Today – technically it’s ‘yesterday’ but I haven’t been to sleep properly yet so it still feels like ‘today’ – I went to a charity Warmahordes tournament run by the Dice and Decks lads for the Air Ambulance. A shade over £1000 was raised, £350-odd of which came from the charity auction at which I was auctioneer. I played a game I enjoy with some nice people. I have, on balance, had a cracking day – so why have I spent significant proportions of it feeling like crap?
This is a Problem! Problems need Solving!
Problem Solving Step One: Identify The Problem!
- I lost three games out of four due to increasingly less intelligent play over the course of the event.
- I did not react to this increasingly poor performance with the grace and good humour that I would like.
Problem Solving Step Two: Diagnose The Causes!
- Fatigue. I am a morning person. I seldom play a game for more than three hours. I seldom play more than two games in succession, maybe three very small ones. The breaks between games were not
- Dehydration. Apparently I was exhibiting symptoms of mild heatstroke toward the end of the day. All I know is I had a slight headache and felt like I could just pass out at any second. Didn’t feel particularly warm in the venue, but apparently I was sweating buckets all day.
- Diet. I don’t usually drink Coke and had two today on top of my breakfast coffee. Given that I have a slow metabolism, this was particularly dumb – I’m sitting here at 2.15 AM, unable to sleep, brooding on the day and composing a blog entry. Stupid overcaffeinating Von.
- Half A Competitive Streak. I don’t especially care about winning but I don’t like being tabled, or being sufficiently close that I don’t have options. I enjoy cut-throat, close games, but I don’t deal well with continuous adrenaline (after two nervous breakdowns it’s probably best that I don’t get too excited about things).
Problem Solving Step Three: Prescribe A Solution!
- Adjust the Party Bag that travels with me to events. Add at least one two-litre bottle of water; maybe two. Add a large bag of nuts and raisins. There’s room in the bag and it means I have some things that are good for me.
- Lay off the caffeine (and sugar?). I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I’m worried that I may be edging toward dependency again, so I think I might scale back (tea, not coffee, and stay off the Coke) at once and maybe spend August going cold turkey or near as damn it (green tea, not proper tea), since the work I’m doing this summer is of the ‘from home, in isolation’ sort. Not going to try that until I’ve either been invited to interview for my PhD or been turned down, though.
- Maybe… stop going altogether? I have long suspected in my heart of hearts that I’m not really cut out for whole days of wargaming at any level, or at least that I enjoy organising them more than I do attending them. Ringering is one thing as I might only have to play a couple of games, but attendance as a scoring player means fatigue is unavoidable and the streak is likely to be broken sooner or later. I’m better at managing it than I was – the dice-throwing model-smashing tantrums of yore are now firmly of yore, and I can take one tabling with a shrug and a “that’s Warmachine for you, sometimes you lose before you’ve started” – but I still don’t deal well with two on the trot, especially if I lost the game beforehand and then had someone wander up and “you should have done X” me. Since that tends to be what happens to me at tournaments, I’m not feeling any more emotionally mature – the situations that bring out the worst in me still come up. I like campaigns and leagues because they’re club events, the one-or-two-games-per-night kind of event that I’m comfortable with, and I can play competitively at those; just so long as I don’t have to do it all day.
I’ve paid up for Fun, Quick and Dirty II in September, so we’ll see whether a more sensible diet helps. If I still manage to have a rubbish day, it might be time to admit defeat.
Still! £350 for the Air Ambulance as a direct result of me shouting at people persuading them to buy things. Can’t knock that, can you? Game review – of the games that were worth reviewing – in the morning. I’m going to try and sleep now.
UPDATE: The lads and lass at the House of Paincakes have dug out this classic post from The King Elessar which may have some relevance here. I have a string of wins behind me going back over eighteen months, but they are perhaps somewhat ill-earned; you see, I spent a lot of time teaching people to play Warmahordes over that period, and consequently I was winning more games than is usual for me and perhaps acquiring a false sense of my own abilities. I don’t mean that I suddenly thought I was Hawt Shite because I could club baby seals, or whatever the vocabulary of the day is – but there’s a subtle, semiconscious reinforcement of self-esteem that comes from winning a lot and which functions on a level that no amount of intellectualising can operate on or resist. You win lots of games, and even if you know why you’re winning them and that they were easier than usual, you’ve still won. It’s been a while since I had a fair fight, or was plain outclassed; showing up at the Dudley Darklords has been a bit of a shock to the system, as have my tours on the tournament circuit, because they are different to the games I normally play – not just with the usual differences between competitive and casual but because the opponents I usually played were, mainly, inexperienced. There’s another layer of difference between my pre-tournament experience and my actual tournament play that I hadn’t entirely accounted for, that’s what I’m getting at.