Why I Love Strategy Games
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Why I Love Strategy Games

My thoughts on why tactics and recreation make for good bedfellows

Why I Love Strategy Games

Anyone that knows me well knows that I love games of all sorts. In particular, however, I've always had a strong affinity for games of strategy and tactical conflict. Up until recently, I hadn't really reflected on why I find them so enjoyable. Having been mostly trapped indoors due to the weather, I think I've come to some conclusions as to why strategy games are so alluring, and the sorts of benefits one gains by playing them.

The first revelation that came to me during my contemplations was one of time. Whether you're dealing with a game of war, political intrigue, or economic simulation, you quickly come to realize, much like in the real world, that Rome was neither built nor conquered in a day. Patience is required in almost all matters of strategic planning, and even in games, you can't just waltz onstage and achieve world-domination over the course of a week. Plans take time, and schemes require opportune circumstances before they can be brought to fruition. The quickest path to success can also often be the fastest route to failure; if you don't have patience going into a strategy game, I can promise you will lose coming out. That might seem a little frustrating, perhaps even pessimistic in a sense. Why play the game if you can't get that immediate feedback that we're all so accustomed to in modern society? Simple-- that's just not how the universe functions. You get out what you put in, and results are born from hard work and commitment-- as in games, so, too, in life. Hence, when your scheme does bear fruits, not only do you feel a sense of achievement, but it can also be a humbling reminder that a little patience and effort can go a long way.

The second clichéd life lesson that popped into my head was one of observance. Strategy is a large hornet's nest worth of watching, listening, memorizing, tracking, snooping, reading smoke signals, and other forms of mystical sight that are well beyond by journeyman capabilities. Though I can never quite keep track of it all, I am motivated to try, and as a result I believe my senses, or at the very least my level of observation, has increased. I think in that sense, much like sudoku and other painfully strenuous puzzle games, strategy games can do a great deal of good towards maintaining a healthy mind and expanding one's mental horizons. Even though it may not be their primary focus, games of this sort have a great capacity to inspire a new perspective and a different manner for looking at things, even the world at large.

Lastly, playing these sorts of games, be they old-school like chess, or of lofty digital realms like Sid Meier's Civilization series, tends to exponentially expand what I've labeled as "strategic thinking." I'm referring to a one's ability to make informed decisions, or even to make abstract plans or hypothesis; I think a more common way to phrase this skill-set, which employers seem so desperate to obtain, is "creative problem solving." Tactics can require a surprising amount of out-of-the-box thinking, and though we aren't necessarily commanding legions on a day to day basis, I think there is a sort of universal wisdom that those sort of simulations can nurture.

Maybe, dear readers, this monologue of mine hasn't done the slightest bit of good to convince you to dust off that chess board or reinstall StarCraft. But, if it has stirred even a minor interest, I implore you to follow up on it. You have everything to gain, and the only thing you stand to lose is a tablespoon of pride and the occasional fictional scenario.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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