WOE – Left Center Right

If you are a serious gamer, there’s a chance you cringe at the idea of a blog post talking about the game Left Center Right or LCR. This game is nothing but luck and absolutely no strategy. You just roll dice, which tell you what to do with your little, blue circular pieces, and then whoever manages to be the last one with pieces wins. The roll of the dice determines everything.

How can a game like this be fun? To me it is, but I obviously accept the game for what it is…pure luck! With the right mindset, though, a game like this is not much different than betting on and watching a horse race, playing fantasy sports, watching a basketball game and getting super “into it.” I realize that some of these I’ve mentioned include pre-event strategy: i.e., studying up on the horses, researching ESPN’s draft analysis. What happens after, though, is completely out of our control. Furthermore, many of us root for sports teams just because we like a player or because we are local to that team. I root for the OKC Thunder — I don’t get to control who is on the team, who gets traded, how injuries progress, any of that! I still enjoy watching their games and getting emotionally involved.

How come I lost by 52 points when my fancy computer seemed confident I’d win?

That is also how I like to ‘play’ 100% luck games. And with LCR, for some reason, I get into those dice rolls and seeing the blue chips move to the center or from player-to-player. I fist pump when I roll a bunch of dot faces and my chips stay with me. I groan when all my dice turn up L, C, or R — feel hopeful when I’m out of chips, but know that the player to my left could roll some R’s and get me BACK IN THE GAME!

Just like we do with sports, a pure luck game allows players the thrill of losing and winning, of “anything-could-happen” outcomes, without feeling the personal pangs of defeat. If I lose playing Notre Dame, Pulsar 2849, or 7 Wonders, it is because my gameplay was inferior to that of my opponents. If I lose LCR, oh well…the dice didn’t love me this time. Let’s go again!

ALL THAT SAID………

This past Christmas week (December 27th to be exact), LCR got very personal. I ended up needing an adult timeout.

My two sons and I were playing the game. It is a fun one to play with my younger son because his chances of winning are equal to everyone else — education and experience don’t put him behind-the-eight-ball.

To set the stage, the three of us had already played this game four times, twice in October and twice in November. In those games, my sons each managed to get two wins. So, yep…that left this guy with a win total of 0. Oh well, them’s the breaks, right!?

At Christmas time, the first two games took the same path. Each son garnered a win. They each have 3 wins and I am now at 0-6. This game is 100% luck right? There’s a 91.22% chance that I would get a win in 6 tries. Whatever. So, we play again, loss #7. At this point, my boys have gotten their fill of this game and are starting to think about lunch.

No sirs! We play again! Game #8……another L.

They really want to be done now. No! We play again. ::Dad needs a win!::

Another L.

I’m now 0-9 in a 100% luck game with only 3 players. There’s a 97.4% chance I should have won at least once at this point. LCR is getting personal — these ruthless, bland, vanilla dice are evil and have a vendetta against me. I demand we play another game…I’m ready to play and play and play until I get a win. At this point, my youngest (6 at the time) is refusing to play anymore. I’m losing it, he’s getting upset, and we’re all getting hungry….

I finally give in (very huffily) and we put the game away and go have lunch. Luckily food helps cure woes — and boy oh boy, was this a trivial one.

little white dice, how could you do this to me…

And as I think about this story, I feel embarrassed for how I let a game (any game!, let alone a pure luck game) get to me like that. It is not a proud moment. But honestly, how much more do we let ourselves get carried away by other events that we don’t actually have any control over? We can sure be silly people sometimes.

Note:

15 days ago, LCR finally hit the table again at my house. I lost game #10, but finally got my first victory in game #11; and as I should, since there’s a 98.84% chance I would get at least one win in 11 games. I lost game #12, though. So as it stands, I’m 1-11 in this fine, simple, pure luck game. It defies the odds, it is a smite frustrating, but it is a great reminder of the dangers of gambling — the odds are always ready to laugh in your face.

For more stories of gaming WOE and other fun topics follow me on Twitter @boardgamecrock1

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