Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How to train a gaming community

I'm in a really positive predicament. There has been huge growth locally in the Malifaux scene and many new people are trying their hand at cheating fate. The 'problem' with this, if you were to call it a problem, is that we now have a big sliding scale of experience levels.

 Personally I started basically when M2E came out. Since my first major tournament in February, Vappnatak, I have been to 16 events this year. 16! Because of this I have gained loads of experience and become, not to blow my own horn, pretty competent at the game. Donkeys years ago I wrote how I didn't want to play new players with 'kid gloves' on for a variety of reasons. Basically because:

  • It's insulting to the player themselves
  • They'll learn more
 The problem with this, however, is that if you regularly play against them and basically, as it's commonly known, noob stomp, it can become increasingly 'unfun' for the opponent. For me any game is not enjoyable if you do not have any sort of chance and thus I never want my opponent to feel like that. 

 So what can I do to fix this situation? Well one of the obvious solutions for me is to get the newer players to face each other. I'm always kicking about for rules queries but it means that people will have much closer, harder fought and thus more enjoyable games. It's why the Swiss system is so good in tournaments.

 I'm afraid to say this, however, but we don't have enough people so that you can play at the same experience level every time. It also limits, thinking selfishly, my own opponent pool. Even among the players who are not new, there is a variety of experience. For example, Vince, and I hope he doesn't mind saying this, is one of the more experienced local gamers. He started a couple of months after me, couldn't say when, but has played enough so that he knows the rules pretty well. However, I am not sure he has ever beaten me and if so it's rarely. In the same token, however, I don't think he loses to any of the newer players. 

 Another possible solution is to play with crews that I have very little experience in. This way the knowledge I have gained will be limited, to some extent, and still provide myself and my opponent a challenging experience. Obviously, however, there are only so many crews one can take and only so many I can afford so I can't do this all the time. Starting anew with Seamus is great, but I imagine it's just a matter of time until I work out how he ticks and at that point we are back where we started. 

 To be honest I'm at a little of a loss. I love that we have such a rich community and I want to keep it that way and make sure everyone has fun. I don't know if there is anything else I can do to make sure this happens. I'd love some advice from people.

I hope to hear from you about it soon.


  1. I'm not offended at all, I know what you mean.

    Although I've not beaten you I've come darned close to it a number of times and once or twice it was merely a bad flip that meant it was a draw or loss for me rather than that still elusive victory.

    That said, I really don't mind that I haven't yet beat you. For me, the playing of the game, the social aspect of it, having fun and doing crazy stuff that either works or backfires and leaves you in a stupid situation is far more important than winning or losing. I've gone so far as to saying to newer players they can choose my faction, and where possible master if they want so that I am caught on the hop, so to speak. I have at least one master for each faction, and enough models than I can produce a pretty varied crew for my opponents to face. But woe betide if they say Ressurectionists and Seamus or McMourning...

  2. It's fair, though I'm not sure 'what do you want to play' system works aswell as you might think. 99% will just say 'whatever' IMO and this could be because they have no idea what to chose from, or what that would even mean. New crews and odd schemes I think are the way forward.

  3. True. The game I played against Nate recently we went for claim with corner set up and flipped schemes randomly. This really forced me out of my comfort zone and made me step up my game. It helped that it was practice for a tournament for Nate and I used combos of things I normally wouldn't use in order to try and out play him.

    It all came down to a pair of failed lures from a Belle that made the difference between a win for me, and a loss...

  4. It's not such a bad problem to have.

    Are we speaking here of tournaments, or games in the club? In the case of tournaments, I think that one should give each game the best shot. Differences in experience do exist, but the swiss system means that most players will get a few games in against roughly equally skilled opponents. If you're talking of games in a casual setting, my approach is to deliberate do something outside my comfort zone (e.g. selecting a different crew to my normal preference, taking tricky schemes etc) to hopefully handicap myself just the right amount to let me play the game as well as I can.

  5. Talking more about gaming clubs. It seems most people think the best thing to do is pick crews and schemes outside of your comfort zone.