It’s a blank, clear table but it will be too full soon. You lay out the board, shuffle the cards, set up the pieces. You’ve read the rules and are pretty sure you understand them. Everything is neat, in place, orderly, and you know how things should go from this point. You know the strategy, the tactics, you’ve done the prep and now all that remains is for you to put all that into action, to get your turn started and have everything flow naturally from then. And for the other players to turn up. That’ll be soon. Yes, definitely.


There are others now, everyone at the table. They’re not your opponents exactly, but that doesn’t mean you want to lose. You don’t know what their plans are, what they’ll do, but they’ve started doing things already. They know the rules and what to do, maybe better than you. You take your turn, draw a card, roll some dice, move some pieces, and you’re a little further along the board. Everyone else is progressing faster though and that’s good for them. The next turn happens. Damn. You move backwards, discard a card and question the point of the first turn.


You move forwards onto a branch on the board. Time to reassess. You can continue to aim at the first track or try for a new one. There are fewer players on this one, less competition. Maybe it’s less rewarding and that’s why so many moved past it. You look at the other players. Are they winning? They’re not your opponents exactly, but that doesn’t mean you want to lose. Then you understand. At the end of the night, the game will be over and the table cleared regardless. The point of the game is to play the game. Roll.


Words | Ciaran Dachtler in Newcastle