I used to read a lot. Which gave me a lot to say. Which made me sound smart. Which is how I got into medical school (note, sound smart, not necessarily be smart). It made me well-rounded, an individual as opposed to a study robot. Since the start of this school year, however, all this has changed. In the past 4 months, I have not been able to complete a single book (trashy novels not included). And no, it’s not because I’ve suddenly developed the “keen gene” and am studying far more. Just the opposite, in fact.
It’s because I’ve lost myself in the world of Catan.
(For non-Catanites, read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Settlers_of_Catan)
I have been settling in Catan non-stop. In fact, I settle just about every night. Initially I only talked about the game, having played it with other people’s game boards. But an ex-good friend (who is not good anymore because I have since realized she must have been plotting the demise of my career with this move) gave me the board game as a gift. And so the dice started rolling. But it was very difficult to get 4 people together on a regular basis to play the game, so I only managed a couple of times a week. Not satisfactory in the least.
And so, one day when I was casually browsing the Internet about a completely unrelated topic (to do with sheep and wheat, perhaps?) I found the ultimate website. Playcatan.com. I could now play the game online, for free! The slippery slope I was falling down had just gotten steeper. In no time, I was playing with other Cataners (Catanians? Catani? Catanites?), ones who shared my love for the land, for settling, building, mining, and raising sheep.
However, the Internet wasn’t my downfall. No, my downfall was something much more deadly. Worse than arsenic, a gunshot, or blunt trauma to the head with a wrench (like how the butler did it). It was – a little-known device called the iPod.
Take tonight. I found myself playing the game on the bus ride home. Sure, you say. That’s excusable, there’s nothing to do then anyway. Well after almost being squashed by the revolving bus door for almost missing the stop, I arrived home in anticipation of finishing the game. Again, that’s acceptable behaviour, right? Then, because I won (and I so often do – iPods are not very smart) I simply had to play another game. Two hours later, sitting in front of a blank computer screen with incomplete research and an essay due the next day, I was feeling frantic.
Why do I use the iPod? Because I win. And apparently, I really need that ego boost and can’t handle playing against real people anymore. Or else, it’s because I delude myself into thinking that I’ll just start the game, then pause it, and come back to it during a break. Delusional is definitely the right word. You’re lucky I pulled myself away long enough to write this mediocre entry. Because I don’t have time to make it a good one – there is an un-started game waiting, after all.
Summary of events: intelligent reading à nerd board game with people (at least it’s social) à nerd board game with online people à nerd board game alone with iPod.
I have not only pretty much thrown my life away, I have done it in the ultimate nerd fashion. When I close my eyes, I see long roads and hexagons of five colours. When I see people wearing green and yellow I imagine them as game pieces, just like how starved people imagine others as giant food items and are tempted to consume them (cannibalism was once accepted practice in certain cultures, you know). Will this obsession ever end? Will I find life outside of a hexagon? There’s more to the world than Catan, I just know it!
There’s Carcassone too.
Author’s note: this author welcomes contact by anyone who would like to engage in either game.