Don’t Like the Rules? Change the Playing Field.

“Of course the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you–if you don’t play, you can’t win.”- Robert Heinlein

For whatever misguided reason, I am a huge fan of every stupid Yu-Gi-Oh cartoon in existence. When asked, I’ll tell you that the reason I have seen nearly every episode of all three series (or as much as is available in the cases of CapMon and GX) is character development. Kazuki Takahashi has way too much fun with his characters, and it makes for very disturbing analytical discussions in this house.

My roommate often tells me that I really ought to give up watching any of them because I don’t obsess over the duels (We just won’t tell him about the Ceremonial Duel or the Grad Match, savvy?) He frequently laughs because i can name so few cards, and because my favorite card if Kuriboh. (I’ve always had a thing for smaller creatures who can drive the opposition to tears.) He hasn’t realized that I do actually pay more attention to duels that he thinks.

The Heinlein quote above actually reminded me of one of my favorite aspects of dueling in the manga and in the anime. (Having only ever played the game once, I really can’t speak to that.) Unfortunately, the original anime managed to almost completely ignore the field advantage aspect. Monsters gained advantages in certain field types, and their duelists tried to use that to their advantage. In GX, there are cards that change the nature of the field, and duelists tend to have at least one field-effect card that will put their monsters on a stronger footing.

Sadly enough, there’s something to be learned here: If you can’t win playing within the rules, however fair or otherwise they may be, then change what you can to put yourself in a better position to win. Back the opposition into an area where you have the advantage. Work within the rules to find the loopholes to let you change the nature of the game field to help you out.

I’m not suggesting that you go out to stomp on people, because that’s just mean. Just remember that if things seem unbalanced, there’s nearly always something you can do within the system to change things to your favor.

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