DJ joins us once again to cover a very important concept in Card Games, and that’s playing with Intent!
One of the easiest ways to hurt your win percentage is to fall into the habit of doing things without a particular reason in mind. It is important that we always are evaluating not only what plays we are making, but also, why we are making them. There have been times where I will make a play and then think, “Wait. Why did I do that?” While there are people who play more instinctually, the reason they can do that is because they have thought through the same lines over and over again and have hours upon hours of practice into playing. Now it is true that there are a lot of times that you technically could possibly win games by just throwing cards down and hoping it all works out, but your win percentage will be significantly lower than if you simply just apply reasoning and logic to your decisions.
Here are a few things that I try to always ask myself when I am thinking through a line of play in no particular order:
1) How will this line win me the game?
If you can’t identify that the line you are taking will win you the game or, at least let you stay in the game, then it’s probably not the right line to take.
2) What does my opponent’s next turn look like?
Identifying what your opponent’s next turn can look like will allow you to test if a line is good, bad, or just ok. This also lets you start to sculpt the game into how you want it to play out which can allow you to put yourself in a really advantageous spot.
3) Can I actually beat the card that I am playing around?
If you can’t beat a card you are playing around then you actually might be doing yourself more harm than good compared to if you just play into and hope your opponent doesn’t have it. A classic example of this is playing around a board wipe when it would be better to just play out all your cards and hope they don’t have it because the cards you are sandbagging aren’t actually going to be enough to beat the board wipe. If you reach the conclusion that you can’t beat the card that you are trying to play around then you should play as though it doesn’t exist because well… you can’t beat it anyway.
4) What are my opponent’s outs?
Figuring out your opponent’s outs can help you seal up the game. If you have a way of eliminating your opponents chances of going back into the game or possibly just winning the game, then you can pull the door shut and finish the game. There are times when I will make a play and then realize by making said play I have given my opponent an out that they currently didn’t have, and I certainly have lost the game because of it.
5) What are my outs?
Figuring out what you could top deck to come back in a game can help influence a lot of decision trees when the games become stressful and the pressure is heavier to make the right choice every turn. Sometimes you’ll be doing something that is negative value or trading resources badly because it allows you to top deck a key card to finish out the game.
The context of these questions changes with each game action since they will evolve with how the game is playing out but they do provide a good guideline for how your games will play out and allow you to recognize why you are making the play that you are making. This allows you to then start seeing the patterns in why you do what you do, eventually making it something that will come more naturally. Using critical thinking is so important in card games because you can figure out the rules of thumb pretty easily, but there are times that it is actually correct to go AGAINST the rule of thumb and being at a place where you are constantly thinking about why you are doing what you are doing will allow you to recognize these time and capitalize.
Always be thinking and always ask yourself “why?”
Find people to watch you play and offer constructive criticism, like the ones in our discord!
Allow yourself to be in a place where you can be honest with yourself about your abilities so you can improve what you may be lacking.
In my next article I will be talking about this exact topic to cover why being honest with ourselves is vital to being great at card games and why it’s also good for the gaming community as a whole. Until then happy gaming and I’ll see you on the ladder!
In case folks havent seen, our team member Gunter9 had started a donation page with the Breast Cancer Research Fund. My mother is also a survivor and my father is brain cancer survivor as well. If you can find your way to the team's donation page linked below and contribute or share that would be greatly appreciated! https://give.bcrf.org/team/287654