A while ago I wrote about my Hobby Resolutions for 2020, and the most important one to me was about contributing to my local hobby scene. With that in mind, I wanted to write a short post on tactical losses and how I use these for the greater good.

Now, this will, of course, differ depending on the personality of the other player, but for most people, it can be a bit demoralising constantly losing game after game of 40k. Worse, no one really wants to lose their first public game if it can be helped, and certainly don’t want to be thrashed.

I have recently been ‘working’ with a couple of different people, my wife and one of my friends, on their armies and games to build their experience with the game. They are at different stages in their hobby journeys, which means tailoring their experiences slightly.

Losing the Battle (sort of)

The thing really though is to not just hand the person the game. No one really learns from that. The secret, in so far as I can work it out, is to just relax a bit. Remember what your aim is. Ultimately to increase your friend’s / opponent’s confidence long term. And maybe let a few decisions be less than optimal while gently coaching them with their decision making.

I don’t want to get all preachy here, most of this is fairly obvious. And, being conscious that people I play games with may read this, I don’t want to underplay your performances or anything. No one likes gotcha moments in games. No one wants to be caught out by an obscure rule or stratagem that they didn’t even know existed. So in these friendly environments some times it is as simple as stating that, for example, if you were to charge into this vehicle and kill it, I can automatically make it blow up and dish out mortal wounds.

I should also point out that you don’t necessarily have to actually lose the game. There are plenty of ways you can still win a game and boost your opponent in the process. Make sure they have little victories in the game. Or play up the victories they get. They killed one of your units and captured an objective in the process, make sure they know the importance of that. “Not only did you kill a unit, preventing me from getting that objective, but you took it for yourself! That’s like a double point swing! And, if we were playing with tactical objective cards, there is one where that is extra victory points!”

Winning the War

I follow a lot of hobby-related accounts on social media. And I was upset to see one of them talk about having experienced gatekeeping in the hobby community. And while it is easy to pretend it doesn’t exist, the truth is that it still does. I remember it back in the day, people stressing that they liked that fantasy was more complicated to understand and play than 40k because they didn’t want to ‘play with stupid people’.

This kind of bullshit needs to stop. When I moved to Wakefield, before realising there was an actual Games Workshop store, I went into an independent and was disappointed to find out my Friendly Local Gaming shop was not particularly friendly to new people.

When I started going to the local Games Workshop though, it really helped me through what was a difficult point in my life. I found some people that play a very tough and competitive style of gaming, but most people were happy to have a chat. Most were happy to give advice and tips on painting. And most were happy to have a game and not play super aggressive.

Why this is Important to Me

I’m trying to give back to my local community. It has given me so much, and now I want to return the favour. I like going to the store. And I know from experience in retail that a store with people in it is generally more likely to then get more people in it, compared to an empty store.

If I can help people come out of their shells and start playing games and feeling confident, that really would be epitome to me. Not everyone wants to play the game, some people are happy just building and painting, which is great. But if there is anyone who wants to play but feels hesitant to for any reason, then I would like to help them.

And if that means taking on tactical losses to win the war, I’m more than happy to do that. And on that note, let’s pull this post to a close. Until next time, peace out.