I know we don’t all think of each and every game as a competitive donkey punch fest – but we still do plan to do something in the game. So the thought is how often do you plan out what you want to do during a game?
Usually when I begin any kind of match I think about whatever nonsense I want to do during the game. This might be just killing one guy on the table with my subpar army or finding a way to break the nut in a rather intense competitive game. A lot of the time it is just me figuring out the best way to test a new untried unit and decide if it is worth while or not. Here is my usual train of thought:
First I decide if this game needs to be an engage game or a defensive game. I usually play engaging armies as I find the aspects of forcing my opponent to move and make choices to be a much more satisfying time than a sit and shoot game. Usually I look at aspects of the opponent’s list and decide if I can deal with it. I choose my units that are designed to engage (whether by baiting or butt kicking) and then go from there. Lots of choices are made before we even start to put models on the table as I try to imagine how the game will go with “average” rolling on my part. My average is normally pretty bad so I take that into account and plan accordingly.
Once I figure out what the hell my plastic dudesmen are going to try to do I then look at the table top. I see what avenues I need to drive, run, and move down. I look at all shooting avenues and the cover my opponent will most likely get. I know this is a lot of things that are pretty obvious to a lot of players but these things are what free you from being the victim of the random nature of the game and lets you move into the more strategic options you can have with a dice based game. Plus it also lets you figure out a way to do some of the crazy stuff that makes for cool stories too.
Now you have the dice roll to see who goes first and this is where the next level of decision can determine your game. I am sure everyone knows about a refused flank. This works for both people with those going first and second. I’ve had discussions with Darkwynn, JWolf, MVBrandt, and even the grand Pink one Kirby and we all agree that those with a better understand of set up and movement will “win” more then those that just go at the table willy nilly and hope their net list wins. I end up liking to force the opponent to make a bad choice so I usually play for the middle. This lets me not worry so much about the random nature of Outflanking as well as try to pull the game where I like it to be. In the bloody middle of the field.
From here I plan out my turns and try to accomplish them. Usually it has me either carefully moving up to utilize terrain or find a way to bring the opponent out into a precarious position where I can pounce on them and give me a purple nurple. Usually I also plan my end game to start on turn 5. It is harder to figure this out in a Kill Point game due to the nature of dice rolling and the luck involved in actually engaging and defeating your opponents units. We all have had those games were 1’s are where it is at for your dice and your so called rock falls apart to the limp noodle of doom.
So much of the game is based on set up and movement that people sometimes forget it and just push their models forward. With a little bit of thought and planning your game can go from a hope you roll lots of 6’s to a game where your actual strategies can work and won’t be based so much on having that hot batch of rolling.
So the next time you play, try to predict at least 2 turns ahead, and take notes of how close things turned out compared to how you wanted them to. Then practice, practice, practice. So what goes through your head as you approach the tabletop and take your first look around?