Flotsam and Jetsam (Random Thoughts)

Playing Games

Everyone needs at least one go-to method to release all of that stress that builds up through the week (or weeks). You can go the low-key route and set aside time to meditate. Or you can choose to engage in vigorous physical activity and wear out your system so your brain has no choice but to collapse into exhaustion. (Frankly, my brain refuses to cooperate with that logic, but it works for some people) Then there are those of us out there that choose to take our stress to the battlefield of the dining room table (or whatever table proves handy) and engage in ye olde tradition of Game Night. Sure, it might lead to another kind of stress (it depends on the game of choice for the evening), but at least for a few hours, you’re not thinking about that project that’s weighing you down.

All that matters is CRUSHING your opponents.

For introverts, Game Night is sacred. We hoarded it as a treasured secret well before COVID-19 swept in and confined people to their homes. Competition across a cardboard land (or duels with stiffened cards) bring out the side of us most people don’t realize exists. Peep in on your introvert friends during a heated campaign, and you’ll swear you’re witnessing a pod person moment. Rooms fill with laughter, loud discussion, and the kind of cut-throat language usually reserved for your favorite action movie. Of course, you’re also talking a GROUP of introverts, so it’s a safe zone where we’re not worried about saying the wrong thing, offending anyone, or tripping over our own feet. And we’re not attempting to make small talk. Game Night exists for introverts to be themselves. COVID-19 just introduced the concept to the extrovert world when they ran out of things to binge-watch.

Now that lockdown has extended to…you know, I don’t even remember how many months (years?) it’s been at this point. Suffice it to say that we haven’t had the chance to leave and explore the outside world in an eon. Even with the vaccine, most people prefer to stay close to home out of a sense of safety. And that means Game Night has taken on a new life. Instead of the extroverts kidnapping their introvert friends and hauling them into social situations, now the tables have turned. We’re bringing the our poor extrovert friends (undergoing massive withdrawal symptoms) into our gaming worlds and introducing them to the fun that is Cut-Throat Uno or Runes and Regulations or Villainous. And then we’re ruthlessly cutting their feet out from under them and laughing at their losses.

And they don’t know what to do with us.

Game Night’s FUN! For those few hours, you have no friends! There aren’t any alliances (well, none that last more than a few moments, anyway). Your brain shoves those worries and stresses aside as you plot out a strategy to achieve your goals. And some of these games are downright devious these days. They’re DESIGNED to pit you against each other! We’re talking spouse against spouse and sibling against sibling! It’s friendly carnage on the highest level. And there’s nothing but laughter and sputtering for those hours. You can’t laugh and stress at the same time – proven fact. You also can’t fret and strategize at the same time. (Trust me. As someone with an advanced degree in anxiety? I know what I’m talking about)

Meanwhile, everyone enjoys snacks and throws out conversation. What you don’t realize is the talk? It’s DESTRESSING! You’re spitting out your worries to make room for that next evil plot in the game. (You need the room in your thoughts) And everyone offers their take on the situations, provides comfort, and acts as a quasi-group therapy. Without anyone catching wise. Because all of you are too busy scouting out each other’s game boards or the number of cards in hands. (We won’t go into Monopoly. That game should NEVER come out at Game Night – unless you’re planning to end a friendship or get the police involved)

It’s the best invention in the world – and it’s what introverts have been doing for EONS. We’ve survived lockdown by breaking out game boards via Zoom and Skype. And now we orchestrate small get-togethers with others who are vaccinated. And we laugh – and vent – and ruthlessly target one another with our plans. Then we laugh and sit back at the end of the night and feel a thousand times better. Waking up the next morning? We’re refreshed and ready to move on to the next task.

All from ONE Game Night.

Crazy, right? But it works. No one leaves feeling angry, worked up, or miserable. (Laughter = endorphins) And even if you’ve slaughtered everyone around the table, there’s no hard feelings. (Just watch your back next time, because everyone WILL gun for you) It’s the spirit of Game Night and how it works. And if you’ve never tried to participate in one of these events, you should. You don’t know what you’re missing. More importantly, your brain doesn’t realize the benefits waiting on the other side.

Give it a shot. You won’t regret it. (Well, unless you agree to a Monopoly tournament. All bets off there)

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