Thursday, February 13, 2014

Herding Cats

Last week's snowstorm lockdown brought little Magic for me, but a whole lot of Metro: Last Light (which I liked!) But it leaves me with a slightly different topic to talk about, instead of more Laserbeak.

Awhile ago, I spent my last evening of Magic losing every game and usually losing by a pretty solid margin. Sometimes I was overpowered, sometimes I was playing a deck that I just refuse to give up on but needs more work but there was also the least excusable disruption. Plays were made that I didn't understand-which frequently produces a little tilt in my brain, usually some kind of weird martyr moment "why me?"-and that lead to mistakes on my part. Tilt is a stupid, stupid way to lose.

So I lost and it felt like there was nothing I could do to change those outcomes. Nights like that, I ask: why am I doing this?

That question kicks up every so often. When League was in progress, I was the primary person to organize the event and let me tell you: doing it is a pain in the ass. There are so many people-things to take into consideration, including schedules, budgets, and personalities. I don't resent it and I include myself in the 'issues to take into consideration' file, but it is a great deal of effort, especially from a mental perspective, to get the gang together to play. So the next time you go to an event, be nice to the staff. (That's good policy no matter what but since I'm fairly certain that most of us have no idea how many little things need to go right in order for these things to go off, a little extra nicety couldn't hurt).

stonethorn and I often have this conversation. There are roughly seven people who are interested in getting together regularly and the list can expand to twelve or more pretty easily. There are issues of personality, format and often most challenging, place to go play. That is a whole lot of crazy to handle, when you consider that getting people together to do something involves a pressure on their free time. Free time is free: they don't owe you shit and there's no reason for them to give it to you so making demands upon a group under such conditions is unwise, to say the least.

Which is how it goes, sometimes but it speaks to a larger issue: how do you navigate that social sphere?

I often find myself troubled because I want everyone to enjoy themselves but everyone has different motivations when it comes to playing games. Perhaps I would be better off clarifying what I want out of something. I've found that being clear about what you want is always the first step towards actually getting it. It wouldn't help the availability issue, since I'm frequently unplanned, especially on weekends and most people make plans for those times.

I could probably be a bit more adventurous on Cockatrice and ask strangers to play but that presents problems, mostly because I'd prefer people know what they're getting into. Most people are there to try and practice a format and I am there to mess with decks that I build. I won't break Legacy wide open-I won't even provide new insights into Sealed! But when people are trying to practice for a format, telling them that I just want to play to play really doesn't encourage them. They have goals that don't align well with mine (which often involve beer).

It leads me to an uncomfortable situation where I need to broaden my social circle in order to play more, but doing so leads to all these logistical problems that confound my ability to play, which means I have to broaden my social circle...

And, I wouldn't say that I know enough people already. It's always nice to make friends. However, there IS a limit to what I can take on in life and I'd rather have a few people I get to hang out with than a whole bunch of people I only see every blue moon.

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