Git Gud in 5 Easy Steps!
Less than a month ago I picked up A Game Of Thrones: The Card Game. I was impressed by the mechanics and I do like A Song of Ice and Fire series on which Game of Thrones is based, so it was an easy buy. And by “picked up” I mean I bought in completely, studied card interactions, and looked at playing theory. This in turn lead me to choose to participate in a premier Fantasy Flight Regional Event for that game. I brought my deck and clinched my body in preparation for the beating I would take. I ended up getting in the top 4 in a 24-ish person tournament. This led me to believe that the strategy I took to start to understand the game was a good one and I would like to share it with you. I do not aim for this to be specifically about A Game of Thrones however as I think these strategies are valid for leaning the ins and outs of any game. Here are the five most important things I learned.
Listen To The People
There are individuals who have made playing a single game their entire lives. These people know the ins and outs of the games they devote their lives to. They are also typically active in the communities. They frequently post about their ideas in various fun and inventive ways. Whether that be by building fun nonsense decks, talking about the theme of cards, educating players on the game’s canon, reviewing cards, writing buying guides, or any number of other things! There are so many resources for this as well. Card Game DB and Reddit are both great starting points for many beginners and a great community for current players! However, typing and writing are not the only ways to hear what people have to say.
Talk, Talk, Talk
Another vast pool of knowledge lies in podcasting. Lots of players take the time to record their thoughts and ideas about every aspect of card games by recording themselves talking about them! Podcasts are a great way to gather all the jargon and terminology that is associated with these games as said by the players themselves. You can also listen to them at your leisure. Many podcasts have multiple members and a good podcast has these members from different walks of the game. Podcasts are the best way to inform yourself on banter that happens in games. This is really important because it can clue you into common wisdom on the game that follows along with speech. Whereas with typing, certain things you type then delete then rephrase, this cannot happen when you talk and can give you insight into the meta. Another very good way to get insight into the meta and see how the cards interact is the other method of recording.
They Are Recording For a Reason
Did you know that a lot of players who play LCGs record their games? Well they do! A simple google search for your favorite LCG will come up with a plethora of videos. From OCTGN games to traditional play, you will find it all. Some games also have commentators talking over the play and these are my favorite. The reason I prefer commentators in games is because it give me yet another perspective to incorporate into my evaluations of cards, decks, and plays. There is something invaluable about getting a player’s/commentator’s/spectator’s opinion of a play mid-game. The assumptions and observations of these individuals can really tell you a lot about how people view the actions of other players and give one a great view of the meta! And even if you don’t understand what the hell someone is saying because you misunderstood or misheard a rules interaction, you can always go to thing #4 (best transition ever).
Rulebooks are Your Friends!
Fantasy Flight Games has done this wonderful thing as of late where they give you two books with most of their games. The first (and smaller one) is the Learn to Play guide. This is great for your first game to get the feel for the flow and the basic rules down. The much larger and more interesting book is the Rules Reference guide. These books are literally encyclopedias of the game’s rules, keywords, interactions, and miscellaneous that will teach you all the small little intricacies of the game. I absolutely love them. Whenever I go to an event for an LCG, I always take the Rules Reference guide for the game we are playing. They are a solid compendium of everything you could ever want to know to…well do the next thing!
Teaching to Learn
If there is one thing I learned from college (besides you can fit all seasons of all the iterations of Star Trek into a semester) it is that tutoring was the best way to solidify knowledge. This is true with ANYTHING. Teaching not only forces you to know the intricacies of the game but makes you have to understand how and when to introduce them to the student. I am a firm believer that when you can effectively teach something, you understand it deeply. If you couldn’t tell ( or got confused by my awesome transitions) these five things are not in any particular order. I would even go so far as to say you should try teaching at multiple times throughout your progressing through these five activities to see what changes. The more you know the better!
These are the five things I did before I went to the Game of Thrones Regional competition and I really truly believe that if you want to get gud, you can and should do all of these things! Have anything you add or wanna call me out? Do it in the comments! Til next time, Living Card Guy out!