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Pointing and Laughing at Your Defeated Opponent. It’s the American Way

Pointing and Laughing at Your Defeated Opponent. It’s the American Way

Don’t even get me started on the lamentations of the women.

If you were really poor, and really Old Skool, you played Battleship with graph paper and a pencil. We did when we were kids. I remember when we got the actual item, the cheap plastic clamshells with a zillion pegs to lose inside. It was glorious.

Play is the school of rules. Games should teach you something. If nothing else, how to be a gracious victor, or an affable loser. But Battleship was a lot more than that. Battleship was a logic game. It taught you to test, verify, and test again. On defense, it taught you to be cagey. It encouraged a kind of understanding of another person’s mind. What would your little brother do with his ships, if he were in your place? My little brother would eat them, but he’s a bad example. You’d put yourself in another person’s mind, to imagine how they would guess at your ship placement. Then you’d put them somewhere else. Your opponent would do the same. It was fun, and frustrating, which is often the same thing when you’re truly engaged in a game or sport.

Then there was the neighbor kid that stuck all his ships in the middle of the board, all touching each other. He didn’t have any strategy, and didn’t care what yours was. He’d just guess, and his guessing was better than your strategy. Once he had you, you were done, because subterfuge doesn’t work on people that don’t use it on their end.

Napoleon would make that guy a general, and you a clerk. Lucky is better than smart. Luck is a kind of smart.