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Time Pressure as a Solo Challenge Mechanism

In Boaz Yakin's ingenious 1994 film Fresh, Samuel L. Jackson plays an urban chess hustler estranged from his son "Fresh." The chess lessons he imparts to the boy during their secret meet-ups inspire Fresh's complex master plan to thwart a local thug. One of the most important pieces of advice Fresh receives from his father goes like this:
All them Grand Masters and them Europeans with their government subsidies and whatnot to sit on they asses and play all day, they ain't livin' in the world. Put the clock on 'em, put the heat on they backs, they break down.
Within the film's context, this becomes an invaluable piece of advice to the main character. For an audience member like me who lives for gaming, its value would appear equally precious...but is it?

The relationship between time pressure and performance is not as clear cut as it may appear in the movie or otherwise. Most would assume that with an increase in time pressure, there is proportionately a decrease in performance quality. However, a myriad of studies have uncovered as much evidence of performance improvement due to time limitations as there are examples of performance diminishment from the stress of perceived inadequate time. Some hypothesize a correlation between pressure and acute mental focus, as well as our unwillingness to linger too long over what we "sense" will not work for us in the moment. Whatever the reason, the concept is pretty fascinating.

In solo gaming, we typically relish how leisurely we can be with time precisely because there is no person or extenuating circumstance to hurry us along. The awesome Donald Featherstone even wrote "...one of the great advantages of solo-wargaming lies in its timelessness, in the manner in which a wargamer can 'float' along in an unhurried manner as he manoeuvres his forces to the most detailed rules." As much as I love my ultra-leisurely leisure time, I want to put the effects of time pressure - and myself - to the test. Could there be benefits I've never considered? At the least, it'll be an interesting challenge.

So, I'm going to test that out this weekend when I put myself on the clock for my Galactic Guardians Solo Tournament. Could be interesting...

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