Many complex decisions in trading cards games seem amenable to a three stage model.
- The player must see as many potential lines of play as they can.
- For each potential line of play they see, the player must deduce the resulting potential game state (often several, depending on possible interaction from the opponent).
- The player must recognize which resulting potential game state is best for them.
My question is how to improve at #2 when there are many lines of play, the resulting potential game states involve many details, or some combination thereof. This is the aspect of decision making I find to be the biggest bottleneck as I otherwise get better at a game through analysis and practice. The problem is not that it's hard to mentally simulate any single potential line of play, but that capacity to keep several resulting potential game states in mind while still simulating other potential lines of play is limited.
For example, in Magic the Gathering, I may be considering several blocking formations, but also have the ability to flicker one of my potential blockers either before or after blocking, perhaps also triggering one of several ETB abilities which alter blocking decisions, and for each outcome, I would have to mentally track the resulting board state and life totals. And that's a situation with only one relevant card in hand. I could take notes to help, but would need to figure out a system to do so efficiently. Sometimes the logic of situations allows many potential lines of play to be ruled out, but on other occasions, the tracking load feels like a bottleneck to making better plays.
It would be easy to shortcut #2 in software; just program a client to fork a game state into as many "sandbox" windows as desired, and during a game, execute each noticed potential line of play in a window, then pick the best resulting potential game state depicted among the windows. However, this doesn't help much in paper games. Are there any specific memory or notetaking techniques that trading card game players deploy to overcome difficulties in this aspect of decision making?