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Sigwarus

A slowplayers confession - advice needed

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Dear TGA, I confess I'm a slow player. I have played wargames 15 years at least but not that often each year. I usually only play at tournaments and some games on top of that. 

It's not that I don't manage the game. I would say that I'm rather good at it if you look at my tournament placements. But I often press the time limit and almost never end my games before the given time. This of course will affect gameplay even if more gametime seldom would have caused another result. 

I am a father of two children so I can't get any more time for gaming. I have to solve this in another way. 

Please TGA do you have any good suggestions for me to om improve my gaming skills and stop being a slow player. 

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Know the core rules.  Know your army rules.  Know your opponents army rules.  Know what you are going to do before your turn even starts.

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What causes your slowness, is it indecision (in which case plan during opponents turn) or is it the nature of the army you play.

What army do you play? There are some very fast armies (BCR) or very slow armies (old changehost/hordes). 

Do you change army Tournament to tournament? 

I found when i moved to grots (from BCR) i often struggled to finish games. I remember my  SCGT vs @Terry Pike in 2017 overran due to it being new armies for us both and us both having lots of models. Having played grot heavy lists exclusively for the past 16-18 months my game speed has increased dramatically, and other than playing old vanguard wing (or other lists where easy teleporting is possible), then I rarely struggle to finish games.




 

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A few thoughts to help:

1) As asked above, take a moment to identify where you think you are slowing down; if you feel that there are specific area where you are. If you can identify any areas that are specifically causing you to slow down you can address them directly; however it might be a general feeling too so you might not be able to pin point it. That being the case you can ask your opponents (end of hte match) if you felt there were any areas where you were seriously lagging in game speed.

2) Read the rules through and through. This isn't just about learning the rules of your army and the game, but also learning where information is within the rules itself. Reading through helps you know the layout and organisation of the rules and thus makes any double checking a lot faster.

3) Produce cheat-sheets. No these aren't for cheating; these are quick reference sheets for yourself. You might make one that has all  the core stats of the models in your army on it; or one that lists common rules or powers that you have to use in the game and double check on. Keep page references on the cheat sheet too for each rule even if you write it out. That way if your opponent queries the accuracy you can quickly flip to the page in the official rules to confirm the information. This in itself can help speed things up no end because now instead of flipping through pages you've got one or two sides of A4 that have everything you need to check on. 

4) If it is decision based, ergo you spend a lot of time thinking about what to do start to work out what areas are causing you a pause. It might be that its showing you that there are areas of the game you are unsure of or not confident in so you end up taking longer to make choices because you have to think things through more slowly. If you can brush up on reading, practice and cheat sheets you might well speed this area up no end; esp if you work to gain abetter understanding of core mechanics and abilities. 

5) Army size; like it or not if you've got 50 units and your opponent has 10 you are going to take longer to resolve things, even if you're playing fast. So have some consideration for just how large your army really is and how long that takes you to play. This might not be an actual issue, but when combined with other areas of slowdown it might not be working in your favour if you're running a hoard army. 

6) Confidence - this is confidence in making choices, in playing the game and in challenging your opponent. Lacking in confidence can make people slower to make choices as you second guess everything - then triple check it (double checking is fine but once you're doing it over and over it stops being of benefit). Confidence can also make you more timid with choices and make you keep referencing stuff all the time. So boosting your own confidence with better learning of the core mechanics can really help far more than you think

7) Worry about time. Yep worrying takes time in itself and if you are playing a game and worrying at the same time the worry in itself can make you trip up and take longer. So learning to relax and get into the game can be a big help even if you might not think it will. Ergo don't worry about how long it takes, focus on playing well with your chosen army. 

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As a fellow slow gamer I say its ok.   I don't enjoy being rushed so I'm ok with slow. 

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Thanks for the replies so far! Why do I slowplay? Well, I think several factors have to be included in my analysis. First, I enjoy talking to my opponents about gaming and the hobby. Tournaments are social gatherings and even if I'm competitive I like to chat. Second, due to changes in the meta and me being competitive I like to change army a lot. That means memorizing all stats and learning the right moves harder, Third, I hate making mistakes and therefor double check and think warhammer more than most (and certainly more than necessary). 

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Play a small army (Beast claw raiders) with spamming the same units.  Makes it faster. But if you want to be competitive and chasing the meta  that's more complicated.  

I print out the warscrolls I am using and glue them to cardboard. I also in the past have made cheat sheets pre game for my army to remind me of specific issues for each phase that are unique to it.   

 

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I’d be interested to see the average amount of turns played at tournaments. It seems to me people get tabled by turn two or three, or it’s a slog fest that has to be speedplayed for turn 4/5 to make the time cap. 

I wish games were 3 hours as a standard. 

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Movement trays help cut down movement time.

Large dice cup + large dice tray minimize rolling time.

Use tools to help you. If you don't mind stress you can also use chess clocks during casual games to track your play time.

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I hear you... I agree with what everyone has suggested so far.

Below is a screenshot of my own cheat sheet (sorry some elements are in French). I structured it along each phase. Within each phase, I included only the relevant stats and buffs. I cruise through the games at ease without any back and forth between the rule books... I also use the same structure for all my armies so I just have to update the lines.

I also "rehearse" a lot with my young kids! I just say "do you want to play some dice?" Of course they want... I give them piles of dice and I keep some for myself. They just play with them randomly, rolling, piling... While I roll mine as if I played certain units (using the warscrolls, thinking about strategies...). We have fun "playing dice" and at the same time I practice the warscrolls and think about some strategies.

I also use to "strategize" a bit while on the bus or else...

As a result, the very few games I do play, I feel I play them quite efficiently time-wise.

 

Cheers and good luck :)

cheat-sheet.png

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Playing Warmachine on clock got me used to playing quicker. Here are some little things I found that helped me.

Pre Game Stuff

Cheat Sheets - Print everything out onto cheat sheets. If you have to search through an app to get stats etc, even though its convenient, it can kill time. For warscrolls, I've printed everything out onto A5 sized sheets of paper and I put it all into an A5 sized folder. That way, everything is in 1 place if I need to check stats on anything and it cuts down on things getting spread out. I also have a summary of each of the rules similar to what Num has above printed out onto a cheat sheet at the front of my booklet. It's also useful to put the scenery rules in the back, rules for each realm etc in the back.

Tokens - I make my own tokens and try to put a basic summary of what each spell/ability does on the token to jog my memory on rules. Specifically, I get 25mm Coin Cases from ebay (it's like 10 for a $1) and a 1 inch circle punch and that works wonders. That way, it helps my opponent and also helps me and makes the game easier to see from a birds eye view.

Dice - Get dice that are extremely easy to read for everyone. Specifically I go for high contrast dice with pips, so something like an opaque black with white pips. It speeds things up. Also, get/make a dice tray (I am playing grots atm, so this is hugely helpful for me) as you don't end up chasing dice all over the table.

Widgets - get one of those .5/1/2/3 inch widgets that GW makes that helps with distances etc. Use it often, it can help speed the game up. I also have a couple of cardboard bookmarks I use to mark the current mission/active realm in their respective books.

Movement Trays - I play grots. Movement trays are a must. Your results may differ.

During Game Stuff

Organisation - Organise all of your stuff (rulers/dice/tokens etc) at the start of your opponents turn. They're usually taking a minute or so figuring things out, so take this time to just move everything around so that you don't end up hunting for things later in the game. Also any spell effects that go off during this time are typically mortal wounds and (at least for me) don't require any interaction with saves. I try to put all my dice back into the dice cube so that its easier to whip things out for saves etc later in the turn

Know your Rules - Just try to get familiar with your rules. If you know what your army can do, then you're golden. If you find you're changing up your list, you'll find you usually gravitate towards a core set of models, go with those first.

It's just a game - At the end of the day, it's a game. I'm there to have fun and you can safely ignore all of the above advice if you just want to have fun and not worry about the clock.

Edited by froo
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I'd echo everything above. I also use a sheet like Num for 40k, and it is immensely helpful.

It may sound ridiculous, but when the kids are in bed and the other half is busy with something, get your models out and play against yourself. Do it once a week or so. You will start to get faster and faster at utilising your units and their abilities, committing them to memory. Obviously this only works if you have an army to use as ENFOR. Use that army to try and ****** your main army's plan at every turn.

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think during the ennemy turn. Many people put their brain in "spectator mode" when the opponent play, and realize when it's their turn that they don't know what to do.

Always start with the less risky and more obvious move, like planting the bloodsecrator banner, using the lord-castellant lantern, moving units on objective first, etc etc...

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One thing that helped me get over the analysis paralysis I used to suffer was to pick a plan and go with it.  The time for long reflection is after the game.  Sure I make mistakes and don't always execute the most optimal line but I found it better to play the game and learn from mistakes afterwards rather than agonising over everything before doing anything and potentially not finishing the game.

Plus getting the game done gives you time for chatting to your opponent about the game and the decisions or just life in general whilst other people are finishing.

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Quick reference sheets over rule books without a doubt.  Review your sheets regularly too - strip out the stuff you now know off by heart.  Here's an example of my Core Rules reference: Core Rules.pdf

One thing that I've found very helpful recently has been having all of my spells as either small cards or on a single reference sheet.  Although I prefer cards (you can use it to mark effects), the single sheet is actually more practical for me as a strong breeze/aircon will blow the cards everywhere ;)  I've also done a sheet that contains every command ability the army has access to.

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Nobody likes to hear it and nobody ever says it, but Lowered Expectations is also part of it.  If you've got small kids and less hobby time than maybe you used to, then maybe competitive top-table placements aren't going to be a thing for you for a while.  You might not have the time and/or mental energy to army-swap to chase the meta and learn how to play your armies as effectively as you could before.  It takes longer, and perhaps it even takes too long.  It might be time to relax a bit, stick with one army for a while, and do the best you can with it.

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On 9/10/2018 at 3:20 PM, Sigwarus said:

Thanks for the replies so far! Why do I slowplay? Well, I think several factors have to be included in my analysis. First, I enjoy talking to my opponents about gaming and the hobby. Tournaments are social gatherings and even if I'm competitive I like to chat. Second, due to changes in the meta and me being competitive I like to change army a lot. That means memorizing all stats and learning the right moves harder, Third, I hate making mistakes and therefor double check and think warhammer more than most (and certainly more than necessary). 

So responding to the various points

1) I think that enjoying the social gathering is important. If you are aware that you are slow then its a good time to mention it, and you can get on with deployment while chatting. As you say, tournaments are social experiences and if you are a slow player then you might not be giving your opponents a great experience

2) If you are competitive, meta chase and are slow this is something that opponents might get frustrated about. If you are slow and you know that you are slow then you might play for turn 2-3 wins, rather than turn 5. This makes an entirely different game & gaming experience for your win. There have been some great suggestions above (cheat sheets/summary stats etc...), but I think that not changing your army will go a long way to reducing the time you spend thinking as you will better understand your army. 

3) Practice reduces the time spent on this, so if you don''t have time to do it then I'd suggest taking it less seriously.

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Get a clock and force yourself to use only half the time for a game. Honestly that's the fair way to handle it for your opponent. There isn't much worse than games only going 2-3 turns in a system designed for 5 in my tournament experience. And even if you don't feel like it was going to change the outcome it's rare that someone doesn't disagree when there is 20-60% of the game that didn't get played. 

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9 hours ago, Donal said:


2) If you are competitive, meta chase and are slow this is something that opponents might get frustrated about. If you are slow and you know that you are slow then you might play for turn 2-3 wins, rather than turn 5. This makes an entirely different game & gaming experience for your win. There have been some great suggestions above (cheat sheets/summary stats etc...), but I think that not changing your army will go a long way to reducing the time you spend thinking as you will better understand your army. 
 

I'd just like to add something to this point that was raised.  I certainly don't play AoS at a competitive level but I have played other games that way.  There is a lot to be said for the value of knowing 'your' army and 'your' list that can be greater than always chasing the latest greatest meta development but not being familiar with how it's supposed to be played.

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PLAYING SLOW and SLOW PLAY are two totally different thing. 

 

PLAYING SLOW results from a couple things. Not knowing the rules as thoroughly as one should. This includes army rules, core rules and rules of your opponents army. Indecision and lack of a distinct game plan for the scenario. These are not a huge problem in casual games. In tournaments.. it is annoying as an opponent because the events are usually timed. With only 2.5 hours for a match in games where if allowed to flow naturally could take 3-4 hours. 

 

SLOW PLAY is a tactic employed SPECIFICALLY to hinder an opponent. See also: ****** move. It is used to give your opponent little time to play/not bring the game to any meaningful conclusion. Usually resulting in VERY close matches or minor wins due to a deliberate action to limit the opponents turns. This should be a disqualifying action/bannable offense as by TOs, if observed. 

 

You play slow (judging by your post) and are not slow playing. VERY distinct difference here. Playing slow is not a bad thing. Maybe a bit annoying.. but nothing malicious. Its ALL about intent. 

Edited by sal4m4nd3r
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23 hours ago, sal4m4nd3r said:

PLAYING SLOW and SLOW PLAY are two totally different thing. 

You play slow (judging by your post) and are not slow playing. VERY distinct difference here. Playing slow is not a bad thing. Maybe a bit annoying.. but nothing malicious. Its ALL about intent. 

I think that if you are competitve, and that you are aware that you play slowly, then there is an issue though. It means that you play for winning turn 3/4 not turn 5, which just isn't fair on opponents.

If its a new player then that makes sense, but if its playing slow due to new army & meta chasing then I can understand why opponents might find it annoying. 

You are essentially choosing to be slow by changing army and meta chasing to the detriment of your opponents experience.

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On 9/10/2018 at 9:20 AM, Sigwarus said:

First, I enjoy talking to my opponents about gaming and the hobby. Tournaments are social gatherings and even if I'm competitive I like to chat. 

I think it's important to recognize that while tournaments are indeed social gatherings, the time spent actually at the table is not the appropriate time to socialize overly much. Over a two-day event, you only have 12.5 hours of gaming (give or take). User that time for, well, gaming.

I'll often suggest to my opponents that we grab a beer after the game to talk about oura armies, painting techniques, etc. That works well.

We can't forget that no matter what else we may get from it, or want from it, a tournament -is- a competition, and for 2.5 hours at a pop, we are competing, not causally gaming as we would in our basement with a buddy.

Edited by Sleboda
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This is why I am an advocate for the game length to be increased to 3 hours. It means that the games can be played at a more thoughtful and interactive pace. 

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