natural state is to find games that I enjoy and then play them over and over and over to maximize enjoyment. As I learn the strategies, I enjoy the game more and more because I can do better and better at it. That's just my nature. I enjoy doing things I'm good at. I enjoy trying new things, too, but that real euphoria comes from doing something well. If I try out a new game, I might not like it at all, and then I regret not playing something I know I would have enjoyed more. So, yeah, there it is. I enjoy playing the same game over and over. Personal insight. Maybe I should get back to my story now. TM Right, so, anyway, I'm a busy person. I've got a lot of stuff to do, and spending days getting lost in Terra Mystica just wasn't cutting it. Especially once the Forge War Kickstarter campaign started up. So I started playing less and less Terra Mystica. It's cool, I went through the same thing playing Agricola online. I just get way too caught up with these things, and then I have to force myself to scale back before bad things start to happen (i.e. getting kicked out of grad school, failing to deliver 2000 Kickstarter games, getting left by my wife). It was really sad though because it was around that time that organized tournaments on terra.snellman.net were starting up and I was in the top bracket by default. I mean, I couldn't not participate. The chance to play a bunch of games with the best players? I was in. I was more-or-less at the top of my game that first season and ended up in 3rd place overall. I was pretty happy. The second tournament season rolled around and I ended up 5th - just barely high enough to not get kicked out of the top league. I'm pretty sure I didn't play any other games online between that 1st and 2nd tournament. I was getting rusty. And by the 3rd tournament, the rust was enough to put me in the bottom two of the bracket. Surely the internet was no longer pleased with my prowess. It's okay, though. Life goes on, and there are other things to occupy my brain. Sure, spending the day thinking about Terra Mystica was good times, but there are other good times to be had. I picked up the expansion back in November and I've played it a few times since then, checking out some of the new races. The last game I played was a couple weeks ago, and I totally bungled the Acolytes. I came in a distant 3rd. That was cool, though, because I still had a good time playing. It wasn't super-important whether I won. I didn't have to demonstrate any amazing Terra Mystica prowess. I just had to play the game and have a good time. Obviously the goal of a game is to win, but the goal of playing a game is to have fun. I had fun losing with the Acolytes because I was playing a fun game and I was able to learn how to play them better next time. I really enjoy learning, too. It's pretty much the main draw for me when playing a new game. The problem is that some new games don't even offer you much to learn aside from the rules. The strategies are readily apparent and then it's just a matter of going through the motions until the game is over. God, that's boring, but no need to go off on another tangent. Maybe I'm not that great at Terra Mystica anymore, but that's perfectly fine with me. It just means I have more to learn. Or relearn.

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