The dice rolls. The ball goes round. Pawns move. Cards are revealed on the table. Stare in the eyes, read thoughts. Run, clash, corner, bluff, get ahead. Whatever the rules are, you are almost always playing against someone.
Games come in lots of flavours. But whether it is sports, a board game or a computer game, I find that competition is a necessary ingredient in every game recipe. The challenge to stretch my mental or physical muscles is for me what I most enjoy in a game. And for that I need tough and close competition.
As much as I enjoy winning, I hate easy games. There is not much satisfaction in beating a player that plays badly, be it due to inexperience or mistakes. There is too much downtime, you don’t even have to try.
On the other end, I don’t particularly enjoy playing against opponents much better than me. Don’t get me wrong; it is a great opportunity to learn and admire the beauty of a game. But at the same time, the feeling that I can’t win no matter how hard I try makes me lose interest and not show my best self.
My most thrilling games have been close ones, against people that are roughly of the same caliber as me. It is then that you have to get really involved, stress yourself, give your every little bit, and it is this little bit that might mean winning or losing. These games keep you on your toes, make the adrenaline pump or your head buzz with all possible moves and scenarios you can adopt to get one step ahead.
Whether I win or lose, feeling absolutely exhausted at the end of a game is almost always a sign it has been a good one.