Leisure Time?

Posted on Dec 20 2012 by pomomojo in Board Games, Poker

There’s an old saying that if you make your hobby your job you’ll never work a day in your life. On the other hand, the quickest way to ruin a hobby is to make it feel like work. What I find interesting about these quotes is the delicate balance between work and leisure. We want our leisure time to be relaxing, but in order for it to be truly fulfilling, we usually have to put work into it. This seems even more true in board games where playing the games themselves can seem like work.

On a number of occasions I have heard someone who doesn’t play many board games complain that a game I tried to introduce to them seemed more like work than fun. Trying to outthink your opponent, managing your resources efficiently, calculating the score, planning ahead – these are all attributes of serious games but also skills often needed in many careers. If you spend all day negotiating high-level deals, do you want to come home and try to read the mind of your opponent in a game of Poker? If you spend all day writing and exploring the ins and outs of the English language, will that make Scrabble right up your alley or an extension of your work life?

I’m not sure what the answer is. Most of us are drawn towards careers that we enjoy so it would make sense that those same attributes would be appealing in our hobby. The writer who loves learning new words probably isn’t going to be drawn to a game heavy on math. The skilled negotiator would surely have more fun putting those talents to use in high-stakes Poker than rolling dice in Monopoly and just letting fate decide his fortune. Wouldn’t he?

Obviously the answers to such questions are up to each individual. However, I think it is good to think of this relationship if you are planning to spend a lot of time in the board game hobby. If you know what it is you like about your career, then you might gain some insight into what types of games you like. On the other hand, it helps to be aware of the potential for burnout should you spend both your time at work and your time away from work using the same parts of your brain again and again.

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