From: Jess Thyne
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 06 Dec 1996
Remote Name: octal-lab-mac06.ucsc.edu
Victor, male, sixth grade Arianna, female, 5th grade
I ratherly intrusively invited myself to play Connect 4 with Victor by declaring that I got to play the winner of a game between Victor and Arianna. Victor and Arrianna were in the middle of a very competitive game, and even though they agreed that I could play the winner, they played a few games before they let me play. Arianna was the last one to lose, and so she left. I sat down and Victor and I began playing.
He beat me twice, and seemed fairly cocky about his skills. Then I beat him in the third game, and gloated a bit, happy that I actually beat him. Victor seemed to appreciate the sense of competition, and sugested that we change the game (I assumed that he considered us equals now). Victor sugested that we play with two turns in a row. That is when the real learning took place.
The strategy of the game had changed now that we got two turns in a row. I understood the idea right away, but Victor did not quite grasp the difference in strategy. (the strategy being that before you had to watch for your opponent getting three pieces in a line, and now two was enough for a win on the next round). I went first, and beat him on my second turn (by getting two in a row on the first, and not being blocked). Then he went first and I beat him on my second turn. He seemed surprised by this, but we played a few more games (I won them all), where Victor learned to stop me from winning early, but still did not seem to fully grasp the whole idea. Though I do feel that he was learning by the fact that his skills greatly improved, and our games got much longer.
He sugested that we try three turns in a row. He went first and beat me (the one who goes first in this variant always wins), which seemed to raise his ego a little, and then after goofing around a little (fiddling with the chips, arguing over wether it was cheating for Victor to take three turns in a row), we went back to playing two turns at a time. Victor played a good game, but I still beat him. He got bored of the game and left.
I have been in my childhood, and still now am a gamer. I have always loved the strategies and loopholes, and interesting paterns involoved in different games, and variants of them. I really liked watching Victor figure out the new strategy presented, and I hope he enjoyed it also.
I wonder if I should have let Victor win. Would he had stayed longer and/or enjoyed the game more? I hope that my sense of competition did not interfere with Victor's learning process.