Those Who Play Games

During his childhood, Nin played the games of children. Running, hopping, playing in the fields. Improvised games without set rules or boundaries, where being the winner meant very little, where mere participation was enough to spark joy.

In his youth, Nin favoured games of chance. Bets and wagers, bluffs and rebukes. Little true skill was involved, here he sought the highs and lows associated with the games. The imagining that luck or fate was one’s ally. The ecstasy of winning large pots, or the crushing defeat of losing all he had.

And when he reached adulthood Nin began playing games of strategy, games of the mind. The favoured game of the burrow was called Teterhide, in which a group of players fought for lordship over a great city-state.

Here grand plans unfolded over dozens of turns, players vied for territories and armies and dominance over an entire day of play.

It was these grand games that truly captured Nin’s attention, that served as more than mere distractions or a way to pass the hours. Here were microcosms of rabbit behaviour waiting to be explored.

Among Nin’s regular group of players he noted that each played in a certain way, indicative of their personality. Some played for certain risky pocket strategies. Others focused on the core mechanics, the tried and true methods. There were those who favoured balanced or flexible approaches, adjusting as the game developed, latching onto opportunities as they presented themselves.

Some of the younger, more inexperienced players mirrored the actions of the older players. If others were fighting, they’d want to fight too. If some were hoarding particular resources, they’d want to collect those resources as well.

Then there was Nin. He was often accused of not taking the game seriously. This was, in part, due to his tendency to watch the other rabbits. But he was also an experimenter. He never played two games the same way. He wished for a complete understanding of Teterhide, which meant testing new and unproven strategies. He lost often, but with every loss, his knowledge grew.

When he left the burrow he was considered to be among the worst Teterhide players. But his knowledge of the game was comparable to even the most seasoned of masters.