Beers Queued At Your Feet

In Clue, you must travel from room to room. Each turn you must leave a room, enter a room, or make progress between rooms. You can't stay in the same room, even when you're certain it is the right room. The game requires you not to give away your certainty.

Some players of clue hmm significantly, others throw sidelong glances that appear sly to the degree that they aren't. These acts make a theater of thinking, but are adjacent to thinking. Adjacent, yet sometimes you find yourself looking hard at your notepad, as if looking hard forces deductions from check marks to avail themselves, or as if deductions furrow the brow. It isn't clear there are deductions at all, yet a certain arbitrary boldness of logic often seems necessary to play. You look at everyone's movements as if they're significant.

Are movements more or less significant after two beers? Principally, these movements are to enter beers into the beer app. Principally, these beers are drank to enter them into the beer app. At least, so the drinkers claim. If there is suspicion about the drinkers' motives, only consider your ambivalence towards Life, which--third beer--is what you're now playing.

Already you appear to be roughly 50, according to your position on the board. You have passed all the forks, at each of which you may take the longer path or the shorter path. You took all the shorter ones, finished second, and ended with the second most money. Your score is how much money you end with. You thought it was better (in the game) to go as slowly as possible, to accumulate as many Life chips as possible to cash in at the end. But going faster--which somehow reduces your chances to get into costly accidents--appears to be more lucrative.

However little time Life takes to complete, it is a boring game, and you often get distracted. You forget to take a pay day or two. You fiddle with the beer app. Was that beer a two or a three? Would you recommend it? Your friend toasts you, or rather toasts your addition and rating of the beer, or rather your friend pushes a button, across the table. It is unclear what the difference is between this act and the clinking of glasses.

There is a large bag of chips. The players crunch, slide pieces, spin dials, roll dice, drink. Each time you grab a handful of chips from the bag, you imagine it will be all you'll need. This turns out to be true, for a short period of time. The period gets shorter when there are not other actions available. The game is a distraction from chips; the chips are a distraction from the game. Distraction: stopgap.

When the chips run out, the drinkers have another reason, besides unlocking the acheivement of drinking 12 beers of the same brand. They can't enter that they have drank these beers without having drank them. What makes games fun is rules. Does following those rules also make the game fun?

Fun and useful are different; the beer app mixes. (Minimally) fun choices taken in game are paralleled by useful choices out of game. Then again, are short paths fun and reticence, useful? Actually, ending the game soon seems safe, and safety, ruinous.

25 November 2012