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Saturday, July 26, 2014

On Consistency and Patterns and Success

Jean Sexton muses:

It is remarkable how the lessons I am learning about training Wolf (ADB's official greeting dog) apply to gaming.

One of the first things that Wolf's trainer told me was that Wolf needed consistent orders and training. His hand signals need to be given consistently. One person cannot wave a hand over Wolf's head and expect him to "sit" and another hold a treat in a fist and expect him to "sit." Wolf always needs to learn to let humans go out the door first. (We never got the order of precedence settled about Klingons or Vulcans!)

The next thing that Wolf's trainer told me is that dogs learn in patterns. If Wolf always gets three walks between getting home and bedtime, then he expects that. The other night when it rained, Wolf was pretty upset that he missed his walk, although not so upset that he insisted on going out in the rain. Another pattern that Wolf learned is that the Terrible Trio of Dachshunds live behind a particular window. Wolf wants to stop there and issue a warning bark across the window. If I reverse the usual path, Wolf doesn't remember to bark there and peace is maintained.

When I gamed regularly, I did things in a particular order so that I didn't miss something I should do. (I still have a checklist for checking ship cards so that I remember to check everything.) I also watched for patterns. If someone did something consistently, I could plan for it to happen. I also tried to make sure I didn't develop a pattern.

It seems with Wolf that the key to success is being consistent and knowing when a pattern needs to be broken. I suspect the same is true in gaming. May all your games be successful!