Mental Acuity

Mental Acuity with Gaming

As I’m getting ready for the tournament tomorrow, I can’t help but think about how I get ready for a tournament. In short, I don’t do much <gasps!>

Yep, let me toss a quote in here so I seem all smart and can explain myself.

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
– Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke.

Now, this isn’t going to be an article quoting all sorts of military masterminds, and me giving advice on the proper way to prepare for a tournament and how to win them. Really, there is no way to give that advice, not to mention I’ve only won a single tournament so far. There’s the basics of general preparedness but beyond that it’s all subjective.

The Plan

Back to the quote. Anyone who has ever played a game knows the truth of that. Of course you should go into a game with a plan, just be prepared to adapt it. More to my point though, that tenet is how I approach preparing for a tournament or a game in general.

See, I don’t sit down and think through every possible deployment and mission type combination. I do think about how I might approach playing certain players; those who always run at the top, but I don’t obsess about it. I don’t generally concern myself with how my list plays out if I get first turn compared to second against different types of armies.

As noted above, I don’t do much.¬† I have a plan, but I know full well that everything is variable. I don’t know beforehand what missions are being played, or who I’m playing. I have the basics down: I know my army, I know my list, and I know what the list and myself are capable of.

To me that’s all you need and that’s all you can count on. You could prepare yourself for all eventualities, but without fail you’ll be faced with a variable you had not expected. I feel you should seek assurance in the known, what you can control, and not a capricious environment; hoping for that ideal pairing or a mission that favors you.

It’s Not for Everyone

No doubt that approach isn’t for everyone, and I wouldn’t expect it to be. It comes down to the type of person you are, and what makes you tick. I do better at taking things as they come than I do creating various game plans for various eventualities.

A friend of mine, who also plays 40K, said something to me as we were discussing a game we had just played. He said something along the lines of, “I do well at strategy, but not tactics, where you do well at tactics and not as much strategy.”

It’s a simple truth. I’ve done much better at strategy since that day, and have grown a lot in that regard, but the fact is that tactics are where I excel, not strategy. That’s my personality, my approach to anything. It’s almost as though I’m a bit unsure and hesitant, but once the first shots are fired then everything clicks and I’m focused. It’s a reason I love Blood Bowl. That game is so chaotic, so random, that it’s all about reaction.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think that any one approach is better than another. I take that back, the best approach is the one that plays to your strengths, whatever those may be. First you have to recognize what those are, and that is where people will stumble.

What’s your approach to tournaments or gaming in general? Are you a strategist, a tactician or a military savant?

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