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How to have fun while losing badly


Stoobert

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This came to me in a dream. 

 

I'm not very good at playing 40k.  I lose a lot.  I barely know my own dex, much less yours.  The rules overwhelm me.  I get flummoxed counting dice.  I enjoy painting and converting and am what most people would call a 'hobbyist' but this post is for competitive players too.

 

It seems to me that most humans have an innate sense of fairness, and when they setup across the table from someone to play 40k and by turn 2 it's clear our defeat is a forgone conclusion, this offends our sense of fairness.  Whether you're playing your buddy with a hastily assembled hodge podge list or you've got a hotness list on the top table of a tournament, the ideal game for most people seems to go something like this: 

 

...a closely fought battle against a friendly, knowledgable player that reaches a satisfying conclusion where one incident had it gone the other way would have changed everything, but ALAS you won in the end through good decision making, superior knowledge or just plain luck.  Well fought sir, shake hands. 

 

This ideal is elusive.

 

When it's clear this "ideal game" is not what I'm playing right now, I've felt downtrodden and said (or at least thought) "what's the point?".  I have seen other players do this a lot too.  40k players tend to be an emotional bunch when our toys get removed from the table at a much faster pace than the other guy.

 

Because I suck at the game so bad, and I admit I am unwilling to invest the time, money and research to play better, I've had to come up with alternative thoughts and behaviors or else I risk not wanting to play anymore.  Anyone feel in the same boat?

 

So here's what to do when I know I'm going to lose badly:

 

1. Make up a challenge for yourself and try to acheive it before you are annihalated.  I imagine soldiers far in the future would do this sort of thing when facing death anyway.  Go out with a bang.  For competitive players the goal may be trying to deny your opponent a secondary objective (i.e. You will NOT get linebreker on me) or something competively irrelevant but fun for you (I'm going to kill THAT tank if it's the last thing I do!).  You will find yourself more positive as you try to accomplish your goal while facing inevitable defeat.

 

2. Focus and try not to make mistakes.  You might be losing, but don't simply throw the game away.  Don't forget to do this or do that.  You will respect yourself and your opponent will respect you.  If you are a competitive player practicing your focus while under stress will help you next game.  If you're not competitive, focusing will help you remember your rules.

 

3. Be cheery.  No one but a sadist enjoys watching someone else suffer.  You will both have a better time if you laugh at your predicament rather than roll your eyes or throw dice.  If your opponent is a sadist, deny him the satisfaction of your misery by having a good attitude.

 

4. Learn. If you're like me and lose a lot, you probably don't know a lot about other codexes.  An opponent who is kicking your butt by a wide margin will generally happily answer the questions you have so long as it doesn't slow the game down or change the inevitable outcome.  Take the opportunity to learn more about his army.

 

5. If you want to concede, concede with dignity.  The best statement isn't "I give up!".  It's more like a question:  "Hey look, we're getting near end time and this is the way I see it... blah blah blah...so no matter what happens next round, you're going to win.  Would you agree?"   If they say yes, offer that you're willing to stop playing if they are.  They will generally be very gracious about your offer.  Perhaps you two can agree to roll off that final assault "just to see what happens" and you can end on a fun, positive note.  Sometimes a game becomes a chore regardless, and if you both agree it would be more fun to call it finished, that's ok.

 

Thanks for reading!  Hope this helps!

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That situation can also be a fun time to chance the odds and do something unexpected or even foolish (your last blob of Guardsmen charge into the incoming Terminators instead of shooting at them; if you manage pull one down it can feel like a small victory, even if it really just gets you tabled faster). It's also the best time to put on your role-playing cap and start actin out your characters! ("For the Emperor!" and such)

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I find I feel the same disappointment even when I'm on the winning side. Lopsided games just aren't much fun.

 

I feel like I'm better at dealing with it from the underdog side, tho. I'm not very good at playing down to try to open up options for the other guy, but little things can totally bring a game back for me if I'm losing, like Marbo wiping out a whole squad of Eldar Rangers in CC in my last game with the 5th Ed IG Dex, or my Chaos Lord surviving the dogpile he cut his way through during my game against Dr. Insanotron at my first OFCC.

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@scottshomaker  I think you've missed my point a little bit.  I don't mind losing nor do I keep track of my win loss record.  If I had to guess my wins would be about 30%.  I don't have much time to play a lot, practice, nor interest in reading up on strategies and codexes so this is my situation.  This post is about losing badly not simply losing, and how to do have fun while playing a very lopsided game.

 

@Aventine definitely agree with you.  Doing weird stuff or the unexpected can have often hilarious and sometimes very interesting results.

 

@WestRider I don't find myself in this position often (maybe a handful of times - ever) but I can see it would be difficult to know what's best to do.  I feel a certain amount of guilt while winning, more so if I'm winning by a lot, and even moreso if the opponent seems to be taking it badly.  The ideal game for me (and most I think) is definitely "more fair" but that as I said is very elusive.

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One of the reasons I like playing Flames of War over 40K is due to the point system. When I play those games, I know that if I can wipe out two platoons, the best I'll be beaten by is a 3-4 loss. One point. That's it. I don't have to play to win, I just have to play to kill two platoons. That gives me a more achievable goal. If I end up winning, great. If I don't, then it isn't so bad.

 

If you could do that with 40K, it would probably make losing easier too.

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I had a friend take a loss VERY badly on Saturday.  Like Rage quit bad, and he was using my models, in a list he made up the night before, so putting those kinds of expectations on himself was a little unrealistic.  Nonetheless, it underscores the issue of frustration that comes up when people FEEL like they were overwhelmed.  Sometimes its just skill differences but other times (as in this case) it was that he took a Thousand Sons army for the first time, an army that requires finesse, played by a guy whose used to Mech spam Eldar (no finesse)

 

His reaction was uncalled for, and his lack of gratitude for me letting him borrow the models to attempt it was equally off putting.  It was a free narrattive team event, so no prizes were on the line. IN the end I really dont know what I could have done to make it any more fun to him since lists were set and it was an Astra Militarum vs. Chaos forces themed thing.  In the end I think he just doesn't like losing.

 

I've never known what to do about that kinda reaction and thankfully its been a rarity.  Winning is really fun, but losing isn't really a big deal after it's occurred.  Losing is just an excuse for a grudge match in my mind.  You raise your hand in Doctor Claw like fashion and say in your coolest Doctor Claw voice "Next time Gadget.  Next tiiiiiiime..."

 

If losing hits a little too close to home to take a cavalier attitude about it, then maybe try these ideas:

 

1  Dart board 40K.  it's fun.  You roll randomly for what units you will take and then try to out skill your opponent cause tyhe list isn't really uh...  sensical most of the time.  It requires you to take one of each slot before taking another so it is kinda like Highlander format,

 

2  In fact Highlander format matches might even be a less random but even more fun way to do it.  Have you seen that format?  If not I could get you info on it.  If you and your opponent agree to play lists that conform to it, i have heard EXCELLENT reviews from nearly everyone whose tried it.  Hit Point Hobbies did an event using it and they had a lot of good data from that.

 

3  Other ideas might include a sideboard type thing where whoever is the underdog gets to use their sideboard.

 

4  Another cool idea is "best of three".  sometimes you just get unlucky.  have a mini tourney with your buddy.

 

5  I LOVE switching armies.  You play your army round 1, then flip.  Gotta trust the butter fingers you're playing with a little bit, but thats another fun way to play 40K that we've done.

 

These are all just ideas for you to ponder.  Or not.  But I thought I'd throw it out there.

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One of the reasons I like playing Flames of War over 40K is due to the point system. When I play those games, I know that if I can wipe out two platoons, the best I'll be beaten by is a 3-4 loss. One point. That's it. I don't have to play to win, I just have to play to kill two platoons. That gives me a more achievable goal. If I end up winning, great. If I don't, then it isn't so bad.

 

If you could do that with 40K, it would probably make losing easier too.

Flames of War is really REALLY a great tournament game.  Specifically for tournaments, Flames of War provides a great experience and theres so much less acrimoney for exactly the reason you describe.  In casual games, ironically, there is about the same amount but at tournies:  very excellent.

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I wish I could like historicals.  But I hate how I KNOW that the specific thing I'm playing out in the game never happened in the real war.  It just...bugs me.  

Well actually...  For Flames of War...

 

The army lists are essentially from actual units that existed, pitted against other forces that also existed.  Its not like a codex where you can take anything you want.  Each list is actually representing units and leaders that DID fight in a particular theare of war.  So you can recreate the battles in those Theatres of war or ones that could easily have happened in nearby theatres.

 

The Warhammer universe now includes happenstance alliances that truly WOULD never be likely to happen in its own universe really, so I think that if anything, Warhammer allows the equivalent of a German General to command a British brigade that is made up of japanese and Italian forces...  So...  If Verisimilitude is a goal, I will say that Flames of War certainly doesn't entertain such things.

 

And at tourney, the whole scoring system is just PERFECT.  In fact some 40K tournies have gone to a kind of 4-3 system, if you've noticed.  Get the most secondaries?  3 points.  Get the most primarie?  4.  Stuff like that is showing up I've noticed.  It's not analogous, but its essentially the same concept.  if someone FEELS they might be beaten, they can just focus solely on secondaries and come out not very far behind and a lot of winners will "win" with just four points, which allows people to get back into the fight a little easier from a tourney perspective.

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Well actually...  For Flames of War...

 

The army lists are essentially from actual units that existed, pitted against other forces that also existed.  Its not like a codex where you can take anything you want.  Each list is actually representing units and leaders that DID fight in a particular theare of war.  So you can recreate the battles in those Theatres of war or ones that could easily have happened in nearby theatres.

Recreating POSSIBLE battles is not the same as recreating the battle itself, which is silly because the outcomes are known.  

 

We're far afield though, I'll stop the hijack.

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 Love the topic!

 

  I hardly win at 40k as well..probably in the 25% range,lol.

 

 But for me the game is all about putting down some cool models and rollin some dice.I love to see other players craft work and army builds and many times I just want to see how a new model im playing performs though it is a bummer if it never gets to do anything.

 

 The thing I like about 40k is the totally over the top nature of the games factions and army possibilities  and with the new ruleset that  looks like its going to be even more outrageous:)

 

    As for a straight up competitive wargame though..I don't think 40k fits the bill that well as there just seems to be too much imbalance between the factions.

 

  For me the thing that keeps me playing the game is trying to come up with new fun army builds that can maybe win a battle now and then.I usually grow bored of a game if I break down and start playing the latest FOTM builds.

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Guest Mr. Bigglesworth

I like to play even matches, and I like to gamble. I live for the epic moments. Those once in a while times. A space marine charges and sweeps an entire 10 man fire warrior squad then does to a shot in the back. Or a lucky snap fired lacannon that nukes the flier that crashes into the caravanning squad. I remember those moments more than wins or losses.

 

I really relate to 3 thanks for sharing

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one way to make it more fun and feed your hobby side is to do somethin akin to what I used to do with Raw Deal (ccg that died a horrible death). I created a "Supidity Fund". When I caught myself making a mistake I would throw a nickel in a bank. Bought a lot of decks of cards that way. You could do something similar, just alter scale to fit taste...in no time at all you will be paying for new models while laughing at your...underwhelming skill, lets say. Becomes a second game in and of itself

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Number of games I've had that I didn't enjoy: 0

Number of games that I have won: 0

Seriously, my record is something like 0-20. I play with a small group of much more experienced players so I don't let it bother me. I'd much rather lose a challenging game against a pleasant opponent than allow myself to stress about an aspect of my hobby. That said, I'm a competitive guy by nature. If I feel myself getting disheartened by getting defeated I use my super-secret 3 step method. Lie, Cheat and Steal.

1) Lie. Sure the goal was supposed to be securing those three strategic points but they're firmly held by the enemy and there's no way I'm getting them back. What? Did Creed just call my Mamma fat!?! New objective, kill that sunnamabitch!

2) Cheat. Ok, you're down 12-2 in kp's and he only has 9 units left. Now's the time to move those goalposts! Set a reasonable target and work on that. If I can kill all his troops and hq's I'll call it a moral victory.

3) Steal. Remember that wicked trick that broke your army's back? Yoink, that's mine now. Remember that awesome multi-charge that neutered your force? Yoink, I'll be using that next game.

;)

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Hello there,

 

"It's not winning or losing, but how you place the blame."

 

Folks that blame all the external factors and how the universe is conspiring against them, GW is favoring one army/ruleset/whatever, the sun was in my eyes, it was a plague of locusts, etc.... in my mind those folks stagnate both "professionally" (as gamers) and "personally."  It's a game.  Sure, a game that we've invested time, money, blood / sweat / tears in and sure there's "keeping score."  But how about instead of looking at it in such a myopic way, you look at it as the development of a skill set, or gaining a better understanding of something you're devoting energy to?

 

Handle yourself professional whether "winning" or "losing" and get that you can learn in either situation how to be a better player / opponent / representative of your gaming circle / etc.   A "moral victory" is when you prove your belief is right but lose an argument.  An @$$ kicking or tabling can sometimes just happen.  Hopefully you can learn from it to attempt to prevent it from happening in the future.  You grow.  Your game grows.  Yay to personal / professional development.

 

Love the posts by so many in this thread so far!

 

Stay safe,

 

don

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