I don't like puzzles or games of any sort: soduku and crossword puzzles remind me of busy-work from grade school, and board games create in me feelings of inadequacy plus manic competitiveness, all compounded by skull-crushing boredom. One exception: Settlers of Catan. Here's how "Settlers," as we call it, is like life. And why you should play.
  1. You don't start out with everything you want or everything you need. But! You can play to your strengths, and convert what you possess into what you need for the next stage of life.
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  2. Most of the basic building blocks of life are pretty simple: wood, wool, ore, brick. Friends. Family. Love. Art. But they can be combined in a million, always innovative ways.
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  3. It's always your turn. Even when someone else is rolling the dice, so to speak, you need to stay active. Watch. Plan. Make offers. Talk smack.
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  4. You can't build a city without first building a settlement.
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  5. It's critical to learn the difference between a friend...and a friend of convenience. Sometimes, the latter is worse than an enemy.
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  6. When someone starts nudging you with a suspicious "opportunity too good for you to pass up," ask yourself: what's in it for the other guy?
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  7. It's important to determine what's a deal-breaker in your relationships vs. what requires a bit of flexibility on your part.
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    80% of conflict is the result of decent people trying to get what they need out of life.
  8. Some damaging forces cannot be eliminated - but they can be isolated.
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    I'm looking at you, Robber.
  9. Overconfidence and giving up too fast will wipe you off the map: a powerful empire can topple with a roll of the 7. And many a dark horse will stick its nose across the finish line with an unexpected resource card. As it were.
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  10. When you win, act like you've won something before.
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    And when you lose, one goddam turn before you throw down your winning cards, break something and swear you'll never play this fucking game again.