The Board Game Master
The Board Game Master, Part 1
Deep in the hills of Roo Island, somewhere between Blumaroll and the Merry Go Round, was a young Eventide Blumaroo by the name of Roobina. She grew up on the beautiful island playing games like Dice-A-Roo with her friends and breeding her competitive spirit. You see, Roobina was competitive from a very young age...
"Another game! Let's go!" Roobina was shouting to her friends as they sat around playing a round of Cheat! She was shuffling the cards furiously with a fire in her eyes, a desire to decimate the competition. They were all just kids and playing for some crackers and candies, but for Roobina this was serious business. She was determined to win.
"Maybe we can take a break, you have won every round today," said Mazey, a Gold Blumaroo that was one of Roobina's best friends. "Let's play Dice-A-Roo instead!"
"No, it's okay, I don't really like games of chance," Roobina sighed.
Roobina was a gamer at heart and a true competitive spirit but she wasn't a big fan of luck and random games. She had a passion for strategy, for deception, for being the best on her own merit and not because of the luck of the draw. Games like Cheat! are great because while they have a luck element, they also have a deep strategy to them. In Cheat! you have to lie to your opponents, make them think one way about what you are doing and convince them of the cards you have in your hand. You need to lie and lie well so they don't call you bluff, making you required to pick up a whole new hand of cards that will make your path to victory much more difficult. Roobina loves this. She doesn't play many single player games like Pyramids or Sakhmet Solitaire, she would rather go up against challengers and her friends.
"I love the competition with you guys," Roobina looked at her group of friends. "It's more fun to play with others. Dice-A-Roo can be played any time and there is no skill involved, it's just whatever the dice decide to turn up."
"Roobina, can we talk over in private for a second," Mazey asked Roobina, then called out to her friends. "Hey guys, get Dice-A-Roo set up, we'll be back shortly."
Mazey led Roobina down the path and onto a bench under one of the trees that was blowing gently in the ocean breeze. It was a peaceful and sunny day, not too hot because of the breeze but not cold enough to need more than a t-shirt. It was the perfect day for being outside and enjoying the company of friends, as most days on Roo Island are.
"What's up," said Roobina inquisitively, not really knowing what Mazey could want to talk about in private. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No, it isn't you, not exactly," Mazey began to explain. "Look, we know you are a passionate gamer and we know you love playing with us, but you always win. And I know it is not in your spirit to play weaker to let someone else win. We love playing with you, we always have and always will, but sometimes we are tired of losing. And we know we don't really provide a challenge for you anymore. Whether it's Cheat! or Go! Go! Go!, Armada, Kacheekers, you beat us in every single one of them. The only time we stand a chance is in the video games, but when it comes to card and board games you have a massive advantage."
"Oh...wow, I am so sorry, I guess I got so caught up in the gaming that I forgot the sportsmanship of it all," Roobina was saddened by this news. "I can tone it down and let you guys win some."
"That isn't what I'm saying," Mazey responded. "You shouldn't have to tone it down for us, you are an amazing player and you need to continue to grow. If you play against us and just keep winning easily, you'll never grow as a player. You'll never be a champion. I just think it's time you finally entered your first tournament and started climbing up the gaming ladder. You could be one of the greatest in the world when you grow up but you need to take on a challenge if you want to grow.
Roobina had never really considered this before. She had always dreamed of being one of the world's greatest gamers and taking home trophy after trophy, but never thought about what it would take to get there. She wanted to hold the championship trifecta: beating out everyone in the world in Armada, Geos, and Kacheekers. Only the best gamers in Neopia hold a gold trophy in all three events and Roobina wanted to be the next. She knew Mazey was right, she'd have to enter some smaller events if she wanted to progress to the big leagues.
"Mazey," Roobina began. "Thank you. You are so right, I really need to do this. I'm so scared though, what if I enter and lose immediately? I'm so used to playing against you guys now, what if when I go against someone new they beat me in an instant?"
"That isn't going to happen. You've studied these games for so long and you use strategies beyond what any of us are even able to understand. Even if we aren't the best, you always play your best. And even if you don't win, that just means you need to get up and go back to practicing and then try again." Mazey put her paw on Roobina's shoulder. "You're amazing."
"I don't know what I did to deserve a friend like you," Roobina gave Mazey a nice hug. "I'm going to do this and I'm determined to win. Thank you for this kick in the pants that I needed, I can do this."
Mazey and Roobina walked back to their group of friends, now deeply engaged in a game of Dice-A-Roo. Their friend Randy was already on the yellow die, getting ready to win big. They plopped down in the circle and watched the game transpire.
The yellow die was turning up gifts, NP bonuses, and the occasional NP loss, and then the level up symbol came! Randy pulled out the silver die and on the first roll it came up as a skull. Game over!
"Oh no, sorry Randy," exclaimed Mazey.
"It's okay, I haven't ever gotten this far before. I'm just happy to have made it to the silver die," said Randy with a big grin on his face. "Do you want to roll Roobina?"
"Let Mazey play this round," giggled Roobina, happy for her friend's excitement over making it so far. That is when it clicked for her: it doesn't always matter if you win, it's about trying and seeing how far you can make it in these crazy games. Even if she doesn't win the gaming tournaments, she would be happy to just enter and have a chance to really compete. An opportunity to show her guts and play hard.
Mazey picked up the red die and immediately rolled a skull. Game over on the first roll.
"Shoot," Mazey said. "Let me try again!"
She picked up the die and rolled again, winning some NP that round. Roobina watched her friend pick herself up from an early loss and it clicked again. Even if you go out in the first round, you can always start over and try again. There is nothing stopping you. You don't just quit when you hit a road bump or because you aren't winning every game. You push and push until there is no further to go.
Mazey progressed through the different colored dice with swiftness, having a close call on the green die before getting the level up arrow. She made it all the way to the silver and began rolling for some big bucks. After a few rolls of the silver, it happened...
"JACKPOT," screamed Mazey! "WITH THE 10X MULTIPLIER! WOOHOO!!!"
All her friends gathered and cheered her on, congratulating her on her big win. Roobina was jumping up and down for her, but also the gears were turning in her own head. She just watched her friend go from a skull on the first roll to winning the biggest jackpot available. Something she could do herself, just by not giving up if you stumble after your first steps out of the gate.
And that is how this crazy journey began for Roobina, jumping from tournament to tournament and figuring out what suits her best. She spent the next few years of her life working day and night, reading every strategy book and every game guide she could get her hands on, studying the masters, and attending amateur tournaments from her home in Roo Island all the way to the peak of Terror Mountain. After she had a few wins in her belt, she qualified for the preliminary rounds of the Kacheekers, Geos, and Armada tournaments. What will happen when she finally has a chance to compete in the big leagues? Will she make it to the finals round to go for the gold? Or will her big dream flop down in front of her and she'll have to cash in her chips and think of a new career? Tune in next week to find out!
To be continued…