Two Games

When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it. (Marcus Aurelius)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Even if I no longer play it, Magic the Gathering remains one of my all-time favorite games.”

“What do you like about it?”

“The art of it, the creativity, the design, the structure, the modularity, the variety, the flavor, many things.

Magic is really not one game but a series of different games connected by a shared rule set and game pieces. (Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic)

For me, Magic is a beautiful resource, a rich metaphoric system, a source of design inspiration, and in many ways, a model for The Beautiful Game [<link; medium length].

Magic the Puzzling

The picture you see is a Magic the Gathering puzzle, a game situation specifically created by someone to solve.

However, I like to see any game situation in Magic as a puzzle.

You have a set of game resources (life total, cards* in your deck, cards in hand, cards on the table), and a unique game state, and you have a limited time to make the best possible decision given these circumstances.

I realize, for me, part of the joy of playing Magic was solving such puzzles, and adapting to any game situation.

In the same way, any life situation can be seen as a beautiful puzzle to solve.

You have set of life resources (energy level, learned mental tools, mental tools available, prior set-up/build-up), and a unique life state, and you have a limited time to make the best possible decision given these circumstances.

We could call this The Decision-making Game. Its essence can be captured with a question:

What’s the best decision?

However, unlike Magic, the Decision-making Life-Game has an additional layer: accessing your resources, which is dependent on your mental state.

In an unresourceful state you only see problems not solutions. (Tim Ferris)

Being able to play the Decision-making game requires that you put yourself in a resourceful state. Or, to use Tony Robbins’ (and my preferred) terminology, a beautiful state [<link; medium].

We can think of being in an unresourceful state as being out of balance.”

“Makes me think of what Brian Johnson called ‘The Equanimity Game‘ seeing how fast you can recover balance once lost.”

“I love Brian’s idea of The Equanimity Game. This is just my take on it.

Whenever you’re out of balance, the micro-quest (and absolute priority) becomes to recover it and to return to the beautiful state.

“What if you made the beautiful state your baseline, your center?”

“That’s one of the life-puzzles I’m working on right now.

The Equanimity Game and the Decision-making Game are twin games. The Equanimity Game is an enabler, it sets the stage and opens the door for the Decision-making Game.”


* The cards in Magic the Gathering represent spells, and mana-generating lands that allow you to cast the spells.

Tags: , ,

About Dani Trusca

Life-Artist, Thinker, Mover (Traceur)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: