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Poem: "The Best Games" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Best Games"

This poem came out of the December 5, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from aldersprig and laffingkat.  It has been sponsored by janetmiles and laffingkat.  This poem belongs to the series The Ocracies which you can explore further via the Serial Poetry page.



The Best Games


It was generally agreed
that the Plutocracy of Aurea
held the high hand when it came to gambling,
and that the Hamarchy of Helgi
did better at making game pieces
than actually designing games,
and that the Hoplarchy of Ledes
was unsurpassed at strategy
both in the marketing and the playing of games.

The Hipparchy of Pelip hardly cared,
finding tabletop games to be boring
in comparison to races.

The Bonocracy of Ophele, however,
excelled at creating cooperative games
and somehow the scoring always came out right
even though they built it more with intuition than statistics
which made Aurea's best accountants pull their hair
and wonder why they  could never quite get
numbers to do tricks like that.

In the court of Ophele,
the Queen's children played
with the children of ambassadors
from all different nations.

They dumped out the boxes of exotic wood
and mixed up all the pieces on the carpet
and invented new rules to make them all go together
so that everyone could have fun
doing something they enjoyed --
and those, they agreed, were the best  games.

When the ambassador of Ledes
scooped up his young son and
asked which country he most wanted to conquer,
he was horrified to be told:

"None of them, of course.
I don't want to go into battle against my friends.
War is dumb and it breaks things.
How can you play a game if you've lost all the pieces?"

Perhaps,
the ambassador thought glumly,
the people of Ophele
were the best gamers of all.

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10 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: December 7th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love it!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 7th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.
cadenzamuse From: cadenzamuse Date: December 11th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have had combining-games experience (it's something that we have done in improv workshops for fun and growth), so this rings very true to me. And yes, winning by cooperating. Just yes.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 11th, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

>>I have had combining-games experience (it's something that we have done in improv workshops for fun and growth), so this rings very true to me.<<

It's always good to hear when I've gotten something right.

>> And yes, winning by cooperating. Just yes. <<

It's a genre of game that I like. I have a book on cooperative games.

If you haven't already read "Texas Foldem" that's another combined game.

cadenzamuse From: cadenzamuse Date: December 12th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

I have a book on cooperative games.

What book? Would you recommend it?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 12th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Everyone Wins, and I do highly recommend it. It's aimed at people who work with children, primarily; but we've used it for coven activities, so it works just as well with adults who are in a playful mood. Very well organized with notes about activity levels, player numbers, indoor/outdoor space requirements, etc. I have an earlier edition than the one I'm linking to.
eseme From: eseme Date: December 13th, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was fascinating. I like the comparisons of governments and ways of thinking. Thanks!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 13th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad you like it.

This one came out of my frustration with the very shallow diversity in fantasy -- almost all the countries everywhere are monarchies -- so I decided to make a setting where they would have all different types of government.

Doesn't take much to start the action in that context. They kind of drive each other nuts a lot.
helgatwb From: helgatwb Date: April 3rd, 2014 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
So the Bonocracy of Ophele has decided to just make *everyone*, if not happy, then peaceful? Good on them!

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 3rd, 2014 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Their goal is toward the best good. It doesn't always work perfectly, but at least they're headed in a positive direction.

These neighbors often confuse and annoy each other, because their governments are so different. But it's fun to see them interact. They get into scrapes, yet most of the time it doesn't get too bad.
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