Decision Making

I’m playing a game of WARMACHINE. I’m stating Turn Two.  I look around, and realize that despite my best efforts, I’m going to have to switch up my original theorymachined strategy. My opponent has done something completely unexpected, and got a few lucky dice rolls. Now I must adapt and overcome. I smile, shake my head, and push the button on my timer…

We sometimes think that good judgment is like dancing; either you can do it or you can’t. That isn’t true. We can all learn to have better judgment and make smarter decisions on the gaming battlefield. Most of that skill comes with time and experience. There are however a few things we can do to improve our decision making skills along the way:

  • Assess the Situation. In whatever decision you are making learn as much about the subject as possible without stalling the game. Check control area. Read over your spells and abilities a second time. Take that extra ten seconds to think about what you’re doing and ignore the other guys across the table who’s watching you and tapping his dice impatiently. The more you know enables you to make more effective decisions in a tough spot. Rushing in blindly hardly ever renders the type of results we are looking for and may make us lose the match. This doesn’t mean we can know everything ahead of time, but it is helpful to learn as much as possible by reading over whatever materials we have at hand. Talking the problem over with other people can also help, particularly if they have had some experience solving similar problems. But the talking usually has to take place after the game. Every time you play, learn something. If you stop learning, then you stop growing.
  • De-bias Your Judgment. We all have certain ideas about things, the way we think they should or should not be. Sometimes gamers refer to this as “theorymachine.” When we are trying to make a decision, we need to step back and look at the situation as objectively as we possibly can so that we make the best decision possible. Try something new. Use an unconventional tactic. It may be just enough to shake up your opponent and force him to make some tough decisions as well.
  • Be creative. Creativity is the process of developing original, novel responses to a problem. Don’t just come up with the same old solutions; think of new and innovative ways to solve the same old problems. Perhaps it isn’t the problems that are really the issue, but the way they are being solved. Step outside of the problem and see what new and innovative ideas you are able to create. This is where you see players Slamming their own ‘jacks, deploying flying horses, and using Throw to move their own models. Sometimes it works, and other times you’re just as screwed. Try, try again.
  • Remember the Dice. Your dice will destroy the best laid plans. It just happens. Sometimes you just can’t get the roll that you need, even when you spend extra focus to “make sure it happens.” I remember rolling all 1’s on a boosted roll to hit when I only needed a 5. Don’t get angry. Don’t quit the match. Just take a deep breath and move on.

Problem solving within the game can be creative, fun and exciting if we choose to make it that way. Finding new ways of doing things we have always done will make things more exciting and challenging. Besides, when you do something different, and it pays off … it makes for a memorable experience for both players!

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