Friday, June 11, 2010

How do you improve the competition?

My wife recently commented to me that whenever I play pickup games at the stores I frequent, I more often than not win. Not to mention the victories are incredibly lopsided. She went on to say that the only times I ever seem to lose are at tournaments where the competition is no doubt a lot fiercer.

This got me thinking about how I could improve the competition in my area.

I suppose I could just look for a new gaming group, but I live in an area where gaming groups are hard to come by. Not to mention I live out of town from the stores I play at so sometimes it can be hard to schedule a game against anyone.

Anyways, after some thought there were a couple of things I noticed about my lopsided victories against some of the people I play against.

1. My opponent's lack of understanding of the rules.
This is quite possibly the single most deciding factor in any game that is played. Generally I only correct my opponent on a rule if he blatantly breaks it. If my opponent has some weird misconception that doesn't actually break a rule (for example not being able to assault from a transport, thus he doesn't assault out of his stationary rhino) I won't say anything. I don't know whether this is bad sportsmanship but I always file it under "I play the game and I know the rules so why don't you?"
Admittedly, most people probably don't spend a lot of time combing through the rulebook and memorizing all the rules in it, but if you can't memorize them, at least make up a cheat sheet of all the wierd rules that are different from past editions! I did, and it sure has helped me a lot (especially during rules arguments, nothing better than saying turn to pg. # and there is the rule I am referencing)

2. Understanding the mission.
Too often it seems that players are too busy bashing each other to the ground to remember that the mission is to hold on to that tiny shrub in the corner. Sometimes it is incredibly easy to draw some of my opponents units out of position thus preventing them from contesting an objective.
This is of course only important if your army has a hard time tabling the opposition (i.e. mech eldar, tactical heavy SM). With certain armies (i.e. IG Leafblowers) tabling the opponent is the mission regardless of what is actually rolled.

3. Patience is a virtue.
Patience plays a large factor in my victories mostly because I have so few models (I usually run Deathwing heavy Dark Angels). I can't afford to be rash and throw them away willy-nilly into the enemy. Sometimes I do rush forward and jump right in but that is usually against inferior close combat armies (i.e. guard), other times I wait and whittle things down before jumping in (i.e. Tyranids). A little patience can go a long way to ensure you are able to maximize your units effectiveness.
Most of my recent opponents have just been throwing their units at me as soon as they can which turn out to be incredibly lopsided matches (i.e. daemon prince vs. 10 terminators).

I suppose now that I've identified a few things that my opponents are doing wrong, I can now attempt to correct their behaviour so that the competition is better in my area.
Admittedly, the other person has to want to get better too. (old teacher adage "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink")


  1. From The Warp has some cheat sheets that can be downloaded. Ron has covered missions + deployment, break down of assault phase, and movement + shooting of vehicles.

    Well worth having alongside your codex. Possibly even giving a few copies to your gaming store to keep handy.


  2. Cool! That will help a lot in educating some of my opponents.