Warmachine General Guide, Meaningful and Deliberate Practice

There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory...

So I'm not sure when it happened, but I got old. I have a wonderful family, a rewarding job, and less and less time that is truly my own. This means I game maybe once a week. So with that in mind, I try to maximize my gaming time, by making sure games are meaningful. How? Well I'll tell you! Deliberate Practice!

Okay what is Deliberate Practice? Well, it's 'defined' as :

Deliberate practice is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.

What that really means is we set a Specific Goal, Get some Focused Practice, Gather Feedback, and do it all over again. This is a loop that we'll stay on till we improve. So how do we do that in warmachine? Well, most people do it already, they just don't know it. Playing a game, talking to local people about it, reading and researching the subject all of these things are pieces of the deliberate practice cycle. 

What's your goal?

Lets set a goal, could be a simple, could be complex. But we need a clear goal, something we can target, and we need to improve on:

  • Don't clock out.
  • Focus on the scenario.
  • Learn to position models/units better. 
  • Don't get assassinated.

This is the easiest part. We pick a goal, and we stick with it till we improve. 

Focused Practice.

This is a bit harder. Often it's easy to pick something we need help on, but hard to know how to improve it. Too often, we just "play games" but we don't learn from them, or go into them with any sense of a plan. So let's look at out sample goals, and a few ways to focus on them.

  • Don't clock out.
    • First, we need to play with a clock
    • Even if we clock out, let's finish the game to see how much clock we needed
    • Take note of how long your turns last
  • Focus on the scenario.
    • Play the scenarios you hate
    • Take notes on how you score, and how your opponent scores
    • Go into each mission with a plan
  • Learn to position models/units better. 
    • Play the model/unit into matchups you think are bad
    • Try new things, don't always jam or flank with the unit.
    • Try different lists/casters combinations
  • Don't get assassinated.
    • Try the camp 2 safety net
    • Take note of how you're dying

So we play a game, maybe we do better, maybe we don't. Whats next? 

 some sr2016 Practice!

some sr2016 Practice!

Feedback

Great so we went into the game with a goal. We had some areas or concepts for focus. But we still failed. That is we failed to get a different result, but hopefully we succeeded in learning something! Next it to get some feedback. Try talking over with your opponent, or a local who's established what your goal is, and how the game went. Talk over turns where you think it went wrong, and ask them what they would do. If you can't get help locally ask online, read a blog or maybe listen to a podcast. But the purpose of this part is to get specific focus into issues you're having.

The Cycle

Now we need to pay attention to our feedback. Pivot and learn from it. Adapt. Then we do it all over again. Lets make sure that each time we practice we're testing a theory, or learning something new. Lets not throw away games, or give up when it looks bad. Jaden just wrote a great piece about what to do when down. Lets play games out, to maximize what we can learn from them. Also don't be afraid to be in a few different deliberate practice loops at the same time. 

Recap

So thats a little bit on how I've worked to get better at the game. What are you guys stuck on? Need any specific help? I've found that the warmachine community is shockingly helpful when they are asked questions. Don't be afraid to ask yours! 

I'm going to take my deliberate practice over to the video batrep area. I'm working on a prototype, and hope to post 1 video a month. In addition, I'm excited about ADR, and I just registered for the Las Vegas Open. Will any of you be there? Be sure to follow me on Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date with my ramblings. Also I'll be giving a few things away around the holidays to my followers!

Cheers,
TT