Yesterday I bought a new game for us at the kid toy store. It’s called Pathagon, (which I keep calling “Pathogen.”) It is a strategy game in which you try to build a path from one end of the board to the other as your opponent tries to block you. It’s not as complicated as chess, but complicated enough, and it kept me interested and engaged. (It is designed for ages 6 and up, so it can be played on a lot of levels.)
G set it up on the coffee table last night, and today, as we ate our lunch we played a “test” game to see how it worked. It was fun, but what was even better is that it brought us back in touch with one another as we played.
As the game progressed, there were quiet moments in which I noticed that I was really there with her. Not just physically, but I was focused on trying to see the board through her eyes. It would give us both an advantage if we could pull that off.
When the game ended, we were still in that intimate “seeing through the other’s eyes” headspace. We started talking about certain life strategies and problem-solving strategies as they pertained to our individual work. The game had created a bridge for us to do that.
There was also something keenly pleasant about manipulating the game pieces in my hand. In between moves, while studying the board, I would twirl the smoothly sanded pieces of hexagonal wood in my fingers and it helped me think. The pieces fit so beautifully between the pegs.
There is something qualitatively different between between playing a game on a board and playing on the computer.
Between writing on a keyboard and writing with a pen.
Between sending a text and sending a note.
Between sitting on the couch watching a movie together and watching your partner figure out how to make a path to the other side.