So, with the dumpster fire known as 2017 almost behind us and a new dumpster fire undoubtedly upon us, I figure now is a good time to make some resolutions for the upcoming year. And, since I don’t see myself actually achieving any sort of resolution regarding getting into shape or that sort of thing, I’m going to split these into a two parts: hobby and gaming.
I’m going to start with the gaming resolutions, because these are easier and because I don’t have any resolutions from last year to revisit, so I should be able to bang these out. I’ve been taking a little break over the past few weeks from the hardcore competitive scene in order to reflect and refocus on what I want to get out of the game and enjoy the painting and collecting aspect.
Be a better opponent
I like to think I’m not a terrible person to play against, but like most players, I will occasionally get frustrated when the dice don’t go my way or I get hit with something I didn’t see coming. And the later happens a fair bit in Warmachine, because it’s a game that really rewards system knowledge; many a game has been won and lost based on an assassination that the other player didn’t see coming.
I want to be the guy who is always going to be a fun opponent, whether I’m winning or losing. I want to be the guy who can really show the new players the ropes and spread my enthusiasm for painting and playing with our wardollies.
That means no talking about dice (unless my opponent started it), no commenting on what models I think are too powerful, and no chalking losses up to bad matchups. Even if I roll triple-ones on my assassination attempt. For the second time that day. Again.
Get better at moving models
Warmachine players tend to place a lot of focus on what they call a “clean” game — one made with very precise measurements, no accidental bumping of models, quick setup, and no stumbling over words when casting spells or explaining the table state. It’s why there is a veritable cottage industry of tokens and measuring widgets, and many players have spent hundreds of dollars on laser cut plastic doohickeys to make their measurements that much more precise.
For me, I don’t know whether it is a lack of hand-eye coordination, or my brain getting ahead of my mouth, but this something that I sometimes struggle with during my games. It tends to take me longer than my opponent to get all my models out, lay out all my cards, and set up my tokens, markers, dice, and measuring widgets the way I want them. And I still at least once a game can’t find a focus token or status marker. And then I go to make a measurement and end up bumping my opponent’s caster, and now I’ve more or less ruined the entire game because we can’t recreate the exact table state at the start of my turn.
Over the past year, I’ve had a couple games affected by this sort of thing, and there were a couple times where my opponents were less than thrilled with my ability to measure between point A and point B. It sounds stupid, I know, but if I want to keep playing Warmachine, one of my new years resolutions is going to have to be getting to the point where I can measure precisely enough to play a game to the standard that the community demands.
Branch out a little
There is something to be said for having your own comfort zone in Warmachine. Whether it is a faction or a list, you will get more practice and perform better if you stick to one thing long enough to know it inside and out. It’s one reason why JVM is such a big name among the cool kids tournament club. That said, if you never venture outside your comfort zone, you never have a chance to experience all your faction or the game has to offer.
I’m probably going to start a second faction in the upcoming year. I don’t expect myself to go all in and replace all my Khador, but being able to mix it up with Minions or Convergence once in a while will likely be a nice change of pace. I also have really got my Strakhov1 list humming perfectly, but I also want to branch out to some new casters within the faction. Vlad1 is popular, Old Witch 2 can be built in many ways, Strakhov2 looks intriguing, and I’m probably the only Khador player on the face of the planet who is too much of a hipster to play Butcher3.
Lower my sodium intake
The Warmachine internet is a funny thing. There is a lot of insightful stuff out there, but there can also be a lot of negativity. Especially in a CID world, where everyone is an armchair designer, we end up spending a lot of time talking about what PP “needs to change” rather than about how to play the game as is. People like to focus on the negative; after all, this is the game where there was a change.org petition this year because some people didn’t like a proposed rule.
This can be a little extra frustrating as a Khador player. Right now, Khador is considered to be one of the most powerful factions, and it is quite popular locally. And it’s easy to see why; Khador has a lot of models with pretty solid baseline stats. Also, it is possible to create Khador lists that are very straightforward and powerful and just try to brute force their way to victory through attrition. As a result, people tend to complain about marauders or rockets or just the fact that there are too many people playing Khador. It can be a little disheartening for an innocent Khador player who picked up the faction back in Mk.II because Russians with axes are cool, and played Harkevich because he’s basically the only really good guy in the Iron Kingdoms, to all of the sudden be “that guy” with the cheesy, OP army.
All this negativity is something that can really suck the fun out of the game, and which I don’t really need in something that is supposed to be fun. In short, I need to know when to close lormahordes or Party Foul, step away from the internet and get back to painting my army.
One thing I didn’t put as one of my resolutions is to win a tournament or improve my W/L record or anything like that. While it’s always nice to get better at the game, I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I will be inducted into the cool people club of minor Warmachine celebrities. In 2018, I want to focus on enjoying the game more and helping my opponents enjoy the game more. That’s what’s important, not the battle for seventh place at the local Steamroller.