Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Chatter Behind the Bike Shed - Competitive Edge

One of the things I like about basing up figures and the like is that it leaves the mind to wander off where ever it wants. Whilst mine was doing so I fetched up on the memory of a post by Tamsin regarding here recent performance at the World Wargames Championships and then turned to the looming Analogue Painting Challenge possibly because we are running partners as last year we raced each other to the finish line where I just pipped Tamsin through not having to get up the next morning for work  ;-)

Anyway back to Tamsin and that run of play at the Worlds. Seems Tamsin had a great time and she certainly looked the part when I met her at the show. Well she had a great time apart from ONE opponent. From reading her posts I would say anyone she played after the joker would have seemed a true sport. What grabbed my attention at the time and what I was thinking as I scattered sand onto my base was that Tamsin suspected the guy of out and out cheating. Even having different measure sticks that would measure long or short dependant on the need of the time. Whilst almost all wargamers I am sure would never do such a thing I wonder if the one's doing so think about what they are doing and how do they rationalise it? For instance did that turd think it was up to his opponent to check out his measuring sticks so it's their fault if he used these? Or is it simply a competitive edge in his warped mind? 

ASL is an amazingly complex set of rules that in reality you do not need to know that many rules to play but greater knowledge certainly gives you an advantage. I think it's a fair comment that if your opponent fails to take advantage of a rule you should not feel the need to inform them of said rule, especially in a competitive game. However I often do so as to increase both sides enjoyment of the game and to hopefully help to make future games that much better. However I have witnessed players allowing someone to use a rule wrongly (firing main armament whilst crew exposed with one man turret) whilst it suited them (opponent keeps missing) but once they get a hit inform them they can't fire the gun as crew exposed. On the first attempt at firing the more knowledgeable player should explain you can't fire whilst the commander is up in the cupola and that he needs to get back inside the turret and load the bloody thing.

Again you can excuse your actions citing in this case A0.2 which states mistakes in the past have to stand. Mistakes yes, but when you know your opponent is using a rule incorrectly and you don't point it out your cheating mate.

Most games rely on a honour system between opponents and lets face it often you know your opponent so it's got to be a fairly low act to cheat yourself to a win. Another wargames related pastime is the soon to start Painting Challenge. Curt has always insisted we Police ourselves and whilst this is the only way to do it, it's ore than a little possible to cheat your way to victory by wheeling out fully painted units left right and archive but really why would you? Recent sledging had the very accidental upsetting of one of our fair crowd about his style of priming with lavish jokes about using many colours of primer that resulted in a finished figure. Of course this was supposed to just be good natured leg pulling but it was ironically the upset parties high level of fairness and good play that made the fun into a group of rather abashed boys (and odd girl). If last year is anything to go by this is one event that is more about the journey than the finish line, the friendly banter and support we all get and give really makes the event a joy to belong to.

Well these last few units are not going to finish themselves and I still have a few evenings of prep left in me so until tomorrow, have fun.


  1. Great post Ian, competition gamers in the main are good but there are sadly a few and I must stress only a few that will do absolutely anything to win, they don't even see having two sets of sticks as cheating or forgetting about a certain rule until it affects them as you point out.

    The challenge incident was an unintended event and was more an escalation of boys and girls making hay while the sun shined, its a fun event and really is it something anyone would stoop so low as to try and cheat there way to victory I damn well hope not!! It is an event for us all to enjoy as you state and it would be sad to think entrants would sally forth battalions of pre painted figures " are you taking note Badger ;) " in some banal effort to win.

    I wish everyone who is taking up the baton for the next three months well, whatever their target and what ever they have planned I hope each and everyone enjoys what is a great fun event

  2. OMG! So many name-checks in one post!

    I think the sledging about 2-colour priming did escalate a bit far. You are spot on that competitive gaming and the Challenge both depend on the honesty of those taking part. In the former, there will always be someone who tries it on (and I had the misfortune to encounter one such at Derby); for the latter, I can see very little point to cheating as the only person you are really competing against is yourself. Sure, we may have friendly rivalries with fellow competitors but at the end of the day we're just aiming for a self declared target, so why cheat? I don't believe that any of the entrants would cheat (although I have heard reports of a certain badger smuggling sand into bags over the past few weeks....*lol*)

  3. Great post Ian. Every time a wargamer cheats a little part of his fun dies along with it IMHO.

  4. Great post there Ian and is one reason I dont like competitive games, though I do love a BloodBowl tournament. Good luck with the challange

  5. Great post Ian. I totally agree with your comment that painting is all about the journey. It doesn't matter where you start, it's where you finish and what you learn along the way. Painting to me is all about honing a skill and always trying to improve. I really don't understand the mentality of someone who would cheat in order to win. I look forward to seeing you and Tamsin going head to head in the competition. Good luck to both of you in the competition.

  6. Thanks to all of you for your replies, certainly got a few longer ones which is always great to see.

    Yes the vast majority of us are good un's though the bad seem to get the most column inches but that's the way of the word