Luck vs. Skill

The boys and I were playing Cinq-o today which was a lot of fun and reassured me that Jason's adding and multiplication facts are still progressing. Jason was leading at first with me really far behind. Then I got a great score and the tables were turned. Kyle wound up winning, we me coming in second and Jason third.

After the game, Jason was asking me why he always seemed to loose at dice and card games. We talked a bit about how he did not always loose, but how it could seem that way. And how with most card and dice games it was all about luck. There usually was very little skill involved.

Jason said that he much prefered board games like Risk and card games like Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh, which after thinking about it, makes perfect sense. He has more control over these games…there is some element of luck in the games (dice rolls and draws of a card) but there is also a lot of strategy in them. Same with his video games. He can practice and work at it and get better/faster/smarter. He can improve his game and work towards winning. In a game like Cinq-o it is all about luck. Luck of the roll or luck of the draw.

Funny thing is that I prefer card games and dice games rather then complex strategy games. I like how the playing field is level…younger players have the same chance as older of winning. I also don't have to work quite so hard…I don't have to think 5 plays ahead. They are more straightforward and thus more fun for me.

I am sure that there is a right-brained/left-brained parallel in there…actually it does make sense from that point-of-view. Dice games and card games are more sequential. More straight forward. Strategy games (including video games) require you to see the whole picture…to take into consideration many variables and to see how a move you make now affects the play down the road.

I think that strategy games also play to a right-brained learners' sense of fairness…after all, if you work harder you will become better and that is only fair. With games of luck, there is no rhyme or reason to who wins really…which is very frustrating to Jason! Mainly because he is just as likely to loose as he is to win. And of course at this point in time, winning is everything. (Although I will say he is much better at loosing now…no getting upset or mad. He just started loosing interest towards the end of the game when he thought he had no chance to win. But he did not ask to stop playing! Big improvement!)