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Games: A Variety Of Forms

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Games can take a variety of forms. You can define a game as an activity that must have the following characteristics: the activity is chosen for its light-hearted character, it is circumscribed in time and place, the outcome of the activity is unforeseeable, participation is not productive (excluding money), the activity has rules that are different from everyday life, and it is accompanied by the awareness of a different reality.

Unconcerned that some behavioral scientists claim, somewhat patronizingly, that game players are simply people working off their aggressions in socially acceptable ways, Americans in increasing numbers go on blithely buying, playing, and enjoying their favorites. If there is a deep secret underlying the timeless appeal of games, Aldous Huxley perhaps best expressed it: “With their simple and unequivocal rules [games] are like so many islands of order in the vague untidy chaos of experience. In games one passes from the incomprehensible universe of given reality into a neat little man-made world where everything is clear, purposive and easy to understand.”

Aggravation is a source of continuing, increasing irritation or trouble, or exasperation. Aggravation is a mild form of suffering, often with anger, in particular, if applicable, anger at the person who caused it. This can also be oneself, e.g. when forgetting something or doing something stupid. It is a form of stress, but conversely, if one is stressed by unrelated matters, mild imperfections can cause more aggravation than usual.

Mating is a fascinating example of the complexity that can arise in considering aggravation. Males generally pursue females in mating species - females avoid males that they assume are undesirable, or at bad times to bear young. Thus the physical aspects of sexual pursuit may aggravate the female, and the pursuit may itself be an aggravation. This changes when a desirable male approaches at the right time - at least insofar as the female considers it to be so.

So something which is an aggravation at one time may serve a purpose, or even be a pleasure, at another. For these reasons mating is very often omitted from any discussion of aggravation itself, and indeed prevents problems for discussions of pain and pleasure itself. Mating often involves both - and certainly motherhood also involves a great number of aggravations, but with the third party observed advantage of passing on genes - that is, if one accepts that this is of any use.

Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both. Many games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, simulational or psychological role. The requirement for player interaction puts activities such as jigsaw puzzles and solitaire "games" into the category of puzzles rather than games.

There is a need for realistic, personal goal setting and for taking action to ensure your long-term success to alleve aggravation. What comes next is commitment. You can set all the goals you want, but if you're not willing to commit yourself to the process, it won't work. But if you are committed to seeing your desires become reality, you will succeed.

Most games, board games included, are imitations of real-life situations. Not surprisingly, therefore, games based on various aspects of warfare have been popular all over the world since time immemorial. Most war games are designed for two players, each the leader of his own forces and the originator of strategic operations against the opponent. There are a number of different types of war game and they are based on the different types of strategic operation we know in real warfare.

Murray, arguably the best authority on board games, has classified war games under four headings: a) battle games, in which the object is to capture or immobilize all the opposing pieces - chess is a typical game of this kind; b) territorial contests, in which the object is to gain control of a larger portion of the board - the Chinese game of wei-ch'i and the Japanese game of i-go are examples of territorial contests; c) blockade games, in which the object is not to capture enemy pieces but to immobilize them - the game mu-torere, played by New Zealand Maoris, is a good example of this type; d) clearance games, in which the only moves are captures and the object is to make the larger number of captures - leap-frog and solitaire are two examples of clearance games.

The typical battle game is one in which opposing players direct a conflict between two armies of equal strength upon a circumscribed battlefield. These two armies are differentiated in some way, usually by color. The games can be further distinguished by the moves allowed and the methods of capture employed, and it is the combination of the allowable moves and the method of capture used that gives a particular game its unique character.

In games played on latticed boards pieces can be moved in only three basic ways: orthogonally (horizontally or vertically), diagonally or a combination of these two (the knight's move in chess, for example).

In some games, pieces can only be moved one square, in others they can be moved any number of squares. Sometimes pieces can only be moved in a forward direction, other times they can be moved forwards or backwards. In some games leaps are permitted, in others not. In games such as checkers each piece has the same power of move and in other games, such as chess, different pieces have different powers of move.

There are several methods of capture; the three most often employed are replacement, interception and the short leap. Replacement capture is employed in all race games and in chess. A player reaches a square occupied by his opponent by a legal move, removes the occupying piece and takes its place. Interception captures are the oldest form of capture and take place by enclosing an opposing piece between two of your own pieces on three consecutive squares, in a direction in which a legal move can be played.

This method of capture was used in latrunculi, the Roman game. The third common method of capture is the short leap in which a piece leaps an opposing piece in a legal direction of play and lands on a vacant square immediately next to the opposing piece. A fourth method, the huff, is employed in some games in which capture is compulsory. If a player overlooks a possible capture, his opponent huffs a piece and removes it from the board.

A surprisingly large part of skill is a matter of attitude and concentration. When the pressure is on, the player with the best control of his nerves and emotions has a big advantage. Try to play with confidence, even if you have little reason for having any. The sooner you act like a good player, the sooner you'll become one. I don't mean you should swagger, pose, brag, and sneer like some of the insufferable clowns you see, but I do mean you should cultivate an air of command.

Survey the situation as if a computer is whirring in your head producing printouts of favorable odds. For your brain is like a computer, and if you practice enough, it will begin making decisions for you on an unconscious level. When that happens, people will begin saying, perhaps even writing, that you have a nice feel for the game.

Acting like a good player even though you are miscast in the role is not so much for the purpose of frightening your opponent as it is for building up a feeling of confidence within yourself. In many areas of life, a confident mental attitude is almost as important for success as luck and cheating. You must be able to make cold-blooded assessments of percentages, but once you decide to try it pays to do so with forthrightness and even ebullience. You've got to believe that you will make it. At the moment of truth there is no room for pessimism. Once you allow yourself to start worrying about how hard it is, how poor your chances are, how bad you are going to look, how embarrassing it will be to lose ... well, then that exquisite machine is almost sure to belch, backfire, and run off the tracks.

To be great recreation, you must be able to watch and play. However to be great at it you have to master several skills. Multiple strategies are needed to be successful. Mental toughness endurance, power, quickness and good hand eye coordination is required to be competitive in any contest. You can play for years and still it is almost impossible to master. However, the degree of difficulty makes it so appealing to watch.

One of the reasons we get aggravated is that the decisions are all on our shoulders. There is no one to blame for mistakes. There is no easy excuse to make. Of course, we can always run for cover behind lines like I was sick. Many people assume that when something crazy happens they will just handle it. Not everything can be anticipated precisely, nor does it need to be. Just get into the right frame of mind when the moment calls for it.

We are brought up to believe competition is good for us. So it is: like when we compete against ourselves to reach our personal best. But when you are constantly measuring yourself against another person then motivation by fear rears its ugly head. Constantly judging others and making comparisons between yourself and others leads to a doing culture. You know you have to do ... because if you don't ... you will be seen as inadequate etc. etc. etc. You are now motivated by the fear of losing.

There is another way. A way that enables you to deliver on time every time without all the aggravation. Think in a different way. Your reactions depend on your motivation. So what if your motivation is to enjoy yourself. What if you followed your intuition, your feelings and let go of the fear. If you think that something is the right thing to do. Do it. Put it into practice. Don't just understand it and think about it, do it. This brings power. This is motivation by the real you. The wish to do things in order to bring out the best in yourself.

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