Stage 1: How did I get here?

 This stage is usually short-lived, but it can be pretty intense. The first time you play a board game, you’re generally confused on how to play and what the goal is. You’re probably feeling a little bewildered as well. In this stage, you don’t know how to react to certain situations or why certain rules are there in the first place. This can be pretty frustrating when everyone else seems to know what they’re doing and you feel left out of the conversation. This can easily lead into frustration, which then turns into stress because…well…you don’t really enjoy being stressed out any more than anyone else does! But in my experience (and I’m sure for many others), this stage is just about hating yourself for not knowing something that everyone else does; it’s actually quite common for us humans to have this frustrating experience. I’ve been there before myself when I was new at something; it doesn’t mean that we suck at everything forever! It just means we need some time and practice before we start looking forward rather than behind ourselves every few seconds. I think the future of games is bright, and you’ll be seeing some of that in our next stage.

 Stage 2: I love this game! I’m so good at this game!

 This stage is where you’re starting to get the hang of things, but you still feel pretty confident in your new-found skill. You’ve probably gotten pretty good at a few games and are ready to move onto something else. You’re feeling great about yourself because everyone’s complementing your abilities, but it can be hard to not let those compliments and all that confidence go to your head. It’s very easy for someone like me who has played board games for quite a while now (and has written numerous articles about them) to become stuck in one stage; often I think “I know everything there is about board games” which isn’t necessarily true. I’ve been stuck in this stage for most of my life, and I must admit that it’s pretty nice to think this way. However, when you start a new game and get really frustrated by the amount of rules you have to read through before being able to play, it can be quite frustrating. When I was younger (grade school), I would always ask if there were any other games I could play. The truth is that board games are all about having fun with friends and family, so why not try something awesome? The best part about this stage is that there’s pretty much no one else who can beat you at a board game except yourself! That feeling of confidence is unbeatable; nothing beats beating yourself at a game!

 Stage 3: Oh…that doesn’t sound like fun…

 So now your friends know more about the games than you do because they’re playing them all the time. You’re getting tired of being just another piece on their gaming chessboard as they tell you to move forward or back; after all, what use do they have for someone who isn’t good at anything? This is where things start going downhill; it feels like everything’s crashing down around you because your friends only want someone who can further their agendas in these complex games while everyone else thinks they’re too good for some stupid board game anyway. But don’t worry, this is actually quite common for a lot of people. In fact, I’ve been here before; I’ve always struggled with trying to find the right balance between my love of games and my relationships with friends. For example, there was this one time when my friend told me to play chess instead of board games because he thought they were “too casual” and that they would “ruin [my] game”. This is the third stage where you feel like you’re on the outside looking in at what could be your greatest passion in life. You could get angry about it or just shrug it off; either way, there’s not much you can do about it if your friends think you’re not cool enough for them anymore!

 Stage 4: What did I do wrong? How can I get things back to normal?

 This stage is where things are getting pretty bad for our friend who loves board games but doesn’t have much luck finding others who appreciate them as well. Suddenly everyone seems like a giant jerk who only wants to play video games or another board game that’s more popular than yours.

 Stage 5: Who needs friends anyway?

 I hate to admit that I’ve been here more than once (I’ve actually been stuck in this stage for the past few months), but the truth is that it’s not uncommon to get really down on yourself when you feel like no one wants to play with you anymore. It hurts to feel lonely, but there are ways we can overcome this feeling. The first thing I suggest doing is going out and finding some other people who enjoy playing board games just as much as you do; this might be a little hard if your gaming group has dwindled down to nothing, but there’s a good chance there are others in your area who would love board games just as much. If not, you can always try advertising on craigslist or even social networking sites such as meetup.com and Facebook! If all else fails, there’s always online gaming communities such as BGG or Board Game Arena where you can find lots of people who want to play the same games with you! Don’t let anyone tell you that it’ll never work out because it will; trust me when I say that being happy and content with life is far more important than having a group of people around who don’t appreciate what makes us unique!

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