Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wacky Wednesdays - When your brain checks out...

Last week I spoke of how to be innovative when it comes to your hobby.  This week I am going  to speak on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Have you in a middle of a game ever “zoned out”?  Perhaps this unfortunate circumstance has happened, and 3 turns later you are wondering, “Hey, when did that happen?”  or “How did my Deffdread get there?”  If not, then read on, because this “curse” has an upside…

We all try to concentrate, and for some it comes easier than others.  For many it can take more to do than others, depending on their own thought processes.  This can be effected by various things; stress level, family, sugar/caffeine intake, or various other influences.

After a long day at work, or if the game is slow going, as I am standing at the table, my mind tends to wander.  I re-focus on the game, and again, it will wander.  Sometimes, my mind goes on “automatic pilot” and I just play.  This is why I like to take a break, which in turn, makes the game even longer…so, what to do?

Allow it to happen.  Then after the game figure out what I did wrong by analyzing each turn over in my mind.  If I can’t remember how a turn went, then I was not focused enough and realize I need to work on it more. 

Here are some things to help you in those situations.

Learn to lose…

How do you recover from mistakes that happen when your brain leaves you?  Well, after you realize what it is you did (or didn’t) do, quickly look at the board, and access the situation.  Re-focus on the mission at hand.  (This can cost you a game if you don’t remember to secure the objective!)  Use the mistake to your advantage.  Ok, maybe you didn’t mean to park your Trukk full of Burnas directly in front of that vindicator, but perhaps by doing this, it will allow your Kanz or Deffdread time to get in there and take it out.  Whatever the situation, I am sure we can think of times where we thought, “D’oh!  Why did I do that?!”

Bottom line, make mistakes and don’t concentrate on purpose?  Well, not exactly.  Try something new.

In order to clear it up, I think of the quote, “Damn the torpedoes!”  Just go for it.  What’s the worst that could happen?  By losing, and making mistakes, then you learn more about your army.

Besides, it would be quite boring to “table” your opponent each game.  Think about it.  What is the most fun you have ever had in a game?  I am willing to bet it is the one where it gets down to the last unit or even “man” standing.  It comes down to the wire to create some dramatic suspense.  These are often the games we write or tell people about. 

So, if you make a mistake, use it to your advantage and to try something different.  Something that you wouldn’t normally do, in other words, experiment.  This is often the last thing your opponent would expect you to do. 

“Wait, you do realize that you just put your lone warboss in combat with Shrike and my Chaplain right?” 

“He can take it.”  It is at this moment I realize that I should probably move my Kanz in to contest the objective…

Staying on track…

  Of course the easiest way to not make mistakes is to stay focused.  I myself have a hard time doing this.  Here are some things that have helped me. 
1.)      Picture the game as a movie.  “Play” a soundtrack in your head, as you can hear some dialogue.  (Try not to tune out your opponent though.)
2.)      Storyline.  Why is your army here?  They don’t just show up at cities/planets/settlements to “play a game” and have giant gods pushing them around the surface.  Make it real to you.  (This can be difficult if that Comm Station is Pringles can…)  The more realistic you picture the game, the more fun you will have.
3.)      Take some breaks.  Get a drink, or something to eat. 
4.)      Ask your opponent to walk over to his side of the table to take a look.  You get a much better idea of what they may be planning to do, or how to handle the current situation.  Not to mention it breaks up the monotony of staring at your side/forces each turn.  A new perspective can really freshen the game up for you.

Perhaps you have never had the problem of “Wandering Brain” syndrome...and you truly are a genius at Warhammer.  (If you are contact me to write some articles for the blog!)

Make mistakes on purpose.  (Provided it is not in a tournament.)

You can read all the books about warfare, tactics and advice on various blogs, but unless you put them into practice, it will do you no good.  Competitive players, when is the last time you tried to lose…on purpose?  OK, you may be thinking, “This guy has definitely lost it, he’s talking about losing on purpose.”  You may be right, but think about it for a moment.  What is one of the best ways to learn?  Or a better way to phrase it would be, what is the best way to learn your limitations?  The answer is a simple one, as it is something we all do daily.  Make mistakes.  We learn from doing and practicing, but we comprehend and become adept at something when we make mistakes.  Very few individuals can say they did something 100% right the first time.  Thomas Edison failed multiple times when inventing a light bulb. 

“You’re charging your unit of grots into the 10-man Terminator Squad?!”  Perhaps by charging your 20-30 grots, you would open yourself up to more options, or simply giving your mainstay unit time to get there, or even the classic distraction.  Even if you don’t have a plan, its ok, as it will keep your opponent on their toes at least.

So think about it…er, don’t think about it, just go with it…

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