Posts Tagged ‘cooperative games’

There’s this cooperative game called Hanabi (that I love), where, in order to play a card, you are dependent on hints other players have given you. I decided early on to play with hope. I will hope that my fellow players gave me good hints and didn’t neglect to give me necessary hints. It can backfire when the constraints of the game limit the available hints, and so my fellow players were between a rock and a hard place. …

Anyway. When a person is first learning, a lot of times they don’t know what hints are the most important, or how to give good ones, or maybe they do, but they don’t know the kind of player I am and how I will respond. And so my preference for playing hopefully may be reckless for one round of play. It may leave the hint-er feeling like a failure. (I am disinclined to consider myself the failure.) Hanabi is a game for playing more than once. It is a game for learning people. In watching me respond in a certain way, even if we crashed and burned, now that player knows more about communicating with me in the future.

And one of the humbling beauties of the game is that not only are they learning how I play; I am also learning about how they give hints. So we adapt to each other. I probably won’t stop playing with hope just to adapt to a cautious strategy, but I may adapt to the things they evidently meant to communicate, and the things they think are priorities.

Yeah. But this morning I was thinking about the willingness to teach through failure. In the movie Penelope, a young woman goes to a bar for the first time and the bartender slides her a beer, but she watches it slide on off the counter. “You’re supposed to catch it,” he smiles at the crashed glass, and pours her another, which he slides to her in a second attempt. More than likely, he thought she’d figure it out the first time. Definitely expected her to not let another one hurdle off the end of the counter. But he didn’t have each of his customers go through orientation. He didn’t show them diagrams and examples. He didn’t hold the first beer a few inches from their hand and then give it a slow push to slide gently into the hand he’d made sure was waiting for the pint. He risked trust. He risked wasted beer and broken glass and embarassment.

I’m not going to just play it safe and have a mediocre game. I’m going to play like I think it should be played, and lose very badly a few times in order to become really great players and get great scores more consistently. I guess I could explain things out, train the game before playing (thinking especially of teaching kids), but that kind of defeats what is to me one of the objects of the game: to practice paying enough attention to other people, and putting your fate in their hands, to communicate and cooperate better and better.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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