Lost Cities

I have never had this happen before and I have never had to take such precipitous action.

About three weeks ago I installed Lost Cities, a card game, on my iPhone. It has levels of play, shields to indicate your progress and a leader board. I played the computer at various levels and was relatively successful.


I kept picking up my phone to play game after game. My writing suffered. I suffered.

  1. I played the game to the detriment of other activities such as writing. I would think about writing, deciding my mind was not sufficiently engaged and then picked up my phone to play several more games.
  2. I was playing games before breakfast.
  3. I interrupted my morning listens of podcasts (my method of keeping up with news) to play several rounds.
  4. I became generally unfocused and sad—I won’t say depressed because I try to save that description for clinical depression. Melancholy often seems a better choice to describe my feeling.

Eventually I asked myself:

What is your purpose in life if all you are doing is playing this game?

It is unsettling to play against a computer that uses emojis to comment on its or your play. The worst emoji of all is taunt. It is one thing to be losing. It is quite another thing to be bullied about it. Even knowing it was just an algorithm did not help.

I blamed myself for my losses.

  • I wasn’t smart enough to have a strategy of play. I just reacted at the beginning of each game.
  • I couldn’t work out the probabilities of the next cards and how to gamble what would be the right move.
  • I lost track of how many moves were left to make the right move.
  • I sometimes missed cards and then couldn’t play them.
  • I felt unlucky.
  • I felt stupid.
  • I became frustrated, annoyed and angry.

I tried to combat all this negativity of course. I refrained from using the taunt emoji. I stopped using the angry emoji. ) I was angry at myself. It would be the height of stupidity to be angry at a computer.)
I tried to be very careful and not rush my play. I checked the number of cards left on almost every play.

But in the end, I just had to delete the game.

Right now, I am feeling withdrawal. I want to reinstall it and try to behave better.

Maybe I will be able to do that later, but I doubt it.

It was an interesting experience for $2.99.