Friday, 15 June 2012

General Ramblings: Letting Things Slide

I've been playing a lot of Warmachine/Hordes lately. In the last week or so, I've got in seven games with my newly acquired Retribution army.

The point I'll wander from today, however, is more related to the fact that this increased playing on my part, has coincided with a general upswing in WarmaHordes locally. With this upswing has come the issue of people not knowing the rules as well as we did during the autumn, when we played the most. Also, a few people are just taking up the game.

And with this learning/relearning process comes the question 'how much do we let slide?'.

We all make mistakes.

When the game is on, it is oh so easy to forget rules, or do things in the wrong order, or whatnot. When a group has reached a certain level of experience with a game, any mistakes that don't actually break the rules are usually written up as touch luck, and the game goes on. Forgetting to pop your feat, allocate Focus, moving your Warbeast outside Control Range 'cause you've played a lot of Warmachine and have forgotten how forcing works, these are all things that cause a face-palm and (every so often) a loss, but are irrevocable.

But where's the line where you're experienced enough for your mistakes to be tactical blunders, rather than simple learning errors?

I know of some groups that run with the principle that you learn the hard way. There's no leeway given to anyone, no matter if it's their first game, or their hundredth.

I don't personally think this is a good idea.


Because no-one learns all the rules for their first games. (Oh, okay, I try to. I generally fail). A first-timer might possibly have an army of his own, but often the first game is in fact played with borrowed pieces. Many of these players don't own a rulebook, much less read it thoroughly.

So, we might start a new player of a game off with an intro game or two. A game in which the rules are explained and played through, hopefully teaching the game to a new player. And during these first few games, we obviously tell the newbie what he's missed, and suggest other possible courses of action ('Are you sure you want all your Warbeasts outside your Warlock's Control Area?').

But when do we stop?

As usual, though, it's a bit more complicated than that.

For one thing, most mistakes become irreversible rather quickly, don't they? Tactical errors of a non-fundamental nature become shrug-worthy after just a few games ('Oh, no, that Phoenix should have been over there. Oh, well...'). Some more fundamental errors, though, take longer to become unforgiveable. The first ten games or so, at least, I might let you move that Warbeast back into Control. Maybe.

And then there are the real mistakes. Skipping the Control Phase (or, more commonly, forgetting to do anything beyond replenishing Focus) is one of those things that it might be better just to rewind the game and allow the player to do it out of order.

Obviously, this does not necessarily apply outside of a casual setting.

But the question remains. Where do we draw the line? What do we let slide?

And on that note, I'm leaving you for another week.


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