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Editorial: These Ideas Got to Go

4 Minute Read
May 22 2011

The more I interact with wargamers the more I discover that there are ideas that really need to go away. Most of these ideas rob us of our power to excel and in the long run damage our ability to perform.

I present the following in no particular order:

1. I’m terrible at doing “X”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Typically this argument is used with painting but it can be applied to a whole gamut of activities within the wargaming hobby. The core of this idea is that because you don’t do something like someone else you must be bad at it. This is unreasonable. There are plenty of examples of how people have overcome their challenges and have come out on top.

One cannot reasonably expect to be a musical virtuoso the first time they sit down at a piano. The same can be said for our hobby. It takes time to start winning. It takes time to get good at painting. Ultimately, what you are really terrible at is not the activity at hand but things like asking others for help, practicing, and time management. When you think about it in that light you may begin to realize that correcting your real problem is easier than you thought.

I will concede that there are certain physical conditions that may limit a person’s ability. However, I know color blind painters, a stand-up bass player who has a nub for a hand, and others with similar challenges. The key is that these are hurdles that can be overcome if you put your mind to it. Once you recognize your limitations you’ll be able to figure out ways to overcome them.

Something that is truly terrible

2. Because I’ve done “X” I should get “Y”. The core of this idea is entitlement. Let’s look at this idea in the most ridiculous light, “Because I play Necrons I should always win.” Sounds silly doesn’t it? How about, “I paint all of models myself so I should get best painted army.” The funny factor is disappearing slowly. “I’ve spent thousands of dollars on my army and so my rules should always be the best.” Whoops! That probably struck close to home.

Entitlement is sneaky because many times it seems reasonable. The feeling of entitlement is usually one sided because an expectation is set up by one side and when it doesn’t pan out that side feels betrayed. No where is there an implication or statement that a given game company will continue to support something ad infinitum after they have sold it to us, e.g. Squats and War Gods of Olympus. The end product of this line of thought is that we end up focusing so much on what is owed to us that we can’t be happy with what we have.

Or are you?

3. “X” does “Y” to me. This is may be an oversimplified statement, but I’ve heard this idea take many forms. “I loose because my army rules are bad,” is how this is commonly expressed amongst gamers. This idea is bad because we focus on being victimized instead of focusing on our real problems. It’s easy to affix blame on something else instead of taking responsibility for ourselves.

In the earlier example bad rules are only a piece of the why-you-lost puzzle, e.g. worse than average dice rolls, poor list selection, bad deployment, and dumb tactical choices can all affect your ability to win. If all four of those plus bad rules create possible reasons why we lost three out of five of those reasons have to do with us. If 60% of the options are about what we did then we cannot fairly blame the rules. If we work on fixing ourselves the items we can’t fix will become insubstantial, and fixing ourselves is a lot tougher than blaming something we can’t fix.

What a real martyr looks like.

If we get rid of misidentifying our problems, our sense of entitlement, and being a victim we can get to work on being better gamers and hobbyists.

Floor is yours. See any of these in your local FLGS? How have you found these three ideas affecting your hobby?

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