Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tournament Etiquette

We all know how we should play a pick up game or a friendly game at the local club. We even know what to do in a tourney prep game. But I see a lot of the same poor behavior at the few tournaments I have been to, as well as, heard about on-line and other places. I wanted to create a short list of these bad habits and how we might all improve on them. These aren't 40k or Fantasy items, but rather things I think could be used in any tournament, or even beyond, in any game setting. So, if you want to see my thoughts, and hopefully use them to improve your opponents experience, then please read on.

1: Rule books. Have your rulebooks. I don't care how well you know your list or your army or even the core rules, have a rule book. Never assume your opponent knows all the above as well as you do. If there is a rules question, being able to show the page and section that backs up your point is essential in getting a valid ruling, as well as everyone's satisfaction with the ruling. Also, don't take it personally when someone asks to read your rulebook. They aren't necessarily not believing you; they may not, and probably don't, have access to the book, and just want to know for the future.

2: Army lists. Have an army list for every opponent/round, as well as one for the Organizer, and one for yourself. Have a typed list. Regardless of how nice your hand writing is, have a typed list, just so there is no confusion. And drop the short hand. Every Tau player may know what a Fireknife is (they don't actually), but the non-Tau players probably do not. Spell it out, make it clear. Army Builder, spread sheet, whatever, have it typed, and have copies for everybody. An extra copy wouldn't hurt anyone either.

3: Hands off. DON'T TOUCH YOUR OPPONENTS STUFF. I may have a slight issue with people touching my stuff, but there are others like me. Don't touch an opponent's dice. It may be easier for you just to grab and roll his, but it is not the right thing to do. There is a reason that everyone has to bring their own dice. Also, models, no touching. If they ask you to hand them some dead models, fine, but even then, don't grab them as a big handful and toss them. Hand them over one by one, or maybe twos. They worked hard to get them where they are (or not, but its good practice) don't wreck their paint job with carelessness.

4: End of the event. OK, final round is over, just sitting around waiting for results, what possible etiquette could you possibly use here. Clean up the tables. Stack the terrain, pick up the clothes, help the TO out. They want (and probably have to) get out of there, too. Help ease their time by congregating or even putting away the terrain. They just put on an awesome event, help them out a little.

5: Attitude. I am guilty of this one myself. I know we can't all be super opponent all the time, sometimes things just don't go our way. Be able to check yourself. In a tournament this last week end, I was a total jerk my first round. I had just finished a two day tournament for 40K the day before, and had gotten almost no sleep. My group ruled one way, the TO ruled the other, it put me in a very bad position, and I took it out on my opponent. Half way through the game, I had to stop myself and apologize to the guy I was playing. I later talked to the TO to get the guy some extra sportsman, because he put up with me very well. The TO actually said I should get points for realizing and admitting my error. I still disagree, but it brought up a good point. Being a good sportsman is mostly about treating your opponent fairly and graciously, but that may not always be possible when things are just not going well. Being able to step back and see just how much of a jerk you're being can be huge too, especially if you then try and change that attitude.

I hope this has given you some thoughts on how to be a better tournament player. These, more than likely, won't help you up your sportsmanship score, but they should help you to not ruin someone else's day, and maybe even improve it in some way.

CW, rollin' dice.

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