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Subject: Pre-Game Analysis Paralysis rss

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Arthur Dougherty
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So there I was having punched and clipped Unconditional Surrender, a game I've been very anxious to get to the table, and I get to this point:



Intro 1939 Poland scenario, ready to go... and I stop. Let me double check the playbook to see what rule sections I need for this. Granted, I've read the rulebook cover to cover twice in the last few months, but still, let's take a moment here to make sure I'm actually all set. So I walk away from the table to go skim a few sections again, at which point it's 2am and I need to crash for the night. Not sure when I'll get a chance to have a few hours to try out the scenario.

This morning, I realized I've done this before. I freeze right when it's time to take the proverbial leap. When I messed around with Supreme Commander... I had it set up on the table forever before I actually pushed a counter around. Caucasus Campaign, had that set up for a few months on a shelf and never made the first move. Hell, even back when I was doing some Totaler Krieg, once it came time to do Case Yellow, I pulled up like I had just strained a hamstring, just to make sure I had the rules in my head.

Anyone else ever have something like this come up as they are about to try a new game? It's one of the reasons I dig face to face gaming, gives you the incentive to say screw it and just go.
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Daniel Kaufman
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Yes, for every Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit scenario I play.
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Enrico Viglino
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I drag my feet quite a bit when starting a new game with unfamiliar concepts.

Once you start though (especially with the intro scenarios here), it
gets easier. There's nothing too big you have to revoke if you decide
you've screwed it up much. Really no reason not to push on.
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Lance Runolfsson
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I usually get one of my friends to read the rules and set up the game. So that way I am free to play right out the gate and can blame somebody else if something goes wrong.
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Lucius Cornelius
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I don't respect wargames I can play without making at least 20 mistakes; they might be Euros in disguise.
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Steven McBride
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This is a familiar cycle for me when it comes to new (to me), more complex games:

- Read the rulebook once.
- Get distracted with life. Forget rules.
- Re-read rulebook.
- Set-up game.
- Get distracted with life. Forget rules.
- Re-read rulebook.
- Get new game. Read that rulebook. Forget rules of previous game.
- Try playing game but too many forgotten rules.
- Tear down game and play more simple/more familiar one.
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Langley Kitchings
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Wow! I am so glad someone else has this issue. Probably the last 4- 5 games I have tried solo ( The Dark Valley, In Flanders Fields, All Quiet on the Western Front, Axis & Allies 1914, and now Clash of Giants 1), I read the rules,set up, get ready to start...and freeze. Take it down. Repeat the process. Not sure what will get me back in the swing of things. But that is why I strongly prefer FtF, too, as it gives me a deadline by which I have to learn the rules, then someone else to help with setup and rules questions. I just don't have enough FtF opponents.

Anyway, thanks for this thread- I feel better knowing I am not the only one out there!
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Malcolm Corney
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I think it is the same for all solo large scale games because once the games starts it will demand so much time. Time that you really want to give but know that many other things will get in the way. You want to become immersed in the game until it is finished rather than dipping in and out over time.

What you need is a little 'Calandale Style', watching his videos always reminds about the fun you can have just playing a game and losing yourself in the decision making process; no matter how long it takes or how long or short your sessions are.

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Karan R
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Took me a month before I setup the board for France '40
It's already been half a year and I haven't started Raid on St. Nazaire even though Ive read the rulebook 5 times
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Iain K
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Happens all the time. You learn to "damn the torpedoes" and just start playing. There will be mistakes, they make for fond memories along the lines of "remember the crazy time I did ___."
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J Y
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This happened to me recently with Luftschiff, I upgraded the components, read the rules a couple times, got all set up and realized the game probably isn't for me. I have no issue admitting a game is either too complex or too finicky for me, so I tend to put it on the sale or trade pile and just move on. Maybe I'm missing some gems, but there are a ton of good games I'll get to in the meantime.
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Arthur Dougherty
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Good to know I'm not the only one...

Wonder what the gamer equivalent of this would be?



Although I fully expect the gaming experience to last longer than four hours so maybe I should just put my physician on speed dial.

I think part of it is what HMSGannet said - knowing the possible time commitment may be in the back of my mind. I have young kids, a busy job, other hobbies, etc, like a lot of us. Knowing that there's a decent chance that life will get in the way of my solo play through might be part of the hang up.
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Quote:
Yes, for every Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit scenario I play.


Same here, just insert "ATS. It sometimes takes me 2-3 sessions just to set up and, even then, I generally make a mess of it.
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Hunga Dunga
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Something inside me wants to get it right the first time. Hence the paralysis until I calm down a bit.
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Sean McCormick
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I'm a perfectionist by nature when it comes to gaming (though not generally prone to analysis paralysis), so this used to be a real problem for me. As I've gotten older and my time for gaming has gotten shorter, I've gotten better at plowing through and figuring things out as I go.

I had that same scenario set up the other night and just ran through it (and very successfully for the Germans). Then I set it up again. I'll probably try one more time and then move on to the next scenario.

Remember, the enemy of better is perfect.

(On the other hand, my tactical game set-ups tend to take me a long time, and then result in my thoroughly botching my position anyway.)
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Tim P.
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The normal pre-game Analysis Paralysis is deciding what to play shake
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Mike Hoyt

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If your paralysis is at the tactical level, really not sure how to move units or fight, you can take the old advice of just putting a few units on the map and letting them go at each other just to see how the rules work.

If it's more strategy that's bugging you, then I suspect the best advice is to just accept your first play(s) are going to be less than optimal. Read the Victory Conditions. OK, most points possible comes from capturing Moscow right? So it seems like in general it would be a good idea to start heading that way. How the heck you're going to supply troops on the other side of the Pripat Marsh, or what happens if you get to Leningrad and the damm river is frozen over, well, you're simply going to have to learn the hard way.
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Chris Stevens
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awdougherty wrote:
So there I was having punched and clipped Unconditional Surrender, a game I've been very anxious to get to the table, and I get to this point:



Intro 1939 Poland scenario, ready to go... and I stop. Let me double check the playbook to see what rule sections I need for this. Granted, I've read the rulebook cover to cover twice in the last few months, but still, let's take a moment here to make sure I'm actually all set. So I walk away from the table to go skim a few sections again, at which point it's 2am and I need to crash for the night. Not sure when I'll get a chance to have a few hours to try out the scenario.

This morning, I realized I've done this before. I freeze right when it's time to take the proverbial leap. When I messed around with Supreme Commander... I had it set up on the table forever before I actually pushed a counter around. Caucasus Campaign, had that set up for a few months on a shelf and never made the first move. Hell, even back when I was doing some Totaler Krieg, once it came time to do Case Yellow, I pulled up like I had just strained a hamstring, just to make sure I had the rules in my head.

Anyone else ever have something like this come up as they are about to try a new game? It's one of the reasons I dig face to face gaming, gives you the incentive to say screw it and just go.


I suspect we share some dna beyond the usual stuff.
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Erik Strahler
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stemcider wrote:
This is a familiar cycle for me when it comes to new (to me), more complex games:

- Read the rulebook once.
- Get distracted with life. Forget rules.
- Re-read rulebook.
- Set-up game.
- Get distracted with life. Forget rules.
- Re-read rulebook.
- Get new game. Read that rulebook. Forget rules of previous game.
- Try playing game but too many forgotten rules.
- Tear down game and play more simple/more familiar one.


So, first of all, this is EXACTLY what I do. Except usually without the last steps of actually playing something.

Secondly, My copy of Unconditional Surrender looks precisely like that picture in the OP. Poland '39 setup has been sitting there staring at me for about 3 weeks. Just need to read the rules again, or clip some more counters, or..., or... blah. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

Saving grace is that I have a dedicated table and room where I can leave the damn thing set up all year if I have to.
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Chris B
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All the time. I'm always concerned, probably wrongly, that the first few turns/moves will have a huge effect on the rest of the game. Seems to be the case more in games or scenarios where the opposing sides are not yet in contact, easier to jump in and give it a go when you've got to battle right away.
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Kyle Seely
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HMSGannet wrote:
I think it is the same for all solo large scale games because once the games starts it will demand so much time. Time that you really want to give but know that many other things will get in the way. You want to become immersed in the game until it is finished rather than dipping in and out over time.

What you need is a little 'Calandale Style', watching his videos always reminds about the fun you can have just playing a game and losing yourself in the decision making process; no matter how long it takes or how long or short your sessions are.



This is one of the reasons I like soloing games, because there IS no timetable or obligation the way there is in face-to-face games. I play as much or as little of a turn at a time, and don't feel guilty if I can't get back to it right away. Plus, I can mess things up, retcon moves, fix mistakes, or try weird strategies without worrying about costing another person their valuable time.

But I definitely understand the pre-game AP. It takes some mental coaching to convince myself to just start playing and to stop worrying about getting things perfect the first time through. It's gotten a bit easier with each wargame I play, as my own confidence in understanding systems and picking out strategies improves with each game.
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Enrico Viglino
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blockhead wrote:
If your paralysis is at the tactical level, really not sure how to move units or fight, you can take the old advice of just putting a few units on the map and letting them go at each other just to see how the rules work.

If it's more strategy that's bugging you, then I suspect the best advice is to just accept your first play(s) are going to be less than optimal. Read the Victory Conditions. OK, most points possible comes from capturing Moscow right? So it seems like in general it would be a good idea to start heading that way. How the heck you're going to supply troops on the other side of the Pripat Marsh, or what happens if you get to Leningrad and the damm river is frozen over, well, you're simply going to have to learn the hard way.



One nice thing about 'jumping in' is that you're likely to make blunders
that are as big as historically were made.

Too, you may be surprised by the rules, so problems a careful expert
will never see show up. Some games are so tightly designed that this
type of play kills the game - but most wargames can cope with a few
big fuck ups.
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Steve Arthur
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I reckon this happens to everybody to some degree..and furthermore I believe the more games you have the more serious the problem
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Ryan Powers
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When soloing, I have real trouble setting up two sides when there is a relatively free setup.

It doesn't affect me too badly when playing against someone else, or when soloing if at least one side has a fairly fixed setup. But when I have to do both I spin my wheels for a long time trying to figure out where to start.
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Jim Ransom
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I love the smell of uncertainty at my game table. Smells like...dithering!
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