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Orange Hat Guy

Mind Sweeper: How Psychology can help you win card games.

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
I won't be using my usual orange text for the bulk of this article because it is rather long, and I'd prefer not to strain your eyes. Enjoy!

I am much better at this game in person than I am on the app. Why? Because in the app version of this game, I can only communicate with my opponent via text, and even that is quite limited. On the opposite side of the spectrum is real life, where I can observe my opponent and the game with all 5 of my senses (tasting an opponent is not recommended, and touching should be done only with permission. Unfortunately sometimes you will smell them whether you like it or not, especially on the 4th day of a long convention) and he can do the same to me. This offers two important opportunities that I love to use to my advantage, and you can learn exploit them too.

First, read your opponent's mind. You don't have to be telepathic to do this, and it's much easier than you think. Pay attention to the information he gives you. Is his deck-box from another card game? You know he's not a complete scrub, and if you are familiar with that card game you might get some insight into how he thinks strategically. Are his cards in a rubber band and no sleeves? He probably doesn't have 4 foil Aeon's in there. Now you know something actionable, you have an idea about the cards in his deck before he shows you anything! Any number of things can be used to size up your opponent, and the better you are at interpreting the decisions he makes out of the game, the better you will be at knowing what decisions he is likely to make in the game.

Secondly, get into your opponent's head and make him think what YOU want him to think. This is admittedly much harder than the first, but it's still easier than you think. (cwutIdidthere?) This can be accomplished in literally infinite ways, and creativity is rewarded! I once won a tournament by quoting lines from "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" during the entire game. It had come up in conversation with the guy earlier in the day, and I knew he would join in the fun with me. I used my words to keep his brain busy while I was of course focusing on the game, and the moment he made a mistake I was able to eviscerate him before he even realized it. Another time an opponent sat down in full Michigan Wolverines fan gear. I immediately casually mentioned (truthfully) that I was an OSU grad. The two colleges are fierce rivals so this immediately changed his view of me in a way that I could understand. I simply put my football opinions to the side for a few minutes (except for a few verbal jabs here and there. O-H!) and he was just seeing red the whole time. At the end of our match he hated me even more and I was in the top 64 of the DBGT World Championships.

I would offer more examples, but that would make this article unreadably long, and you need to understand that the tactics are secondary to the theory anyways. Don't try to recreate any of the situations I just described because they might not play out the same way, and if you are just reliving my past you won't be able to react correctly. What you need to do instead is take some chances. It won't always work out and you absolutely ARE going to get burned once or twice, especially when you first start, but sometimes even when you are an old vet like me. It's inevitable, and remember that no matter how good you are at anything, someone somewhere is better. Some days that guy is sitting across the table and your only choice is to bring your A game and hope he doesn't. Never forget that luck and deckbuilding are important too, you can almost never win a game with mind games alone. They are just a tool.

I urge you to try to incorporate these ideas into your gaming because if you've ever played a card game you already unconsciously give me and other mind gamers plenty of tells that we can and do use against you every game. Your only defense is to learn the art yourself and join us as. I promise you won't regret it, and you'll be a better gamer because of it.


Post Script:

Editor's note: This entire article has been only one man's opinion based on his experience, and this next part is that too. But I want to preface it further by stating that it is also something else; it is my personal taste. I want to tell you all how I prefer to play the game to give you an idea of what conclusions I have drawn personally from years of playing the head game with countless opponents. It is not intended to be a guide, merely an example and a glimpse inside my head.

I like to cultivate a public personality in the communities of games I play. If you've ever played (competitively) a game that I was playing too, you've heard of me. You may not like me, you may be better than me, but you have heard of the Orange Hat Guy. That is by design. Now that I have inundated the population with little facts about me, when I sit down across from an opponent, I am already in their head about half the time, and I know what they think about me. All the little snippits of information they've seen me post about on the boards, all their opinions about my character, ALL of that is exploitable. I can use that as a base point and over the course of a few minutes turn it into a personalized stratagem specifically for defeating that opponent. These people are all so sure that they know me, they don't realize that as a result I know them just as well. If you are thinking that reading this article makes you immune to my mind games, you don't get it at all. I have now not only put thoughts in your head, but I understand their nature. I know what you are trying to do. And now I know that you are trying to figure out a way to do it differently. If you are, good, you're starting to get it. At the end of the day all it comes down to is who is better, and luckier.

This is my first article for Shadow Era, and I wrote it while thinking about this game, about an hour ago. However the concepts within can be applied to any game, and in fact are very useful in almost every life situation. It is for this reason that I urge you to use these with caution, because when you aren't at the gaming table there is a lot more to think about than just winning. In real life we should all be prepared to take a loss every once in a while if it means someone else gets a win when they need it. Thank you for reading.

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Comments

  1. Keaven's Avatar
    Nice read.
  2. Jeremy Ryan's Avatar
    Interesting. You seem to have an indicate strategy to defeat an opponent based on how they think and believe that this can affect gameplay to your advantage. There is some truth in this. However, like you mentioned, it seems as though a lot you post online is to get your opponents to think a particular way about you. How do we know that this post is not a scheme to intimidate such players?

    Great read. Thanks.
  3. rhonsus's Avatar
    Hmm... Intriguing. I still think you should've used your regular orange text. Oh well, great read none the less.
  4. Orange Hat Guy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Ryan
    Interesting. You seem to have an indicate strategy to defeat an opponent based on how they think and believe that this can affect gameplay to your advantage. There is some truth in this. However, like you mentioned, it seems as though a lot you post online is to get your opponents to think a particular way about you. How do we know that this post is not a scheme to intimidate such players?

    Great read. Thanks.
    You don't, and that's just a part of the game Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you all enjoyed this.
  5. Jeremy Ryan's Avatar
    Ah... Me is intimidated now