Board Games

Confession time.

I don’t really like board games.

Or card games either, for that matter. Or really, “games” in general. Not even Charades. Or Dominos.

I didn’t much like them as a kid, and I still don’t much like them as an adult. I’m not entirely sure why, considering how much fun people seem to have while playing them, but I just… don’t really have that much fun. It’s not that I don’t learn quickly (I do, and there are plenty of games with minimal rules) or that I don’t like losing. Admittedly, as a kid I was super competitive, and so is my family, and there were a few major fights about my not wanting to play and being called a party pooper as a teenager and otherwise being badgered/guilted into playing (ostensibly because I was “fun” and people “liked playing with me” but that’s neither here nor there).

I just don’t really like board games.

This is complicated because I play D&D, as any nights that we don’t actually play our campaign end up as board game nights – which I totally understand. Really what else are people to do as a get together? Watch movies? I have the Locke Lamora problem with movies too (made worse when I’m with my D&D group because D&D can often tread VERY close to triggery situations), so I’m kind of a downer when it comes to movie nights.

Which basically means I’m a big ol’ boring stick-in-the-mud.

There are a few games that I will tolerate, and some that I’ve even enjoyed playing. They’re usually light hearted, rules-light games that don’t require much effort, or they’re cooperative games where you’re playing as a group instead of against each other.

Games I Will Occasionally Play (Usually Half Heartedly):

  • Munchkin (in any of its incarnations)
  • Fluxx (in any of ITS incarnations)
  • Ninja Burger (if I can put up with the rules)
  • Shadows over Camelot (hopefully without the traitor, but I’ll deal)

I’ve played Arkham Horror, but to be honest, I’m not much of a candidate for the horror genre in general, and even that stupid board game gave me weird dreams. Yes, I’m a carebear.

I also don’t like those games where you have to guess embarrassing things about other people. I’ll put up with a few of them (usually the kind where your friends come up with answers and you pick between them), but generally mind-reader games kind of wig me out.

I feel mostly the same way about playing group/competitive video games, like rock band or any of the –cart games for consoles. Love being around, but have absolutely NO interest whatsoever in playing.

That said, I have NO problem being around while OTHER people play board games. In fact, I usually have a very good time on board game nights, happily not playing, knitting, and drinking a glass of wine. I can get up and do other things whenever I need to, if people get too intense, I can step away without slowing up the game because it’s my turn, and I still get to enjoy the social-group-ness of getting together with people I like who are also geeky/nerdy.

But I still don’t like actually playing. Thankfully most of our group is willing to put up with that particular quirk (and all the other ones…) because they seem to like my company.

Though I still feel a odd as fish.

The Problem with Locke Lamora

This is not an easy post for me to write. If you’re not into any kind of personal stuff, and just want the usual Anna fare, it’s probably not the post for you. Having written it, I’m willing to admit that even pushing post on this kind of terrifies me, just for fear of the kinds of reactions it might get. At the same time, I’ve been trying to figure my way through this issue for awhile, and typing it up seems to help.

*Deep Breath* So here goes.

To start, many of you know I’ve had some real issues in the last six months or so. I basically stopped blogging, stopped gaming. The few real life friends that read here know that I all but dropped out of SCA. At first, it was pretty easy to blame that all on my job, but that wasn’t entirely true.

The job was, in a way, a catalyst for things that happened later. I started working at the bookstore in September. By November I was in full scale psychological breakdown, as the support structures and mechanisms I’d built into working from home failed completely, followed by a really ugly last-straw sort of situation.

I’d rather not go into personal details, but since then I’ve been diagnosed with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that is co-morbid with (happening at the same time as) severe depression and a form of anxiety disorder that we’ve not pinned down just yet (probably general anxiety, but it really doesn’t matter). I’m in quite a lot of therapy, as well as being on a number of different medications – yet another thing that’s not really all sorted out yet, which is hugely frustrating. Not to mention the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat on crack.

At this point, I’m capable of holding down my job and managing my house most of the time. Some days, that’s all I can do, other days I can do more. And usually do too much, which then sets me up for the next crash. Go figure.

(Segues are for sissies.)

All of my life I have been a voracious reader.

Even now, I surround myself with people who read – the Divas and most of the Wildfire Riders crew and the majority of my twitter feed. Add to that working in a bookstore, and books are a pretty common subject in my life.

And right now? I can’t read them. Or rather, I can’t read the ones that other people suggest and that I want to read. Same goes with movies. The vast majority of stuff that people suggest is “awesome” I only have to read a synopsis of on Wikipedia to know that it’s going to end up screwing with my head for days.

This all leaves me in a bit of a quandary because I don’t want to say “I know this book is one that you think is wonderful, but I can’t handle reading about 42 different kinds of horrible, awful things that happen to the people in it right now.” And EVERY FANTASY BOOK EVER seems to have those kinds of themes, even Mercedes Lackey, in her Arrows series that gets recommended for teenagers.

Marion Zimmer Bradley? Nope – even though I’ve read them before, I know I can’t read them again. George R R Martin? No fucking way. Joe Abercrombie? Probably not. Goodkind? Nope. Charles De Lint? Nope. Read Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. Great book, more than I could handle. Even Gaiman pushes my limits sometimes, not to mention the stories in video games.

Scott Lynch? Nope.

And thus we have the problem with Locke Lamora.

I want to read that book. I want to love it. The beginning is hugely intriguing and interesting and makes me want to keep reading… and then I get to the part where graphic torture enters the scene, put the book down, and can’t even look at it for months. Some of you might say “that’s nothing, you should see XYZ book…” and frankly, you might be right. There might be a lot worse things I could read in other books. But that doesn’t change the reaction – the actual, physical reaction – I have to this one.

I’m afraid to start books because I know what will happen, so I read stuff that people say is “funny and silly” – which means I either read fluff or nonfiction.

This all sounds pretty simple and, in the greater scheme of things, not that big a deal. So I can’t read some books. Big whoop.

But it’s actually a pretty good example of how my entire world works right now. I’ve never before had to look at things and evaluate whether or not I could handle them. I’ve never had to say “No, I can’t do that right now” to things I want to do.

The rational part of me, the part that knows how this works, that understands the science (or at least attempts to), that knows to “trust the process,” is able to say that this is just where I am right now. It’s early. It took me… *counts on fingers* … almost 15 years to get to this point. It’s not going to take 5 months to undo that level of fucked up.

Unfortunately that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.