Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Checking it Twice: Setting Up the Idea

Having wrapped up (for now) the squadron series, I'm going to explore an idea that I've just come up with.  This may turn out to be a fool's errand, but that's something we'll find out with a few weeks of exploration of this idea.  This is not something I'll be able to wrap up in a bunch of posts one right after the other, this is going to be something that's going to be (in my opinion) worth exploring.
I hope?
After spending 3-4 days and 2 attempts at a post based around predictions for wave 6 and what I think the meta is going to be (spoiler alert: Konstantine's still bad! I have too many other things to do to get back to trying Sato!), I'd MUCH RATHER write about something that I WANT to write about here.  So, let's take a slight detour to get this series started.

So I started a new job Monday (hash brown humble brag).  After two months of being unemployed (no WONDER I've been getting more articles out, haha!), I'm quite looking forward to this place.  As this is a "real" place of work and I have a "professional" job, I don't want to go into too much detail, but I'm an engineer.  (There's a reason I try not to throw my last name out here; I really don't need to explain to a future employer about this blog I have written around the Star Wars game I play).  But one of the first assignments they gave me was to read some things, specifically, this book among them.
Give me a second, we'll get there....
So I read it, and what it amounted to is that by making SMART checklists for everyday activities AND working as a team, you can reduce the potential for stupid mistakes in the workplace.  There's a LOT more to it than that, and it's a very interesting book that I'm actually willing to listen to and try.  The examples they give in the book are pilots (specifically, they mention Sully Sullenberger and landing the plane in the Hudson and how everyone following a pilot's checklist kept everyone alive there) and surgical teams in 8 different countries that the WHO was able to study.  The surgeons reduced complications and inept mistakes (wrong procedures, forgotten anesthetic, stuff like that) by a SIGNIFICANT margin, and it didn't matter if this was one of the premier hospitals in London or one in Jordan serving 1000s of refugees or a completely understaffed one in India.  Short answer: checklists work.  It may not seem "cool" to make one, but hey, results are results.

But what does this have to do with Armada? Well, that's when I stumbled upon the idea of attempting to create a checklist for each time it's your turn in Armada.  Before we begin creating our ARMADA checklist, we need to first talk about how to create a GENERIC checklist and what the point of one is.
I will end you.

First, you want to make these manageable checklists.  You don't put EVERYTHING on there, you put the most important stuff.  There's no reason to put something like "roll dice" in there, you know how your attack step works (if you don't, here's Eric's helpful primer!).  Similarly, it's not worth putting in "modify dice." Repeated usage with your list will ensure you know if you have TRCs, Leading Shots, Ordnance Experts, or whatever on there.  That's something that's going to come with time playing your list, NOT necessarily from a checklist that lists all your abilities.

Similarly, if I put every single thing you CAN do on your turn, this both wastes YOUR time and YOUR OPPONENT'S time, which is (in my mind) even worse.  This checklist is going to be something you speed through quickly, no more than a minute each turn, and much preferably 15-20 seconds before you activate a ship.  It will ALSO use enough acronyms or quick 1-2-3 bullet points that you will not bring a huge paper with it all written out to the game.  I'm not adding to either your workload or your opponent's time spent waiting for you, that's not the point here.

The point of this checklist is going to be to both improve the speed of the slow-players and influence the decision of the indecisive.  It's also going to make you better at choosing HOW your turn is set to play out, hopefully leading to more wins.  I'm aiming to make your game both better and faster, and we're going to develop this over time and see how it goes.
What I'm aiming to make you with your list. Now to go watch the video with the hands!

Second, the benefit of a checklist is that you can pull yourself out of your lizard brain and stop making dumb decisions that you THINK are going to be good (but aren't).  I can't tell you the number of times that I've had a ship activate because "I need it to do something before it dies!" or "it just got shot and can't take another hit so I HAVE to activate it now!" The way that I'm planning on setting this checklist up, if we all follow it, we'll be able to make the RIGHT decision for our game, which should lead to more and better wins.  I hope.

Lastly, we're going to use this checklist to force us into discipline. We're all programmed to go for exciting and interesting and wacky, me especially.  But Armada isn't necessarily won by going nuts.  It's won by thinking smart and playing the game out correctly and knowing your list.  Rieekan Aces won a bunch of games because it thought its way forward and because the people flying it had practiced it HEAVILY.  You don't need to kill everything turn 2; you have 6 total turns.  Take your time, stay smart, and think it through.
Things that are not tumors: this GIF
Like I said, this isn't going to be a quick series, it's going to evolve over time.  The way I'm planning on doing this, I'll make the general checklist first with what I think needs to be and doesn't need to be on it.  That'll be our next post, rough guess of about a week or two from now.  I'm gonna need to actually try it out and use it, see what I can develop as useful and we'll see what happens from there.  Maybe this is a stupid idea, maybe it's not.  If everything goes right, however, I'll have created something anyone can use to get better at the game.


  1. I just want to say, I have really appreciated this website. Your humourous quirps and captions have not gone unnoticed

  2. I'm pretty fascinated by this idea. I've started something similar to this process a few months ago. Then my 2nd kid was born and I haven't been back to it since. Looking forward to seeing where you go from here! Cheers!

  3. Congratulations on your new position! I completely agree on the subject matter. Spot on!

  4. So far I only made checklists in my mind. But there are couple of things, that I keep forgetting. Namely all the Interdictor shenanigans that can activate any time.