Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mantras for Tournament Attendees - BFS Incoming

So as I get ready for the BFS, I begin my standard internal tournament prep.

Here's how I go into each game:

1) This is an opportunity to develop a connection with a peer, a fellow gamer and hobbyist, a fellow human being.  If nothing else comes out of this game, let a positive connection come out of it.

2) This is an opportunity to play a game you enjoy.

3) Do the best that you personally can do.

4) Care nothing for the outcome, presume your opponent is excellent and will take you down.

I go into every game looking to make a connection, expecting to lose, and seeking only to compete with myself in an effort to be at my best - socially, ethically, competitively, and overall as a human being.

Here's another good one for you all ...

At the NOVA, a player in attendance got into a bit of a scuffle with his opponent during the course of the game.  Things started off that way b/c his opponent did not pop smoke at the end of each vehicle's movement, and then at the end of the movement phase went "these all popped smoke."  This is technically illegal, but is a bit of a throwback to the game's history, and is the way a lot of people play it.  Instead of allowing this, the player flatly refused to permit the popping of smoke after the fact.

There are some players who are so focused on the game and not the experience of competing against a peer ... they will NEVER permit anything like this to be fixed.  They won't even allow it once and ask for playing more specifically by the rule thereafter.  I AM NOT THIS GUY.  AS a general rule, if you forget something and it's more or less just after the fact, I'm going to let you go back and do it.  If I win, I want to win against you having a good game, and you at your best doing what you intended to do.  If I lose, I want it to be doing the same - that's to say, I certainly would like the same behavior in reverse.

What kind of gamer are you?  Do you ruthlessly act unforgiving of all your opponent's simple gaffes?  Do you see the game as an opportunity to develop a friend first and win at warhams second?

I fully anticipate losing a few games this weekend at the BFS; it's a tough crowd and I'm looking forward to some tough games.  I know I'll come out of each game on friendly terms with my opponent (if I Can at all manage it), scoring highly on sportsmanship, and winning only if I meet or beat my best possible performance, and get a little fortune and favor along the way.

PS - I know Jawabals and I and several others will be getting brews together in the Palisades Center on Friday night of the BFS ... anyone care to join us?


  1. Great article and I totally agree. I think far to many people place tons of importance on winning, whether it is games or tournaments. I have a very similar attitude as you do. I go to tourneys to play a bunch of games against players I don't play that often (or hopefully new opponents). I'm happy if I get in a number of good games regardless of the outcome.

    The way I see it is that only one player is going to win the tournament (or the game for that matter). If I go in with the only satisfactory outcome being I win the tourney and take home the loot I am more likely than not going to be disapointed. I would almost always rather win a fun close game, than win a boring/hostile one.

  2. It's always been mind-boggling to me that so many of the 40k players I've met (particularly on-line) have never learned the most basic competitive lesson taught in Little Leagues's not who wins or loses, but how you play the game. Have fun, be nice, and enjoy the game.

    Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow, Mike!

  3. The sad thing is that that is not what is taught in Little Leagues everywhere these days (alot depends on parents and coaches), but as soon as kids hit say middle school age these days competitions become all about winning. Now this is not true of every parent or coach, but when I was given an award for sportsmanship in college because I made a point to shake hands with my competitors after a race (cross country), and this was exceptional, it made me realize how many poor sports there really are. The worst part is it is rarely the guys at the top who have sportsmanship issues (though there are some).

  4. I'm the kind of player that, upon seeing my opponent do something like not pop smoke, ask if they are doing so (or make a comment to remind them, etc). The notion of winning because my opponents made some mistake in the rules or oversight that puts them at a disadvantage going on is something I don't see the point in doing. I don't want to win because my opponent made a mistake, I want to win because I outplayed them, which are two different things.

    Generally it's to avoid situations where my opponent wants to go back on a decision that they made earlier in the game, because the order in which things happen in Warhammer 40,000 are important to the structure of the game. But it's also to talk about the game with my opponent: after all, we are playing with each other as much as playing against each other.

    I think that's the important thing to remember: you're there to play with people. Play nicely.

  5. Amen. Ultimately, this is a social game, and its supposed to be a stress relieving activity. At the end of the day, we are adults playing with toy soldiers. Perspective is always important, as is a beer in hand. That, so ive learned, is the Whiskey Way.

    And i'll be joining you for dinner, though maybe not drinks

  6. I always give the first such oversight as a gift - although in fairness I would expect the same back. Smokes is a different issue to doing something in the wrong phase entirely, of course, but I always grant the benefit of the doubt until I have reason to suspect otherwise/my opponent is not equally forgiving if I make a mistake (alas, sloppy play from others often brings the same out in me.)

    I go, expecting to compete. To be within spitting distance of the top, unless of course game one shows that to be unlikely. I go to have fun, and to compete, but I admit I don't go to make friends with someone I'll not exactly see regularly.

    I go, and aim to be friendly, and expect the reverse, but i don't quite class that the same.

  7. How does that saying go? 'The first time, shame on you. The second time, shame on me'

    I have been playing 40K for a little less than one year. I'm still learning the game, and tend to lose more than I win.

    A large aspect of the game is remembering rules and when to perform or activate certain things.
    Having said that, I wouldn't expect (nor would I ask) my opponent to allow me the luxury of going back to correct a mistake or an oversight- and it irks me when a player with more years or experience does it to me. Those are the lessons that have assisted me in better learning and understanding this game.

    I believe, fundamentally, that you are right. 40K is a game, and social contract, so I will (and I have) allow an opponent to correct a mistake or an oversight. I mean, in a fun/friendly game it isn't that big of deal in the long run.

    I must say, however, that I would be less likely to be so generous in a tournament setting.

    Again, only having participated in two "local" teams' tournament(s) over the last year, my experience in that scene is very limited. Having read your article, I may be more inclined to be that generous in a competitive setting...

  8. I develop a friend first and lose at warhams second. :P