Cheater No Cheating!

Hey everybody—my name is Justin Curtis. I’ve been rather heavily involved in the 40k tournament scene for the past 5+ years; my team has won the American Team Championships for 3 consecutive years, I was on the USA ETC 2016 team, and I had the misfortune of losing the roll to go first against Nick’s Warp Hunter list in the NOVA Invitational Finals a couple years ago. But if you know me at all, you’re more likely to know me as a judge than a player—I’ve been involved in top-table judging at the
Adepticon Championships and Team Tournament, the NOVA Open, and numerous regional tournaments as well as having a hand in writing prior-edition FAQs for events like ETC and NOVA.

40k’s competitive environment has been growing quickly as of late—this is, generally speaking, good news for all of us—but it’s come with a downside as well. Recent events (most specifically at Vegas and London GT) have sparked some controversy over how play is handled at top tables, with events and even specific players coming under harsh scrutiny by the wider community.

It’s time to have a discussion about the realities of play at that level, reasonable expectations for both events and players, and how to handle it when it seems those expectations have not been met. Nick’s been kind enough to let me share my thoughts here on his page.

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I feel qualified to weigh in on this as I feel I’ve had a direct hand—either as a player, a judge, or an organizer—in about as many high-end, top-table, GT-level games as all but a small handful of people in our community. And the reality is, there’s an extremely large portion of our community who haven’t ever had that experience, or even directly witnessed a top-table GT finals game, and the disconnect between those two groups is growing wider as the competitive hobby gains more traction.

So, let’s shed some light on the realities of how these games and events actually work in practice.

The first conversation you need to have in regard to controversies over top-level gameplay is regarding responsibility. Whose fault is it when something goes wrong? What if somebody “cheats”? This one has a very short answer (one many of you probably won’t like) but comes with a much longer explanation.

As a quick side note, you’ll want to notice “cheating” is covered in sarcastic quotes. What is frequently described as “cheating” in secondary discussions is, vastly more often than not, more accurately described as “playing incorrectly.” This is a very important distinction, as actual cheating is incredibly rare in tournament 40k, at least at the level we’re discussing here.

The short answer: If a rule is misplayed in your game to your detriment, it is your fault.

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A more neutral phrasing (and the one I prefer) goes more like this: The primary onus of ensuring your opponent plays the game correctly is on you.

Now, we can do the much longer explanation.

First off, you are absolutely the person best suited to enforcing the rules in your own game. You’re the only person with any motivation to do so, in fact. You want to win your game, nobody else (at least from an organizational standpoint) should really care who wins. You’re the one with the most information available—as you’re directly involved in the game—and anyone else who arrives to adjudicate the situation after the fact is usually working on opinions and a possibly-altered board state. If your opponent were to “cheat,” you’re the only person directly affected in a negative manner. So, it is obviously in your best interests to “police” your own game, as it were.

Now this all sounds a bit draconian—telling people it’s their own fault they got cheated and all—but let me assure you, it’s not by design, it’s by necessity.

The realities of the tournament 40k landscape do not allow for any other mechanism to exist. Sure, in a perfect world, the Las Vegas Open would have 250 highly-trained judges standing at 250 tables enforcing strict-rules game play on all attendees.

This is not a perfect world. Such a system is impossible for any number of reasons, but for now it’s worth stopping at “impossible” and continuing on. Table side “active judging” is not a viable option for 40k on a widespread level.

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Time for another quick vocabulary lesson—what is “active judging”? Active judging is the concept of a judge actively intervening on the table any time they observe the game being played incorrectly, to any degree.

That sounds like a good thing, right?

While this is sometimes an open conversation at an organizational or judging-staff level, the prevailing thought at most large 40k events is that active judging is not desirable. I’m absolutely in that camp as well, and have always been an advocate of passive judging (or to steal a term from the Adepticon judging staff of old, “vampire judging”—we’re not allowed to go in unless we’re invited).

This means a judge only intervenes on a table if their intervention is specifically requested by a player (outside of obvious larger issues like physical/dice cheating, verbal abuse, etc etc) and, in a similar vein, agreements between the players on the table are the highest law of the event.

The primary reason for this stance is another “perfect world” issue—there just aren’t enough qualified judges to maintain an “active judging” situation on more than a table or two at any given event. I’ve always been very vocal in my opinion that there’s probably about 10 people in the entire world I’d consider qualified to actively judge a top-table GT game.

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And even those 10 people would make mistakes. I certainly would.

Which brings us to the more dangerous aspect of “active judging”—what happens, especially in this age of streamed and recorded games, when the judge catches the incorrect play by Player A, but misses the incorrect play by Player B? What if Player B wins because of that incorrect play? The accusations and perception of bias and negative impact on the event would be enormous.

On top of that, you’ve shifted the blame away from Player A—who had equal opportunity to call Player B out on their incorrect play—and onto a judge. A volunteer judge who gave up their opportunity to play in the event to help others out, and likely paid airfare/hotel/etc fees for the privilege.

The realities of the complexity of the game and the availability of qualified judges lead us back to the original statement—the responsibility of ensuring your opponent plays correctly is on you.

Now, it’s important to point out that it’s not all doom and gloom—if we’ve established that the primary responsibility for accurate play is on the players, what is the responsibility of the event? They aren’t without a role here, and there is certainly blame to be put on them when certain things are handled poorly.

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The event (in my opinion) is responsible for providing you the means to confirm and enforce the rules. Primarily, this means judges, but also an accurate rules packet, well-written missions, and in previous editions even things like event-FAQs.

If you say “hey, I think you’re playing that rule wrong” and the other guy says “no I’m not,” you’ve reached the point where you need intervention from the event. That’s what judges are for. By notifying a judge, the players have met their burden of responsibility—this is where the line ends for them.

The event will, hopefully, have at least a small handful of qualified judges available to assist in coming to a correct ruling. Again, this is not always a perfect process, and incorrect rulings are sometimes given—if given frequently, the event absolutely should be held accountable for the quality of those rulings. We all hear horror stories of local/regional tournaments where some guy said Space Marines all have Fly and can move 18” and a judge agreed with him, but luckily those sorts of things are relatively
rare at the large tournaments—the judging staffs at the big 3 event teams (FLG, NOVA, Adepticon) are pretty seasoned veterans at this point and have core groups of people who are incredibly knowledgeable in the rules, and are always immediately available on the floor for rulings as necessary.

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There’s a secondary element worth discussing here, which is speed. The judges aren’t just responsible for attempting to get you a correct ruling, they’re responsible for doing so in a time frame that is not overly harmful to the gameplay experience. If you’ve ever had an actual hard-rules conversation with citations and precedent and the inherent vagueness of the 40k ruleset, you know these things aren’t always a speedy process. But a tournament game can actually be harmed far more by a lengthy ruling than by an incorrect one—if the judges take so long to get you an answer that you only get to play 2
turns, it wasn’t worth the effort. With that in mind, floor rulings do sometimes have to sacrifice accuracy for brevity, and is a possible source of incorrect rulings.

The overarching theme of what I’m explaining here is that 40k is an incredibly complicated game, especially when you start trying to dissect it down to the level necessary for competitive play, and everybody is going to make mistakes in their games. I hold the opinion that a full-length, rules-perfect game of tournament 40k has never been played.

What I’m attempting to give insight to is the problems involved in dealing with that complexity, from both an organizational and player standpoint. There are no perfect solutions, and mistakes will continue to be made—what’s been outlined above is our best shot at trying to handle those mistakes as they occur.

With that, there must also come some level of acceptance for those mistakes. Until we find the means to police away all possibly misplay from our games, the two concepts go hand in hand.

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This is what we have been losing recently, for various reasons, and it’s what needs to be addressed as much as anything.

Suddenly—with the rise of streamed and recorded games, and an anonymous internet to consume them—every mistake made by every player is “cheating,” and every seemingly minor infraction is evidence of a grand conspiracy. There’s a situation currently unfolding with Alex Harrison’s game at the London GT which reeks of these issues.

[As a disclaimer, it’s worth pointing out that I do not know Alex well—I’ve met him once or twice at larger GTs, and never been directly involved in his games as far as I’m aware.]

The first issue is a rules mistake—a misplay regarding For the Greater Good and Hammerheads. Again, to describe this as “cheating” is both disrespectful to Alex and incredibly presumptuous on the part of anyone pretending they’ve never made a similar mistake (which is incredibly easy to do on Twitch chat or in the comments of a Facebook post).

What amazed me as a judge is they were actually presented with the opportunity to correct this mistake directly—an incredibly rare luxury, as under normal circumstances, the game would have progressed beyond the ability to do anything beyond playing the rule correctly in the remaining turns. But due to a scheduling issue with the venue, the game was stopped shortly afterwards and finished at a later time, which allowed them to actually roll back the misplay and resolve the rule correctly. This cannot be expected under normal tournament conditions, but was an interesting given the situation.

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The remaining issues—a bumped water bottle, a misplaced wound counter, and an erroneous measurement—are borderline absurd, from the perspective of someone who’s seen dozens and dozens of these games. These issues are only being made notable due to the relatively new capability of 40k to have a “spectator” class, watching and armchair judging from home, with no stake in the event and no expectation of civility or reasonable discourse.

This is the downside, mentioned earlier, of the sudden growth of 40k’s competitive hobby. Suddenly, everything is held under a microscope by people who either do not have (or choose to ignore) the context for the scenarios they are choosing to pass judgment on, and with no compulsion not to do so, as they’re simply that—spectators.

This is sometimes discussed in professional sports as “the right of the fan,” the right to boo the players and harass the umpire because you paid for your seat and they’re professionals and they should be held to a higher standard, right?

Except these aren’t professionals. You didn’t pay for your seat. You’re not booing the umpire at the World Series, you’re the slightly-too-involved uncle making a scene at a Little League baseball game

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.

You’re expecting 40k tournament players to be held to a standard that the other players don’t even hold them to. As noted, if Geoff had issues with Alex’s play during the game, he would have notified the staff—as is his responsibility. In the cases of mechanical misplays, this is how the situations were resolved, apparently to both players’ satisfaction.

Why is it, then, that anonymous internet onlookers should be outraged if the opposing player was not? And the fact is, top-level 40k tournament players know this to be the truth, because they know that they themselves make these same mistakes, so it would be hypocritical to jump all over someone else for doing so. As a judge, I don’t have top-level players come up to me after an event and tell me they lost because someone “cheated.” They tell me they lost because they forgot how a rule worked. They understand where the responsibility for these matters lay, and they act accordingly.

Now, for those out there shaking their head thinking I’m coming off as a hand-waving apologist, I’d like to put out the following:

Find an absolute stranger, who is approximately equivalent to your skill level in 40k. Bet them a reasonably large sum of money on a single game. Agree to play on a strict time limit, in a crowded venue, surrounded by noise and people.

Then, record video of you playing this game. Put it on the internet for all to judge. To frame-by-frame dissect every move you make, every rules assumption, every measurement and mechanic.

If your game does not have 90% of the same problems as Alex and Geoff’s game, then congratulations, you’re playing at a much higher level than the rest of us.

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Until then, I want you to consider every tournament game you’ve ever played. Think about every time you and your opponent disagreed on whether that knocked-over wound counter was on a 6 or a 4. Think about every time a model fell off a ruin and was put back in a slightly different spot. Think about the rule you misplayed, and didn’t realize until you were reading the Codex again two weeks later. Every time you didn’t play perfect 40k.

Then think about how different things would be if there was a recording, and it turns the wound counter was a 4. And that there are pictures to prove that model wasn’t at that spot on the ruin. And the guy at home with the Codex on his lap knows you played that rule wrong immediately.

The purpose of all this isn’t to label anyone as a cheater or abolish them of any misdoings, it was just to shed some light and give some real perspective on an aspect of the hobby which ~90% of people understand almost nothing about.

But remember, the real take away from all this is to do your homework before watching TV and always eat your vegetables.

-Justin Curtis- The 2nd Best Daemon Player

11 Comments on “Cheater No Cheating!

  1. Thanks for the right up Justin and putting things into perspective from your point of view. I think the reason that this is being looked at a large scale is due to the numerous 40K championship events the final table (and for some the path there) seem to have issues a large percentage of the time. I do not think i need to bring up any examples as they are well known to the community. I offer this… As much as i love 40K it is not a tournament style game. We are forcing a game the was in itself not designed for tournament play to be played as a tournament game. Mistakes are made in every game at least every game that I have played. This is due to how broad of a rule set we have. The core rules maybe small but when you add the various codexs and missions rules things turn into a massive rule set. For the most part I agree with you (that rarely happens) but I feel there needs to be a level of trust that your opponent is playing there rules correctly. Sure I can ask but then it would turn into a question fest instead of a game. If you are playing your army incorrectly then you are cheating due to lack of knowledge of your own army. That is your responsibility not mine. Sure it is mine to ask if i FEEL that it is being played incorrectly but how am I suppose to know if it is being played right or wrong? As for the game itself the only thing i would offer is this.
    1.the model that was hit with the glass move it back or did Alex not notice he hit it? We also do not know what he would or would not gain from the model moving and inch.
    2. When you put the wound counter back on your OPPONENTS model how about ask how many wounds it has left?
    3. Measuring meh ask before you go into shooting is that unit in range?
    4. GG rule all on Alex
    5. The maelstrom Card thing many of us forget. But he did in fact lie by saying he said he was going to discard when in fact he did not. Maybe he thought he did though the world may never know.

    All of these things i can see happening but there are also ways to avoid many of them.

    Gary Frank 2nd best Tyranid player currently 🙂

    Flame away

    • I think this is a well written and thought out article, and I also agree with many of Gary’s comments.

      There is a serious flaw in the argument that the responsibility to police our opponents lies in each player. Quite simply, if judges cannot be expected to know all the rules from all the codexes, then neither can the players. What’s left? It lies on the shoulders of each player to play their own armies correctly.

      People talk about this being a “gentle(person)’s game” – If that is the case we have to hold ourselves to an honorable standard. That means owning up to our mistakes and suffering consequences when we make them. What are those consequences? This should actually be the conversation.

      People will always want to be competitive, even if the game is not originally conceived with the tournament application. As a community we will have to evolve our thought process because that competitive impulse will not go away.

      • that’s why you bring your rulebook. Even playing my friends when they do something i often ask to see their codex to check rules. There i do it more for memorization purposes since im very good at that so i dont have to ask next time. But in a tournament there is no reason to not check a rule or a strategem. They say “i use the greater good to fire overwatch” “Ok can i see your codex to check the rule” then “it looks like hammerheads dont have FtGG only the drones do” etc

  2. So as for the “this is happening at a lot of final tables”. It’s happening in every game, everywhere. The final tables are being watched by a ton of players so those mistakes get noticed.

    i’m not going to go into the specifics of the LGT, but that stuff happens. I have lost games to legitimate cheating. I lost a game of WM in the invitationals because a guy moved (a model I had pre-measured) 14″ when it had move 10, just didn’t measure and put it on a flag to score the game winning point, called a judge, he put it back in the wrong spot, we “couldn’t agree” so we rolled off, and he won the roll off. That was the last game of competitive warmachine I played. If a game has gone beyond the social contract of “we’re both trying to play well” that’s not competition anymore.

    Shit like that DOES happen. being a watchdog for other people’s armies is the thing I like least about competitive play, and is a big part of why I don’t travel very far for tournaments. I simply don’t enjoy policing my opponents, and I don’t want to do the research on their armies to be able to police them correctly. Malicious or not, having your tournament hopes dashed because you didn’t notice a rule being played incorrectly is a pretty bad feel. When you know it’s malicious, it’s infuriating.

  3. I don’t think this was a very informative or useful article, but at least it opens up the discussion a bit more. I would advise you to look to Warmachine & Hordes as an example of semi-large scale competitive tournaments where they are getting things right. They use chess clocks or deathclocks to prevent slow playing, and they have for years. They stream many of their tournament games, including the quarter, semi, and finals. They have judges at these final tables to immediately jump in if a rule is forgotten or played wrong, and to reference if there are any rules disputes or questions.

    To imply that it isn’t possible to have judges present for the top/final ~2-10 games at a tournament is a disservice to the competitive 40k community. It almost feels like an underhanded insult of your readers intelligence. I seriously doubt high level competitive 40k players are against active judging. If they are, they should go watch a Warmachine & Hordes streamed final and see unobtrusive and nice it is.

    A lot of LGT articles and discussion conflate and poorly relate their terrible experiences at the LGT logistically with the accused cheating discussion. The two should be mutually exclusive and don’t really relate to each other except for in one area – Judges. Our competitive events need to have judges at the finals tables. I think this was a let down of LGT. If they judges, especially active judges, at the semi finals and finals tables, the games would have been played cleaner, the tactics/decisions would have been better, and without a doubt Alex wouldn’t be facing a potential ban from the LGT – his actions, whether intentional or not, would have (or at least could have) been stopped at the source before they could impact the game.

    Players are responsible for calling out their opponent if they believe they are playing something incorrectly. But what this responsibility ends up doing is lowering the quality of the game and making is no fun to watch. I want my finals competitors to be focused on coming up with tactically sound and creative plays so they can win – I don’t want them having to watch their opponent like a hawk to see if he is fudging dice, moving models incorrectly, measuring incorrectly or nudging models. In fact, that is the sole purpose of a judge in my eyes – to take the stressful burden of not only watching, but calling out a player who is misplaying, and preventing it from happening.

    Imagine if we had an aggressive judge at the LGT. Both Alex and Geoff could have played a much better game since their focus could have been on how to win. A large many of the rule-misplays, nudges, poor measurements, dice switching could have immediately been called out and corrected. The game would have, as a whole, been played cleaner – their would have been no ill-will between the two players, and at the end of the day no one would have probably been banned. If a judge saw someone continually doing things improperly, he or she could have given a warning and told the player “if you don’t stop miss-measuring and quickly picking up your dice, I’m going to have to DQ you.”

    A world where judges view themselves as passive, “only to be called upon, never to take action on their own” is a world where the 40k community will never progress to be a competitive tabletop game. No one wants to watch a game where the two players make poor decisions and where rules are misplayed.

    Point to a single other competition, game or sport where the policing is done by the players. There aren’t any good examples because it isn’t conducive to real competition. Every single sport, every Olympic sport, every e-sport, has a neutral 3rd party referee/judge standing by not just as a reference or to be called upon, but as an active participant who steps in when rules are played incorrectly. They then correct it (or dole out appropriate punishment), and then lets gameplay resume.

    Relying on a competitor to watch for and call out all misplays of their opponent is conducive to poorly played games and is gives room for unscrupulous players to take advantage.

    It incentivizes pushing the bounds of the rules to divert your opponent’s attention and use up precious mental stamina.

    Now I’m going to shift to agree with you. The U.S. legal system tends to ascribe to the poorly outlined “passive” judge mentality you discuss. It does indeed have two opposed attorneys and an incredibly passive judge who sits on a throne and effectively does nothing until one of the opposed attorneys objects to the other attorneys actions, all while arguing a case before a jury/fact finder. But a key difference exists in that attorneys are trained, and it is literally their job to know the rules such that they can object and explain why the other attorney violated a rule. The judge has the easy, passive task of simply deciding whether a rule was violated or not after it is brought to his or her attention. 99.99% of the time, if there is no objection, the judge let’s the rule-violation go unpunished. But good firms do something critical when it comes to trial – they bring more people. They double or triple the available attentiveness and mental stamina of their team by having 2-3 attorneys sit at counsels table. While one attorney is preparing for his cross-examination, the other attorney is listening to the opposing attorney like a big-eared bat waiting for a rule violation so they can object.

    Competitive 40k is not like this, and therefore should be treated like other competitive sports where the goal is both competition and entertainment for spectators. The goal of the U.S. legal system is allegedly “justice,” the goal of competitive sports is fun, competition, and entertainment. Competitive 40k should have judges that are active to the extent that if they see something performed incorrectly, they step in and do their best to correct it or prevent it. Unless someone is trying to get the upper hand through cheating or misplaying, both players at a finals game of competitive 40k want their game to be played as correctly as possible. Both would love to have a judge step in and correct them on the first turn that FTGG is being incorrectly used on hammerheads. They will feel safer knowing that if they win, it is much less likely to be discredited because more errors were caught and the burden of missing something will be shared. I’ve watched streamed Warmachine & Hordes finals games over the years and I’ve seen up to 2-4 judges watching any one finals game. If a player thinks a measurement is wrong, they have the judge step in and objectively make the call on whether something is in range. But if they misplay a rule, the judge will tell them immediately and sit by and let the integrity of the game suffer.

    Judges don’t need to come in and do all the measuring and get hand-holdy. Watch a streamed Warmachine WTC or Lock & Lock finals match to get an idea of what it actually looks like.

    Pivoting to a final point, I would like to reference Matt Root and his fairly recent “How to Win the ITC Part 3 article.” It sounds like you and him have differing views and I would be curious to hear you two discuss the issue of judging and cheating in 40k:

    https://thebrownmagic.com/2018/05/10/how-to-win-the-itc-part-3/

    “Sadly, in the competitive scene, Warhammer 40k attracts all types of competitors: . . . And yes, those who will do anything – including cheating – to win.”

    “Warhammer 40k, like all other competitions on the planet, has its fair share of cheaters. They are rare, but they do exist, and they do play in tournaments all across the world. Chances are, even if you didn’t realize it, you have played against one. However, the cheating I am speaking of is rarely in so obvious a form as drilled dice or an illegal list. Instead, the type of cheating I am here to speak about is in breaking the social contract.”

    “It is a sad fact in Warhammer 40k that there are a number of competitive, skilled Warhammer 40k players who will try to take advantage of this situation. These are infamous players that many know, but proving that someone is actually cheating you is nearly impossible, which is why if you feel like the social contract is being broken, you need to stand up for yourself. You need to be brave in combat.”

    I reference these thoughts because I think they support the idea that having a active judge who calls out social contract transgressions or rules mistakes removes the distasteful aspect of calling someone out for breaking a social contract off of the players to a greater extent. No one likes to have to police and call someone out for moving their models an extra inch or two. Nobody wants to to have to tell someone to re-roll a dice because they thought it was a different number than claimed.

    Matt Root explores three potential responses to cheating or misplaying in 40k:

    “Your opponent then proceeds to roll the charge dice behind a piece of terrain where you can’t see them, and before you can look for yourself, he quickly picks up the dice and says he rolled a 10”.

    Option A: You accept that the opponent rolled a 10” and let him make the charge.

    Option B: You politely contest the charge, saying that because he rolled it behind the terrain where you can’t see it and picked up the dice, that you cannot verify he did so.

    Option C: You refuse to accept that he rolled a 10”, call him a cheater, and tell him that he’s been cheating you the whole game and that he only rolled it behind terrain so you wouldn’t see it.”

    Let’s create an Option D –

    Option D: The judge is actively watching the game and confirms that a 10 was rolled, or the judge does not see the roll, and after it is contested under option B, gives the rolling-player a warning not to pick up dice so quickly and tells the player to re-roll the charge dice.

    This is a poor example as clearly Option B could involve a judge, but my point can still be understood. Having a judge at the table (and not needing to be called over) during a finals game eliminates a substantial burden from the two competing players as they won’t need to worry about breaking the social contract and watching/calling someone out on a rules transgression.

    • Its also a psychological thing. Even if the judge doesnt say anything its like when cops sit in popular speeding zones. they dont have to pull anyone over there presence alone is often enough to get cars to slow down and follow the rules. Same can go for judges. if a judge is watching your game you might be a little more careful.

  4. I’m really glad this article wasn;t one of those knee jerk reactions we’re seeing all over the place, I mean back in the day you called someone a ‘cheater’ then it got physical and yet it’s quick to label in the competitive 40k scene.

    I attend a few tournaments a year but I’m far from competitive, I just enjoy the experience and the times I have ended up in the top tier has been more by accident or the planets aligning. What strikes me though is how often I see ‘competitive’ gamers playing in a way that does not immediately foster clarity and these were illustrated in the LGT game. For instance Alex’s issue with the dice looking like a 5 when it was a 3 because of the marble texture. If you’re into competitive play then don’t use dice that can be misinterpreted. None of these marble ones or lasercut special 6s or 1s – it’s just confusing.

    Secondly, stop using dice for wounds – they get picked up and knocked over by accident [and by ‘accident’]. Even the D10s can be knocked and you have to remember what side it was on. Get some wound counters, they don’t get knocked over, and if you put a 5 wound marker down you know your model has 5 wounds because there are no other options on the marker, unlike the other side of a dice. You just need to remember to keep the correct marker with the correct wounded model.

    Lastly, only pick up your failed dice. I mean that’s basic, leave the successes behind so your opponent has longer to see them and confirm they are successes. I feel like that’s obvious, I shouldn’t have to explain that but it happened in the final.

    Like I say, I spend most of my time on the bottom tables, I may not be competitive or successful but that doesn’t mean I don’t go into a game trying to be as crystal clear as I can be to prevent such issues. I want a fun game and the only conflict to be between the toy soldiers, thankfully those bottom table games – with nothing to play for always turn out to be the most fun and least stressed and I usually come away with a lot of new hobby friends.

  5. Good article Justin. 1 thing: “I hold the opinion that a full-length, rules-perfect game of tournament 40k has never been played.”

    I think our game in ETC Greece was pretty dam clean. And even though they had a ruling you wern’t aware of (deep stiking into walls) it was raised by me prior to it affecting the game.

    I do agree though this is rare (super clean games) as we are both quite similar in our respective countries – knowledgeable rules guys who have read the rule book a number of times to develop the 7th ed FAQ.
    -Simon

  6. Feels wrong to leave to say people should be enforcing their own games whilst simultaneously comparing 40k to professional sports.

    For starters, they don’t enforce their own rules, they have independent adjudicators who like to go by very fancy names and wear prison uniforms.

    Secondly, and really importantly, 40k is fairly unique in that you probably don’t know your opponents rules. On the footy field (doesn’t matter what footy), just because you wore your red jersey this game doesn’t mean you suddenly get to use a different set of rules that the other team would only know about if they subscribed to your website. Asking Geoff R in the LGT to know enough about Tau to understand the FTGG rule well enough to force the issue, whilst tired and whilst being barraged by a whole bunch of other rules, is just not feasible, and puts paid to the idea that he’s the best person to enforce his own game.

    If you’d like people to enforce their own games, they need to have ready access to all the rules that are being thrown at them. Not to have some encyclopedic knowledge of all the rules, but having read through it once or twice they’re much more likely to think “hang on”, and initiate a conversation. That conversation is key here, if Geoff had just had a faint incling about the FTGG rule and asked, the Alex could have either flat out lied on camera and been confirmed as cheating or could have checked his codex and seen his mistake, no harm done.

    Personally I think GW should publish the datacards for all units, maybe without key things like weapon option rules etc and points costs, so people still need the codex to make the army, but everyone can see the special rules that each unit has.

    You can’t expect people to enforce their own games without giving them the tools to at least have a fighting chance.

  7. It is imperative to actively judge the last few deciding games of a tournament. The knowledge that active judging will occur once that level is reached would depress the incentive to cheat earlier on. While it is indeed impossible to judge every game, the finals are very much something to judge.

    And, well, Alex was banned for cheating.

  8. This didn’t age well at all given the events at ATC.

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