Rising from the Ashes of Fear–Mediocrity Unchained!
Since I posted about my anxiety regarding strategic gaming a few weeks ago, I thought it only fitting to follow up on my previous post with a bit of real life experience. Mainly because I didn’t want to feel like I was “running scared” from something, and also because I actually wanted to play the game, I made sure that I participated in the Assault on Imdaar Alpha event at Armored Gopher Games.
This is the second time I actually played X-Wing since getting the game. If you read the previous column, you will see that I was terribly afraid that my native stupidity and lack of tactical skills would cause me to be so bad at the game that not only would I embarrass myself, but I would actually ruin the enjoyment of my fellow players.
This did not appear to be the case. Through blind luck I managed to come in 4th and win a Z-95 Headhunter. I truly mean blind luck because I got a bye in the first round, otherwise I’m almost certain I would have racked up another loss before the tournament was over. That said, I wasn’t as bad as I had thought I would be.
Actually playing in the event let me see that while there are some really intimidating tactical geniuses playing, my skill level isn’t totally unrepresented at these events either. The intimidation factor of what the really good people can do can make it feel like a whole other game to novice players, and how those top tier guys treat the less tactically minded can do a lot to change perceptions in the novice.
My second round after the bye I lost. I had a fun opponent that I know was better than me, but at the same time, I wasn’t clobbered nearly as badly as I thought I might have been. In fact, I screwed up by letting my YT-1300 get into a corner I couldn’t turn out of and fled the field because I wasn’t quite as used to eyeballing the turn radius of the ship. Not a terribly bad way to lose.
The next round, my squad actually acted the way I expected it to act. We crossed over the enemy a few times, at least two of my three ships focused fire on one opponent at a time, and when the Falcon was finally taken out, my two X-Wings were unharmed versus two damaged B-Wings, and they won out over the other two ships. I really felt adequate, if a bit on the lucky side.
I am glad I didn’t have my last game first. Wow. This is the guy I was afraid of when it comes to competitive tactical games. He set up this TIE swarm in the corner in a manner that left me wondering how deployment would even work, and yet it did. I think that initial set up and deployment spooked me, because I got my movement dials mixed up for my X-Wings, and ended up have them both fly the opposite direction than I wanted them to, and had no firing arcs for either of them. I did at least pull off an insanely close k-turn to land my Falcon right next to the TIE swarm, but then proceeded to roll impossibly badly considering I could reroll with Han and reroll again with Luke as the crew on the Falcon.
I had one X-Wing isolated and cut to shreds, and the Falcon is an obvious target that just got pounded. After losing two ships and doing virtually no damage, I conceded before we continued with the firing squad on my last X-Wing.
As I said, this would have been a terrible first round given my misgivings about this kind of game. It could have still shaken my confidence, but my opponent was a really class act. Instead of gloating or making fun of the really bone headed moves that came up, he asked me what I was thinking with each of those moves, told me he had gotten his dials mixed up when he first started and how he avoids it now, and pointed out a few things I might want to try next time. My terrible play hadn’t ruined his play experience! Awesome!
So, now with the warm glow of 4th place washing over me, and some ideas on what I might try if I were to do this whole thing again, I am actually thinking of doing this whole thing again, and it’s not nearly as intimidating to me as before.