Old School here with an article from a fellow Michigan War Gamer, BDS, of BDS 40k. I want to run this article here because it sums up basically how the DFG authors and most of the communities I have gamed in really feel about tournaments. I will have more to say after the article, so here it is:
Floating through the inter-webs perusing various media regarding Warhammer40k one finds a fair amount of negativity towards tournaments.
From poor organization, lack of terrain, “that guy” scenarios, even out right cheating. Is there a good side to tournaments that does not get enough spot light?
I would say, yes. What is good about tournaments; at least from one gamers' perspective?
1. I meet new people. No matter how much time you spend in your basement, man cave, or in front of your PC; this game requires two human beings to interact face to face for 2+ hours. There is more of this at a tournament where you will likely play 3 or more games. I have not been to a tournament yet where I knew well all three of my opponents. I always get a chance to meet someone new.
2. I get a chance to show off my models. It is possible to get plenty of feedback through the internet…but nothing equates to putting all your toys out on the table and having a group go “oooh and ahhh” over your hard work.
3. I get a chance to up my game. Like any contest, sport, mental exercise…you don’t develop game if you don’t game. Theorizing and math hammering only go so far. You can be a math genius and fail at model placement, deployment, or shot selection…so actually attempting to put it all together under a time limit three or more times in a day has a direct correlation to developing your skills.
4. You are guaranteed 3+ games. I am a busy guy. I work long hours, have family commitments, and am serious about making time to exercise. Knowing I can schedule a day and be guaranteed to get three good games in one trip to the hobby store is golden versus taking my chances on weekly game night.
5. I get help making army decisions. I can view others armies, watch how they work, see new ideas, and conversion possibilities. I can try out my “combination of doom” or whatever and get real life feedback on whether it is viable or not.
6. I get to spend time with people I have something in common with. Too much stuff happens via email, Internet, TV etc. This activity gives me an opportunity to interact with a group of people face to face who share a common interest. People I talk to regularly on the web I can now provide a mental picture to accompany. I have an opportunity to make new friends; that staying behind my PC cannot compare with.
7. I can support my local game store. Having a store to help the community of local gamers and provide a place to play is important. I can buy stuff cheaper online sometimes, but always prefer to buy in person and say thank you when I get a chance. Believe me; it is worth the $3-5 bucks US more that you spend per purchase versus online in the long run.
8. I usually get a chance to pick something up on discount or a prize; or even a trade. This is just gravy, but like it when it does happen.
So, from this gamers' perspective there are many more positive than negative things that tournaments bring to 40k that extend way beyond your win loss record or the rare occurrence with “that guy.” I am sure there are a few more positive reasons to attend a tournament that I did not mention.
As always, thanks for the read.
Old School again. Basically this says everything that I have tried to organize into an article before and failed. Many of us are busy folks, like to test ourselves and like to get a few garaunteed games in and meet new people. I have heard all kinds of ridiculous stuff in our own comments and elsewhere, including people saying "People throw tourneys to give their friends free plastic" and "Only people with money to buy the best models win and then they get more free stuff - tourneys hold the poor man down" and all manner of other silliness that has always struck me as odd and a bit misplaced. Hopefully this article helped put into perspective the way that 99% of us tourney players feel. and maybe even encouraged a few people to try out their local tourney scene.
In any case, if you have never read BDS 40k before, BDS is a very good writer covering his own personal 40k experiences, including list development backed up by solid tactics and play testing. As far as the new Chaos codex is concerned, this is one of the only sources I really take seriously when it comes to unit reviews and list ideas. Additionally, he has some great articles on gaming aids and much more, so check out BDS 40k and add him to your reading list.
As always, thoughts, comments and feedback are always welcome!