I have not been skating all that long, and I certainly don't have the credentials to speak definitively on the game of SKATE. By I do credit myself with being a fairly intelligent adult and an above average strategist in general. So on this, the morning of game #1 of the Game of SKATE League, I have a few thoughts on playing, winning and losing.
Playing: While I don't like those kids that only ever want to play SKATE and nothing else, I'd like to live in a world where everyone plays SKATE. I started playing SKATE when I had shuvs only half the time, fakie ollies (some would not call it a valid trick for SKATE) and no hope in hell of learning anything switch or nollie (I'm an old beginner, remember?). But in playing SKATE, I have developed a frame of mind that has to (under some pressure) try to figure out how that last trick works. People have even taken time during or after games to help me try to learn it, which fosters social ties and strengthens the skateboarding community. It has helped me learn more flat ground tricks than I ever thought I would.
Also, there is something to be said about having a little bit of pressure on you from the outside. No one wants to lose. External pressure can be a great motivator, or maybe it shuts you down, but in a friendly game it shouldn't. All I know is that I have landed exactly 2 fakie big spins at this point in my ife, both in games of SKATE. Also, the only game of SKATE I have ever won was T to T, both of us completely out of tricks, and I landed my FIRST nollie front shuv ever.
Losing: One of the best things about SKATE is that it is just a game, and I have never really seen anyone super bummed or pissed that they lost (okay, once). I think that is pretty rare. This is a general characteristic of any skateboarding competition. Everyone is just hyped to see good skating and some new tricks. You don't see fans cheering against each other, although they do cheer for their homies. If the other guy lands a double dolphin flip, everyone is gonna freak and cheer.
Winning: First off, a disclaimer. Use whatever strategy works for you. If you want to keep your homies, don't open with nollie inward heels. Think of the tricks you have, not from simple to complex, but in terms of your percentage of consistencey. Start with locked tricks. As a reference, for this discussion, being "on lock" means 100%. Not 90%, but 100%. You can see this in the BATB to an extent. In fact, there are tricks that are so consistent for the pros, that they don't use them at all (back shuv, nollie shuv - which BTW are part of my first 5).
Play a consistent game. Do the tricks you are most likely to land. You want to stay in control and let little Billy make mistakes. When you get them to T, well, that is another story.
Playing SKATE at 'T': When you get your opponent to 'T', what you do next depends on the game you are playing. If it is a casual game against your homies, most people will pull out their double doplhin reverts that they have landed twice in the last year. That's fine. Another thing is to do tricks you know your buddy can do but is still learning. This actually helps them as a skater. These days I request fakie big spins if they have it when I am at T.
However, in an organized competition, where there is a more focussed goal to win, I think you should continue to run through your trick list purely sorted by your consistency (most to least).
In a couple of hours from now, the first game of the GOSL will get underway, and I am looking forward to seeing some very interesting stuff. I know a guy who can't make it today who has a bucket full of shuv / sex change variations. Another absent buddy has every big spin varient as easy as you can put on pants.
What are you gonna bring?