40k the Jawa way.

My little nurgling.  I just told him I was building 
him an Ork army.

The Blood Angels are not an offensive army.

Being friendly can win games.

Take that to the bank.  I have alluded to my strategy before but figured I could elaborate on the topic today.   I played a game on Sunday that showcased my play style against a LOT of orks.

Welcome to 40k, the Jawa Way! And remember, keep a sense of humor.

Of course, the game relies on more than just strategy.  Some times you can win a game with a handshake. I have written several articles about the psychology of 40k.  And mostly this part is about being a good sport and not being a D-bag, but in a subtle way this stuff can help to sway the victory in your direction in a number of ways. More on that in a bit. In a nutshell, I apply basic concepts of classroom management and child psychology, mixed with a little bit of "How to Win Friends and Influence People". (good book, read it) I am speaking from a tournament point of view, where I am probably playing against a complete stranger every game. Also I want to point out that being a genuinely friendly, outgoing and personable guy helps with this stuff.  From the start of the game I shake my opponents hand and smile. And look him in the eye. This shows respect and disarms any anxiety. Face it, tournaments can be stressful! I introduce myself, and repeat my name again a couple minutes later. (people tend to forget a new name within seconds, repeating the name relieves his embarrassment at forgetting it) And I ask for his, and not long later repeat his name back to him or ask for it again if I have forgotten it, admitting so. Honesty makes guys relax! I try to use his name several times.  People like to be addressed by name.

This is called "Establishing a Rapport".  Once he is at ease, you can start joking. Once you have established a comedic rapport, you can start baiting. Once you start baiting, you can influence his game!  In Sunday's game I was playing a club member with whom I already had a good rapport.  He won the roll to go first and deployed his two ork mobs in the center of the table right on the edge of deployment.  I put my flamer razorback on my edge.  I wanted to bait him to my edge so my land raider could come onto the table and I could assault his boys.  He saw the flamer and instinctively started to move back on his turn, but with a couple well placed jokes and playing towards baiting orky behavior, got him to charge towards my edge instead.  Many players personalities emulate their army. Marine players are blunt and brave. Eldar players are sneaky and arrogant. Ork players are stupid. :) JOKING! But they may play like orks none the less. The baiting worked so well that he also ran instead of shooting.  Perfect. :)  On my turn my raider came on and the terminators assaulted the mob, beating and routing them.  Of course most cases will not be this obvious. But in some games subtle effects can make the difference, like if you don't want his commander to leave cover for a turn, creating an imaginary scene of the commander polishing your commanders boots after he surrenders may be enough to keep him from exposing him.  Any way, you get the point.

You can read more about my psychology stuff here.  Remember most of it is tongue in cheek and only half serious.  Take it for what it is!  Fun.  This is turning into a longer post than I intended, so I will make it a two parter.

Next up, I will get into my actual gaming strategy and how my list works.



Big Bad Garou said...

One thing you have to watch out for is the same thing back. You are getting a rapport with them, but at the same time you are becoming more relaxed. Watch the game. Joke but be attentive.

Carry a large bottle of water and if the banter becomes so much that you are losing focus take a drink and look at the board. No one really wants to talk to someone while they are chugging water so they pause. This gives you a few moments to analyze the table and make sure your plans are working as well as watching for traps.

Jawaballs said...

I like the water bottle thing! Most of this stuff really does not qualify as tricks. But relaxing your opponent and creating a comfortable situation does create a situation where he is less focused, and as you point out, you are too. The only reason I posted this part of the article was that I managed to Jedi Mind Trick my opponent Joey into giving me the game on his first movement. :)

dzer0 said...

I would have to say that "How to win friends and influence people" was the most important book I have read in my entire life. These concepts of building good rapport with your opponent are the easiest way to not only put them at ease, but to ensure you both still have a fun game in the midst of the intense competition.

Another tip I have is to look at your opponents models and see what they are doing with them model/paint wise. I praise their painting style, or at least the direction they are going with if their abilities are still in that beginner stage. I try to find something they did that was unique and let them tell me about it, especially if it’s a custom Space Marine Chapter, Eldar Craftworld, or even a scratch built model based on some random book they read. I am sincere in my interest and people like to have their efforts appreciated.

As far as Jedi mind tricks, I talk down my good units and talk up my bad ones. People love to call out match ups ahead of time and prove their knowledge of game theory (ie. IG vs. the world) and I will just politely agree and laugh; “yea you will probably table me by turn 2, but let’s see if I can at least give you a fun game.” Then I will proceed to smash their face in by pointing out the minor losses in agony and shrugging off the major losses as if it was to be expected.

The easiest way to distract people with a mental game is to help them forget which mission they are actually playing by getting lost in the moment.

I like the water bottle idea, and I think I may use that in my next event.

Kevinmcd28 said...

ok that ork thing made me laugh lol

Michael said...

I second the good book call.

I try to do this all the time, after a fashion. Last example was when I blew up a Deldar raider with lelith in it first turn. The guy got all pissy about it because she wasn't going to make combat any time during the game. But I then talked Lelith up like she was amazing and would wipe my army all on her own. The guy of course had to agree. Once he agreed with me, it was over. I could steer his thoughts any way I wanted. And I stopped him from crying about it the whole game, lol.

Waiting for more as usual.

Da Warboss said...

Smacks of false-friendship. Be a friend, without trying to mess with his game. Christ...

Doomicon said...

Did I just read an article on how to be fake, false, and manipulate someone to win a game of plastic toy soldiers?

yikes. o.O

brickish said...

seriously guys. your mean, and weird. IT IS A GAME OF PLASTIC SOLDIERS. YOU TALK ABOUT DOING THE EXACT OPPOSTIE OF WHAT YOUR SUPPOSED TO DO. I mean, pretending o be their friend? its much more fun to b%^%h slap them across the face with your stormraven. because you see there pain. (I am kidding) but sereously. I mean pretending to be their friend, not really doing it? then taking control of the game by secretly hurting their feelings. thats just sad. you shoul dbe ashamed of even saying this. this game is to have REAL friends. you sound like what would happen if you combine skaven with WAAC players. be proud of yourselfs

brickish said...

anyways. blurt over. sneaky trick. I wont try it though.

brickish said...

love the opening bit by the way. he looks like hes gunna do a little nurgle gift (puke). "oh noes orks!" lol

Jawaballs said...

Warboss and Doomicon you miss the point or are just being intentionally ignorant. There is nothing fake about it. The book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is about making changes to the way YOU engage people to affect how they in turn interact with you in a positive way. In other words, this article is about improving YOUR social skills which in turn may have a beneficial effect on the game in your favor. The concepts I talk about, like using a guys name and looking him in the eye, are just good social skills. If you guys want to call using good social skills being fake, than you may want to think about how you yourselves engage strangers that you play against. These are social skills that I use whenever I encounter any one, any where, and are key personality elements of some of the most beloved and popular public figures in history. JFK, Reagan, MLK, Princess Diana... on and on. You think any of them really cared about the public they encountered on a daily basis? Hells no, but the public loved them! Why? Because their public "face" was a well manicured and practiced set of expressions, gestures and habits designed to improve their perception in the public eye.

They just didn't write blog articles explaining what they do. Does that make them fake? Or am I just being too honest and real?

False Friendship? What the heck are you talking about? No where in my article did I suggest that you lie to your opponent. I suggested disarming the nervous tension that can build up in a tournament setting by establishing rapport and using humor. If you are then able to tease a guy into making decisions that benefit you, game on. Teasing banter is part of competition. Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, two of the most loved basketball players of all time, used to use it all the time to manipulate guys they were being defended by into making decisions they otherwise would not have made thus making their job easier. If Michal Jordan or Kobe Bryant wrote an article explaining that he managed to get inside a guys head every game and use that to his advantage, you would not call him fake, you would call him smart. The Best Ever in fact.

I think you guys completely missed the most important line I wrote:

"Welcome to 40k, the Jawa Way! And remember, keep a sense of humor."

Brickish, you just don't make any sense at all.

Jawaballs said...

I forgot to finish my point about the public figures. While they may not directly care about each individual person they encounter, their social habits create that perception. So in reality, do they really not care? Or do they really care much more than they know!

The bottom line on this is that there are two sides of this discussion.

A: The guy who stands on his side of the table showing no outward interest in you at all. Talking about his stuff and not even regarding yours, not making a lick of eye contact, not even bothering to try to learn your name. Or worse not even bothering to engage you in any more conversation than is required to play the game.

And B: The guy who looks you in the eye, shakes your hand uses your name when addressing you, and asks you questions about you, your army and your life in general.

It is highly probable that neither care a diddle about you, but who would you rather play against? I know my answer.

Ash said...

Ah, social engineering. But for reals, it's good advice on being personable. I'm one of those guys that forgets names at the drop of a hat (even with people I've worked with for a month)! Maybe I just need to use their names more often.

Hmm. So if I play primarily Inquisition armies, what does that say about me? Well, I am a bit paranoid . . . all the time. . . .

Doomicon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doomicon said...

Agree or disagree, it is not my place to judge. Just a note thou, biggest boost to your game can come from simply purchasing new dice.


Dan said...

I think it comes down to motivation. If you are deliberately lightening the mood so that the game is more enjoyable for the other guy and yourself, then good for you. If you are doing it totally so that you can win at all costs, boo for you. To some extent it is characterful to have Orks make balls-to-the-wall charges, even if it is not the best tactical move. Likewise, some of the most enjoyable games are the close ones where there are a couple of epic struggles. Even if I lose, those games were fun - where I felt like I got some good licks in, did some damage, and had a good time. Hell, for the loser, having a good time is all they have. Conversely, I don't know any player who likes to be tabled or otherwise just pounded into oblivion, no matter how you sugar dress it. Bad dice are frustrating as hell and when it seems your opponent has an unstoppable juggernaut unit, that is almost as bad. If they think you tricked them then it is just that much worse. on the other hand if you help them (or better both of you) have more fun regardless of the outcome, then that's better for you.

In short, if you are using your skills simply to trick, manipulate, and thus win, I have not much use for you. I don't approve of bating for the purpose of trying to trick me or anyone else into changing my deployment or play. On the other hand, if you are using your skills so that the game is more fun for us both, I'm happy to play you anytime, even if you usually win.

Michael said...

Come back after a day or two and the whole tone has changed. Wow.

If I use social skills to diffuse a situation in which another player is complaining about the normal course of a game, (having a unit blown off the table), how in any way is that a bad thing. Or being fake for that matter?

I don't get the backlash.

David said...

It all depends on the intention. If you act friendly out of friendship (genuine interest, etc) you are for real. If you get in people's heads to win games you are real (such as jordan, attacking his oponents psiche to wear them out). If you act nice to do more damage, you know what you are ;). And you also know what you aren´t: sincere.

Most public figures put into practice techniques to improve their public image due to ulterior motives, such as getting votes, narcisism, gaining popularity or influence. They are the insincere ones and the ones playing fake frienship to manipulate people into mistakes are, as you said, the same type of person, just not the type of person you said, that actually cares.

So much regarding the objective data. Regarding the subjective, it's fine to play tricks as long as you have the balls to admit to it AND TO YOUR MOTIVES. Trying to embellish it as an effort to make oponent's games more enjoyable while you scheme to beat them at a plane they don't even know they are playing (the psicho game) is just denial.

I've been following you for months and only know has my opinion of you decreased. Not only for the scheming but for pretending to care while doing it. I hope no young readers have been manipulated by your post.

Jawaballs said...

I'm sorry you feel that way David. Yet another person who missed the point. I'm not sure, but with perhaps one or two exceptions, any one who has ever played me in a tournament would agree that I am a genuinely friendly and outgoing person. The exceptions... well, we reap what we sow. That does not mean that I don't practice good social skills to hone my appearance. Or if you insist, tricks. It means that even though I may be concentrating, stressed and nervous, I still force myself to take the time to use my opponents name and inquire about how he is doing.

But there is a mental part to any competition. To ignore it and not perfect those skills is just silly. To use it to your advantage is smart. That is what I pointed out. Or if I worded it poorly, intended to point out.

I have in no way said that I don't genuinely care about my opponents and their well being. It is very much the opposite, I care about every one I interact with and I want them to enjoy their experience with me. It is the nature of being a good teacher and the fundamental core of my personality.

What I have done is point out some very obvious and easy things that you can do to make the game a better experience for both of you, and yes, get an advantage. Or, at the risk of sounding fake, groom your appearance to seem more friendly and influence possible interaction outcomes. People are more likely to be forgiving against some one they like, and more agreeable in a competitive gaming context. There is nothing underhanded about focusing on that fact.

But I'm not going to defend myself on this any more. First of all, these are light hearted thoughts and intended for entertainment. Tongue in cheek. If people get bent out of shape, then there is little I can do for them.

And I stand by my point. Frankly, I wish more dudes in tournaments or in life in general would be "fake" friendly and interesting, than "honest" douche bags.

The Solstice Gnome said...

You suck. Why don't you stick those little toys in your ass and then eat 2 chili cheese burritos.

Jawaballs said...

Mmmm Chili Cheese!

Doomicon said...

"Frankly, I wish more dudes in tournaments or in life in general would be "fake" friendly and interesting, than "honest" douche bags."

LMAO! That's an awesome quote! I have to say after reading the article a few more times, I think something was lost in the translation. Based on your responses I absolutely understand where you are coming from. No different than bluffing in a hand of poker.

My apologies for my initial offhanded comment.

Jawaballs said...

I thought you would like that one. Maybe I should write for Hallmark rather than a blog. And thanks for the apologies Doomicon!

Jawaballs said...

And I loved that bit about the new dice. I've always had beef with guys who use casino dice, first of all because they are so huge it is difficult to find a clear spot and guys rarely have more than a few, so they have to reroll them several times. I like guys rolling all of their shots at once. But also, I believe if guys are going to dice cheat, the casino ones are more consistent. I've seen miraculous luck from guys flipping...er rolling those big suckers.

thecandyman said...

aah.. too bad its looks many people just dont get the point, whats wrong about being friendly? Talking your opponent into doing something thats "fluffy" for their army isnt rude or manipulating. Like for example making your marine opponent thats about to lose make a hero-like epic charge. you know the charge will cost him his victory, but that kind of thing is maybe a thing a marine sgt would do. If he chooses to as you suggest it is his own choice. I think playing an army from a fluffy perspective is sadly enough lost in many ways and I think it is in the very well written fluff of 40k that alot of the fun and joy lies.

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