Life Teachings from a Board Game

I recently started playing Wingspan (Board Game by Stonemaier Games), and at first glance, it looks like a cute game about birds. But, as you really get into it, you understand the complexities and strategies it takes to win, not only in the game, but in life.

The game is pretty cool. There are bird facts on each card, and each bird card has features similar to that of the bird in real life (the wingspan, its habitat(s), what it eats, etc). The premise of the game is simple – play bird cards to gain the most points. You can do 1 of 4 things each turn: Play a Bird, Gain Food, Lay Eggs, or Draw Bird Cards.

The thing that makes this game so enjoyable is that each game you play is completely different. There are 170 bird cards in a box, and if you play with 4 people and shuffle each time, there’s absolutely no way you’ll ever have the same combination of cards. On top of that, there are 4 rounds, and each round is assigned a card for what you are looking for (again, in a shuffled pile). So one round you may earn bonus points if you have the most eggs on birds, another round it may be the number of birds in the Forest; it could also be the birds with cavity nests; etc. So you have to pay attention to what is required of you to win.

In this game, as in life, you have to be flexible. Every day demands something different from you, and if you “play” the same way each time, you may not be finding success, because the situation has changed and different tactics are required.  If all I care about is laying eggs in this game, then I will lose the rounds that score extra points for having birds because I was laser focused on something that mattered “yesterday” and not “today.” How many of us lived on a couple of hours of sleep in our 20s and now need to be well rested to make important decisions the next day? Or maybe we skip the gym each week and wonder why the pounds aren’t budging? Different goals require different strategies.

In the game, you can only accomplish 1 task per turn so you have to utilize your time wisely. Sometimes it does matter the order in which you do things. You have to make choices. If you try to do everything, you end up with nothing. I love the proverb from Confucius: “The person that chases two rabbits, catches neither.” There may be things you want to go for that are in conflict. You have to make choices. One of your strengths is going to be better than the rest. You can chase numbers and have a million followers, or you can chase quality and have 10 that you personally know and have been to your house. We wake up every day to a new turn and we get to decide how we are going to spend that turn – what we will eat, what we will wear, who gets our time, what gets our attention. Curve balls, called distractions, are thrown our way – tv, saturation of information, social media, social invitations, people, appointments, things we should be doing, things we shouldn’t be doing, etc. And it all impacts our “game.”

The fun thing about this game, is that you can learn a lot about how you lose. I was losing repeatedly for not laying eggs on my birds. It would come down to 1 or 2 points, and had I taken the time to lay a egg, I could have won. What are those mundane tasks that don’t feel important? I absolutely hate washing dishes, but whenever I feel overwhelmed, that is usually one of the first things I can do to help calm my brain. Another thing I picked up was that I was taking too long to put cards down. I wanted to have my “ducks in a row” and everything ready , but you gotta take risks in life. And by putting a card down early, the next time you go to get some food, you can add to your turn. What do we say no to because we are afraid? How many experiences can be unlocked by saying yes? Risk is also a part of life.

I can’t even tell you how deep this goes, but I hope you enjoy these examples. The last example is having your money work for you. If you really understand the game, you will get yourself a well-oiled engine that will gain you points as you play. If I have a bird that lays eggs in the forest, then every time I gain food, I activate an egg being layed. That means, I can gain eggs without having to use up another turn. How many of us are gaining a 2nd income from a hobby or property or skill? It makes you think.

Love this game, and as you know, I love to take everyday items and draw parallels to life. If you enjoyed this post, check out my other one on Super Mario Bros.

Comment below if you play Wingspan and what your thoughts are!!

***This post is not sponsored***

Posted in Learn Something, Motivational, Try Something New and tagged , , , , , .