Back in the days of Warhammer 40.000 I had a friend and regular opponent with SMWD. Thomas was intelligent, tactically sound, knew his way around list construction, and should by all rights have been a dangerous opponent, but games against him would always go like this.
We would line up, play a round or two, and at some point something would go wrong (like it does for everyone) and his game would fall apart. It was usually related to dice or some mistake he made, but it could be anything and the end result would be the same: The inevitable loss of the game.
Self-defeating Miniature Wargaming Disorder
The specific triggers for SMWD are unique for everyone, but mostly they’re simple things that happen to everyone during most games. I’ve seen it happen recently in a game of Warmachine, where one of my club members was about to concede a game he was sure to win. The reason he was giving up was because most of his army had been killed during Ravyns feat turn, but he was perfectly lined up to grab two free control points, and almost certain to grab a third and final control point the following round.
I’ve won a game with seven models remaining on the table, of which two were Swamp Gobbers and two died to friendly fire on the round that I won. I’ve had pDeneghra beaten up by an entire enemy army while on zero Focus and surviving, and I’ve seen people needing to roll triple sixes on the final roll of the game and doing it. SMWD has a wide variety of symptoms, but the most common are:
- A tendency to miss game winning moves because of the assumption that the game is already lost.
- A tendency to enforce that belief by making high risk moves to ‘save the game’ and failing.
- A tendency to assume that every roll of the dice will go against you, and only noticing the ones that do.
These three core symptoms make it extremely hard for a player with SMWD to win games. If they’re not distracted and mourning their failed strategy or going “if only my choir boy had rolled triple sixes on damage“, they’re busy calculating exactly how many of their models should have died, and comparing it to the number of models that actually did. This makes it incredibly unlikely that a player with SMWD wins, because every game features failures and mistakes.
Never give up!
Never give up, no matter the odds! Nine out of ten times it ends with the horrible demise you predicted, but every so often the dice intervene or your opponent makes a mistake. This applies to every aspect of the game, and I’ve seen many games won or lost out of nowhere because someone fought to the last box.
A game is never lost until it ends. Sure it might seem unlikely or even impossible that your Warcaster can take on an entire army, but it just might happen, and then you just might get the opportunity you need, because your opponent never in a million years thought you’d survive it. There are no consequences to playing most games to the bitter end, but there are incredible rewards if you do it consistently.
Never let your actions be dictated by the dice, and never abandon a course you know is right simply because you fear that the dice might fail you. Take failure into account when planning the round, and accept the consequences as ‘part of the game’, and I guarantee that you’ll win 5-10% of the games you would otherwise have conceded.