Oh, the things you can learn whilst playing Dobble


Have you played it? It’s a great card game where you have to place all of your cards by matching one of the random pictures. It’s travel size so we often play whilst waiting for a pub lunch to arrive at the table; a really nice, wholesome activity that the whole family can play.

The other day, we had a game of Dobble before bedtime and my sons complained 'it's not fair, Mum always wins'. This is novel for me because I'm not that good at games, but it made me think about what was going on. In the instant they said this, the energy shifted and I noticed a tension had arisen. Even in the way we all sat up a bit straighter, training more focus onto the little purple, one-eyed guy smiling back at us. Silly me, I thought, relaxing my shoulders back down, but I noticed that sure enough, each round seemed to have me as the winner so I began to observe what each of us was doing differently.

My sons were desperately scanning their card to see if one of their pictures matched, both of them inching closer over the deck of cards, their voices were tight and frustrated each time I put a card down. When they had a card to lay, they were tense, and scrambling to get their card down before anyone else, but in their tension, they couldn't see the iceberg for the catcus. So to speak.

After the initial prickle of competitiveness (I dislike that feeling), I did not feel that tension and so I was able to take my time to look at the pictures to find a match calmly. I wondered if this is what happens when we want something so bad that we stop noticing what is important? The desire to win or achieve ultimately blinkering us to other important stuff? I wondered who might have been experiencing more enjoyment in the game.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna suggests Arjuna should work but not for the reward, he should enjoy the work he has to do and that in itself is the reward, not the material gain. Now for clarity, I am not a religious person and am not affiliated with any faith, but this makes sense to me. If you are so intent on performing an action just for the reward or glory of winning, is it really worth the playing of the game?

So there you have it; Dobble is right up there with that spiritual, ancient, classical, literary genius, "The Bhagavad Gita" for encouraging philosophical thought. Who knew?