Sunday, March 22, 2009

Warhammer Etiquette

Ever have a bad experience playing Warhammer? Welcome to a multi-part etiquette tutorial on how to make the game a better experience.

Here are some thoughts to serve as a guideline to help ensure your games are enjoyable experiences.

I: The Physical Aspects
---Have a typed list, with unit costs and a total in an easy to read format. All important information should be easy to find.
---Be prepared: Have all the materials to play the game such as dice, measuring device, templates, a copy of the main rulebook, and a copy of your armybook or codex.
---Along with the above, make sure your dice a normal dice (no huge dice or micro dice please), have a working tape measurer (the game is played in inches not centimeters), don't rely on your opponent to have the template(s) you're missing, always have a copy of the main rulebook especially now that they are available in the small format, and last but not least, bring the rules for your army and know what the latest FAQ is and how it affects your army.
---Be clean. Don't propagate the negative stereotypes about gamers. There is nothing worse having to play a game in a shop full of people who haven't showered in a week. This also includes your clothes - don't show up wearing something that hasn't been washed since you've bought it or the shirt you've been wearing nonstop for the past week. Don't be that guy!

II: Measuring
---Be consistent in how you measure. It's a good idea to ask your opponent how they measure before a game starts as well to make sure you're both on the same page about measuring (this applies to dice rolling as well).
---For movement, measuring from the front of your base to the front of the opponent's base. Apply this consistently and there should be no arguments about movement.
---Be sportsmanlike and give the opponent the benefit of the doubt where possible with movement, shooting, and templates.
---Make sure both you and your opponent are aware of how facing works for the various types of units in the game (ranked units, skirmishers, ridden monsters, characters on foot, and mounted characters).

III: Dicerolling
---Be consistent in how you treat all cocked dice, if it's "okay" on a piece of terrain for one roll, then it's always "okay". A good way to aovid problems with cocked dice is to roll in a relatively open area close to whatever combat etc that is occurring at that moment.
---This ties in to the cocked dice issue - re-roll any dice that your opponent questions. Your opponent should show the same respect to you.
---Perhaps most importantly - announce what you are rolling for and which of your units is performing the action against which of the opponent's units before rolling any dice. Your opponent would have every right to ask you to re-roll your dice if you don't announce what you're rolling for.
---Once you've established the above, roll your dice, pick up any misses and proceed with any further dice rolls as necessary.
---This goes without saying but do not make any rolls without your opponent or in some cases a neutral third party witnessing a roll.
---The following are all related: use normal sized gaming dice - no micro dice or giant dice. It's simply annoying. The results on your dice should also be easily recognizable so if one or more numbers are fading off then simply replace the dice with new ones. If you wish to use "casino dice" or any other large dice then roll them in a box - dice have to bounce at least twice in casino craps for a reason.
---Absolutely no cheating with the dice: this can take the form of "practiced rolling" or using "special dice" for such things as leadership tests or break tests. These are all forms of cheating.

Part IV: Behavior
---You should always try to keep cool, as losing your temper is almost certain to make the game and the situation worse. Throwing dice, minis, measuring tapes or any other objects is rather childish and can be dangerous, both to people in the store and the store itself. Doing this may in fact get you kicked out of a store so just don't do it. If you're really angry then just take a 5 minute break from the game, cool down, and resume playing. Winning is fun, but you generally learn more in defeat, so if you're getting massacred just bear with it, analyze what you did wrong, adjust your army if necessary, and try to play a better game next time.
---This ties in with the above - be respectful and commiserate with your opponent if they have bad luck. Conversely, do not complain about their good luck or your own bad luck. In addition avoid trash talking as you'll quickly find yourself without anyone willing to play against you. Note, a little bit of friendly jesting between two regular plays is fine. In addition, do not insult another player's paint job or make any other disparaging remarks about their army (whether it be the minis themselves or your opponent's armylist). Instead you could offer your opponent some advice on painting or modeling, as well as having a discussion of the battle with them after the game and help them with their armylists. This is especially useful with new players as the learning curve for the game can be quite high depending on the army.
---If you believe your opponent has broken the rules, ask them a question rather than making an accusation. It may just have been an honest mistake. If you think your opponent is deliberately and/or repeatedly breaking the rules then ask a store employee (or other neutral third party) to act as a referee for the game if possible.
---Try to play at a consistent pace with the goal of finishing the game in the alotted number of turns for each player (typically 6) within a reasonable amount of time (typically 2-2.5 hours at 2000 points). If you agree beforehand to play at a slower pace that is fine. Playing at a relatively fast pace is good practice for the tournament environment where every second counts.
---This also ties in to the previous point. While you're playing the game try to avoid any activities outside of the game such as engaging in lengthy conversions with people who are watching the game or spending excessive time on cell phone calls while the game is in progress. It's not fair to your opponent to waste their time while you're off doing something else. Along with this, it's clearly bad form to solicit advice from other players. Asking for a neutral rules clarification or interpretation is fine though.
---Try to keep the area on, under, around the table tidy. Yes there are dice, templates, armybooks, armylists, FAQ sheets, tokens, counters, casualties, etc that fill up a table but it also doesn't have to be strewn about all over the place. Space within most stores is at a premium anyway, so don't take up any more space than necessary. Other customers still need to be able to walk around the store without tripping over your stuff.

Part V: General Etiquette
---If you're playing a friendly game (especially against a beginning player) then try to bring a friendly list instead of a waac (win at all costs). Save the 'hard' lists for tournaments.
---Try to show up on time to your game, especially if the store is busy and there are other people who want the use of the table. Let your opponent know if you're running late or can't make it after all.
---Learn the rules, and know your army's rules. It is understandable that beginning players will have a lot to learn, both the rules for the game as well as their army's rules. Help these players whenever possible. You can point out to them that each armybook has a quick reference sheet (which they can copy or download and print from GW's site) to save time looking up stats and important rules. If you have to look up the rules every few minutes you will greatly lengthen the game - no one wants to spend 5 hours playing what should be a 2 hour game. A useful suggestion to help your opponent's is to either use post-it notes or to highlight important sections in the rulebook (armybooks) to save time looking them up. If both players have a good grasp of the rules the game can actually flow pretty smoothly.
---Have a post-game discussion with your opponent (time permitting). If your opponent lost maybe ask them where they felt the battle turned against them, and you could also point out any tactics which may have gotten them in trouble. Perhaps your opponent needs help with deployment or armylist construction. All of these are useful discussions and can help a beginning player learn more about the game and their army.

Following the guidelines above should ensure for a good gaming experience. Hopefully the above guide has been useful to you.



RuggedJosh on March 30, 2009 at 7:44 PM said...

Pretty basic stuff here, but it does highlight a point. Warhammer is a game centered on agreement and cooperation, and oddly enough on the surface war.

Unlike other games with firm rules and guidelines, smack talk and aggravating the opponent to get in his head only kills cooperation makes things miserable for everyone involved. It's not that that behavior isn't a valid tactic (although dickish) elsewhere just not in this scenario.

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