Playing to Win

I recently finished reading the book “Playing to Win: Becoming the Champion” by David Sirlin. It is a fantastic book that applies to a lot more than gaming. It is more than just some specific tactics to use when playing a specific game, like some guides for games are, and instead offers various ways to think, analyze and train for gaming competitions.

It begins with addressing the mindset that one needs going into trying to become better at gaming. The first being the idea that we create rules that will artificially limit ourselves, then going on to dealing with losses, and finally the kind discipline you’ll need to really carry on.

After that it goes into an analysis of Sun Zu’s “Art of War” in the context of gaming. In this section he goes beyond the obvious places where it applies in strategy games like StarCraft, but also in our training and in the real world when dealing with opponents.

Next he talks about the various personality types and approaches to competition. He uses examples from the competitive chess world as well as the Street Fighter world to show what a lot of the best of the best have in common and the differences in their approaches.

Lastly he goes into really testing and preparing oneself. He talks about being the best from a random selection of people you happen to play is all well and good, but to really judge your skill and continue advancing, you have to enter in more serious tournaments.

A lot of the previous will likely be integrated in my StarCraft 2 playing and thought process. The final part though is notable to talk about. Recently, I started working for Mozilla, a company that happens to have a After Hours Gaming League (AHGL) team. Their showing in AHGL wasn’t great but just fielding a team is pretty fantastic.

My plans are to work on my skills and discipline in training, then try out for the AHGL team at Mozilla. From what I hear it should be taking place in a few months, so it isn’t a ton of time to train but that’s alright, it will force me to work harder and focus on the most important things. I’ll hopefully have the support and help of my friends who also play along the way.

I’ll be playing to win.

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