I’m a competitive player by nature. I enjoy winning. I love the feeling of accomplishment. When I would lose, I would take it hard and get upset. I didn’t like losing. I liked winning. That changed when I was introduced into teaching games and furthering my hobby.
Last year I was invited to a game night. I had not been heavily into board games since high school except for the occasional Monopoly game. I had ruined friendships because of that game. I had never played team games or cooperative before until that game night. The games I was introduced to that night were One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Pandemic. It changed the way I played games, and I saw that competition wasn’t everything.
Then came a few more board game nights and the chance to try Thanos Rising. (This is my favorite game as I write this.) I loved working together to defeat a big baddie. This event introduced me into the Herald program through Envoy. Envoy is a part of Double Exposure. Double Exposure helps publishers get their games known in stores and events, working hand in hand. I interviewed with them later and officially became a demonstrator for them. I loved the idea of teaching others games. They would ask us to do different splashes and demos to show games at local stores and conventions, including cons like GenCon and Origins. The opportunities I have had in gaming are partly thanks to them.
With each game I learned, I would be tested on it. I had to teach it to one of my peers and be certified in the game. I would learn the mechanics, theme and the rulebook like it was a second language. I even would reach out to my peers and publishers requesting further understanding as questions arose. This especially would occur when playing in preparation with my family. Anytime a new game would come in the mail, they were my players 2-5. This led to questions about, “Am I able to perform this action?” or “Why do we score on this round and not the other?” They helped me sharpen my skills.
So how did the change happen with me and my competitive nature? It came from teaching kids. I had been helping a homeschool co-op the previous year dealing with seven to nine year olds. It changed how I addressed children and taught them. I learned to get on the level of the people playing the games. Giving high fives and encouraging them makes the game more enjoyable. Suggesting ways to address a situation and then letting them decide made a difference. I remember one night I was teaching Thanos Rising with five boys sitting around the table. We would roll the Thanos dice making the “DUH DUH DUH!!!” sound. There would be gasps as a hero died and screams of excitement with each villain removed from battle. Watching them enjoy the game made playing more meaningful to me.
The fun no longer revolved about the winning. It revolved around teaching and helping pass that love for games to others. Now, I’m still competitive, but I have come to love games more when someone asks, “Can you teach us that?” The reward comes from helping others and having others at the table to play with.