Friday, May 27, 2011
Winning by Losing
I hesitated about the subject line for this post. It comes across as too Politically Correct. I abhor PD; I feel it's turned this country into a collection of appeasers who fret too much time about finding words and making statements so now one is offended. It's a topic for another day.
I couldn't find a better title. It sticks. Let's get started and see what I mean by the phrase.
We're wargamers. We're competitive by nature, otherwise we wouldn't be playing miniature wargmaes, or card games, or board games or video games, etc. We don't like losing. I have yet to meet the wargamer who spent hours and $$$ on his American War of Independence Colonial Army and say he didn't mind seeing his force get slaughtered by the Redcoats at Bunker Hill. Or the video game player in a Halo Death Match getting annhilated again and again and again every time he respawned and then saying he didn't mind. Bull-and-crap.
Losing sucks. Period.
You win, I lose. Inoring ties (both players lose in a tie, especially at a FOW tourney), the game boils down to one player is victorious over another.
Yet is gaming really a zero-sum game?
These thoughts floated in my head while I drove home after a FOW game with Paul. It was a grueling match. In the end, I lost. Again. While driving I began to mentally berate and beat myself up for the mistakes I made. This is typical of me, I do a post-mortem of each FOW game I play and try to digest the lessons learned and what worked and what didn't.
Why did I deploy that way? Was there a better option?
Did I really need to double-time my armored vehicles towards a group of PaK38's? Would I have been better served to maneuver around terrain?
Should I be more selectively aggressive in certain situations? How do I identify those situations in the future?
Putting my vehicles in and out of the foam and moving to a different tourney tables is a pain and wastes times. Is there a better way to transport the army to a tourney that doesn't risk the models?
Is my anal retentive note taking and snapping pictures slowing the game down for my opponent? What's a better way to take notes and keep the flow of the game going?
I was then figuratively hit right between the eyes by an AT 16 shell fired by a Jagdpanther.
What was I doing? I might have lost the game, but look at what I gained. I gained experience. I learned lessons. I had the pleasure of seeing the army I built perform on an imgaginary battlefield. My nice painted (via commission) army looked great on the tabletop amongst all the wonderful terrain provided by Paul or Tim. I spent an afternoon with a friend playing a miniature wargame. People came by to observe the game. I spent an afternoon with a good friend.
Compare al that to what I would have been doing instead of gaming. Mow the lawn? Honey-Do lists at home. Wash the cars. Watch TV. Shopping with the misses. Shuttle kids.
When I match losing a FOW game to that list, it looks like a personal win. Now before I depart for an afternoon, everything on that list and more is done. Being a wargamer and a family mans means striking a balance. We all know that.
I still hate losing. I like playing players better than me. I learn more that way. It also means I lose a lot.
But now I remind myself on what I'm gaining that goes beyond just losing a game. One day all this losing will translate to performing well at a MW tourney that will punch my ticket to Adepticon (would sooooo love that!). I'll balance the losing against what I'd be doing with free time on a lazy Sunday.
It's turning a loss into a win. Shoot, maybe that's the title I should have used.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend. When pushing toys soldiers across a tabletop, take time to remember those who didn't return and sacrificed themselves for our freedom.