Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fortyness - Owning the Foundation

Have you ever built a house of cards? Have you ever played that marble game where the players pull the sticks and see who's final pull drops all of the marbles?

I guess in theory these are sort of opposites - one game builds up, the other takes down. But, one thing they do have in common is that they are both a lot like life in Fortyness.

Both games have multiple pieces. All of the pieces work together to build a structure that is the crux of the game. A deck of cards has 52 "pieces" that are stacked, leaned and balanced to create a finished structure. The marble game has a multitude of sticks that are threaded together in a tower to create a net in which the marbles are poured.

In both games, the object is to keep something from falling. The one who places the card that makes the house fall is the one who loses the game. The ill-fated stick pull that dumps all of the marbles leaves one unlucky player in last place. The goal for either is to win the game.

Both games are a challenge individually and against other players in the game. There is individual strategy that each player employs to position themselves to win the game. Yet, no matter what plans are made, they are constantly changing, altered, and manipulated by the moves that others make. They both take quick thinking, rethinking, and flexibility to finish the game - win or lose.

There is one final way that the games are similar. It is not in the goal, the strategy or the end result in the game. It is in what is overlooked. In playing both games, of course the players find a space that is large enough to play the game. But how often is the foundation considered an integral part of the game?

So how is this like life in Fortyness?

At this point in life we have been in the game of life for a while. We have stacked the cards, come up with strategies, figured out how play off of others moves, and probably had our fair share of wins. We've been focused on admiring the house, looking at our stacks of sticks successfully pulled and ultimately winning the game - or goals that we have set.

However, in Fortyness, we've also had some losses. This is where the foundation that the game is played on is important.

The right foundation creates stability. The house of cards needs a base that is stable, sturdy, and level so that the house doesn't start out doomed. The sticks that hold the marbles are threaded through a foundation that keeps them firmly in place until they are pulled by the players. As we stack our cards and pull our sticks of life, if we have taken ownership of our foundation, we are in a better place to have our structures hold strong. Even more important, if our structures do fall, then we have a firm place to rebuild from.

In Fortyness, we must own our foundations - maintain them and repair them when needed. This part of the game is not dependent on any other player but ourselves. With the proper care, we can keep the foundation strong and buildable as we play and replay the game of life.

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