When I was young, my older brother was two years older than me and always beat me in games. Once, he created his own game and didn’t tell me any of the rules. While he rolled dice, chipping away at my base, I sat there in confusion. Eventually, he said, “aren’t you going to defend yourself?” At that point, I lost it. I jumped across the game board and attacked my brother. (I’ll show YOU defend yourself). Unfortunately, he was also bigger and stronger than me, so it didn’t end well. This event helped to shape me.
So you want to win at games? Tired of losing to your older brother, next-door-neighbor, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor?
You need a strategy. And to start with, you need a strategy of how you are going to get a strategy. Here are some strategies to develop your strategy.
- Always read the rules BEFORE the game
- Pay special attention to the winning conditions
- Set yourself up early for success later in the game
- Learn from your failures
- Be positive.
Read the rules
When you show up to a game night, often people will suggest a game you have never played. This isn’t a problem, but if you use the game as your “learning” game, you won’t win. Also, if you count on someone else to explain the game to you, you miss out on all the tiny details of how to win and how cards and pieces and players interact. You don’t have to take half an hour to delay everything, just take some time to read them.
Winning conditions matter. Some games end as soon as the last card is drawn. Some end when all your guys are dead. Sometimes you get extra points if you held onto the small piece and played it last. You need to know how to win to be able to win.
The long game
It doesn’t matter if you get up a little at the beginning of the game if you don’t plan a strategy that will last through the whole game. Figure out the following:
- What should you do at the beginning to set your self up for the remainder of the game
- What is your interim strategy, how do you you sustain yourself through the game to get to the end in a position to win
- Towards the end, when do you need to make the moves to end the game or get the most points possible before it ends.
Learn from your failures
You won’t win every time. Maybe you planned out a strategy that you thought was great. Maybe it really was great, but someone else got lucky. Or maybe you need to tweak your strategy. That is OK. Don’t jump across the board and attack. Just say, “Good game”. BUT, that isn’t the end. Keep tweaking your strategy until you figure out what works well for you to win
Win and lose well
If you win, tell everyone they played well. If you lose, tell everyone they played well. There is a delicate balance between dominating the competition and being a fun person to play with. If you aren’t fun to play with; eventually, no one will play with you.
And, it is the right thing to do.