Allow me to introduce you all to a new character in my life: The Other Jon. The Other Jon is my board-gaming Arch-Nemesis. (The Other Jon is also the author of one Tongue Fried Goat blog, which is about books mostly, but sometimes board games). Why is this The Other Jon my Arch-Nemesis now, you ask? Well, i’m glad you asked. I’ll tell you why.
I consider myself to be pretty good at board games. I’m not the champion of the universe (at least, I don’t think I am… I guess i’ve never really tested my skills in a legitimately measurable way) but I hold my own. I win a lot, and when I don’t win, I bring a solid showing. I can’t remember the last time I finished last in any game (not counting 2 player games, since last is inherent in not being first), be it Settlers, Dominion, Android, or Cosmic Encounter. I pick up strategies in new games pretty quickly, and I learn from every mistake I make.
The Other Jon is now a regular partner in FriDayGameDays, and we are of comparable skill with games. However, in the past few weeks I have come up with a series of close losses to him. Even worse, the last two games we played – Dominion, and Android, he beat me out by the slimmest of margins – a single point each time. One point. Travesty, I say! 55-56 and 93-94, respectively. Sick.
And so, The Other Jon is now my Arch Nemesis. And you know what? Having an Arch-Nemesis is kinda fun. Here’s some reasons why you too might consider picking up an Arch-Nemesis.
Rivalries can spice up an already fun game. It builds up the story of the game. It becomes personal. It hardly matters if you come out on top anymore, as long as you can do some damage to your Nemesis along the way. During last night’s game of Android, the rivalry between myself and The Other Jon was intense. We were flinging dark cards at each other left and right, every turn. It was intense, dramatic, and it was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had playing Android.
2. Having an Arch Nemesis makes you feel more awesome.
It’s true – only the most dangerous and worthy heroes get themselves an arch-nemesis. It’s like a social status. For nerds.
3. Taunting is half the fun.
Board games are fun beyond just running some competitive mechanics. Arguing about rules and taunting your friends are staples of the tabletop environment. Of course, outside of the game, randomly taunting some guy can make you look like a jerk. If he’s your arch-nemesis, however, that’s really the only reason you need to do some taunting. And it’s a good reason.
4. Secondary Achievements.
If you don’t win the game overall, at least you beat out that villain, your Arch Nemesis. Of course, if you fail to overcome your Nemesis along with losing the game, you have even more motivation to crush him in your grip at the next encounter!
In conclusion, I highly recommend finding a Nemesis for yourself. It doesn’t have to be the same person every time, either. Maybe you pick a new one every time. Maybe it’s that guy who seems to edge you out every time. Maybe it’s the guy (or girl) who has chosen you for his arch-nemesis because you seem to edge them out every time. However it works out, have fun with it. Taunt them. Give them a name that suggests maybe they’re not quite as cool as you (something, perhaps, like “The Other Steve” or…). Deface their facebook profile picture. But don’t be a jerk. And don’t try to make it un-fun for the other guy, after all that’s a big part of why we play games – for the enjoyment. And your arch-nemesis is still your friend.