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Subject: Skill Level and Wargames rss

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Mark Evans
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I have been playing with people that are much better at wargames than I. You hear old adages. "When you play more skillful opponents, your skill improves faster", and the like.

I am not particularly attached to winning. I play to win, but if I don't I don't. I am finding playing in the next higher weight class (weight class is a boxing analogy for skill level) not as much fun. I don't like going down too many weight classes either.

I think, what is missing is the suspense. When I play chess, I can tell within a few moves if I am going to win or lose, just based on the weight class of the opponent. From that point on I am just playing the game. There is no doubt on the outcome.

Wargames have a chance element that can keep you alive, but much like football (American) once the weaker team drops by 14 points the outcome is no longer in doubt.

I am wondering how others feel about playing outside their weight class.
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Enrico Viglino
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I may be a very very weak player,
but I've usually found that even very new
gamers can do pretty well at some games.

I've also seen people I respect for their ability just 'not get' certain games
(even when very interested).

Overall, I don't think that there are very good ways of
predetermining quality of an opponent across all games.

I definitely try and avoid the 'expert' at particular games
though. It's not likely to be fun for either of us. The effort
put into that one game makes it so they can only really play
it against others at the same level. The only exception to this
are games (like ASL/SFB the like) where a broader campaign can
encompass the game, so there's room to improve within what I'd
see as a single 'game' (the campaign).

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Colin Raitt
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Handicaps for experienced and good players is what you need. On the whole its a good thing for the better player who gets back the feeling of tension though it robs him of the surety of victory. If the better player loses he can blame the handicap and reduce it next time.

For the weaker player it gives them much more hope for victory though its even worse if they still lose, double the handicap next time.
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Andy Beaton
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drmark64 wrote:
I have been playing with people that are much better at wargames than I. You hear old adages. "When you play more skillful opponents, your skill improves faster", and the like.

I am not particularly attached to winning. I play to win, but if I don't I don't. I am finding playing in the next higher weight class (weight class is a boxing analogy for skill level) not as much fun. I don't like going down too many weight classes either.

I think, what is missing is the suspense. When I play chess, I can tell within a few moves if I am going to win or lose, just based on the weight class of the opponent. From that point on I am just playing the game. There is no doubt on the outcome.

Wargames have a chance element that can keep you alive, but much like football (American) once the weaker team drops by 14 points the outcome is no longer in doubt.

I am wondering how others feel about playing outside their weight class.


I have (by Wargaming standards) a good number of opponents to choose from. I lose a lot to the better players (not always) and win a lot against the weaker players (not always). On average, I come out somewhere in the middle.
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Jim F
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I find with most opponents we both have 'purple patches' when we get a run of wins. I do believe that a key part of wargaming is to get the upper hand and keep the momentum going by continuing to win.

However, years ago I had an opponent I lost to more often than I won. Once I got used to his playing style and adapted to it the reverse became true. Eventually it got to the stage where his morale broke completely and he would only play euro style games with me (at which I am absolutely shit). He hadn't become a bad player, he just stopped believing he could beat me.
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Nagato Fujibayashi

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For me learning how to play good and become a skillful opponent is the very essence of playing games- even if I like the subject and the aesthetics(well, when there's a reason to like them at least)learning to play at a higher and higher level and explore all the strategic and tactical possibilities is what I'm personally after. It makes the game far more enjoyable when I have fully digested the rulebook and I don't have to open it anymore and my thought concerns only what I will do on the board and why, and also how to beat a strong opponent.

For instance I have a friend who borrowed Hammer of the Scots one time from me after he beat me 5 times. He kept it for a month and he beat another friend more than 30 times if I remember well, without losing even once. We played couple of times more and I put great pressure at him(his words) and still he won. If I beat him, this is a great gaming pleasure for me. Makes me feel the game made its money.
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Jesse Escobedo
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I will play with whatever weight class I can find. The higher ones I try to learn from. The lower ones I try to teach and try new things on.

The only players I dislike playing a game out with are the robots. The ones who are playing everything exactly by the numbers and are playing only to win. If my opponent seems to be enjoying themselves, it greatly increases my enjoyment of a game.

Jesse
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Wendell
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LordJesse wrote:
If my opponent seems to be enjoying themselves, it greatly increases my enjoyment of a game.


That is a very good insight. I feel the same way.
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Ted Spencer
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drmark64 wrote:
I am wondering how others feel about playing outside their weight class.
Don't care whether I wargame above or below my weight. If I'm going to sit with a guy or group for 4 to 6 hours, I want to like them.

I like wargamers who are generous with their knowledge and understanding of a game's rules. They know when a mulligan is due and when you should learn from your mistakes. When I play under my weight, I play like the gamers I like.

I don't sit down with Charlie Sheens who are all about "Winning" or Gollums who creepily protect their precious understanding of a game like the one ring to rule them all.

Sure, a person who wants to learn can learn from anybody. But I learn better from gamers who graciously teach.
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Hunga Dunga
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The thing about wargames is that they're more than games - they're an exploration of history. So whether I'm playing someone weaker than me or stronger than me, there's always this additional level of interaction which is more a conversation about the battle we're recreating.

This is why I love wargames.
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J.L. Robert
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When I teach a game, I try to give my opponent the more entertaining side. The one that tends to have the initiative, to allow them to drive the game. It's not fun for someone to learn an Eastern Front WWII game by picking their dead Soviet units off the map all day long.
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Enrico Viglino
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J.L.Robert wrote:
When I teach a game, I try to give my opponent the more entertaining side. The one that tends to have the initiative, to allow them to drive the game. It's not fun for someone to learn an Eastern Front WWII game by picking their dead Soviet units off the map all day long.


Depends on the person. I'm often teaching to people who aren't really
wargamers at heart (recently my wife), and it's easier for them
to enjoy the defense rather than trying to handle the (usually) more
complex offensive position - which usually requires maintaining the
defensive principles as well. They also don't feel 'under the clock'
in the Eastern Front the same way the Krauts would.
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Bill Lawson
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J.L.Robert wrote:
When I teach a game, I try to give my opponent the more entertaining side. The one that tends to have the initiative, to allow them to drive the game. It's not fun for someone to learn an Eastern Front WWII game by picking their dead Soviet units off the map all day long.


That sounds great in theory but every time I teach someone an eastfront wargame they insist on playing the Russians figuring it will be easier to learn. I agree with the idea though J.L.
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I weigh more than most of my opponents, so I'm less picky about who I play. whistle
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John Bobek
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Miniatures games generally have morale. A desperate situation can change drastically when an opposing unit gets "cold feet" and flees inspiring other of its ilk that they may be on to something. (This is well documented in history and I have first hand experience with "an advance to the rear" while scenario paintballing!). Plus, the best boardgame counter is never as good to play with it as the worst miniature figure!cool
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Bill Lawson
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Having played a couple of games with the good
Mark Evans
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I can assure him his skill level is just fine!
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Roger Hobden
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I enjoy losing so much that for me "weight" is never an issue.
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DominiGeek
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I play most of my wargames solo, so I have to use handicaps and do a lot of counseling and teaching. They usually go right down to the wire, very interesting games. I get a lot of draws though.
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Enrico Viglino
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rubendario5 wrote:
I play most of my wargames solo, so I have to use handicaps and do a lot of counseling and teaching.



????

Part of you is not as good as other parts? And you're emotionally
conflicted about it?

Or, you mean when playing against others that it gives you an advantage?
I don't find my solo playing gives me any particular edge over what
I learn from opposed play.
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Mark Humphries
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drmark64 wrote:
I have been playing with people that are much better at wargames than I. You hear old adages. "When you play more skillful opponents, your skill improves faster", and the like.

I am not particularly attached to winning. I play to win, but if I don't I don't. I am finding playing in the next higher weight class (weight class is a boxing analogy for skill level) not as much fun. I don't like going down too many weight classes either.

I think, what is missing is the suspense. When I play chess, I can tell within a few moves if I am going to win or lose, just based on the weight class of the opponent. From that point on I am just playing the game. There is no doubt on the outcome.

Wargames have a chance element that can keep you alive, but much like football (American) once the weaker team drops by 14 points the outcome is no longer in doubt.

I am wondering how others feel about playing outside their weight class.


I have no problem with it as I always have additional goals I can work towards beyond just winning that particular match. Learning (or teaching as the case may be) as much as I can from the experience, doing the best I can given the circumstances, exercising my rules knowledge, experimenting, enjoying the narrative, and having a good laugh. cool

Although if the game has a really long playing time and it lacks sudden death VCs, I'll ask that we agree in advance to restart if it looks like an early blow out.
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