Lesson 13 – Burden of Knowledge

Welcome back, readers, to another lesson here on Crit the Books! This week, we’ll be branching a bit away from strategy principles, and move towards the design side of games. We’ll be discussing something that comes up very often when talking about games, and this same concept is something that can let you demonstrate mastery of a game in a method that is not simply strategic. This week, we’ll be discussing the Burden of Knowledge.

In any game, there are a set number of components within the game. Even for games that are procedurally generated or make use of customizable elements, there are still parts of the game that can be known and predicted. Burden of Knowledge refers to the amount of rules or specifics of different components that exist in the game. Burden of knowledge as a concept specifically references the “printed” aspects of the game, or those that are available direct from the game and must not be deduced.

As an example of what differentiates strategic knowledge from printed knowledge that increases a game’s burden of knowledge, we’ll look at a game that I am currently dipping my toes into and attempting to learn – Pokemon! To be specific, we’ll be talking about competitive battling in the video games – specifically Generation 7 – in Drafting Leagues. While there is quite a bit to be said about Draft Leagues in Pokemon, I won’t be discussing the specifics here. Instead, I encourage you to read this article written by my good friend Hexcat, over on their site!

Pokemon has a lot of depth to it, and that is part of what makes it have such a variety of competitive formats. That depth shows in a lot of ways! Each pokemon brings with it a unique combination of base stats, abilities, types, and moves that it can learn. In addition to just the variety of possibility that differentiates the pokemon themselves, there are a variety of items that each pokemon can bring into the battle. Mega Evolutions and powerful moves called Z-Moves expand the choices even more.

All of these possibilities for the pokemon, as well as the specific interactions of moves and pokemon, are available to players at any time, and do not change game to game. Since all of this information is set and directly available to the player without being deduced, this is considered printed knowledge, and therefore contributes to the huge burden of knowledge that an aspiring pokemon player must overcome if they want to make it as a competitive player.

On the other hand, pokemon also has a very deep well of strategic information. Knowing how to construct a strong team, knowing what role each pokemon can play in that team, knowing how to leverage the knowledge you have of the opponent’s team into moves that are more efficient for you… those are all strategic knowledge, and this depth of strategy is what has made pokemon such a long-lasting player in the gaming arena. There is a reason that pokemon is still played consistently to this day, and the strategic depth is what keeps it there.

To contrast the heavy burden of knowledge of Pokemon, we’ll look at a game that has a light burden of knowledge but incredibly deep strategic knowledge. Imagine a game where there are only 6 different pieces with their own rules, as well as a very simple set of base game rules. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about Chess! It doesn’t take very long to learn the ropes of Chess, and after you have learned how each piece moves, nearly all of the knowledge you can gain about the game is strategic knowledge.

Games with a heavy burden of knowledge can be very difficult for a new player. I can speak from personal experience – for a long time, I avoided really getting into the competitive pokemon community because I didn’t think I would have the time or attention span to devote to overcoming that burden. While you can form some heuristics to lighten the load of a heavy burden of knowledge, you also risk missing out on something important because your heuristics may be flawed!

You might ask, then, “How do I get started in a game with a heavy burden of knowledge? Is it not worth my time?” To that, I must say that there is no easy answer. However, there are some starting techniques that you can look at. One method that you can use is to start with a reduced complexity version or variant of the game, either by editing the base rules to make them simpler or by limiting the options available to you. That, or you can have a more experienced player make some decisions for you while you start to work on getting deeper into the game.

This first method is the one that I got started in Pokemon Drafting with. A coach in the Fun Pokemon League – the one Hexcat mentions in their article above – ended up dropping out of the league, and the organizer of the league ended up looking for replacement coaches. I ended up stepping in, giving me an introduction to drafting without the added complexity of the drafting portion itself. This reduction in the starting complexity was a godsend. In addition, I was lucky enough to have HexCat willing to answer my questions and help assist me in my matches. While I have been relying on their help less and less as the league goes on, they were still very helpful in my early weeks.

This actually brings me to another method for getting into a game with a heavy burden of knowledge. Having a friend or another resource that can translate the knowledge into more easily accessible pieces of strategic knowledge. To provide an example, I was very unsure of why my team’s original coach had chosen Dugtrio as a Z-Move user. I was completely lost, and while I could have access to all of the moves available to Dugtrio, I didn’t know how they fit into the overall scheme of my team because I lacked the knowledge to know what made them relevant. Hexcat was able to tell me that the option of Z-Memento essentially let some pokemon on my team set up to sweep without fearing losing them to strong attacks.

One final method is to simply dive in to the game and try to master the printed knowledge of the game for yourself. This is not a simple trick or a way to escape the burden of knowledge; rather, you choose to face it head on and conquer it that way. Players that enjoy learning and don’t mind poring over information will find this method a strong one indeed. This method is also a really good one if you already enjoy the game!

When it comes to the learning new games or designing games for yourself, it is very important to remember the burden of knowledge within the game. A high burden of knowledge can make your game intimidating to learn, and that can be a death sentence for a new game. Learning to conquer that burden of knowledge for yourself can make new games far more accessible to you, and it never hurts to learn more about the games you love as well!

A big thank you to my Patrons for this month: Alex, TicTac, and anonymous patrons. If there are specific subjects or concepts you’d like an article written on, I suggest you look at my patreon! For just $7 a month, you’ll be able to suggest article topics for me to write on.

As always, remember that it’s not enough to just hit the books if you want to win. You’ve got to Crit the Books!

 

 

Lesson 12: Wide and Narrow

Hello, my dear readers, and welcome to another week of Crit the Books! It’s been a few busy weeks, but because of that, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some of my gaming companions and gotten a lot of interesting insights on different styles of game and how to look at strategies in those different games. In fact, this week I’ll be talking about one of the most common differentiators of strategies that I have seen across multiple games – Narrow vs. Wide strategies.

In a nutshell, Narrow and Wide strategies refer to how the game’s resources – be they mental energy, action points, or similar – are spent when there are multiple places to spend those resources. In a Narrow strategy, resources are more often spent on a single goal, model, or game component. In a Wide strategy, resources are distributed to different locations, allowing for more flexible play but less pure strength in a single aspect.

Narrow strategies are focused on putting as much power into a single objective as possible. These strategies tend to be very powerful in terms of raw force or numbers, but can sometimes fail when the objective or component that the resources are focused on is either defeated or otherwise made irrelevant. Narrow strategies are about trading pure efficiency in setup for maximum efficiency in output. Strategies like this are often called buff strategies or something similar. While putting all of your proverbial eggs in one basket can be risky, it can pay off very well if your basket is strong and safe enough to keep all of your eggs safe!

Wide strategies, on the other hand, trade away the incredible efficiency of one single output in exchange for a more widespread efficiency among the wider goal. Wide strategies tend to be more flexible, and are more difficult to dismantle because taking multiple components out of commission or making multiple pieces irrelevant is more difficult than stopping simply one. Wide strategies tend to be lower variance as well, since putting all of the odds into a single point can be dangerous. However, wide strategies often lack the pure power that narrow strategies can wield.

You can find examples of narrow and wide strategies in nearly every game imaginable and identifying the width of different strategies can be key in finding out how to beat them. Let’s look at some examples of narrow or wide strategies in a number of games and look at what makes them narrow or wide.

First, we’ll look at one of the oldest games of strategy still played today: Chess! In chess, you’ll often hear that some players specialize or pay extra attention to a given piece. Perhaps one player tends to favor the extreme power that their queen brings to the table, or another player tends to make use of the unique attack vectors that the Knights bring to the table. These players tend to favor more narrow strategies, where the majority of resources that they can spend – their movements each turn – are spent on one component. Players like this can have difficulty when their pieces of choice are removed. On the other hand, some players tend to play more evenly with all of their pieces, making use of whichever piece has the most efficient options at a given time. These players are playing a more wide strategy, which can be harder to figure out strong counterplay for. However, they will often not be able to take opponents by surprise as easily, and their gameplay can be more easily planned for.

Now that we’ve looked at an older game, let’s look at a game with more complicated pieces, such as Overwatch. In Overwatch of the past, two team compositions that we will look at are “el presidente” and deathball comps. In the former, a large amount of resources are focused on buffing or protecting a single character that has the ability to turn those buffs into a high output. Oftentimes, Bastion is “el presidente” of the group – he trades away his mobility for the ability to gain high DPS. Healers like Mercy or Ana, who have very high healing per second on a single target, can help protect Bastion, while tanks like D.Va or Orisa can protect Bastion to make up for the lack of his mobility. These allow the team to make full use of Bastion’s powerful, but narrow strengths, and those same strengths mirror those of the entire team composition. The comp deals amazing amounts of damage with significant durability, but if Bastion is removed from the equation, they can very quickly falter.

On the other side of the equation in Overwatch are deathball compositions. In Deathball comps, healers like Mercy are often passed up in favor of healers who lack the strong single target healing, and instead look towards healers that can heal – or offer other buffs – in an area of effect. Brigitte and Lucio are both pretty common to see here. These healers have significantly less healing on a single target, but when you add together the healing they can provide to 5 other players, their healing numbers very quickly approach or even outstrip those of more focused healers. While this is only looking at the support side of deathball comps, it serves as a good foil to the narrow “el presidente” strategies by pointing out the power of wider strategies, where it is harder to bring the team falling apart by taking out specific key players.

As you’ve seen, looking at and judging strategies on a narrow vs wide axis can be very helpful when it comes to analyzing weaknesses of a strategy. As well, knowing what playstyle you tend to prefer can help you focus on your strengths, something that we tend to talk about a lot here on Crit the Books – because it’s important! For your homework this week, look at the strategies you used in the past few games that you played. Did you use a more narrow strategy where you put many resources into a single component to squeeze the most efficiency out of it, or did you adapt a wider strategy which was more difficult to counter? Maybe your strategy even changed over the course of the game!

A big thank you to my Patrons for this month: Alex, TicTac, and anonymous patrons. If there are specific subjects or concepts you’d like an article written on, I suggest you look at my patreon! For just $7 a month, you’ll be able to suggest article topics for me to write on.

As always, remember that it’s not enough to just hit the books if you want to win. You’ve got to Crit the Books!

 

Lesson 11: The Shoulders of Giants

Welcome back to Crit the Books! This week, we’ll be looking into other sources of gaming strategy. Over the years, a number of articles and books have been written on how to play games, and strategies to use within them. One of my goals with Crit the Books is to become similarly known within the gaming community as a place to look for depth of strategy.

I’ll be pointing you to some of these articles that I think are the most important, groundbreaking, or informational writing pieces in larger gaming strategy. I’ll also be explaining – in a brief paragraph or two – what makes the pieces so important, and what lessons can be gained from them. I’ll provide a quick summary, but of course, I think you should heavily consider reading the articles for yourself. Many of these articles are how I have built up my knowledge of gaming strategy myself!

The first piece of writing I’ll look at is one that has gone down in card game history as perhaps the most valuable piece of strategy writing ever done for the card game genre. While it focuses on Magic: the Gathering, it has uses in nearly every competitive game that I have ever played in one way or another. If you’ve ever been an M:tG tournament grinder, you probably know what article I’m talking about: Who’s the Beatdown? Written by Mike Flores!

Who’s the Beatdown? is primarily focused on how to realize when you are the aggressor or the defender in matchups of Magic: the Gathering. The article focuses on how to realize when you are the aggressor vs. the defender, and what that can mean for you in the matchup. The article characterizes the difference between the beatdown and control strategies as that between a strategy that wants to beat the opponent early via tempo, and one that seeks to outlast the opponent and gain an advantage through value or efficiency.

Who’s the Beatdown? itself is a heavily Magic: the Gathering focused article, but many of the lessons that it teaches can be applied to other games. In nearly every other game, the dichotomy between tempo and value is apparent in some way, shape, or form. Players can use the resources at hand to seek their victory condition early and lock their opponent into specific responses with their aggressive plays. Alternatively, players can make moves that individually are not as powerful but will gain them more power in the long game because their moves are more efficient engines. Knowing what side of this dichotomy you should be focused on is crucial for a new player.

Moving on, another book that I can’t recommend more is Playing to Win: Becoming the Champion by David Sirlin. Written mainly from the perspective of a fighting game player but incorporating a basis of chess knowledge, Playing to Win focuses on sharpening your competitive mindset through a number of examples from the larger gaming community as well as personal anecdotes.

Perhaps the most impactful thing from my reading was Sirlin’s differentiation between a poor player and a “scrub”. In introducing the latter term, Sirlin looks at the mentality that often causes players losses due to not wanting to make moves that are perceived as “cheap” or “no skill”. He asks of the reader, why would you not use all of the tools at your disposal to win the game? If you’re not using the tools at your disposal, you are either artificially handicapping yourself, or setting yourself up with excuses in case you lose. Either way, you’re not gaining any advantage by trying to avoid certain strategies because they are “cheap”. Sirlin is ruthless in dismantling this mentality in the reader, making it explicitly clear that he doesn’t have any interest in excusing poor play because one is worried about making the game “more fun”.

The final article we’ll look at today touches on one of the easiest ways to distill value out of game objects within games of all kinds. That article is The Philosophy of Fire, also by Mike Flores. The Philosophy of Fire is about breaking down your win condition into its constituent parts, then breaking down all of the components you have access to down to what they can do to propel you towards that victory condition. Then, you make use of the components that do the most for you along that axis.

The Philosophy of Fire is primarily Magic: the Gathering based, but you can apply the basic ideas to nearly every game you play. Let’s look, for example, at a board game: Ascension. In Ascension, players compete to gain the most honor, and they do so by buying cards from a central buy row, using card abilities, or by defeating monsters in the aforementioned buy row for rewards. Often times, I will see new players struggling with the game; they will spend most of the game trying to put together strong synergies in their decks or trying to get their masterful combo to go off. However, they start to see their opponents winning before they are. When players ask me why they are losing so often, I ask them, “What are you trying to do?” Occasionally they will answer with something like, “Get as many cards that draw cards so I can play more cards.” “Is that helping you win the game?” I ask them in return. Often, they’ll respond with something similar to “Yeah… wait, it’s really not, is it?”

The Philosophy of Fire is, put simply, another way to tell you to play to your outs. However, it is also a way to evaluate the actions and resources you are using during games and seeing if you are taking the right ones, or if you are engaging in what amounts to mental masturbation. It is very important to keep your eyes on the prize, and The Philosophy of Fire helps you do that.

When it comes to learning strategy in any gaming setting, it is important to remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants. While everything that someone else has thought of can be possibly reasoned out and thought of, that is a very inefficient way to learn. Instead, make sure to take advantage of the resources available to you, even if they are focused on games other than your normal ones. I am sure there are lessons you can learn. For this week’s homework, I would suggest you try to find a strategy article you haven’t read before and try to distill it down to its central lesson. Send your results to @CritTheBooks on twitter – I’d love to hear what you find!

A big thank you to my Patrons for this month: Alex, TicTac, and anonymous patrons. If there are specific subjects or concepts you’d like an article written on, I suggest you look at my patreon! For just $7 a month, you’ll be able to suggest article topics for me to write on.

As always, remember that it’s not enough to just hit the books if you want to win. You’ve got to Crit the Books!

 

Lesson 10 – Gaming Styles

Welcome back to Crit the Books! This week, we’ll be looking at a division between different gaming styles. Most players that I have known fall easily into one of the two categories I’m going to be bringing up in this article. In addition, we’ll be looking at how knowing what gaming style you fall into can help you get better at the games you are interested in improving at. Knowing your gaming style can be very valuable in figuring out what drives you to play a game as well, which can do a lot for making games more enjoyable overall!

When I talk about gaming styles, I mostly mean how a player approaches learning things within a game and how they are more naturally inclined to progress in different games. The two styles that I’ll be talking about are intuitive gamers and trained gamers. Neither of these styles is necessarily more skilled at gaming than the other inherently, but they have vastly different ways of approaching learning about the game and improving. They also have different flavors of learning that they tend to prefer in games.

The first category we’ll be talking about is the one that I would consider myself, since that is the one that I have a more personal view on. That is the intuitive gamer. Intuitive gamers tend to enjoy learning via discovery. An intuitive gamer craves new things they can discover – they will tend to gravitate towards strategies that widely vary in their path to victory and will adore seeing a new line of play that they have never seen anyone play before.

These gamers tend to have a steeper initial improvement curve in games – they’ll often be able to pick up new strategies easier and adapt their existing decision-making patterns – heuristics – to those new strategies faster. Intuitive gamers will tend to look at decision making in games from a very high-level or macroscopic perspective. Rather than getting themselves bogged down in minutiae, they will find themselves looking at their overall goal in a turn or in a period of time and trying to make that plan happen.

Because an intuitive gamer finds joy via discovery, they will often find themselves hopping between different strategies in a game. Maybe they’ll swap factions in a miniatures game, or swap decks often in a card game. Flexible strategies that can play different games based on context tend to be where these players shine, since they can adapt on the fly to different circumstances.

These intuitive games will often find themselves preparing for competitive settings like tournaments by trying to play both against or with varying strategies – this will help them develop rough heuristics based on varied matchups, and they will generally trust their skills to handle specific details in the matchups. These players tend to be very good when playing from a disadvantage, since they can focus on how to meet their high-level gameplan.

On the other side of the spectrum are trained gamers. The joy of learning that trained gamers tend to is that of mastery. Where an intuitive gamer craves discovery, a trained gamer looks to improve their skills with a given strategy. They will tend to enjoy more linear strategies that follow along a given, practicable path, and will enjoy seeing their plans come to fruition even when faced with difficulties along the way.

While intuitive gamers tend to improve quicker in the beginning of learning new strategies, trained gamers will find that their skill improves more consistently over time, and that their training and repetition will bring them higher rewards once the intuitive gamers tend to start to plateau in their skill improvement. Where intuitive gamers will focus on the high-level strategy, trained gamers will often find themselves looking more at ground-level strategy. Instead of looking at their big plan repeatedly, trained gamers will tend to sacrifice their flexibility at the high level in order to focus on the small details of a plan: measuring exact ranges, determining exact cards and amounts of mana that need to be spent, etc.

A trained gamer will find themselves sticking to a single strategy and trying to learn the ins and outs of that specific strategy. They will tend to prefer strategies that do not significantly change based on their interaction with their opponent, because it allows them to put themselves in situations that are practiceable. Strategies that tend to stick to the same basic gameplan regardless of matchup are where trained gamers will shine.

Trained gamers will look at tournament preparation as a chance to focus in on their strengths – while an intuitive gamer will look for breadth and try many different matchups, a trained gamer will typically look for depth. They’ll identify what is their worst matchup – or the matchup they expect to see most often – and play that matchup repeatedly, trying to explore and critique even the smallest parts of their gameplan against those specific decks. Trained gamers tend to be very successful when playing from a lead, since they can afford to direct less mental energy at worrying about stopping their opponent and more towards meeting their victory condition.

Both trained gamers and intuitive gamers can be successful at high level play – some players are familiar enough with a given strategy that they will pilot it regardless of the environment unless that strategy has a significant disadvantage. These trained gamers will often find success regardless of whatever the strongest strategy in the metagame is. On the other hand, intuitive gamers find themselves very comfortable in shifting metagames, since their flexibility makes it easier to pick up “the best strategy” and attain victory through the power of their strategy combined with their more generalized heuristics.

Knowing what gaming style you play as can help you determine where your weaknesses and strengths are as a player, which is key in improving your skills. As well, being familiar with your preferences will make it easier to know what to focus on and – crucially – what will give you the most enjoyable preparation experience when it comes to more competitive settings. As your homework this week, I encourage you to figure out what type of gamer you are, and the gaming styles of your gaming group. Are you a trained gamer that prefers to “one trick” a strategy, or are you an intuitive gamer that can never seem to decide what they are focused on?

A big thank you to my Patrons for this month: Alex, TicTac, and anonymous patrons. If there are specific subjects or concepts you’d like an article written on, I suggest you look at my patreon! For just $7 a month, you’ll be able to suggest article topics for me to write on.

As always, remember that it’s not enough to just hit the books if you want to win. You’ve got to Crit the Books!

 

Lesson 9 – Skill Expression

Here we are again, readers, for another article here at Crit The Books! This week, we’ll be looking at some of the terminology often thrown about when it comes to evaluating how much skill certain aspects of games ask from their players. This article will be similar to our first one, in that it is much less focused on concepts that will help your gameplay. Instead, this article will focus on terms that will help you understand and articulate your thoughts in discussions on how important skill is to different parts of games.

We’ll be primarily looking at the terms “skill floor”, “skill ceiling”, and “skill curve”. These terms get used quite frequently when discussing the difficulty of options within games, be it decks within a card game, characters within a video game, or strategies within a board game. While many people use these terms frequently, very rarely is it clarified what exactly they mean, which can make discussions very difficult to have. We’ll be looking at each of these phrases in turn, defining them, and looking at some examples.

It’s important to note that, for a number of our discussions, I’ll be using terminology that is as generic as possible, so that it can be applied to a number of different games and scenarios. Specifically, I’ll be using the word “strategy” very often. This word is used to describe a specific aspect of a game that requires some sort of skill to be able to use effectively. In a fighting game, different characters might require different skillsets and some might require less skilled or technical play. In a card game, different decks might have similar differentiation in their skill required. I’ll be using “strategy” as a catch all term to use in place of more game specific terminology instead of words like characters, decks, heroes, or factions.

First off, we’ll look at the term skill floor. Some people have defined this term as “the amount of skill it requires to get meaningful results with a strategy” or “how much skill is required to pick a strategy up”. However, I think that both of these definitions are excessively vague. How, for example, do we define meaningful results or picking a strategy up? Both of these aren’t very clear. Instead, I suggest the following definition: the skill floor for a strategy is “The skill required to achieve a player’s goals with a strategy.” This definition takes into account that different strategies will have different levels of skill required for different goals and will allow for meaningful discussion. While this requires more of our questions than simply asking what strategy we are discussing, I believe it allows for more nuanced discussion as well.

For examples of skill floors, we will look at one of the most well-known games on the market today: Overwatch! An example of a character with a low skill floor is Lucio in a support role. In a support role, a player is expected to provide healing or other buffs for their team to make them more effective. Lucio does this very easily, as his healing and speed buff occurs in an aura around him without the need to have any complicated inputs or positioning from the player. In contrast, a character with a high skill floor in the support role would be Ana. In order to provide healing for her team, Ana needs to hit her teammates with her sniper rifle. Doing so requires a higher amount of skill than simply staying near the team, and so we say that in Ana’s case, she has a higher skill floor in the support role.

It is worth noting that these same characters can have higher or lower skill floors in other avenues or roles as well, judged by how much skill it takes for them to fill those roles. Let’s look back at Lucio. While he has a very low skill floor for filling a support role and achieving the goals required of it, he will have a much more difficult time fulfilling an offensive, damage-based role like attacker. His main attack has a relatively low projectile speed and fires in short bursts, requiring the player to be able to predict their opponent’s movement in order to deal a lot of damage. Lucio in the attacking role has a very high skill floor.

Next, let’s look at the partner term to skill floor, skill ceiling. A strategy’s skill ceiling is “The amount of skill at which additional skill does not increase the player’s ability to achieve their goals.” Some would insist that the skill ceiling is the point at which a player achieves a “perfect game”, but I don’t agree with that definition. I think the phrase “perfect game” implies many things that are simply untrue for most games. Even if a player makes all the right choices, it is still possible for that player to lose the game based on variance and how the opponent responds to that variance. In addition, the idea of a perfect game means that an opponent can also play a perfect game, which leads us with a question of who wins. Instead, we focus on the point at which a player’s skill cannot further increase their odds of winning.

As examples of high skill ceiling strategies, we’ll again look at Overwatch heroes. Tracer is often looked at as a high skill ceiling character – her ability to dash 3 times as well as rewind her position to a given location means that there are many avenues for players to use her abilities to find victory, which creates more branching choice paths and therefore more skill required to locate the correct options. In addition to her movement options, Tracer’s weapon fires a high number of low damage shots, requiring a player to hit a significant number of them in order to deal a large amount of damage. This also plays into the high skill cap of Tracer.

The synthesis of these two terms is skill curve, or a measurement of how much a player’s skill in a strategy translates into the ability for that player to achieve their goals. Often, a strategy’s skill curve will be stated as a combination of skill floor and skill ceiling. However, the skill curve will also often be described as “steep” or “shallow”. This is simply a measure of how much a player’s skill translates to their chances of victory. If a strategy scales significantly with a player’s skill, then that strategy is said to have a steep curve, while if a player’s skill does not significantly affect their chances of achieving their goals, it is said to have a shallow curve.

If you are new at a game and want results quickly, it is likely going to be a good use of your time to seek out strategies that have a low skill floor, so that you can gain a footing in the game quickly. If you are a type of player who appreciates the awards that learning a strategy can bring you, and you enjoy exploring that depth, then you would probably be interested in finding strategies with a high skill ceiling. You’ll be rewarded with enjoyment for seeking out the types of strategies that are rewarding for you. This week, try to look at some of the strategies that you play in games and try to determine their skill floor and skill ceiling. Are they low? Are they high?

A big thank you to my Patrons for this month: Alex, TicTac, and anonymous patrons. If there are specific subjects or concepts you’d like an article written on, I suggest you look at my patreon! For just $7 a month, you’ll be able to suggest article topics for me to write on.

As always, remember that it’s not enough to just hit the books if you want to win. You’ve got to Crit the Books!