Monday, March 28, 2011

Searching the Clouds......

Sometimes you have games where you make poor decisions. I had one of those on Saturday.

I was playing Tim Norling’s Warriors of Chaos (100% Characters and Core) and felt that I had the winning of the game early. Unfortunately, for me, I then made a series of decisions that in retrospect were all the wrong ones and my army self-destructed in conjunction with some error-free play by Tim.

These are important games. They are the ones you can learn from. I could say that I was rusty and that contributed to the errors but that would be disguising the fact that in the heat of battle I made poor decisions. The important thing here is to acknowledge these mistakes and see how you could have addressed things differently, with a potentially different outcome.

In this game I made two charges when I shouldn’t – one because it was the wrong thing to do and the other because I hadn’t checked the loadout of one of Tim’s characters – and fled one where I should have held. The results of these poor decisions compounded and allowed Tim to win the game and a little bit moreso, me to lose it.

As I said these are the important games because they remind you that you are not half as good as you think you are! After a loss I like to sit down and really dissect the game as to what I could do differently. Generally this comes down to recognising some bad decisions but it may also be that your tactical plan was wrong or a catalyst for a list change. I generally find that a lot of players blame their list rather than focusing on the first two reasons. In my experience once you’ve got a bit of experience, poor decisions account for 50% of losses, bad plan 30% and bad/sub-optimal list 20%.

I generally analyse all my games, win, lose or draw but a loss does tend to focus the mind more. Really think that they are an opportunity to be a catalyst for better play in the future. Or I guess in the end you can always blame the dice (or the scenario).


  1. I typically can only learn one or two things from a win, and one or two dozen things from a loss.

    As my goal is always to better myself, this means I greatly enjoy my losses, and see each and every one as an opportunity to hugely improve, so long as I maintain the appropriate attitude towards the loss.

    I think its close to impossible to lose a game because of the dice; if you have hinged your battle plan on requiring an average or better roll, you have allready failed.

    I agree with your rough approximation of the break down of game losses, in 40k the most common mistake seems to be a very inadequate threat assessment being done (or more likely, not being done at all), leading to bad target priority and a lack of concentration.

  2. I agree that there is nothing that focuses the mind like a loss.

    My perception is that people seem more comfortable focusing on a perceived deficiency in their list as a reason for the loss. However I think that it is more likely to be a poor decision that compounds it.

    As to dice rolls. I think luck plays a greater part in 8th Ed than it did in 7th Ed, however the potential for one good/bad roll to dominate the game is mostly confined to the Magic phase.

    On this basis too I think fantasy is slightly more luck dependent than 40k but not significant enough for it to be anything other than a minor determinant of game result.

  3. I think the reason I enjoy playing armies with so many attacks of a poor quality is that with a giant bucket of dice, you're less likely to roll something way off the curve either way, and more likely to get consistant reliable results.

    It makes it a lot easier to focus on my play as the source of any mistakes or lack of sucess, than be blinded by a random spate of bad rolls.

  4. That said, playing against someone better than myself has always been a steeper/better/faster learning curve than "grinding" for the odd tactical insight.