I recently had a moment while gaming that reminded me why I love games so much.
We were playing the Age of Mythology board game (first time for me, haven’t played it since) and my armies got into a scrap with my buddy’s armies.
Now here’s the deal. The way things looked I had a small chance of winning but the other army had the advantage. Sometimes I just get stubborn during a game even if it doesn’t make strategic sense and this was one of those times.
I kept going for the attack. After some interesting build up, we had some tense dice rolls, things went back and forth, and ultimately I lost the battle.
I don’t care that I lost, however, and let me tell you why.
A minute or two later I looked over and my friend was staring intently at his phone while holding some fingers on his wrist.
I asked what he was doing and he said, I am not making this up, he said he was checking his heart rate after the battle because it got him so worked up.
PERFECT. GAMING. MOMENT.
It is exactly for moments like that that I want to game, whether it’s a tabletop RPG or board game or computer / video game or whatever.
At a point like that, the experience transcends the dice, the papers, the minis, the tokens, the game board, the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, the phone, the tablet… whatever the elements of the game itself are.
It becomes visceral and we are, at that moment, completely all in and just holding on for the ride. The win or lose or ultimate goal falls away as we experience what is happening on a completely different level. It’s moments like that that hook us on gaming, and make it so hard to describe to non-gamers why we love it so much.
Moments like this used to be more common when I was younger, but thank goodness they’re still there.
Here’s to heart rate moments in my games and yours.