A New Game within a Cut-Throat Context
I’ve been wasting time playing with myself. Okay don’t go dirty on me.
Okay— so it’s playing Backgammon with myself and the “AI” — a simple program with delusions of grandeur. Once I figured out the rules of how the software program plays the game I am able to out-smart the program, but it still cheats in a number or ways, but I don’t want to get side-tracked. The doubling-cube is for gambling and in my experience, is ludicrous because money is a substitute for value, not value itself. Don’t get me started about money aka “What if it was all free?” deal.
I stopped playing against the “AI” dumb program and started playing against myself.
For a time, I thought that the programmers might have been racists seeing as there are black and white pieces. But that has not been the case.
The program appears to keep track of the winner of the last game — played within sets. For instance, one can play a set of 2 up to 32. If black won the last game or two then the program favors black to continue to win giving token wins to white up to a point and then the reverse is programmed in.
Backgammon is nearly 5,000 years ancient according to archeological finds in Mesopotamia. It pits two players against each other using strategy and fate/luck (roll of the dice) to win. The “AI” program must have a random generator that follows certain biased parameters — aka cheating.
The Old and The New Way of Playing — What Happens:
So, in playing against myself I can trounce my other-self with great vigor teetering on revenge following the biases of the program. (BTW I am not a coder or programmer but that doesn’t mean I am not an observant thinker.)
I don’t like myself when I play with the premise of winning and losing. I go inside and change the parameters within and poof:
- I play cooperatively. Meaning, I want to prolong the game to make it more exciting up until the end. There are 3 players: my primary self; my secondary or other self; and the program (which plays favorites as observed - did I mention that already?).
- When I find myself straying into “I want to beat the crap out of my opponent” I take in a breath and give the other a break –
- Playing cooperatively lowers blood pressure and seeks to find continuous play more rewarding than “beating the opponent”. Cooperative play is successful when I become confused as to who I am rooting for and fall into laughter or a delight in playing (or blame my confusion on the 100 degrees plus Fahrenheit heat permeating my house this summer despite the a/c).
- Playing cooperatively is a challenge because the tendency to slip into an adversarial bad-guy stance is so easy (guy or patriarchal guy brainwashing in-effect here). Observing this is a good way to know the nuances of attachment and how to release them.
An outline of how its played
In backgammon there are a number of ways or strategies for moving pieces around the board using the roll of the dice. Small rolls such as 2:1 indicate playing a back strategy; middle rolls such as 6:3 indicate playing a middle strategy; and long rolls and high doubles such as 5:6 or 6:6 — doubles moving one piece 6 times, two pieces 4 times or another combination indicate a running strategy. Two white pieces on a point, blocks the black pieced opponent from landing on that point and vice a versa. The object of the game is to “bear off” or remove all the pieces from the home or end court.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
A larger context of learning to play cooperatively allows me to move out of a self-serving position of “me-first”. I have a wider focus — it’s not about winning and losing, it becomes a non-zero-sum game where each side wins. As we both win we move out of a finite game to an infinite game of play for the sake of play. Here I can learn to appreciate the other player’s point of view or my shadow in the isolative scenario.