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Everyone makes mistakes

Posted February 10th, 2011 at 02:06 PM by dok
There's a tendency to think that a game that comes down to a few figures on each side was won by the player who had better luck at the end. That's usually true, but it's also not the full story. Very often, that situation at the end of the game where chance rules the outcome only came about because of suboptimal decisions one or both players made along the way. In general, I think players tend to underestimate the extent to which their wins and losses are not governed by matchups or by the luck of the dice, but by the mistakes they make in strategy or tactics.

Spoiler Alert!

Good players tend to avoid obvious mistakes like missing a chance for height advantage or moving the wrong figure, but even good players very often make mistakes in order marker management or overall strategy. There's a tendency to say "between good players, it often comes down to matchups or luck of the dice", and while that's true, tactics also swing games.

My games in the 2010 championship are illustrative, I think, simply because all nine of the players I played were solid and experienced. In my evaluation of those games, I would say that I made what I consider a significant error in five of them. Coincidentally, I would also argue that my opponents also made a significant error in five of the nine games, but not the same five. In two games, both me and my opponent made what I think is a significant mistake; only one game was a "clean" game where I have a hard time finding fault with either player's approach. And this is only the mistakes I noticed, and it doesn't take into account things like guessing wrong on OM placement, where the better tactic wouldn't be apparent at the time.

To some extent, it's probably a good thing that many players tend to overlook the role mistakes play in their losses. For a lot of people, dwelling on their mistakes is not very fun. But in my opinion, analyzing the mistakes you've made is the #1 best way to improve your play. If you go over the games you play, you will very often find patterns in the ways you get outplayed, and correcting those will make you a much stronger player. Taking notes on your games is extremely useful in this process.
Total Comments 8


kolakoski's Avatar

Well met!

Well met!

[Ignore the title; it's a part of a promise I made .)]

chas is always admonishing me about talking about my mistakes (like forgetting Orc disengagement) during a game, as opposed to saying, "Good game," on those rare occasions when I lose.

But I agree with you totally. Not that I take notes during a game, but I do examine what happened, during and after the fact, with an eye towards my errors. During a game, if I see my opponent making errors to his detriment, such as forgetting Raelin's defense, I will be quick to correct them. Those of positioning or general course of action are unlikely to be addressed by me. It's rude during, and sour grapes or rubbing it in afterwards.
Posted February 10th, 2011 at 02:42 PM by kolakoski kolakoski is offline
killercactus's Avatar
I agree completely. phantazm21zero and I are trying to start a Predict the Victor thread with video reports, and I look forward to "playing back the tape" and trying to figure out where I went wrong. I'm positive that my 2 career losses in the GenCon Top 16 were 98% due to identifiable mistakes I made in each game. Had I not made them, I believe I stood a good (if not great) chance at winning them both, even though they both came right down to the wire.
Posted February 10th, 2011 at 02:51 PM by killercactus killercactus is offline
If it wasn't for mistakes I wouldn't have as much fun.

Most who've played against me will recognize when I begin the battle anew mid-way through a game. I normally change stragegy completely when I realize I've done something boneheaded (even if it's a simple 'I could've gained hieght on that last attack and missed it ).

Most of the fun, for me at least, is the face of my opponent who has already figured out my strategy was and is now scrambling to see what kind of new hair brained scheme I'm coming up with. Doesn't help my win-loss ratio but it's a lot of fun.

While I'm not the best, I don't consider myself a bad player. I think the good players are those who overcome their mistakes and plough through to win.
Posted February 10th, 2011 at 04:42 PM by AMIS AMIS is offline
They're not "mistakes"... they're "learning opportunities..."
Posted February 10th, 2011 at 07:19 PM by Elginb Elginb is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Did you see a fair amount of players at GenCon taking notes on their games?
Posted February 11th, 2011 at 09:23 AM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
dok's Avatar
Originally Posted by Filthy the Clown
Did you see a fair amount of players at GenCon taking notes on their games?
Nope. The only person I played who took notes was Fishtako. His note-taking style really puts mine to shame, and it shows in his awesome battle reports.
Posted February 11th, 2011 at 09:59 AM by dok dok is offline
Arrow Grut's Avatar
I agree completely, too. Both me and my oppenents made a large amount of mistakes, and in 3 of them, my oppenents actually let me win the game!
Posted February 15th, 2011 at 03:56 PM by Arrow Grut Arrow Grut is offline
dok's Avatar
Originally Posted by kolakoski
[Errors] of positioning or general course of action [by my opponent] are unlikely to be addressed by me. It's rude during, and sour grapes or rubbing it in afterwards.
I generally agree, but there are certain opponents (including myself) who like to hear their strategy analyzed after the game. I've had opponents actually ask me after the game what they should have done differently. This is a very positive trait for a player to have; those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
Posted February 17th, 2011 at 12:00 PM by dok dok is offline
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