The mental edge - the importance of self-care at events

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  • The mental edge - the importance of self-care at events

    So, honest confession, I used to go to events for all games, Magic, warhammer, pokemon, you name it, in really bad shape. I'd show up to locals sporting a wicked hangover, as @Tyranno might remember from a few years back. Or I'd show up to magic events and skip breakfast, or having rushed out of the hotel with nothing but my models and, optionally, suitable clothing. Then I'd play a bunch of games, skipping lunch and just pushing through to the end of the day before eating a dinner that could probably feed a family of four.

    Please don't do this.

    Now that I've slowly worked myself out of those habits, I realise that they were completly detrimental. Not just to my own health, but also to my performance in those events. By not taking proper care of myself, I lowered my level of play and chances of winning, even if I wasn't entirely aware of it. So I wanted to discuss the things I've just mentioned, and if anyone has their own tips or routines before events, please feel free to chime in!

    1. Hangovers/Not enough Sleep. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it's always worth getting enough sleep. I'd love to tell people not to drink as well, but I'm pretty sure that that would get me relegated to shovelling dwarf latrines, so rather, just ensure you turn in early enough to get some sleep. There really is no comparison between a player who has had enough rest, and one who hasn't. Not only is the well-rested player more alert and likely to make well-reasoned plays, but waking up with time to spare ensure you'll pack appropriatly, not forget anything, and have time to eat and relax before the event starts.
    2. Have something to eat before starting. This one, I cannot overstate. It is incredibly easy, in the rush of things, to feel as though breakfast is something that you can skip over or make up for. I wouldn't do this unless in the case of a genuine emergency. I'd rather wake up a little earlier and fit this in, than skip it for a little extra sleep. Having a good breakfast will ensure your mental acumen is at its peak, and provide you with energy for the first few rounds. In magic, we call it the round 3 crash - most players will be good enough during rounds 1 and 2, and sharply decline in perfomance around round 3. Breakfast will carry you through most of the event, so make sure you make time for it.
    3. Staying energized and hydrated. So this is pretty important for events that run the course of the entire day - I'd recommend bringing some of whatever your favourite snack is (I use apples), and a big bottle of something to drink. Water is ideal here, but whatever works for you. I'd stay away from energy drinks, just because they can cause you to mentally crash in much the same way skipping a meal can as the sugar/caffiene high wears off. Make sure that between games, you have a bite and a small drink. Since round times are variable, there's no guarantee you'll be able to pop to the shops if you're feeling peckish, so I wouldn't leave it to chance. The constant flow of energy will ensure that you don't start to dip as the day wears on.

    So, ever since I've started implementing these points of self-care into my events, I've found myself doing much better in longer events, and generally having a more fun time. If there are any self-care tips you'd like to share, or any suggestions you might have, please feel free to chip in!
    "I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right."
    -Third Ideal of the Windrunners.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Yatagarasu ().

  • This is beyond motivational and helpful.
    I find I go play games, that aren't even events, this way sometimes. I'd gobble up a larger lunch to "hold me over" for a late dinner. I get a headache and lose concentration not even halfway through round 2 of most games.

    I'll make sure to improve my habits and grab some snacks for said occasions. (My small step for improving my own routine).

    I appreciate someone taking the time to support healthy gaming on this forum. I feel like this is an issue a lot of us gamers face, and it's not healthy at all!

    Hope everyone takes something from this thread and improves their routine, even if by a slight margin, so that games become more enjoyable for them! :thumbsup:
  • Self-care tip: Know how much mental effort your list needs to play, or build your list according to your priorities for the event.

    For example when I go an event with my friends that my goal is to do well in, I bring Sylvan Elves. Playing my Sylvan Elves right requires a lot of brain power, but when played right gets the best results. It also suffers the most from ignoring the things you've mentioned above, definitely been subjected to the game 3 crash.

    However there are tournaments I go to simply because I want to get more Ninth Age games in (When I'm in Uni I don't get casual games, but book tournies instead) or because I want to hang out with other friends who want to go. To these tournaments I bring Daemon Legions, hard blocks of infantry and big-boi monsters. Much easier to play, much more forgiven to make mistakes in a much more allowing for me to get drunk in-between games!

    No offence meant to anyone, but some army types are simply easier to play than others and require a lot less finesse. So identify how much effort your list takes and staying within those limits is good self care.

    One of my best results in a tournament came from when I got knockout drunk playing Mono-pestilence daemons. An army of 3 units, 2 chaff and 1 monster, all with 4+ regen saves and 5+ poison, and my magic was three different re-roll to hit spells. I just walked forward, people charged me, I'd make saves, then smack them back. Was tonnes of fun.