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How you play the game

May 23, 2011

This afternoon Miss B asked to play dominoes, so we duly pulled out the tiles, spread them out and B announced that this time we would have six tiles each. This is a part of the game for us: we start with anywhere between five and eight tiles, and B enjoys deciding what the rule is each time. On this occasion, she chose to deal for both of us rather than each pulling our own tiles.

So, six tiles it was, she had the only double that either of us had been dealt, so went first. A few minutes later I had won.

The response was great: she high-fived me and said it was OK and we could have another game.

So, another game duly went by and I won again, and was rewarded with being told that it was good that I won again because B usually beat me at games (which, to be fair, is true lately).

A third game and Miss B finally won, resulting in a big cheesy grin and a gracious statement that the overall 2-1 result was fair.

This all seems really promising to me, especially given that Miss B is only four. I think it helps that dominoes is a good, well-understood game where she doesn’t have to worry about the rules, components are easy to handle, and a game only takes a few minutes. Maybe the lack of frustration in the game leads to more sociable results, but I think she’s really getting the hang of the joy being in the game and the winning being a bonus (which is my general philosophy — though in general you do try hard to get that bonus!).

But then again, as a recent xkcd comic had on its mouse-over: “I tell my children ‘it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.’ I’m trying to take the edge off their competitive drive to ensure that I can always beat them.” Heh!

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