After I wrote about Fighting Against the Dice in Arkham Horror yesterday, another train of thought left the station. I rode that metaphorical train to a new destination this morning, at which point I changed mental tracks because I … I just derailed myself. Uh, moving right along to what I was going to talk about.

Losing is part of the game. Let’s make up a game where you roll a six-sided die, and you win if you roll a five or six. You roll the die a hundred times and you never once get more than four as a result. You have yourself a game. When you roll a five or six, will you be happy? You’ll have won the game, why not?

For some people, some gamers, that is — rolling the die to get a five or a six is enough of a game to make it worth playing. It certainly doesn’t work for me (and quite a few people I know), but for some people, that’s all they need. Losing is part of this hypothetical game that we’re talking about. It’s what makes winning exciting.

Each time you pick up the dice, it’s a new game. It’s a new life, you’re a new person. Each time you roll the dice, the game plays itself out, and you know whether you live or die. If you roll more than four, you roll again, building on your past success. You grow from each experience, each success, each win … until you lose.

It’s like Groundhog’s Day, in a sense. You get infinite “continues,” and you can keep playing the game over and over again until you win or you get tired of playing. Losing is part of the game, it’s part of the excitement, and part of what makes victory as delicious as all that — is what rides on the game, what you stand to lose.