What’s Your Game?

In the malleable biography I include in my books and on my pages, I list “recovered wargamer” as one of my descriptors. It isn’t that I have completely stopped playing games – I’ve simply moderated the amount of time I spend playing. (but I HAVEN’T modified the WAY that I play.)

In olden times (I am that old), I was given a nickname: THE THREAT. I was flattered when this came about – one of my friends / opponents told me it was because I seemed to win an inordinate number of games, so that the other players would join together to take me out first, and sometimes even with that I would still emerge victorious. It was a great boost to my ego to think that the people I was playing against found me SO competent that they feared going up against me mano a mano.

I could have been a contender!

That ego boost got me through a lot of uneven matches. No matter how good you are, most games won’t let you win when everyone else concentrates on taking you out. I accumulated many pyrrhic victories this way, measuring my successes by HOW LONG IT TOOK THEM TO FINISH ME OFF. I’m the Black Knight in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail – no matter how much I’m bleeding, until I’m dead, I don’t quit; I NEVER tip my king.

(years later, another fellow competitor explained the REAL reason that I became THE THREAT: it was because I was annoying (who’d have thought!); NO MATTER HOW BADLY I WAS BEING BEATEN, I always acted like I knew something no one else did, and I still might win.)

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned  that I had discovered WORDS WITH FRIENDS, and was going to have to be careful to not allow it to interfere with my writing (and the rest of my life.) I have moderated my involvement with the game, but have so far racked up a 41-1 record and a 26 point/word average.

As a writer, I work with words, and this is a game in which words are center stage, but I have a confession to make. I have a decent vocabulary, but not as good as I would like to have, and I’m certain it’s sub-par when judged among other writers. I understand words just fine, but coming up with them out of the blue is sabotaged by my perpetually poor memory. I joke that I have a file clerk I send into my long-term memory for an answer, and it can be weeks later before he returns with the answer (and by then I’ve forgotten the question.) My vocabulary helps me a little, but what really makes me a good WORDS WITH FRIENDS player is my ability to see patterns and maximize the bonus squares on the board.

I’ve decided to give myself a nickname: I am THE TERROR OF THE TILES!

Why am I talking about this game?

Aside from the opportunity to brag (it ain’t bragging if you can do it), there is an interesting dynamic occurring here. This is ostensibly a vocabulary game, and I’m sure that’s how most people are playing it. But that’s not how I win.

There’s an expression called FIGHTING THE LAST WAR that sort of applies here – sticking with what worked before and failing to adapt to a changing situation.

Sometimes the rules change (Donald Trump seems to be doing that in the Republican primary right now – he is fighting a different war than his competition is) and you have to either fight the change, or adapt to it.

Or there may be something else to consider.

Long ago (in those misty wargaming days), I played a board game called Mythology ( In the game, each player was God, and they all went about manipulating heroes and monsters in the classical world. The most interesting aspect of the game was that every player had secret objectives, so that each was essentially playing a different game.

What if the people I’m playing WWF against have a different objective? What if they don’t care about the final point tally, or even their win/loss column, but how many new words they use? Or their average word length? Maybe I’m not REALLY winning? Or maybe we’re BOTH winning?

No – that’s nonsense. If I’m meeting my objectives (win/loss record and average points/word), then should it matter to me that my opponents might be playing a different game?

What game are you playing? Is it the same one your opponent is?

Just saying…


InAFlashJimmyCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “In a Flash” (that’s my first Detective Jimmy Delaney story):

Jimmy was a good cop, but age and changing times were getting the better of him. If he could only get an edge, take advantage of some of that new-fangled tech – what would be the harm? I mean, everybody cheats a little, don’t they?

Just be careful not to get caught…

Use coupon code FY86V to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s 99-cents – such a deal!). Here’s the link:

This coupon will be good until February 13th.

(“In a Flash” is also available in the Broken Down: Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #1.)


UltimateAwarenessCoverThe “Ultimate Awareness” preorder promo continues until its February 12th release (that’s only 4 days away!):

Omnius has relied on his Ultimate Awareness to dominate the city as well as any supervillain could, but an interview with a prospective sidekick casts doubt on both his own limits and his career path. How much does he really know?

The preorder is available at multiple sellers all over the internet, including:




William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Behind the 8-Ball”, can be found in many places, including:



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