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January 18, 2018

Some people don't like when you get competitive during competitions.

[recording begins]

If you’re listening to this guided meditation, it’s probably because a loved one told you that you have a problem with being too competitive during casual game nights with friends. Maybe you corrected someone a little too forcefully on a minor infraction when playing that German board game with the complicated rules. Perhaps you celebrated a little too loudly when you got a 50 point bingo playing Scrabble and your co-worker didn’t appreciate the volume or intensity with which you yelled “Quixotry again later, losers!”

Whatever your past behavior, this guided meditation will help you to relax and enjoy tonight’s game-based socializing.

Oh, one preliminary matter before we get started: be sure to listen to this Guided Meditation alone, so ask the loved one who told you about your problem to leave the room. Ready? Let’s begin:

[soothing new age music starts]

Breathe in.

I am going to focus on what board game night is all about: having fun with my friends. That’s why…

Are we alone now? Good. This is game night, so it’s time to get your head in the game. Let’s begin for real:

[soothing new age music replaced with slowly crescendoing heavy guitar riffs, the type you might expect to hear at the start of a death metal concept album called “Conquer”]

Breathe in.

I am going to focus on what board game night is all about: beating my friends at clearly defined competitions of intellect and strategy.

Breathe out.

Since games are competitions by definition, there is no such thing as playing a game too competitively. That’s like saying that the sky was too blue or the beach was too sandy or the tears of your friends were too salty after you crushed their spirits in Boggle.

Breathe in.

I will not stop to hang out until I first victoriously yell out “Checkmate!” / “Stratego!” / “Kerry Washington!” (assuming that Kerry Washington is the name of the celebrity my teammate is trying to get me to guess during the game Celebrity). Note: though not technically required, “Stratego!” is a fun thing to yell out when doing well while playing the board game Stratego.

Breathe out.

I will not show mercy. Sam, your sob story about the tough week you had at work after your boss called you “uncreative” does not mean I’m going to let you outdraw me during the Cloodle round of Cranium.

Breathe in.

In the unlikely event I find myself losing during a team based game like Codenames / The Resistance: Avalon / Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, I will explain to my team that normally I win this game and therefore our situation is explained by their unhelpful contribution / insistence on catching up with friends instead of focusing on the task at hand / failure to watch those YouTube rule explainer videos I emailed out.

Breathe out.

I will not hold back, no matter how far ahead I am. There is no mercy rule in life, just like there is no mercy rule in Settlers of Catan. Trust me, I re-read the directions this morning just to be sure.

Breathe in.

Maybe some of my friends have better jobs or a bigger apartment or are happy, but none of that matters once game night starts, baby. We’re all starting on the same square of the board tonight, and whoever gets the most points / collects the most wheat / builds the longest train route has just proven that they’re the smartest person in the room, and if the real world was a true meritocracy that followed the beautiful logic of the board games — with their pristine rules and tenderly demarcated measures of achievement — then I’d be a big winner in life just like I will be tonight.

Breathe out.

Tonight my friends are my competition and so I will strive to consume them like they are mere marbles and I am the hungriest of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Breathe in.

I’m going to win.

Breathe out.

I’m going to win the casual game night with my friends.

[music swells and finishes with epic crescendo]

Meditation over.

OK, you better go help put out the chips and dip before the person who asked you to listen to this guided meditation gets wise. Just one last thing: if you end up playing Yahtzee or some other game of chance, then you can just relax. No sense getting worked up over something that doesn’t matter.

[end recording]