Recently, I was watching a YouTube video of a group of friends live-streaming a session of Concordia (yes, I have become the sort of person who does that – let’s not make a big deal of it) while spectators from all the corners of the internet watched, and discussed it on Twitter, with the comments appearing on the screen.
There was one older guy who seemed to know what he was doing, more so than the others did. He had clearly played the game a lot. He had a quiet air of confidence about him, and the other players were all treating him with respect, and deferring to him on rules queries. Everyone around the table clearly expected him to win the game.
At the end of the game, though, when they were adding up the scores, the older guy made an error, and instead of moving his own counter on ten spaces, he accidentally awarded ten of his points to one of his opponents, and none of the other players noticed.
Somebody watching the live stream did notice, though – a tweet popped up on the screen, straight away, saying “You moved the wrong piece, mate.”
This was immediately followed by more tweets, from other spectators:
“It should have been the blue counter that went forward there.”
“Oh no! Poor blue.”
“YOU MOVED THE WRONG PIECE, MATE!”
…but none of the players were paying attention to the Twitter feed, and nobody realised what had happened.
A few minutes later, the end-of-game scoring was complete. The older guy had finished second, by three points. He looked crestfallen. The channel’s host was the winner of the game, and the expression on his face told me that he was surprised, and delighted, and also trying very hard not to let everyone see just how surprised and delighted he actually was. Meanwhile, on the Twitter feed, one or two people were trying to point out that the older guy had actually won, but most had given up. The channel’s host is a nice guy, and I guess most people had decided that they did not want to take the moment away from him.
I have wondered a few times, since, whether the host ever went back and read the comments, and discovered that he had not really won. I hope not.
That’s the story.
So, what was the “great realisation” of the title above?
Well, the thing I took away from watching that game (apart from improving my understanding of the fantastic Concordia, of course) was that scoring errors like that probably happen all the time, in everybody’s games. And when you think about it, this really takes the sting out of losing.
Just a few days ago, I was playing Grand Austria Hotel, and I was second, by one point, to an opponent who had never played before. Instead of telling myself that I must have played badly, I can now tell myself (though not my opponent), that there was almost certainly some sort of scoring error in my opponent’s favour. And then I feel much better about myself.
Strangely, though, whenever I win by a narrow margin, the possibility that there might have been a scoring error in my favour never seems to enter my thoughts. Funny that!