Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.
Past week I’ve called some old friends. Goals: 1) put together a group of people 2) draw out of the darkness some dusty boardgame (which I’ve stopped playing years ago, cause lack of interested players).
Arkham Horror, Munchkin Cthulhu, Creatures and Cultists… (marketing corner: those are titles I’ve mentioned in my little essay about lovecratian games Playing with Lovecraft. Tentacular influences in popular games).
The list is long.
And here comes the problems.
The first is language.
Almost every of the mentioned games are the original english version. The rules could be translated and explained. But what about the thousand Arkham Horror cards? Endless.
The second is time.
Nobody has the time, not for playing. We are all grown up, don’t we?
The first one has no solution but looking for enthusiastic people, brave enough to prove their english knowledge. It’s not so hard and it could be very useful.
The second is the one that sometimes gives me headache.
Here, in Italy, the approach to the imaginary, to the fantastic (fantasy, sci-fi, horror) side of creativity seems to be very problematic. We are a realistic country. We don’t have time for those silly things. We have to earn money, buy trendy stuff, arrange the next holiday, work hard because life is short and painful. And the story is always the same. If you play football, you’re good. If you lose time playing with strange colored miniatures on a board, then you are the strange one. It’s true: you are the weirdo. Because you still have an organ, a part of you that other people lose, once reached a certain age.
I believe that there is a clear correlation between imagination, creation and the act of playing. There would be no wonderful scientific discovery without imagination. There is no hope, without imagination, no future worth living, if the only dream that we deserve is reality.
In the last five years I’ve practiced martial art with two different masters: one from a Karate school and the current one from a Tai Chi Chuan (Chen style) school. Both have taught me that there is no true learning without playing. To play is to take things more lightly, avoiding the rigidity of a purely didactic approach.
To play means being curious, is the way to creativity. To really learn an art you have to play with it, mix colors and discover new ones, use your body beyond the limits of everyday life. Give it a try, train even harder, without ever forgetting the part devoted to play. Play with your pain, they teach, do not throw it away. Play with it.
Life is short and painful.
So why don’t we try to play more?