-By: Scott (PG_Sc077y)

I was playing at a tournament a while ago.  I was playing Vlad 1 vs Naresh, in the finals, and I was tearing him up really good.  Behemoth had killed Tiberion, my Rifle Corps killed off his agonizer, the sniper boat took out his bronze back spirit with grievous wounds to back me up, man, I was in a good position.  He had no heavies, a hand full of beast handlers, and that was it.  I had a juggernaut that wasn’t missing any systems, Behemoth who was missing his movement and his right arm, part of a rifle corps and Vlad.  I was in the dominant position in the game.

Then my opponent moved Naaresh up to within 12” of Vlad.  On my next turn, I went to just cast Blood of Kings and just finish off Naaresh (mainly because Naaresh was too far away from my jacks and they couldn’t get there.  Unfortunately, my opponent then told me he had lamentation up.

I didn’t see a token.  I didn’t see where he was taking damage to upkeep the spell. I didn’t hear him tell me he was up keeping it after he cast it on turn one.  I got frustrated.  Instead then, I moved Vlad slightly to the right, thinking he was safe.  I forgot about cyclone.  Naresh killed Vlad the next turn.

64544135So I can think back to this game, and the reality is that while I do have to take responsibility for the loss, I have to assess why I lost.  In short, I lost because I lost my cool and stopped thinking about the game, and instead focused on something that frustrated me.  Instead of keeping my cool, and moving Vlad his entire movement stat behind a forest, where he would have been safe, and winning the game on the next turn, instead I lost the game because I got frustrated and made a bad decision.

And it happens to all of us.  For me, in my development as a player, and as a PG, I have struggled with this for some time.  I will make a mistake, and fixate on that mistake to the point where I cannot effectively make decisions going forward.  But how do you prevent that from happening?  What can you do to recover once things don’t go your way?  Well, I have a few suggestions I can offer, and some cold, delicious medicine I find myself having to take from time to time.  So below are the 5 things I would recommend myself, and anyone else do when you find yourself making mistakes and wanting to kick your own ass for doing it.

  1.    Let it go.  Sorry, I’m not going to make any Disney references here, but I do want to stress that the most impactful thing you can do in a game, especially after you made a really big blundering mistake, is to immediately let it go.  You have already done it. You have already moved the model, you have already made a decision, for better or worse, and so the die is cast.  You need to learn that the more you focus on a singular instance, a singular mistake, the more likely you are to continue making mistakes in the game because of it.  Let it go, and move on.
  2. Get out of your own head. This piece of advice was given to me by two players I podcast with, both of which who played in the WMW Invitational.  It also happens to be really REALLY good advice.  When you step up to a table to play a game, you have to blot out the voices telling you that you cannot win.  You have to grab those voices by the throat, and choke slam them onto the floor, and then kick them into submission.  If you walk into a game with the idea that you are going to lose the game because you aren’t as good as your opponent, then every mistake you make and every model you lose will make you feel like you just have no hope of doing anything productive in the game.  Stop it, and get out of your own head. Play the game, and while, as a new player you may not have the best opportunity to win the game, you can always play it out and learn something from it.  And while we’re on the subject:
  3. Always play it out. Never concede.  So you had a bad turn. So what? You made some mistakes and you’re thinking way too much about them.  Even if it costs you the game, don’t give up, and stay in the game.  I was playing a game against an extremely skilled opponent, and I miss-measured my feat range.  He was able to get WAY up on attrition, and had me dead on board next turn, with only Behemoth, Valachev, 3 Nyss and Irusk left on the table.  I wanted to concede and offered the concession.  My opponent refused and said look at the table.  I killed his caster because he over extended to get that much work done, and left him vulnerable to a spray, a combined 3 man CRA, Behemoths shots, and Irusk’s hand cannon.  Don’t give up, always stick it out.
  4. Don’t give away the mistake. I have made several positioning errors on the table, and thought to myself “well, that’s it, I just die now” only to go into next turn and my opponent opts to play for attrition.  After the game is over, I back up and ask my opponent “why didn’t you just assassinate me?” and the most common answer I have received: I didn’t see it.  Sometimes, even when we make mistakes, our opponents won’t immediately see it.  Sometimes they will misread the table, and think they can’t get it done, or they don’t have the firepower to dedicate to getting the assassination to go through.  Sometimes, we miss-read and miss-understand our opponent’s capabilities, and even though we think that we have lost the game, the reality is that maybe we haven’t, because they aren’t as good as we think they are.  But if you are raising up a big NEON sign that reads “kill me now please”, they probably will.
  5. The last thing I would recommend trying to do when you start making mistakes, is just step away from the table. Get a drink of water, or if you are in a tournament, push the clock over to you, and excuse yourself for a second, go to the bathroom, or just step away for a second.  You don’t want to do this all the time during a game, as that might become kind of frustrating for your opponent, but its ok to step away when you think you just made a mistake that is so bad that you need to back off before you punch yourself in the face.

There are a lot of things in the game that can rattle players. And when we are new to the game, the learning curve is significantly steeper, because not only are you trying to get caught up to speed in the game, in terms of models and their usefulness, but you are also struggling learn positioning and probability.  That’s a lot to take in, and it’s hard on new players.

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So cut yourself some slack, (again, more advice I need to follow myself) and always, above all else, remember that this is a game, and its mean to be fun.  If you aren’t having fun, step back from the game and analyze why you aren’t, and if that answer is because of the mistakes you are making, and how critical of yourself you are, then please remember to relax and just enjoy throwing dice, and let the game come in time.

In my local area, we have a few young bloods, and in my extended area, about an hour or so drive, we have about 6 young bloods playing. When I go to events, I often find myself telling the young bloods that they are going to lose at this game until you don’t.

It’s a silly statement, but it’s very true with Warmachine.  The game is very deep with a lot of possibilities and options for play and list construction, that winning games and getting to be a solid and well-rounded player takes time.  Don’t rush it, and don’t let the losses deter you.  Just remember these 5 things, and rack up and play it again.

I hope this helped.  I still find myself repeating these things to myself from time to time.