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Sunday, June 05, 2005

The agony of defeat

This was not a good weekend for gaming for me.

It started on Friday afternoon. My team challenged our in-house development team to an informal Quake tournament. We figured that since these guys were used to playing slower games like Soldier of Fortune and Counterstrike, we would have a considerable advantage over them.

In fact we were hopelessly outnumbered (2.5 to 1) and were faced with some team strategies that we hadn’t anticipated from our training against bots.

We were overconfident and inadequately prepared. That taken into consideration, it wasn’t very surprising that we were beaten. Although we did put up a valiant fight.

Yesterday was a different story.

I’ve been playing HeroClix for about a year now. Before yesterday I had never lost a game. I had only played in one tournament, in which I won a flawless victory.

Yesterday was the first day of Warcon 2005, a CMG convention in Bedfordview. I signed up to play in the HeroClix tournament. My opponents were a bunch of guys I hadn’t played before.

Because they didn’t know how good I was, they thought it best to pair me up with one of their weaker players for the first round. He demolished me. He systematically killed every single one of my soldiers without me being about to make a single successful hit.

For the second round they paired me with a 12-year-old. Although I managed get in one or two hits, he also made short work of me… he cleared the table of my army in less than half the allotted time.

It wasn’t just humbling, it was humiliating.

I managed to pull my shit together for a narrow margin victory in the third round, but that was more a case of sheer luck… my army was inherently more resistant to the randomly selected battlefield condition than my opponent’s… something neither of us could have foreseen. In a straight battle I wouldn’t have stood a chance.

It was such a shockingly bad performance, the rest of the guys voted me the winner of the Sportsmanship Prize (aka – the pity prize). And how fitting that the prize was a limited edition figure of Northstar – Marvel’s homosexual Canadian superhero.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I could only figure out why I lost. I’ve been scouring the rule-books for ways to counter the powers that I was faced with, thus far to no avail.

I’ve never been a sore loser, because I see a loss as an opportunity to learn and improve, but this time I just can’t see how I would have won. There was just no way.