younoobExperiences of a new tournament player – New Kids on the Blog

Author: Ian Roberton

I’ve just finished 12th out of 16 players and I should be happy with that, after all it was my first ever tournament. But that’s the thing, I wasn’t happy. I was content I hadn’t come last at least (That accolade is saved for another of the contributing authors to this Blog) but the four games had passed me by and I felt like a rabbit stunned in the headlights of the talent around me. I felt I didn’t understand even the basics of the game and for the first and only time, I thought maybe the game wasn’t for me. I was of course wrong!

That was a a damp Sunday evening in February and the venue for such reflection was the York Racecourse car park while holding a wooden table top as I and others tried to clear away the remnants of the Vapnartak trade show and Tournament. I was desperately trying to find lessons learnt from the just finished Steamroller tournament. With the help of Butcher 3 and conquest, I had just finished 12th out of 16 and I should have been happy with that, after all it was my first tournament. But that’s the thing, I wasn’t happy. I was at best content. Games had come and gone in a blur, I had felt like a kid on their first day at ‘big school’. In fact worse… I felt like a kid joining a new school having moved into the area recently – everything was the same: Maths, Science and English classes just the same as the old school but everything was different… it was like I had been studying the Romans in History but suddenly I was being tested on the Vikings.

I felt I didn’t understand even the basics of the game and for the first and only time, I thought maybe the game wasn’t for me. I was of course wrong!

I started playing Warmachine back in late 2015 and after being introduced to the York Wargames Society I decided that Khador were the faction for me. Mistake number one. In the right hands Khador are a great faction, especially in Mk3 but in mine……not so much. I initially picked Khador for three reasons, Butcher 3 – he likes to smash stuff, Doom Reavers – they look like they like to smash stuff and my favourite, Fenris – He has two swords so he looks like he wants to smash stuff twice as much. That was why it was a mistake. I was a new, naïve and overexcited player who just thought you had to find high P+S models who looked cool and all would be well. To make matters worse I initially had some success with that combination which further bolstered my belief that the game was nowhere near as complex as some had previously advised. It turns out Butcher 3’s assassination ability tended to cover up a whole multitude of sins on my part! Vapnartak came and went and the realisation hit me…I needed to change the way I approach the game.

Fast forward a few months and after some careful deliberation and advice I decided to drop Khador for Cryx. Instead of looking at models that I thought looked cool, I looked at factions which offered me a way to play the way I instinctively wanted to. Cryx fulfilled that and then some! Immediately I enjoyed the extra speed the models had, the tricks that could be employed to keep them safe and most of all the debilitating effects that could dropped on the opponent. For the first time I felt I could control a match. The feeling of that cold Sunday evening at York racecourse was long dead. That was the first major lesson learnt by me, take your time picking your faction. The second important lesson learnt was understanding what a ‘balanced list’ actually means. This and countless others will be discussed in future posts where we intend to offer an insight to how these lessons impact and influence a new player’s game from a new player’s perspective. Learning from your mistakes is part of the fun, solving the puzzle is part of the fun… but equally being able to flick to the back pages of your puzzle book for a little hint towards the right answer helps a lot! Hopefully these articles can provide some back page insight to ease the journey – have fun!