With the 2016 World Championship set for 2pm tomorrow afternoon, now is the perfect time to remind players to stop shortcutting. But first, it might help for you to truly understand what a shortcut is and why it is so incredibly important that you stop doing it.
During any game of Star Wars LCG, it is incredibly easy (and very understanding) that a player will skip a certain element of gameplay in order to move on to the next action, or end a phase. A prime example of this is moving to the Force phase and committing a unit to the Force without checking to see if your opponent had any actions they would like to take during the End of Conflict Action Window. Or how about resolving a strike and destroying the last opposing unit within a conflict and moving on to the next conflict without mentioning the unopposed damage that should have resolved?
These are all examples of shortcuts. You’re not being forgetful. You’re not a bad player. You’re just incredibly used to the intuitive elements of the game and they seem very natural and common to you, so you don’t take the time to stop and make sure each of them are completed and resolved in the way they should be. Your mind knows that an unopposed damage should occur, but you’re in a tournament and you know the games are being timed and you’ve playtested so many times with your friends that you always ‘fix’ the damage if it was missed.
Shortcutting in Star Wars LCG can be hazardous to your tournament performance. The intent during playtesting for any upcoming tournament is to get your mind ready for any situation, but if you’ve been shortcutting during these testing sessions you are much more likely to make a simple shortcut during a game that could cost you your tournament life.
One of my most notorious shortcut uses is post-Edge resolution. I am absolutely guilty of wanting to jump right into the action and will constantly miss Reactions I could have utilized had I slowed down and paid attention to each phase and step. It can feel tedious to check with your opponent after every step of the game, but it will only help your tournament results. Asteroid Sanctuary can be the bane of my frustration during playtest sessions because I will constantly jump right into the battle instead of slowing down and resolving reactions.
Missing Asteroid Sanctuary reactions might sound like an honest mistake to you, but I can guarantee you the Number One reason I miss it so consistently is because during playtest, I allow myself to rewind and complete the reaction. In testing, I’m shortcutting through because I have so many games I need to get in that I don’t want to slow down and feel like if I miss something – it’s okay, we can go back and fix it.
DON’T. DO. THAT.
Again, the entire point of playtesting is to prepare for the event. If you’re preparing by taking shortcuts and fixing mistakes, you’re costing yourself precious playtesting time. If you practice anything enough times, it will become habit. That statement applies to the good and to the bad. If you practice always resolving an Asteroid Sanctuary reaction correctly by stopping after an Edge battle and checking for reactions or actions, you’ll learn to do it by habit and it will become natural. If you’re constantly forgetting and constantly ‘fixing’ the missed reaction by drawing the card later, you’re training your mind to forget about the reaction. You’re training yourself that it’s okay to ‘fix’ mistakes. Your playtest sessions might go by faster, but your mistakes will become trained mistakes and you’ll make them with higher frequency as a result.