Monday, February 15, 2010

Dundracon After-Thoughts

The Dundracon RTT has come and gone and the results are currently being tallied by a dedicated team of grots locked in a convention hall.  Those organizers deserve a special thanks for putting on a fantastic tournament.  Terrain was awesome, things ran smoothly and punctually, and they obviously know what they're doing.

I learned a lot from my experiences today, especially in relation to my earlier article about tournament prep.  I picked up a lot of good things from the comments and I tried to apply them as much as possible at the event.

Read the missions!  I can't tell you how little "playing the mission" most of the players today did.  I include myself in that - I barely paid attention to them, instead focusing on tabling my opponent.  If I had played the missions 100%, I have no doubt that I would have done better.

Know other codexes.  If you own them, bring them along.  In my second and third round games, I had issues with codex knowledge.  Either I didn't know the codex well and got taken advantage of, or I took advantage of knowing the codex and how it interacts with the base rules.

DO NOT FEAR.  I mean this in several different ways, but most important is this:  Do not be afraid to question your opponent.  If, for example, they pick up hits/wounds instead of misses, do not be afraid to ask them not to do that so you can see the roll.  Do not be afraid to question them if something seems wrong.  Do not be afraid to ask for a judge to rule on something that seems unclear.  Do not be afraid of a very scary list, because there's a good chance it won't be played well.  Do not fear.  Fear is the little death.

Play vigilant.  Cheating is a lot more common than I expected.  Do not just notice it, call it out and do not allow it.  I let some things slide in a game that I really should not have done - you will be amazed once the game is over how much a slight movement cheat or a simple rules "mishap" can affect the scoring overall.  You also do your opponent a disservice by letting little things slide; everyone should play this game to the best of their ability, and being relaxed about cheating prevents that.

Enjoy yourself.  Socialize with people that you don't get a chance to play with or hang out with often.  Tournaments are a great way to catch up and hang out, and you really should take advantage.  You can also get some tips and tactics from different corners of the gaming sphere, which is never a bad thing.

Play for the clock!  Don't let your opponents take forever on their turns, and do them the same courtesy.  Don't rush yourself - that's not the idea.  Play deliberately and pay attention to the board at all times so that you can make good decisions.

The last bit of advice I've got is this:  Ignore sportsmanship and comp scoring unless they're a specific goal of yours.  Play nice, play fair, and play the game you want to play, and don't worry about what other people have to say about it.  There really needs to be a better solution for this in tournament play than relying on the person you just tabled to give you a good sportsmanship and comp rating, but in the meantime just deal with what we have the same way you deal with a Necron Monolith.  Ignore it.

Dundracon was a good experience, and I'll have a lot more to say about it in the future. 


  1. Wow, I only recently started reading your blogs but for the most part have found I agree fairly closely with most of your points. However I have to say I 100% disagree with the last point about sportsmanship and comp in this article.

    Playing a strong and competitive game does not mean you need to be an ass to win. Additionally a good player is one who makes sure both they and their opponent are having at least a little fun, if both aren't having fun then what is the point of playing the game?

    If you want to beat up on people, bully them, and wipe them from the board go play a video game, because that is what that is all about. Table top gaming should be about all the aspects of the hobby and sportsmanship is a big part of that. Also abusing or breaking a list by spamming one powerful option or several is just the sign of a poor general who needs a crutch to help them win.

  2. I'm disappointed that you haven't included a million table level macro-mode shots of your various battles.

    I can recommending using a dice tray to prevent a lot of dice related cheating/dishonesty. It's really easy to just say in the beginning "Hey, I have this dice tray we can use so we don't risk cocked dice, knocking over terrain/models, etc".

  3. Huron, Sportsmanship and Comp scores were largely "gamed" by people at Dundracon. Rather than fill out the reasonable questions that the organizers had given and award a points total based on them (like we were supposed to do), people were giving scores from their gut.

    I'm not in favor of a soft scoring system that people will game just to end up higher ranked in the results, and that's the system I think we have in place right now. Comp is just a weak way of enforcing the "intentions" of the game designers - asking your opponent to score your list on how "balanced" it is can never be reliable.

    Dana, the lighting in most places people play 40k is so miserable that I can't even take good pictures with my Rebel XSi. Also, my army isn't painted and nobody wants to see bare/primed plastic.

    Dice trays are a really good idea, but when you're playing with limited space like at a tourney, it can get a bit cumbersome. I think that for competitive events, the organizers should ideally provide one set of dice for each table that both players have to roll.

  4. Did the judges approach people who gave out bad scores and ask them specifically why they did? Judges have to follow up when a player turns in bad scores to curb just this sort of thing from happening.

  5. I can't say for sure, because I gave everyone good scores. Heh. I do think I saw it happen once or twice, though.


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