To play a game competitively, there’s no way around playing it often.
Here, competitively means, “at a level where you can reasonably expect to contend for victory in an organised play environment.” Although “organised play” usually connotes collectible games, it’s as true for Car Wars and Caylus as it is for Magic: The Gathering and the CCG-of-the-month.
You can read as much about a game as you want, and talk about it until you’re bue in the face, but there’s no substitute for playing.
From “Things We Think About Games”, Will Hindmarch & Jeff Tidball
This is one of my favourite maxims about playing games, but is also good advice about painting and life in general.