Skill and Luck
by Coen Wubbels
I admit, I am an addict. A grave one for that matter. You invite me to play almost any strategic board game and I’ll probably leave my wife sitting at the dinner table to beat you at your own game. One of my bedroom walls used to be stacked with a dozens of obscure and ordinary games.
In 2003, my wife handed me a wooden box that once contained two bottles of wine, to be filled with my favourite games. “No more space in the old Land Cruiser” she said as we departed from the Netherlands on what has become the trip of our lifetime. [still is].
I am attracted by board games, especially when they contain beautiful, handcrafted masterpieces. So I couldn’t just walk by and ignore this game of mah-jong in Yunnan. I have always wanted to learn this mysterious game since I once bought an old bamboo set at a flea market. I was invited to sit down and for two days I tried to understand the principles as well as the language of the game. I failed at the latter.
I feel that when people are playing games they are either relaxed and joyful, or very concentrated and unreachable. In both cases they are focussed not on you, but on the game and their mates, and always let you snap some shots.
Ladies playing a game of mah-jong on the streets of Baisha, China. [Sony R1 35mm f/9.0 1/50]
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