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"Playing Tournaments - By Andrew Hopson " Topic

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1,134 hits since 10 May 2016
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2016 3:56 p.m. PST

Good advices here…

"Tournaments are a great way to meet new players, learn new tactics and list building ideas, and can make a mediocre player very good in a short amount of time. Getting ready for a tournament can be that impetus you need to finish painting those new units you want to run, and a reason to get as many games in as you can to sharpen your skills. Still, to the beginning player tournaments may seem like a daunting experience, but with a little preparation and following some common sense guidelines, you can have a great experience right away…"
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Shardik11 May 2016 4:35 a.m. PST

My experience of playing tournaments is that they are a great way to meet people to whom winning is more important than anything else in life. Not all tournament players are like that, or even most, but enough.

Thomas O11 May 2016 7:46 a.m. PST

I agree with "Shardik". That alone keeps me as far from tournaments as I can get.

maverick290911 May 2016 8:42 a.m. PST

Yeah, been playing FoW for 7 years now, been to two tournaments, they were some of the worst gaming experiences of my life. Opponents generally rude and get pissy when they start to lose. Call your force cheese because they can't beat it, etc. I also feel that in miniature games unlike card or board games, there is a factor that is what one intended to do but may be perceived as a different than what actually happened. In the sense that a square mm of my base was sticking out of the woods. I INTENDED for the base to be concealed by the woods, however the opponent being a tournament type, sees it other wise, and being a tournament there is little room to go back on things like that.

Will probably never play in a FoW tournament again.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2016 10:36 a.m. PST


All bad experiences!


wizbangs Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2016 5:43 p.m. PST

The FOW tournament crowd has such a bad reputation that I avoided playing FOW completely until 2 years ago.

It took me that long to realize that the problem wasn't with the rules, it was with the way people played them. I watched 2 games when it had been out less than a year and decided that I wanted no part of it.

maverick290912 May 2016 4:36 a.m. PST


Oh yeah, the rules are solid. Probably one of the best rules sets I have played with in terms of clarity, composition, and support for the game. The problem is certainly with the players who play them. This is why I only play fun games on Saturdays at our LGS. I know the 5-6 different people who are regulars and it is always a good time. Also like kyoteblue said, tournaments for miniatures can be exhausting, much easier to play 1-2 games and call it a day.

Visceral Impact Studios12 May 2016 4:47 a.m. PST

The problem with tournaments in the context of miniatures gaming is that miniatures gaming is inherently imprecise. It's like playing American football on a snow covered field and the lines are not visible. Did your receiver step out of bounds? Who knows?

In a friendly game an opponent is likely to be more generous. In a competitive setting not only is that less likely, they're also more likely to be more prickly.

The best tournament community that I've encountered is X-Wing. Their community ethos is taken from a line in the movies: "Fly casual". During one major tournament a YouTube video shows a player allowing his opponent to take an action that he had forgotten.

Among the worst: FoW and DBx. It's very unpleasant. Maybe it would be better if those games used Peter Pig's excellent grid system from PBI. That would eliminate 95% of the disagreable behavior.

FlyXwire12 May 2016 7:11 a.m. PST

In our imprecise group discussions about wargaming, and some of its least admired evolutions over the decades, the label has often been thrown around that this ruleset or another is a "tourney set". The move to equal points matchups ["armies"] for tournament play, and the move away from promoting scenario crafting, where an attacking force could actually possesses a force ratio superior in quality or mass (or both) greater than its opposition force, has worked to create a vacuum and over dependence on just said tourney-style rulesets (few tournament players today would even know how to, or care to design scenarios that might violate a game-artificially-imposed equal points "world").

If one accepts the original premise that battles occurred between carefully crafted points armies in the first place, then any criticism over the lack of variety, or that said gaming situations don't offer much beyond serving as competition encounters – well, perhaps put said rule book(s) down and crack open a history book or two.

wizbangs Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2016 11:36 a.m. PST

30 years ago my brother & I used to play late war Western Front reenactments. I don't remember the rule set at the time. Maybe GBD or something like that (it was 3 letters).

I've started recreating WWII games using FOW starting with early war. His tournament circuit dried up & he wanted to play. But, he couldn't handle that the points weren't equal, or that he wasn't allowed to take this armored unit or that unit. The battle had to be broken down to one of the pre-made scenarios in the back of the FOW rulebook. Anything else "just wasn't right." That's when I realized he is lost.

Supercilius Maximus16 May 2016 9:49 a.m. PST

Never played tournaments in 40+ years of wargaming; then entered a doubles tournament for Field of Glory Renaissance in October 2014. Couldn't have been a nicer experience the other players all knew I was a new recruit and helped explain the rules etc (this was during the game, not after). Other than frustrations with the dice, I've had no problems or arguments in the ten tournaments I've played in since.

WWPDLuke22 May 2016 7:29 p.m. PST

So what did you think of the article? Cause that is what the post is about. I am really curious to know what people think of Andrew's take on the various aspects of Playing Tournaments.

Dameon22 May 2016 10:44 p.m. PST

I liked the article and think it hits on the major points people going to a tournament need to consider and understand. I do get sick of the FoW hatred, and overwhelming negativity of the TMP forums in general, so I am not surprised by the responses.

Tournaments are a form of formal gaming, and this isn't for everyone. I love tournament play, but I can play casually as well. Funny how you never hear tournament gamers bad mouthing casual-only players for not wanting to play competitively.

Ottoathome23 May 2016 5:04 a.m. PST

Speaking to the article. The amount of preparation and checking the author advocates more or less proves he negative responses listed here. If you have to do that much prep then it proves that your opponent is likely to be a jerk and you have to defend yourself by being one too. If you have to do that much prep work then you are obviously letting yourself in for an ordeal. As for tournament games itself, the "volley line" of Shermans placed hull to hull pretty much invalidates the game for any serious contention as realistic, which is one of the justifications for the whole exercise in the first place and the sententious seriousness that surrounds such events.

The point of "tournaments" is not to have fun. It is to see which war gamer is better than another war gamer. It is "I beat you. Therefore I am a better gamer than you." The fact that the dice rule everything is completely forgotten.

Supercilius Maximus23 May 2016 10:22 a.m. PST

The fact that the dice rule everything is completely forgotten.

I don't know about FoW, but the FoG:R chaps really put this one in its place – "Game of skill, isn't it?" (accompanied by a big grin) is the most commonly heard phrase in any tournament. My own strap line on the FoG:R forum – no plan survives first contact with the dice – also pretty much sums this up. A lot of games are decided by a good/bad run on the dice, and it tends to be taken in good part – in the same way that players generally pick "nice" armies rather than tournament-winners.

I think the article is just a lot of common sense (and quite a bit of good manners) collated in one place. There's really not a lot more prep in there than there would be for a friendly game down at the club.

Ottoathome23 May 2016 11:16 a.m. PST

Dear Supercilius

I liked your rephrasing of Von Moltke the Elder. However I could go one better and say that No play survives contact with your subordinate commanders more than 15 minutes.

It's even worse than real war. In real war there's always the chance you can shoot them. You can't do that to your fellow gamers

Supercilius Maximus24 May 2016 8:49 a.m. PST

I'm not going to point fingers, but I can think of one home of wargaming where that last sentence is a bit tenuous…..

Supercilius Maximus28 May 2016 5:50 a.m. PST

Overheard from a table full of WWW1 warships:

"There's something wrong with our bloody dice today….."

dicemanrick09 Jun 2016 7:09 a.m. PST

I can't believe the negativity about FoW tournaments posted here.

I started FoW about three years ago and love the tournament scene (18 last year!). I've played against hundreds of opponents, including Andrew Hopson, and have had great experiences in the great majority of cases. In all that time, I only matched up against two I would not care to play again. They may have just been having a bad day!

I've made a lot of friends from matching against players from Ohio to New Jersey to Florida. Many go out of their way to help a newer player become better by explaining rules as they come up. Many players have allowed me to move things I forgot or roll to "dig in" after the phase is over, as I have done for many of my opponents.Our own group in Pittsburgh hosts tournaments about every other month and we actively encourage newer players to attend.

I'm curious to know which tournaments had the "evil players". Is it a regional thing or club match?

I'll be attending the first US Team event in Springfield OH this weekend and am looking forward to playing and socializing with the great guys I know and meeting some new friends to move some tanks and throw some dice.

Please re-consider the tournament scene if you have never tried it. if you play me, I might even get you a beer!

Thomas Thomas09 Jun 2016 10:17 a.m. PST

Not a fan of FOW but have played in several tournaments and never had any problems enjoyed opponents more than rules. And where rules were exploited opponent apologized and I realized that problem was with the rules and not the opponent.

Likewise have played in 100s of DBX games. Never had the slightest problem with opponents. Almost everyone pre-measures before making a 'tight' move and we agree before hand whether they can "make it" or not. Have had a lot more trouble in general games were rules are looser and they is no camraderie as often develops among tournament players.

Have made many many friends at tournaments and spent much of the time dicussing history of their armies, painting techniques etc. Very true of DBX tournaments which attract a lot of history buffs.


webgriffin09 Jun 2016 10:32 a.m. PST

Behavior is not caused by the rule sets or the tournament, it is caused by the player. If you are a pain to play against in a casual setting, you will be a pain to play against in a tournament setting. If you are fun to play with in a casual game, you will be fun to play with in a tournament setting. If you are not, then you are duplicitous…

As for the dice comment – if this were such a fact, then why do the same players win tournaments? Dice would mean that all players have the same odds of winning. But that is not the case in FoW. Could it actually be… I don't know… player skill?

Andrew wrote a great article. As for the preparation needed to play, let's review:

1) Know the rules – really? This proves the negative responses?

2) Mark you army clearly – really? Somehow being required to clearly mark a flame thrower or a tank commander proves the negative responses?

3) Know your list – really? Having a player know the stats of their list and their special rules somehow confirms that tournaments suck?

4) Know the missions being played? Really? Knowing how to play Fighting Withdrawal confirms that people at tournaments want to win more than being an enjoyable opponent?

5) Wear comfortable shoes? Sure, because we all know that wearing comfortable shoes means you will suck as an opponent!

I could go on here, but come on. If tournaments are not your thing, that is cool. I will admit that I have met a few idiots at tournaments. But these are the exception, not the norm. Heck, I met Andrew at a tournament and he is a great player and a better person! I am sure that in your club / hobby shop / etc. there is one of *those* guys. No biggie, don't play them. Same is true in a tournament. A vast majority of the time, your chances of a good and fun game are really high. I personally think they can be enjoyable and a good experience. Individual results may vary…

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