I have been playing games for almost as long as I can remember. I can vaguely recall learning Checkers as young 4, both Poker and Chess at 7, Axis and Allies at 10, and Magic the Gathering at 17. I learned about sportsmanship (Bad) from Checkers by defeating my Grandfather in our first game and his refusal to ever again play with me. From Chess I learned to judge people objectively, based on performance and merit as a game does, and not by arbitrary standards like race, sex, or age. From poker I learned the courage to make decisions with less than perfect information and accept the consequences of my choices be they positive or negative. From Axis and Allies I learned that there was an entire world of games the likes of which I had never imagined and that they would give me the opportunity to actively explore things that I had only read about in books. From Magic the Gathering, I learned that the bonds of friendship forged in the fire of competition can last a lifetime. Those were just a few quick examples, but it is from those games and countless others like them that I have learned much about life, people, and myself, and it is these lessons that I will be discussing in this new series of articles.
Each new entry into this series will cover one specific discovery that I, at least in some part, made through the playing of games over the last three decades. Some of the topics will be quite simple and others more profound, but all will involve stories of how spending my life in games has shaped me as a person. I hope you will join me on this journey, and I would love to hear suggestions, stories, and examples of personal growth attained through participation in our wonderful hobby!