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The Tiger Roars 
Guest Commentary

Sportsmanship: Would You Play Against Yourself?  by Yann Folange
 Like most games, 40K will require interaction with another person to put the models you spent time and money assembling to good use. You can be an excellent general, a great painter, or an all around good guy, and still have poor sportsmanship. While we’re not playing the game for the other person, I feel that people should at least try to make the game enjoyable for all parties concerned. It’s a good bet that if you want to have a good time, then your opponent wants one too. So here a few pointers that, while they won’t have you catering to your opponents ‘fun meter’, will at least make the game more enjoyable.

Rolling Dice
My biggest pet peeve comes from how people roll dice. Too many times, they’ll take a handful of dice, roll them, pick up some and roll them again, then point to one of my units and say “Three of them are dead.”

Dead from what? Who shot them, what weapons were being used, did that unit move, etc? My first rule of Dice Etiquette is “Declaration.” This is the practice of declaring what unit is going to shoot at what target, what weapons they’re using, how many dice you’re rolling and what they need to hit. “This squad of Marines is going to shoot at that squad with their bolters. 7 shots, 3’s to hit.” 

This not only gives your opponent a heads-up on what’s going on, but also helps you keep mental track of what you’ve done in that round. It also helps if you play against an opponent who is not familiar with your army, and keeps down the number of “That does what?” questions that will crop up.

My second rule of Dice Etiquette is “Visibility.” Simply put, roll your dice where people can see them. Don’t roll behind buildings and terrain that your opponent can’t see behind, because it will make them suspicious of cheating. Pick an area of the board that has a reasonable amount of space to roll, so everyone can see what’s been rolled. Also avoid using dice that are hard to read. White pips on clear plastic dice are nigh impossible to read more than a foot away.

Third rule is “Failure/Success.” After you’ve rolled, pick up the dice that failed to do anything, leaving the success dice on the table, allowing your opponent to make a mental count of how many shots just hit or how many armor saves he’ll have to make. Tell your opponent how many successes you have before picking up your dice, to alleviate any suspicions.

The point behind these rules is that there’s enough going on in the game without having to worry if your opponent is screwing with their rolls. You’re basically saying, “Look, I’m not cheating, so you don’t have to worry about that, and instead worry about that Daemon Prince bearing down on you.”

And please, no rolling dice like you’re playing craps. They’ll ricochet around and knock models over, and people don’t appreciate that. Nor do the terrain owners like dents in their hills and buildings.

Yann practices what he preaches
Author Yann Folange (at left) practices what he preaches at a tournament

Don’t be a Sore Winner/Loser
Of course you don’t want to lose. It is a competitive game where someone triumphs, and someone tastes defeat. But how you deal with your win or loss will speak volumes about your character to your opponent, and will help them determine if you’re worth playing again.

Sore Winner. While there is nothing wrong with being happy that your missile launcher just blew up a Land Raider on a lucky ‘6’, rubbing that fact into your opponent’s nose is a sure-fire way to get on their bad side. Did you just wipe out one of his units in close combat, and then did a happy dance chanting, “You suck, you suck, you suck!”? While an extreme example (but not as extreme as you would think), being a sore winner is just rude. No one likes to lose, but to have someone point it out time and time again just builds bad feelings. Cheer your wins, of course, but don’t be too excessive about it.

Sore Loser. We all know them. If something doesn’t go their way, then they get mad, scowl for the rest of the game, possibly fling dice or models, and become a grouch. While losing sucks, or having something important fail, keep your anger in check, because nothing spoils the game like a bad attitude. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with threatening your dice with retribution if they don’t stop rolling ones, or giving your heavy weapons trooper a stern talking to after their 4th consecutive missed shot, but keep it brief and move on quickly, because there are other dice to roll, and good luck may come creeping back your way.

Be Polite
Be a pleasant person when you play. Use those manners that your parents taught you. When you’ve finished your turn, gesture (nicely) to your opponent and say “Your turn.” If it’s not your turn, don’t get involved in a conversation with someone else, or start reading a book. Your opponent paid attention to what you were doing: at least return the courtesy, otherwise you may miss something important. Nothing irks me more than having an opponent who’s only partially paying attention to the game. If he doesn’t care to be playing that much, then I don’t care to be playing against him.

There is also nothing wrong with asking questions about your opponent’s army. In one tournament, I played against someone who had never faced off against Necrons, so he had no real clue what they could do. He politely asked me questions about my units, and I offered information about what particular weapons and items in the army did (“Yes, the floating Lord has a weapon that ignores all saves, including invulnerable…which is why he’s heading towards your Chaplain.”) 

But do not badger your opponent with questions that have no particular relation to what they’re doing. If they’re moving a model, don’t ask about the number of shots a weapon gets. If they’re shooting, don’t ask what the AV of their tank is. It’s distracting and annoying, and not appreciated.

If you’re watching a game, keep the ‘Peanut Gallery’ comments to a minimum. Don’t offer advice or point out errors (unless you’re assisting a new player), and please refrain from asking “Who’s winning?”

Above: Yann leads his Banshee army into battle against Dark Eldar

Be Honest
Don’t cheat. Measure properly. Sure, they may not notice or catch you, but if you need to cheat to win at a game of soldiers, then you need to find another hobby. And if you make an honest mistake, then own up to it, apologize and adjust if possible.

Respect Others’ Efforts
People who play with me know that I will raise my voice (not yell) at people who just wander over and pick up my or my opponents models, especially if they’re models that are in game. Usually a loud “WOULD YOU LIKE TO LOOK AT MY MODELS?” gets them to put the figure back down and apologize. They’re not yours, someone paid money and worked hard to assemble/paint them, and you need to be respectful and ask them to see the model that interests you. 

Also, if you’re playing against someone, and they need to remove models that they can’t easily reach, ask them if they’d like for you to hand them their figures. (There is also an act known as Flicking, where you ‘flick’ over a model that has died. Do that to your own army if you like, but the moment you flick one of my models is the moment our game ends.)

Have a Good Time
It’s a game, folks. You’re there to have a good time, play against a good opponent, and walk away with an experience to remember. I’ve lost games that I had a great time playing, and won games that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on. I’ve been to tournaments where I’ve met a wide variety of players, and I also play as many friendly games as I can get in while being married with two kids.

Treat your opponent with respect and dignity, and they will appreciate you as not only a player, but as a person.

Editor’s Note: Yann Folange won “Best Sportsmanship” at the January 18, 2003 Rogue Trader Tournament at Dream Wizards in Rockville, Maryland

© copyright Yann Folange, January 2006. Used with permission.


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle