Know the rules – Before you even begin developing advanced strategies, you need to understand the rules of the game you are playing to the point where they are drilled into your brain.
For example, in chess, you will need to learn how each piece moves, how to take pieces, and what it means to put an opponent in check or checkmate. In poker, players should learn about blinds, the best poker hands, and how to place bets using chips. In traditional Texas Hold ’em poker, a straight flush is the best possible hand, followed by four of a kind and then a full house. Knowing this is the starting point to being able to determine whether a hand is worth playing.
Most games are reasonably easy to learn when it comes to the basic rules. Games tend to be designed so that they are accessible, yet can take a lifetime to master.
Get to grips with the basic strategies
Beyond the rules, which are crucial to know to even sit down and enjoy any game, you’ll want to get to grips with basic strategies that can quickly bring you beyond being an absolute newbie. In most cases, a little basic knowledge will go a long way.
In Monopoly, for example, which involves a lot of chance but also a good dose of skill and decision making, it pays to know that oranges are the most frequented property on the board (because players land it them when coming out of jail), and also the set that offers the optimal balance when it comes to development costs and profits.
In an RPG like Final Fantasy, the basics you’ll want to learn quickly are how to effectively use healing spells, items and attacks, and how to set up characters properly for each battle. Even racing games like Mario Kart involve strategy; you’ll want to learn how to use rocket boosts and skids.
Look for more information
There would have been a time when it was difficult to find quality information on strategy games, making it difficult for new and inexperienced players to reach the heights of established champions. Nowadays, there are plenty of resources available online.
When it comes to poker, professional players put out training courses that contain all of their knowledge and mathematical breakdowns of situations. You can also watch experienced players live on Twitch to see how they think and approach the game.
If you’re playing an online console or PC strategy game like League of Legends, you can look to forums or join an amateur clan to gain knowledge and experience. And, of course, watching YouTube videos of gameplay and strategy can give you an edge.
Whatever strategy game you are looking to learn and improve at, make sure to gather lots of information from those who are already at the top.
Once you have read articles, watched videos, and maybe even taken a training course depending on how good you want to get, it’s time to put that new information into practice.
Again, how you approach this will depend on what game you are aiming to master, but the premise for each is the same; practice makes perfect.
If you’re playing chess, then check out chess.com, where you can find a game with people on the internet and compete at levels you are comfortable with. You can also play against different levels of AI, although this will only get you so far.
If you’re playing a real money game like poker, then you could start off with play money, which is basically a practice version, or get stuck in to low stakes games against other beginners.
If you’re competing in an online video game or esport, then it’s usually best to play with friends or to reach a certain level of competency before reaching out to a more serious community or clan.
Get involved with communities
One clear way to continually improve at your chosen strategy game is to join up with communities of players online, or face to face at live events and conferences. This will stop you from plateauing once you reach a certain point by keeping the game fresh and introducing new perspectives.
Online forums, platforms and Discord servers are usually quite welcoming to new and aspiring players. Just be sure to read the community guidelines and post questions in the right section of the forum.
Twitch is another place where online gamers can find communities of both experienced and new players discussing strategy and linking up for competitions. The more involved you get, the more you’ll learn and the more passion you’ll have for the titles you play.