BoLS just posted up an article called Wargaming ASKEW: Arrogance is Bliss? and it got me thinking a little bit. What exactly does your gaming record say? Does having mostly wins with very few losses mean you’re a great player? On the other hand, does barely being able to win a game mean you’re terrible? I don’t think it’s really that cut and dry and I’ll use myself as an example. I just posted a page with my gaming record, you can find it here. I broke it down into 4th and 5th edition and you’ll see I don’t have an amazing record. It’s not terrible but if you look at it you probably don’t see a player you’re afraid to face, especially against my Necrons! I don’t consider myself a bad player but certainly not one of the best out there either, I’d say I’m above average but my record would seem to contradict that. Let me explain.
When I started 40K I played a small circle of friends exclusively. Of these friends, two of them had been playing for about 14-years, another for around 10-years and yet another for maybe 6-years. My first game was a team game with me being on a team and we won, though not through any brilliance on my part. My next game was a small 500’ish point game and I did well considering but I did lose. After those first two games my friends came at me full force, no pulled punches. If you looked at my Gaming Record page you’ll see under 4th edition I only had three wins out of 18 games played, though I had three draws. This is the result of my veteran buddies playing me and teaching me the old fashioned way through thorough beatings.
Come 5th edition for about the first year I started taking about an equal measure of draws and losses. A few things happened here, one I was getting better (thank god), and two we got a few more players into our circle who were newer than I was. The getting better part was bound to happen and it’s in no small part to me finally having a firm grasp of the rules, my army, and the armies of those I fought. As I learned my army more I got better at writing lists, which I covered in a previous post, Creating Synergy.
After that first year in 5th I began seeing wins come more often. I’d either win or draw as often as I’d lose, which continues currently. See, my pool of opponents has increased. I began going down to the local shop and playing weekly. The thing is that many of the guys down there are great players, just as my friends are who taught me the game. Every win I take is hard fought, every draw is a tooth and nail game, and every loss is a learning experience. My record is what it is because of the skill of those I regularly fight, those better than me. You know what though, I like it that way. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to get some more wins under my belt, I’m saying I don’t view my losses as me being a bad player, I view them as me having faced a better opponent.
Am I making excuses? I don’t think so. I have a lot yet to learn in 40K and the day I don’t feel that way is the day I stop playing. Are all my losses from facing someone better than me? Nah, I’ve had games where I felt I was the better player and took a draw or a loss because of some mistake on my part. By the same token I’ve won games against better opponents because they made a mistake. Generally speaking though I do face off against a lot of good players and that’s what makes it fun because it is making me a better player no matter what my gaming record says.