7 Habits of Effective Gamers

Last weekend I took the course Ď7 habits of highly effective peopleí (great course and I think everyone one should take it at some point in their life) and the whole time I couldnít help relate it to gaming.

For those that have taken the course this will be easier to follow, but for those that havenít please just read along and Iíll try to explain as best I can.

Link to the model: http://unixgu.ru/7habits-pyramid.png

The purpose of this is to describe how you get someone from being dependant to being independent and then finally to interdependent.

The Dependence Stage:

Relating this to gaming the dependant stage would be when we first learned the game. We needed someone to tell us everything, know the rules and stats for us, and basically hold our hands while we play the game. Hell youíre probably using someone elseís models!

Habit 1: Be proactive

The first step then to being a better gamer is to be proactive. Go out and read the rules, buy some dice/ruler/templates, buy your own army, and make up a list.

This first step is critical as you are basically dedicating yourself to the hobby.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind

In this step gamers start thinking about what they are actually suppose to be doing with their army. They need to go out and defeat their opponent or capture that objective.

Although this might sound like simple logic, and in a way it is, I think we all know or have heard about that kid that shows up with his army but then seems to doing things randomly as though they didnít have a tactical bone in their body.

Habit 3: Put first thing first

Here the gamer learns to prioritize. He knows he should use the cannon on the chariot, the stone thrower on the block, and shoot down those fast cav before they are a problem.

In truth you could call this the tactics page. The gamer learns what works and now has their own complete plans as to how to win the game.

The Independence Stage:

This is where you will find the majority of gamers, even veteran gamers. They now have all the mental tools they need to play the game and play it well. For this reason many gamers donít go beyond this point, they are happy just playing and perfecting their army and strategies until they are the best oiled machine they can be.

This isnít the final step however, and a gamer that stops here will soon either get bored of playing or my even run out of players willing to play against him.

Habit 4: Think win/win

You can go and crush some one over and over but eventually the loser isnít going to want to play any more. Taking up a win/win attitude will help keeping everyone happy and everyone having fun.

This could include making your list weaker, not using certain tactics or game loopholes, or even setting up minor victories for your opponent such as letting him kill something with his favorite unit rather than avoiding it completely.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand and then to be understood

Itís all too easy for us to assume what other players want from a game, and in trying to implement habit 4 you might even make things worse if you donít understand where your opponent is coming from.

Maybe he likes playing a more combat focused game, maybe he likes to see the generals duke it out, maybe he likes to try new things, or maybe he just wants an ultra-competitive game.

By talking to your opponent before the game you can then use that knowledge as to how to play the game and make sure it ends as a win/win.

Habit 6: Synergize

Once you are in a win/win mindset, and you and your opponent both know what you want from the game, the next step is to use that information to bring about the best games possible.

This would mean things like using armies that are classic match ups for each other, finding new and interesting ways to incorporate your armies and skill sets towards game objectives you havenít tried before, or even just setting up the most exciting game you can.

The Interdependence Stage:

Finally, once youíve completed all the steps and are in control of all the habits you will be at interdependence. Your games will be under your control and yet they are also the culmination of the goals and wishes of you and your gaming group.

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw

In the end gaming isnít everything and in a funny way the best way to improve your game is to back away some times. Donít go all out until you are burned out and tired of your models, donít read army books and fluff until you canít get them out of your head, take some time with your family, recharge, and come back ready for another great and exciting game.

The reason why I decided to post this is because I really feel too many of us are stuck at the Independence stage. We are all simply concerned about how to make out list better, what to do to crush out opponents or beat the latest army book, and basically just centered on purely competitive tournament play.

I myself was clearly in this spot just a year ago and have slowly been moving further along in my gamer development. I no longer care about my win/lose record, I play more of my Ďweakerí armies, and I even have gone so far to sit down with some of my fellow gamers to plan games a month in advance to make sure it turns out to be the best experience possible.

So now take a second and decide where you fall in this? What stage are you in? What habit are you on or am having trouble with? Are you even at the stage that you want to be a better gamer?

As I said a year ago I considered myself an ultra-competitive gamer and I mocked people who wouldnít try to win and would rather go for Ďa fun gameí. The trigger that changed things for me is 1. no longer being able to find people who wanted to play against me, and 2. reading some of the (once similar) extreme views of other on Warseer.

And there you have it. Thatís all I wanted to say and I hope it will be usefully as a tool of self reflection to my fellow gamers.