September 20, 2012
Horse 1364 - Risk:Legacy - Sorry and Forgiveness
On Saturday night, there were five of us engaged in the game of Risk:Legacy. Normal "vanilla" Risk is a board game where you try to take over the world; games can last up to eight hours if two sides at the end are evenly poised. Risk:Legacy has the added bonus of actions in past games having present consequences.
The thing about games and sports generally is that they don't matter. Unless you actually happen to be gainfully employed as a game or sportsplayer, at the end of it, you go home, or the board is packed away and that's it - line in the sand, Game Over.
Risk:Legacy is a little different in that actions do have consequences but only so far as the game is concerned. Come Monday when you have to go back to work, what happened in a board game is of zero consequence.
This brings me to the word "sorry". Sorry is a word which expresses regret over an injury which has occurred to a person or people, or their property; saying sorry usually implies a request for forgiveness. When Kevin Rudd made his famous "sorry" speech in 2007, he was in effect asking the aboriginal people of Australia for forgiveness on behalf on the nation. Some Aboriginal peoples expressed a wish to hear that word "sorry" precisely because it was an admittance that terrible injuries had been made against them.
Admittedly a board game like Risk can not possibly even hope to compare with the sheer magnitude of something like this and I do not intend to diminish its importance by any stretch of the imagination but it illustrates the point perfectly, the word "sorry" and the simple request for forgiveness contains an almost unbelievable amount of power; used properly it can go towards mending and healing relationships or forging new ones.
A board game like Risk does indeed have injurious acts and circumstances which are exacted on other players, but the thing is that in the context of the game, not only are they acceptable but also, every action undertaken is deliberate. Saying "sorry" is therefore not only meaningless because nobody ever means it but also because ultimately, injuring other players positions is in fact the point of the game. Like chess, Risk is a war game. Also like chess, the reason why you can afford to play much harder and also why its bigger and better than "grown up" games like love and war, is also due to the fact that it is ultimately of zero consequence. In some respects, it is a mark of the highest nobility to play at games of war like Risk, to be laid utterly to waste and be hopelessly defeated and to say "well played" to your fellow players.
For the same reason I like to say "There is no sorry. No-one is sorry for anything... EVER." I would hope that my fellow players of a sport or game would play as hard as they can, as I also hope to do. There is no shame in being defeated on a tabletop or the sporting field.
Forgiveness however is a slightly more spiky concept. After someone has said sorry, they are not automatically forgiven. Forgiveness requires the injured party to set aside their claim for restitution, or in some cases where punishment needs to be exacted, some other willing party to pay the price.
There are of course obvious parallels to be drawn here in that we have caused God an injury of honour by violating His person through lack of respect for Him and His law and forgiveness is brought about in this case because restitution had been made through the death of Christ but the underlying point here is that for this to be exacted, there first has to be an admission of the injury and a request either implied or direct through the act if saying "sorry".
Forgiveness though rests on the fact that the person actually does decide to accept it. If they decide for instance not to forgive someone, then the person who has said sorry is left hanging. Thankfully when it comes to God we are told that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us"* so we aren't left hanging at all.
Back to Risk:Legacy, not only is there no sorry and there is no forgiveness, what's weird is that even the game itself does not forget because it carries scars and marks from the injuries which it sustains and they consequently come back to injure you. As far as board games go, I have never seen this mechanic in a game before and I wonder if it is (as yet) unique in this respect.
Risk:Legacy is a game which does not forgive and it does not forget, which either makes it a terrible role model or an accurate life lesson in dealing with most people. The people playing aren't sorry for their actions and nor should they be because they wouldn't play as hard. For these reasons, it's one of the better games out there, unlike "grown up" games like love and war where people who don't say and genuinely aren't sorry, for their actions continue to perpetrate hurt.
*1 John 1:9
Posted by Rollo at 07:22