I USED TO ENJOY games like Tetris, where you battle against the computer to try to improve your score. But I became increasingly frustrated, as however good you get, you can only end up losing. Every game of Tetris continues until you fail.
The same goes for a huge range of traditional arcade games – Space Invaders, Asteroids, Snake, and so on. You keep playing until the machine beats you.
On a cross channel ferry a few years ago I saw a children’s entertainer who played a game with all the bored kids on the boat, watched by their equally bored parents. His game was a version of Musical Chairs, and at the end of each round one child was deemed the loser and made to sit on the floor while the other kids carried on playing, until there was just one child left. By the end, there were 19 losers, and one winner.
This seems an absurd way to entertain children. In just about every board game, most of the competitors lose, while only one wins. Does it have to be this way?
I thought so until I came across a game in a charity shop called Break the Safe. It’s the only board game I’ve seen where everyone plays cooperatively, aiming to complete the task before time runs out – and, in the process, beating the security guard and the dog who patrol the board in opposite directions.
It’s not hard to complete the game in time; and at the end of it, everyone’s a winner. If you like the sound of this game, you can buy it here.