Game Theory: Games and Order

posted in: Essays 0

Who likes playing games? I do! There’s so many different kinds to choose from: board games, card games, video games, puzzle games, role-playing games, sports and so on. The other day I had an interesting thought. If you were to tell someone, “Hey, let’s move around little bits of paper/plastic/wood! I’ll beat you at it!,” they’d probably look at you strangely. But if you told that same person, “Hey, let’s play chess! I’ll beat you at it!,” they’d probably wouldn’t bat an eye. Have you ever considered that in a lot of the games we play we tend to and inevitably end up organizing things?

It’s true. We arrange little tokens into complex patterns, try to find the best arrangements for pieces of a puzzle or a hand of cards, hop playing pieces around a board, knock balls into pockets or knock pins down into a gutter. Whatever the game we try to find the best potential combination or outcome that will work in our favor.

Granted, we don’t play games just to organize tokens or cards. We play for amusement and relaxation, we play to socialize and test our skill and mastery against others. Plus there’s always an air of unpredictability; you never know how a game will end. You might win or you might lose. Or the game might end up as a draw (no fun!).

The true challenge in playing a game is working within given constraints (rules and regulations) and to see if you can make everything work in your favor. If you’ve ever played a friendly board game in which you relaxed or created your own special rules, you’ll know that even a few slight changes makes for a completely different game experience. It is no longer challenging to play the game because everyone can easily win.

Let’s not end on a down note. There’s no doubt that games bring us lots of amusement and hours of enjoyment. You’ve got to laugh when you realize that a jigsaw puzzle is one big organizing project. Just think: “Someone has cut up a picture into tiny little pieces and now it’s your job to put the pieces back together again!” Finishing a jigsaw puzzle is hard work, but you are rewarded with a beautiful picture and a sense of completion when you are finished.

Game on! Come visit the blog tomorrow for some tips on how to approach organizing with a game/sports based twist.

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.