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6 Things I’ve Learned from Weewar

Filed Under Geek on 2008-11-06, 11:19

Weewar is a turn based strategy game where you battle against your friends and strangers with cute little troops and vehicles. It’s strangely addictive, especially because you only need a browser to play it from anywhere. I signed up last month and now I’m hopelessly addicted to it. However it’s not completely wasted time, as it does have some parallels and strategies that are applicable to trying to make it in the online world. Here is “6 Things I’ve Learned from Weewar”, or as I like to call it: Justification for all those hours playing.

1. Pick a strategy and stick to it
In Weewar: My easiest won battles were where I picked a strategy and stuck to it regardless of what my opponent was doing. I knew the board well enough to know what works, I designed a strategy from the beginning and I followed it through. It’s a little hard to keep to a strategy when your opponent starts doing things you didn’t expect. But if you stray from your plan, then you may find yourself without a plan and scrambling to just survive. If you stick to your plan and follow it through and still lose, at least you’ll be able to know where there were weaknesses in your plan.

In the Real World: Things are going to be kind of rough for most people over the next few months/years with the US economy in the sad state it’s in. Figure out your business plan on how you’re going to make it through and be in the best position when the economy rebounds. Stick to this plan through the ups and downs. Some of the most successful companies today were started during the dotcom bust back in the early 2000s.

2. Learn from others
In Weewar: I was beaten so many times before I actually started to win games. Whenever you get beat, study how you failed, and use that next time to help prevent the same failures. Was it that heavy tank you had no defenses against? Or maybe the onslaught of several dozen troops at once? Figure out what you could have done to win. Also look at how the other person was successful in beating you and try to adopt some of their strategies.

In the Real World: Take a look at what others are doing in your online arena. What kind of sites work better than others? Maybe you should be making a blog instead of a forum, or perhaps a custom built web-app is more appropriate than a CMS. Look closely at what advertisers established sites are using. Chances are they’ve picked through multiple advertisers and have settled on the ones that work best in that realm. Read blogs and ask people how they do the things they do. Find out what software they use and see if it works for you. Learn from their mistakes and failures without having to suffer. Experienced advice from people that have “been there” is invaluable.

3. Don’t get stuck in a defensive mindset
In Weewar: Always playing in reaction to your opponent gives them the upper hand. If you’re constantly on the defensive, it’s hard to break new ground and catch people off guard. The element of surprise is deadly.

In the Real World: While the online realm is generally a friendly place, there is still an element of competition. If you’re just reacting to others and following in their footsteps, you’ll always be 2nd place. It’s the people that come out with new and innovative approaches and things that really make it big. Be the one that puts something out that everyone tries to copy. Challenge an existing mindset, fill an empty void, and look towards how you’re going to make it big, not how you’re going to just survive.

4. Use your tools and resources
In Weewar: It’s hard to remember which units are good against which opponents and what effects the terrain has on each battle, amongst a number of other battle-changing factors. Read through the Weewar wiki to learn as much as you can before jumping into battle. Use the information panel on the left hand side when you hover over a unit to see what you should use to attack and where your unit’s weaknesses are. There’s also a great tool I’ve used to help me decide when and where I should attack. It’s a battle simulator that will help give you the predicted outcome of battles. It’s saved me from doing a number of dumb moves.

In the Real World: The is an infinite amount of useful documentation out there. Read blogs, newsletters, websites, etc. If you’re interested in tricks of the trade, read blogs like John Chow’s and Jeremy Schoemaker’s and the ones they link to in order to spark ideas. Take control of your knowledge and educate yourself rather than waiting for someone to give you all the answers. Don’t be afraid to try new tools to get the upper hand on things too. Tools like Remember The Milk and Coda have been invaluable to me for keeping on track and managing multiple sites.

5. Don’t be intimidated
In Weewar: It’s easy to get scared when you see your opponent rolling out the heavy equipment. D.F.A.s (Death From Above) are big, deadly, and expensive (1200 credits!) but they can easily be taken out by a hovercraft or several troopers walking right up to them.

In the Real World: There are already a number of big players in the online world. Some of them are good, some are lucky. What you have to do is to find their weakness. What are they lacking? What do people want that they aren’t getting. Find your niche, start small, and build on it over time. Before long you may find yourself one of the big guys.

6. Learn to multi-task
In Weewar: You can play up to 4 games with the free Weewar account. If you buy a pro account ($4/month) you can have up to 10 games running at once. It’s a great exercise for your brain to try to keep up with this many battles. It also helps you quickly learn multiple things in the same amount of time.

In the Real World: Life doesn’t come at you one thing at a time. You have to be on top of many different things constantly. Learn how to manage your life and your business and it will be a hundred times easier. Come up with systems of organization, to-do lists and reminders to make sure you get things done on time, and don’t forget to schedule in some fun (perhaps playing a few rounds of Weewar?).

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