With tomorrow’s tournament being a Store Championship, I need to make sure I’m on top form. I’ve been on a rigorous protein diet over the last week (four-cheese pizzas) with a lot of metabolism-boosting supplements (Ben & Jerry’s, one pint at a time). I also need to make sure that I have learned from my previous mistakes. Here’s a few that I’ve made in the past – if I ever need to prove my innocence, the following should serve as evidence that I’m incapable of anything particularly nefarious.
1 – Flip Those Dials
At the start of every ship’s activation, I need flip its top-most command dial face-up, revealing the command. This is a step that I, and many of my opponents, have occasionally skipped. The truth is, when I know it’s a Navigation and I don’t need to use it this turn, my excitement to roll some dice often takes priority.
Of course, the last game I played, I consistently forgot to place my Raider‘s dial face-down in the first place. Not sure how I managed that one, but it happened most turns. I must be getting senile.
2 – Do the Math
I have a nasty habit of making gut reactions, rather than stepping back and thinking it through. It definitely cost me one game last weekend, and has probably cost me a few more. Although there are time limits to tournament rounds, 135 minutes is more than enough time to step back, take a breath, and actually think about what it is I need to do to win – whilst remembering to avoid slow-play.
I Will Not lose another Imperial-class Star Destroyer because I didn’t take ten seconds to do the math at the critical moment. I don’t want to be a dickhead, do I?
3 – Remember the Rules
Five days ago I managed to forget that I had a second shot with my Relentless, a mistake that almost certainly made the game considerably worse for me. I have spent Navigation commands to slow my vessels down, but forgotten to change their speed dials. It’s possible that I need a physical checklist to run through for each ship activation, because honestly the things I forget or skip past in a turn make me look like a dribbling idiot.
4 – Count those Cards
Remembering a raft of special rules can be tricky for lots of people. Fortunately, Fantasy Flight Games provide handy little upgrade cards to remind you of all of the special things you can do. Unfortunately, I’m still dumb enough to forget even those – and the fact that my SW-7 Ion Batteries would’ve done another two damage is as useless as a marzipan dildo if I only realise it ten minutes after I made the bloody attack.
Same goes for damage cards – ruthlessly enforce both my own and my opponent’s Critical Damage effects, lest I become a gurning wanker.
5 – Stay On Target
Two of the big games I won last Sunday were only won because I remembered my objectives. I didn’t get sidetracked by simply trying to destroy the enemy fleet (although that played a big part, of course). If you’re playing ‘Opening Salvo’, you need to minimise the damage to your own fleet. ‘Contested Outpost’? Remember to stay within range of the fuckin’ station.
Really, this is basic stuff – but when I’m tired, and excited, and anxious, I still find a way to struggle with even the basics. I’m not a clever carrot.
6 – It’s a Game
I love playing Armada, I really do. And it’s important that I don’t stop loving it because I got caught up in winning, or wound myself up because I made yet another embarrassing mistake (“embarrassing mistake” happens to be my Dad’s nickname for me). I’ve enjoyed 90% of the games I’ve played – and I’ve enjoyed 100% of the games I’ve played since Wave 1 was released.
The ultimate objective of Armada isn’t to destroy enemy fleets or dodge mines – it’s to enjoy the entire process of playing. So far, I’ve stayed on the right side of that. I need to make sure I continue to do so. And not turn into a Twat.