Have you ever had the game in the bag, you just need to get your big dude’s power fist into their linch pin’s face? Its a 5″ charge… you need a 4 on 3 dice… you roll triple ones… Did you want to flip the table? I sure did, let’s look at some ways to mitigate those stressful moments and come out on top!
Hey guys, BigVik here yet again on my journey to winning one of these toy soldier games, today we’ll be talking about stress management during our game.
So you’re playing a tournament game, and you’re on top table. All the beans are on the line, money, women (or men), and the best part… Glory…
What can put we off your game here? I like to decompose this into categories, let’s have a look;
- The Opponent
- The Game
Monsieur Big Deal- This is the guy you hear from/about on all of the blogs you read, he may be one of the guys from Beast Coast, or Death Spiral Down, or be wearing a WTC jersey. Playing one of these guys (especially for the first few times) is stressful!
The Guy who knows your faction more than you- You pull up your new shiny meta busting list, and your opponent plops some janky thing out, looks at your list and says “oh I tried this when I played this faction!”… F**k dark horse factor negated…
The Guy doesn’t even know his faction- This guy pulls up, MAYBE all of his models are assembled, of course nothing is painted past primer, wash, a couple dots of blue, so everything looks the same, they also don’t have their stuff around, nor do they seem to have an idea of how things work in the scenario…
That Effing Guy- aka a TFG (Come back Travis, we miss you!!), this guy will be fudging measurements, or “remembering rules wrong”, they may be playing a bunch of random stuff and trying to say they have wonky interactions, etc. These people are few and far between (in about 15 years of gaming I’ve met MAYBE 3) but they exist.
Bad Matchup/Scenario/Table- You pull up to the table, your list has one weakness, no line of sight blocking shots to take out nurglings… yep, you’re playing into Death Guard with lots of characters and plague mortar tanks, oh and the table is a shooting gallery!
Gotchas- you ask what a piece does, you move a piece, and some strange interaction that your opponent had ‘forgotten about’ happens and your big dude is now hitting on 6’s…
Skewed Dice- You remember that missed charge after using the strategem for an extra die? Yea they happen… what about rolling Guilliman’s attacks on a Daemon prince and missing every attack… after re-rolls! Yep, they happen, its tilting.
Army Fluency- You didn’t know the the shtick of your opponent’s army or an interaction between their list and yours which destroys your match up, it’s happened to all of us.
Play Mistakes- you set up the entire turn based on some play for their linchpin piece… then you realize you forgot your psychic phase, yep, might as well pack it up…
These stressors will not just tilt you, some of them will make you feel like you’ve already lost, or that you never had a chance to win in the first place. Some of these things will make you want to flip the table!
Well here’s some tricks I use to keep those feelings in control
Walk away from the table
It’s just what it sounds like. Just stop, put the clock to you (if 40k isn’t using clocks yet, it will be soon, ask older Warmachine players), and walk away from the table for a few seconds, collect your thoughts, and walk back to the table.
Count slowly from 10
Again, pretty self-explanatory, this will give you a second to stop thinking, and collect your thoughts.
Do hand or finger exercises
This is getting into the neuroscience realm. Doing a series of exercises with your hand or fingers will keep your mind from dwelling on any one thing that happens. Examples include trying a pattern of movement with your fingers to your thumb, or get a song stuck in your head and “air pianoing” the part. Again this will keep you from dwelling, and can help with anxiety about the game itself, I use this quite a bit.
A sibling to counting to 10, you just breath in and out, as deeply and slowly as you can for a few seconds until your thoughts slow down, and your heart stops trying to break out of your chest.
Form a mantra
I use this a bunch. You form a catch phrase, or mantra that acts as an emotional anchor for you. This is similar to battle or rallying cries, something that a person can say or yell to get their head back in the game. Anyone who’s played with or against Orks will know the almost ubiquitous mantra of ork players…
Make a consolation prize
Let’s say you’ve done everything you can, and nothing is working, your army is being pulled apart, and you’re well behind on points… well, you can always pick their best painted model, and say “that thing is dying.” I use this one all the time, especially if I have no play, I’ll find the model that’s been pissing me off, and I’ll engineer killing it and concede, I don’t know why, but this does wonders for my morale after a bad loss.
Well that’s what I’ve got. Tell me sometimes you’ve started to go on tilt and you had to manage it, or just tricks that you guys have for managing stress during your games!
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