While listening to podcasts and to people who casually play 40k games, it is funny to hear what their thoughts and perceptions are of tournament games and gamers. When they go to tournaments and do podcasts there they are always surprised that there are no problems at the top tables and people are having fun. It seems like they think that tournament gamers are all power gamers with their win-at-all-cost attitudes that will do anything to win a tournament. They think that whenever you compete for a prize that it brings out the worst in players.
In my experience, the opposite is true. Tournament gamers are prepared and professional, and they play well, and they play fair. I do not remember the last bad game I have had at a major tournament. I think one of the reasons why is that you have to pay a reasonable amount of money, and that most people there have been to tournaments before and they are not there for a prize, but to have a fun weekend playing 40k, and have themselves good and challenging games.
Now on the other side of the coin is the ‘Ard Boyz tournament. Since they are free, and every shop runs them they are a lot of people’s first and only tournament experience. Not only do you get stores that might not have run many tournaments before, and the fact that it is free means that everyone plays, and that the players that look at the chance to win prizes, and have that carrot dangled in their faces to try to do anything and everything they can to win. I think part of the problem is the way that GW markets the event with no painting not sports, just bring your toughest army and try to be the ‘Ardest Boy.
So some of my worst games I have ever played have been at the ‘Ard Boyz tournaments. Slow play, questionable rules knowledge, etc have been in play. To give you an example I will talk about my last game of the ‘Ard Boyz semi-finals.
First off, once you get out of the first round you should expect to be playing good players who know what they are doing. You expect a higher standard than you do with the first round. These players have been the top 3 of one of the preliminary tournaments so they know their way around a game of 40k.
So my progress after 2 rounds of the semi-finals I scored a massacre and a major victory, and another player had 2 massacres so we had a commanding lead on the field. So I get paired up against him, and this is what happened.
#1. No army list
That is right, game 3 of the semi-finals and he did not have a list. He opened up his laptop computer and showed it to me on army builder but what does that do for me? I have no way of comparing that to what he has on the table top and seeing if he has extra items or units. Heck, how many points is he using? I also scrolled down when he walked away and his list had harlequins in it, and when I asked him about it he said that he did not have harlequins. Whatever. Also, I had no idea how many incubi then he had, and that was huge. If I knew he had 9 of them with Vect floating around I would have made more of an issues over shooting down there raider. When I found out that he did not have a list I should have had a fit right there. How can someone not have an army list for me? He said that he lost his list, but the dog eating it is not an excuse. He should have been writing it down during our lunch break. There is no excuse.
#2. He did not know his army.
Here he is finishing in the top 3 of his store, and then after 2 massacres he does not know his army? He tried to shoot me with blasters at 24”!!! How on earth did a Dark Eldar player not know that they were 18” range? Here is another DE rule that he got wrong. He had wytches with hydra gauntlets. Those let him roll a D6 for their extra attacks but it counts as their extra attack from their 2 CC weapons. He added +1 attack for 2 CC weapons+D6 attacks. When I challenged him on it he said that he was doing it right.
#3. He had a million grey models.
This is not normally an issue, but he had about 4 squads and about 45 wytches in a giant scrum with my paladins. Both of us had no idea where one squad started, and another ended. When he was taking break checks, he was forgetting a squad, and I had to remind him of it. Also it was important when his squads broke and ran that they would have enough models so they were over half strength, but I had no idea how many where left in each squad.
#4. Dice Rolls
a) At the beginning of the game during deployment I reminded him to roll for his wytch drugs and he said that he all ready rolled for them. I did not see that roll, and he did not inform me of it. By the way, he got the best result for him (re-roll wounds)
b) When he rolled saves, he would roll them one at a time. This might be something that they do at the store/group he plays at because I played one of his friends the round before and he did the same thing. If he/they had to roll 10 saves all on the same profile he would roll his dice one and a time. Now with his friend it was not a big deal because he was playing plague marine CSM and his army was not that big. Dark Eldar on the other hand have a lot of dice to roll, and we need to play fast to finish our game. Now I was playing with 26 models in my army, and 12 of them did not enter play until turn #3 and we did not end up finishing our game.
He attacked my Librarian with about 6 wytches. He did not know that he had a 2+ Inv save so after all of this attacks he only did one wound. The then said that he made a mistake and attacked the Librarian with 6 more wytches killing him.
I should not have let him do most of the things that he did and I should have complained but I am mostly a laid back guy and just let it go. If they game was played correctly I might have won the tournament, but who knows. As it was I scored 3rd place.