• Anirudh Gupta

The Games We Play

As we grow, we play different games. Mostly we play these games for fun; or to destress, to escape, or socialize and bond.


But these games, subtly and surreptitiously leave a deep impact on our psyches and fundamentally alter our worldview. Therefore, it only makes sense to radically curate the games we play.


Astrophysicist and science educator Neil deGrasse Tyson has made a fascinating comparison between American style and German style board games.


American Style : e.g Monopoly

vs.

German Style : e.g Settlers of Catan

In American style games like Monopoly, or Risk, the game finishes when any one player takes everything - total domination of area or resources. The other players just have to bleed it out till the end. The gameplay discourages active participation through the remainder of the game once one player starts dominating.


On the other hand, in German (or Euro) style games like Settlers of Catan, or Ticket to Ride, the game finishes when any one player reaches a final victory line, or number of points. Very often, most players still have a chance till the end and any one can finish off the game with skill and luck. But the gameplay encourages active participation of most players through the game.


Both styles are amazing fun and I definitely don't believe one or the other is wrong. But it is interesting that the philosophy of both styles have essentially transpired into the foreign policies of both the origin countries post WW2!


The United States has for the better part of the 20th century taken on a red-blooded take it all zero-sum approach to the World. And Germany's had a more collective growth carry most players forward growth approach. Fascinating much!


And yes, as was drilled into us in Statistics class, correlation does not equal causation, but there's some level of causation here for sure.


Therefore, if the games we play can affect our macro foreign policies, they can definitely affect our micro fragile minds. The games we play shape our worldview.

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