Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Ethereal Council; What Makes a Great Player?

With a couple tournaments coming up, I've been thinking a lot about what category I'd like to compete for. Will it be Best Army Appearance? With my Blood Angels nowhere near the level of my Tau I am skeptical of my chances to win in that category. Best General, again with Blood Angels I doubt it. What I'd really like to strive for this time around is Sportsmanship.

What makes a great player though? What makes a great sportsman? I've come up with what I would consider 40k Best Principles.

Be a Generous Opponent. In 40k this means saying "yes" to your opponent more often than saying "no." It could also mean granting your enemy a full cover save when there is a discrepancy or even be generous with ranges. For example, letting him make that Meltagun shot even if he is 1/16th of an inch out of range. After all, it creates an atmosphere of fun and is more rewarding when you win.

Assume the Best. When your opponent forgets to roll for his reserves halfway through the movement phase, assume that it was a simple mistake and let him take the rolls. Don't ever make him feel that you think he is cheating.

Get caught up in the moment, not your ego. Enjoy the process of playing the game rather than focussing on your track record. Cheer when your opponent rolls four sixes for his rending assault cannon. Offer sympathy when he rolls double sixes for his psychic powers. Never, ever, yell "ROLL A ONE" at your opponent.

Uber-Units. Can you really call yourself a good player when your Nobz-Bikers with Feel-No-Pain alone have won you the game? Do you really challenge yourself tactically by fielding large units of Thunderwolf Cavalry? I have much more respect for players that can take rare units and win games. Take Fritz's Saim Hann. All the experts would say that Vypers suck but he has demonstrating time and time again that with a little finesse and smart playing, how great they can be.

Paint your Army. Whether you suck at painting or not, a little effort goes a long way. Nobody likes playing against grey plastic.

Don't give up. Play till the end. I have quit games in the middle before and I always regret it. It's a horrible thing to do to your opponent. Plus, my guess is 90% of players who were "tabled by turn 3" were simply players who gave up at turn 3, not ones who had lost all of their units.

Those are my principles what are your's? What do you think makes a great player?


Pete W said...

That sounds much like my list of good player characteristics.

I can also attest that OSH plays to these facets to the utmost and is a great opponent. Now if only he'd roll more ones for his broadside armour saves ;-)

Soundwave said...

I'd have to say I agree with every single one of those points.

Uber Units - Don't you just feel awesome when you lay the smackdown on someone who routinely takes such units?

Don't give up - this is a personal pet hate of mine. I always play until the end. You never know what might happen. I for one have drawn a game that I was meant to win because I got over confident. I have also drawn, and sometimes even won, games that I was meant to lose after taking a hammering for the first 2 turns.

Fritz and his Saim Hann are just a legendary combination. Everything people say about the Eldar codex is proved wrong by that guy. He is also a perfect example of how a player who knows his army will win out over a player who goes against the criteria you just listed.

slxiii said...

I would agree with everything except the measurement thing... If I'm out of range, I'm out of range, and the same rule goes for my opponent.

Flekkzo said...

Don't go bending the rules for your opponent. If it is a miss, it's a miss. Only if it is really hard to figure out if it does or not let it be in range. Be honest and follow the rules as written, that is all that is needed. Buttering your opponent up isn't needed at all.

The jargon depends on your opponent and your chemestry. Some people are ok to be animated with and cheer for results, others you need to be more sedated with, maybe even a little extra nice.

The rule is really to listen to your opponent and put everything on a level which best suits the both of you. Sometimes an instant rivalery can be way more fun.

That said I can't help but feel that your gaming spirit is where it should be. Good luck, and remember, have fun out there:)

Sidestreaker said...

Great article, OSH. I've yet to come out from my cave and started playing again... However, I totally agree with all the points above. I tried to follow all the values above when I played with my mates back in my hometown.

I can say in my mere 3+ years career in this hobby, I've been blessed with guys who are mostly friendly players and through them, I picked up the game and enjoyed a friendly gaming environment everytime!

Old Shatter Hands said...

About the measuring thing, I guess what I really meant is, if there is a discrepancy, give your opponent the shot. Be generous.

Raptor1313 said...

I generally agree.

However, I disagree that Vypers suck. Vypers are pretty decent units, truth be told. You just have to bringo ther threats, since AV10 open-topped isn't what we call durable.

On the other hand, I'm fine with the opponent bringing uber-units. If it's in the codex, then it's legal. The only extreme I feel starts getting to be abusive is if you do stuff like bring 8 nob bikers all with unique gear.

However, if you're complaining because someone brings decent units out of the codex...come on. People will bring powerful units, and if you're making it a sin to want to win, then I have a problem with that.

On the other hand, I will still give someone kudos for winning with a themed list.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Raptor1313, I just don't think you should expect to win a lot of sportsmanship points if you field an army that relies heavily on uber-units like that.
But I actually agree with you. People should be able to bring whatever units they want to the board. There aren't any instant-win units out there or army-builds. Smart players will find a way to counter them. Honestly that was the one point I wasn't wholly behind when I wrote this post and contemplated removing it. I'm not sure I completely believe that.

Flekkzo said...

If it is codex legal, it's legal. That's the point of the codex after all. What if someone builds an army at home, lovingly paints it and think about it a lot, giving it life in his or her mind, only to be called names when turning up to the tourney? Let's be a little less harsh. Besides, armies like the space marines are built around redundant similar units. Showing up with four ten man squads of Grey Hunters or Tactical Marines is fully in line with the fluff. Let people play any list they want. Judge the person, not the list. I am sure OSH would win against me regardless of what list I'd play (I never cared for Internet lists anyways).

Guess that was just a very roundabout way of saying judge the player:) Don't punish one for the acts of a another etc.

About distance. If I can't clearly say either way, I judge it to be successful. It's a game of heroes. But if it is six and a half, there will be no assault, because it is also a game of judging distance. It's the mistakes that sinks us after all, so why change that?

That said, I like to play with "If you snooze you loose". At first it seems mean and petty. Forgot to roll for reserves? Forgot to move one unit before shooting? Tough. And it sucks, bad. I once said gun instead of pistol, loosing the chance to assault. I will never screw that up again.

So playing loose isn't sportsman like. It's like giving a Hockey team an extra penalty shot to be nice. Sportsmanlike is to not injure your opponent, or in our case be both fair and keep a good spirit and make it fun.

And to not rob people of learning from their mistakes. Be it large or small.

(To be fair I have gotten screwed by my own wanting to play that way, with my own words directed at me. I am a better player for it, and you can be too).

I shouldn't post this late. I hope some of you got some enjoyment out of my post at least;) Be good!

Pearlygates said...

Yep, the No1 pet hate has to be when a player decides to throw in the towel mid game because you killed his land-raider and terminators so soon into the fight (this jibe is at my close mate "Mr Kenzo" with his Death Gaurd).

I like to finish my games, even if from turn 1 I'm clearly gettting exterminated; I think it's nice to see just how well your opponent has defeated you with what looks relative ease!!! Then I look back and consider the old "what if i set up here" or "kept these guys in reserve" and the classic "I knew I should have shot at that instead, during THAT turn!!!"

The good thing about a tau army when it comes to tournaments, is that we don't actually have Uber units! (OSH don't start with the "what about Piranhas with D-pods and fletchettes?)

Where one unit may be good against one particular force, it's weak against a certain other! That's why I always stand by saying that Tau players work with better strategies in mind compared to those with the Uber army- "mine has has phychic powers and endless attacks at stregnth XXX and did I mention my armour saves plus the invulnarables with the FEARLESS and the...."Oh shut up!!!

Pearlygates said...

I don't think you should be too rewarding to an opponent just to come off as Mr. Nice!!! This is about distances and forgetting to move/shoot/etc.

When it comes to shooting, and depending on the weapon (Strength/AP/is it Ordinance?) against certain units, I may accept a hit if it is less than half an inch; But assault, tough luck! If your short, your short!!

If my opponent remembers he didn't roll for reserves or forgot one unit didn't move, I'll accept it provided it's during his very first unit's shooting phase!

I'm willing to be leanient, but only to an acceptable degree!

Most importantly though, (this is for YOU OSH - you nicey,nice guy! - only follow your rules of sportsmanship if you know the other player is of equal mind!

Old Shatter Hands said...

This is all great feedback!

I think I would revise my post now. I'd like to include the following.

Do your best to win. but create an atmosphere of fun.

And I think I would remove the point about uber-untis. While list-building is certainly part of the game, some players want to field the uber-units. I certainly work hard to get the most out of the Tau codex. I don't have any "useless" units. I am the one who field minimized squads of fire warriors in devilfish...so I guess I've been convinced and that's why I ask for opinions.

@Flekkzo: Man, you're playing against tough guys. About saying pistol vs gun, I would never pull that one against an opponent! I don't think I would like to play against someone who follows the "snooze you lose" rule. That's just my preference.

Xanadu said...

If i may give my 2 and a half pence....

I agree with everything that has been said regarding über units, and measuring but a small matter of contention for me is Guess ranges, and I often make my opponent state specifically what he guesses the distance as. I had a particularly memorable game that I lost horrifically due to unfair measurements on the part of a few baslisks. and some nasty issues regarding deep striking crisis suits which apparently mishapped.

One thing that really annoys me though is those people that take deliberate advantage of some rules that others haven't read entirely or recently for that matter, one particularly memorable game of planetstrike where I was beaten horrifically by a bad deployment etc as well as a completely inaccurate interpretation of the strategem rules. But, we were a bit drunk. Nevermind.