40K: Thoughts On The Tournament Scene

Since the departure of GW from the world of tournaments years ago,  40K “competitive” play has been all over the place.  Let’s see where we are now.

First, we need to get something out of the way.  I have played in exactly two 40K tournaments, both several years ago, and both at FLGSs.  It was in the day of hobby score, social score and win-loss.  I placed in the middle of fields of about 15-20 players.  Won 2/3, got a decent social score and a mediocre hobby score.  In that context, what is going on today?

Standardized Rules

We will start with ITC.  This effort by Reese and the folks at Front Line Gaming is commendable.  Trying to standardize a set of rules for tournaments in a world that has been adrift since GW cut the anchor chain is a yeoman’s task.  I really respect what they are trying to do, and why they are trying to do it.  Being an Infinity player, I appreciate a set of standardized missions and basic rules that are consistent no matter where I play.  Of course, the ITS Missions we use for Infinity were created by the company that made the game, Corvus Belli, in the same way that we had a standard set of rules for tournaments from GW back in the day.  It makes it easier to practice for a tournament since you know ahead of time exactly which missions will be played.  Issues of balance are addressed by the game system itself;  missions really don’t affect balance to any significant degree.  In many ways, Front Line Gaming is trying to fill the gaping hole left by GW when they set us adrift.


However, even with a set of standardized rules (which by the way, are to some degree democratically determined by the community), the complaint that there is still huge opportunity to build “broken” lists is common.  From the vantage of someone not involved in tournament play, I just don’t get why people fuss about this so much.  You know what you are getting going in.  You have a game, a set of rules, and victory conditions based on missions (we talk about this a bit later).  If you don’t like the rule set, the conditions imposed or the missions, you can choose to not play.  Simple. Really.  Yeah, being able to get some credit for your beautiful paint job and playing like the gentleman (or woman) you are would be nice, but it’s not there.  Deal with it.  Most people are there, with the usual exceptions, to have fun, hang out with like-minded gamers, drink adult beverages, and of course, smash their opponents’ bloody corpses into their component atoms.  Why do people say this is broken when someone brings models that are allowed?  Because you didn’t think of it first?  Because your army doesn’t have the formations and units to counter those “—— Stars” and other “overpowered” models?

A 40 something man, in a rage during an argument

The ITC system is not breaking the hobby and is not chasing people away.  ITC events, such as the LVO, are well attended and growing.  There are other examples as well.  The only folks who think this effort to make some order out of the chaos is a bad thing are those who didn’t win, and don’t have the personality to enjoy the game and the company of fellow gamers despite getting their butts handed to them.  If you go to these events with the right attitude, even defeat can taste pretty damn sweet when you have great folks around who are like minded.

Missions & Variety

Missions are another issue that is often mentioned among those who are regular attendees at tournaments.  Paul Murphy and the crew at Forge the Narrative are among those who have developed a library of missions for 40K tournament play.  Their reasoning, at least in part, for developing missions is twofold.  First, to add variety and interest.  He has also commented that proper mission design can help “balance” play.  Again, I commend Paul and his folks for their efforts.  IMO, these guys are professional tournament players, in so much as they attend tournaments around the country on a regular basis.  They know of what they speak. The question I have again…is it necessary to attempt to balance play?  Increasing interest and variety I understand.  The same deployment zones and missions over and over again…yawn.  It’s why I like the mission decks developed for individual armies.  But does attempting to balance play through the use of specific mission sets really affect the overall results, or mitigate the effect of “broken” lists?  Since I assume that most players, like Paul, who go to tournaments, bring beatstick lists to begin with, what is the point in using missions for balancing?


Bringing Back Hobby

Last…talk of reviving hobby scoring has surfaced, specifically from the folks at The Long War.  Not only win-loss, but recognition of building/painting skill as well as how well players follow the “social contract.”  I certainly don’t see the harm in this.  A great point that has been made is how much time we spend building and painting versus how much we actually spend gaming.  Shouldn’t that time be recognized/rewarded?  The question I have as a tournament outsider; why not?  The piece related to adherence to the social contract I am not so sure about.  It may affect your overall score, and that is a good thing, but no matter the tournament format, aren’t the vast majority of attendees going to be the kind of folks you will want to have a beer with after the game?  Being rewarded for not being an jerk seems a bit odd to me, especially since this is not the vast majority of those who win in the end.  Perhaps in smaller, local venues.  But at larger events, doesn’t this work itself out anyway?  I seldom hear of someone who won a major event who is hated and despised by his/her peers.  Most of the winners seem to be an important part of the community and add, rather than take away, from the enjoyment of others; especially those they have played.


Attending a large event is on my bucket list.  I KNOW that I will most likely be tabled by Turn 3 (if I am fortunate).  But the chance to play some of the folks I listen to every week on their podcasts would be a great experience.  I will walk in knowing I will feel like a baby seal by the end of the day.  But I will enjoy giving it a go, and afterwards, having the chance to knock back a few with some of 40Ks brightest minds.  So in the end, at least as I see it, the tournament scene is for a relative few (hundred) who have the time, models and wherewithal to be fortunate enough to make this a part of their lives.  They are an essential part of our hobby, and no matter if I agree with them or not, it is fun to listen to the stories and the excitement the tournament players bring.


Have you attended any major 40K tournaments?  Do you intend to?



  • sjap98

    I’ve taken part in 2 Battle Brothers (a third one next month) They’re at Warhammer World and just really fun, and the team format (1600 points per side) is ideal. Play with your buddy vs 2 other persons and enjoy 5 great games over the weekend.

  • BlakLanner

    I do see a problem with the re-introduction of hobby scores: commissioned painters. Back when painting scores were a thing, I saw several players, including myself, lose tournaments even though we never lost a game because the eventual winner dropped thousands of dollars to have their army painted for them.

    Even after twenty years, my painting is nowhere near on that level and it likely never will be. This puts people like me, who will never win a painting award but still have enough pride to do it themselves or simply cannot afford to hire a professional in the first place, at a permanent disadvantage. This was one of the reasons I stopped attending tournaments at the time. There was no point in going when you knew that you would be at an X-point disadvantage because of this. I am all for awards for painting but I would prefer that they remain separate from the tournament itself.

    Sportsmanship scores I am more on the fence about. They can easily be exploited but might help curb some of the severely unpleasant behavior that I have seen at such events. My only advice to those who would use said scores would be to ensure that they aren’t tied to things like army composition. Legal lists are legal and one should try to come prepared for such things. If you don’t want to see deathstars or gargantuans or whatever the flavor of the month is, then FAQing the powers or construction rules can work if you are careful.

    • Zingbaby

      I think there should be some specific handling of Commissioned paint jobs… Like a flat score for all commissioned jobs (with some small benefit because you are showing up with a fully/nicely painted army) but none of the extra points for paint quality, originality, execution etc…

      But it will always be tricky, some people just get one HQ model commissioned or whatever. In either case, I think it can be sorted with some effort.

      • JJ

        Then were back to 4th-5th edition where tournaments pushed the painting rubric, and people just lied about who painted their army. Seen it to many times to count!

        • Zingbaby

          LOL yeah I guess, tournaments do after-all bring out the best in us.

          What a ridiculous community this game has.

          • babelfisk

            People are people and will try to exploit whatever rules are in place in any system/game community.

    • Spacefrisian

      Paint score shouldnt be that hard, heck i even got full painting points everytime and iam not that great a painter. Although it might be because what was judged, eg 3 colours up, details like unit numbers and small things like eyes, paint techniques (yes drybrushing is one of those).

      • Muninwing

        there’s the issue:
        – best paint job means someone can pay and win
        – top-tier bonuses for amazing paint mean people can pay for more points


        – a score of 0-1-2 with 0 being not effectively painted, and 1 being the barebones 3-color minimum (a 2 meaning an actually painted army regardless of skill level) can discourage people who change armies all the time

        • krootman

          Not as easy as you think, airbrushs make it possible to paint an army to or above table top in under 2 weeks. Soft scores don’t work in competitive events. They work much better in narrative and “hobby” events which score you based on multiple elements of the game, not just win/loss

          • Muninwing

            anything has its place if done well. even just to discourage people from showing up with bare plastic, i agree with basic paint scores.

    • Drpx

      I once got edged out 1st place because they decided the guy I was tied with (whom I’d actually beaten when we played) had the better painted army. And his army WAS better painted than mine—by the guy he’d borrowed it from for the weekend. -_-

      He, on the other hand, so knew so little about painting he didn’t even use PRIMER on his own army. So, yeah, hobby scores can get Squatted for all I care.

  • There are pros and cons to everything.

    In my perfect world – I’d require painting but would not put a score on it simply because people can pay super painters to paint their work, and then reap top painting scores from it without having to do anything except for open their wallet. I don’t like that.

    Army comp score – I think should be a thing. I think that trying to prevent broken things from showing up at a tournament is like whizzing into the wind – don’t bother. However, I think if a judge panel sat down and judged an army by its comp score, that that could put a handicap down or modifier to scoring.

    Bring a broken list – you don’t score as many points.

    Sportsmanship – double sided issue. On the negative side – chipmunking was always a thing when I Played in GW tournaments. Chipmunking was the art of dinging all of your opponents and getting your friends to ding the top players to give your group the advantage. YOu won’t stop that.

    The positive is that it does indeed curtail some of the more antisocial asshattery that can go on at those events, so you will generally have a more pleasant experience. This is coming from a guy who saw an actual honest to god table flipped in 2007 (my last tournament ever)

    What would get me interested in tournaments again?
    * sportsmanship
    * required painting
    * a comp score of some kind or set lists to bring table skill more to the fore over list building
    * a varied set of missions
    * tables that had a decent amount of terrain on them

    • mathhammer

      The man disagreement with your post is army comp, it fits in with everything else. The GW fluff is so vast and so many armies have fought that really any list could be considered fluff and a decent comp. And even if you argue comp is about balancing unit selections one persons balance is another persons trash.

      • There are a few things that are pretty blatantly just flat out broken. You’re never going to get perfect balance, but there is a reason why most tournaments are dominated by two or three builds event-in and event-out.

        The point of a comp score is to address that.

        But I realize most tournament players disagree with that concept – thats why I removed myself from the tournament circuits – i got tired of having to chase the latest power build to have a good shot at a decent standing.

        • Koonitz

          My biggest issue with comp score nowadays is “What constitutes a good army list?” Back in the day of the “only army you can bring is the good ol’ FOC” it was easy to do:
          Min 40% points on troops
          Max 10-15% on HQ equipment upgrades (I loved this one as a Guard player who never upgraded his character models with anything more than a Bolter).
          et cetera, et cetera.

          But let’s say I want to take a medium tank blitz army and put all 1,850 points in a Space Marine Armored Task Force formation? (edit: Yes, I really, really want to do this…)

          I have 1 Techmarine, and then a whole bunch of Predators/Vindicators/Whirlwinds/Thunderfire Cannons.

          That’s a whole lot of Heavy Support and I CAN’T take troops, let alone 40%.

          I’d be forced to take a standard CAD, as would quite a few people. Many armies and formations would have trouble fitting properly in an old-fashioned Comp break down.

          • I think we need to not think in terms of FOC or slots anymore. That is not the form of comp I am discussing.

            I’m talking going to the unit level, and having one of the very smart chaps in our community with an advanced math degree write a formula to tell you exactly how powerful each unit is, as well as formations etc that are multipliers.

            Take that score, and thats the mathematical strength of the list. Publish that in a spreadsheet.

            Easy example, rate units 1-10 with 1 being the most underperforming unit existing and 10 being the most over performing unit existing.

            Sum that score up and now you know of all your entrants how powerful the armies are.

            Based on that, you can determine the quality of victories.

            A chap running 6-0-0 over a weekend with a list that scores a 10 out of 10 in power has less quality victories than a chap running 6-0-0 over a weekend with a list that scores 7 out of 10 in power.

            It actually starts highlighting player skill over player handicap (the list).

            Running a top tier list at that point can be detrimental if winning the tournament is your endpoint because if someone else places as good as you or slightly underneath you but with a less powerful force, he could win overall, which will encourage taking less powerful items (it will never encourage taking the truly poor performing units)

            And making it based entirely on math means its not prone to subjectivity or guessing.

          • Nameless

            The problem is that any rating system is going to be for the most part subjective and doesn’t take into accurately account force multiplication. I do not believe that there is no objective way to score different units, especially from different factions nor does it take into account counters.

          • A math formula is not subjective if the same formula is applied to all units across the board.

          • Nameless

            Even in such a case, the weighting of certain stats over other stats, and even the numerical scale as those stats increase remains subjective. even relatively simple things such as ranged weapons have 4 different things to consider and weight (range, strength, AP, and fire type) due to the binary nature of AP I would personally rate improvements on an exponential scale, however that choice would not be objective, but based on my own opinions on how the game and unit choices work.

          • I still think it works fine because every item in the game has the exact same parameters put on it. It would be a scoring system based on a formula.

            There is not a single point system alive that is perfectly balanced and thats not the intent here, the intent here is to weigh the strength of an army numerically to provide a modifier to final score.

          • Charon

            Is a flamer underperforming or overperforming?

          • babelfisk

            Trying to put scores like that on units is incredibly difficult, as the value of a unit changes depending on army build and missions.

            For example, the standard Flying Hive Tyrant is a very good unit. Any mathematical scoring system would rate it highly.

            It is also a unit that has very specific synergies: it works poorly with walking/horde Tyranid lists, but works really well with flying and deep strike heavy builds, because of how forward aggressive flyrants want to be.

            Flyrants are also very good in missions that involve kill points and last turn objective grabs, but they are bad at malstorm style objectives, because landing to claim a point gives the other player a chance to kill them.

            So in order to give a mathematical score to a flyrant you would have to find a way to take into account the impact of mission and army build, or have the system be a rather simple one.

          • If the point system GW used was accurate this wouldn’t be necessary. You are right that missions alternate how good something is. Something that is in standard missions awesome can suck in another mission (this is why people hate deviating from core scenarios and why most games of 40k are the same basic mission forever)

            You rate its general abilities, and then you identify the synergies and give bonuses based on those.

            Is it simple? No absolutely not, but it makes tournament play more about player skill and less about crutching with an OP list and it can absolutely be done with a bit of work.

          • babelfisk

            I think you can do it at a basic level, that is, give a 1-10 level score to each unit, based on general strength, but that anything more precise than that is going to be near impossible.

            With a 1-10 score, you could do something along the lines of averaging the score of all units in the list and adjusting the scoring based on the average.

            Then what? Do you give free points to low score lists? Do you put a cap on how many high score units can be taken?

          • You turn that into a score modifier. Your strength of list multiplies your score, either up if you are using a weak list or down if you are using a strong list, to give a nod to quality of wins over just pure wins.

          • babelfisk

            I can kind of see it, if it was handled carefully.

        • mathhammer

          I have though about it more, and I would say my main disagreement comes down to the word subjective. When people judge things off what the feel rather than a set of given rules it starts to get fishy (as a Tau nightclub). Even in painting you can give a giant list of things to get to the subjective part (seeing shiny metal, seeing seems, a line not correctly done) which is really the job of the army creation rules. I think people worry to much about power armies and they should worry about an army they play well and then learn to play it better.
          in quote form:
          Victory needs no explanation, defeat offers none.

          or my other favorite:
          Excuses satisfy those that give them.

          I take crappy Tyranid armies, that i understand how to play them, and how to defeat my enemies and I always get crushed on comp. I told my last opponent that if you would have killed this tervigon then you would have won, and they could understand how killing my only synapse on that half of the board that also would have killed half my termagaunts was so critical.

          • refer to my response to Koonitz where I discuss subjectivity and how I’d get around that.

        • Last paragraph is gold.

      • Muninwing

        … hence why having a specific set of guidelines (and perhaps a rubric) for scoring on comp would allow everyone to know going in what their comp score would be, and that allows for reaction.

        communication and forewarning make it more fair, allowing the players to make informed decisions. springing it on them is unfair

        • Brian Evans

          Having a well accepted standard that is used across many/most tournaments helps with this even more. That way players wouldn’t have to change their army for each tournament.

          • Muninwing

            … which is why a centralized publication creating established rules and actual balance would be a boon to the connunity.

            and having a tiered system for RAW cutthroat tournaments, a RAI system for more casual tournaments, and a clarified system for narrative campaigns and local events — including optional points-rebalancing to bring all armies in line with each other — would revitalize the competitive aspect of the game.

            if GW wants to ignore that they produce a game with interesting pieces, instead releasing sloppy rules for their artisan miniatures (insert “hipster GW meme here), let them. the combined efforts of GT TOs should be play standard, not whatever messy un-FAQed game that GW craps out.

  • paradiddlebob

    Never been to a tournament, never will.

    • David Leimbach

      Tournaments can be where you meet other casual players and a play a round of games with friendly people. It isn’t always competative competative competative! It depends on your local scene!

      • ZeeLobby

        Or just depends where your standing in the ranking is. Sometimes my fun list will get pummeled round one, and then i have 4 rounds of fun games vs fun people. In most cases the round 1 player tends to be a nice guy as well.

    • Muninwing

      i’ve had fun at every tournament i’ve played in.

      they are not all cheezfests.

  • Zingbaby

    The idea of the “ITC System” is a sound one, and I’d fully agree that if a certain percentage of the community wants certain things from 40K they should by all rights make a unified package as such.

    …I just don’t personally trust Reecius and that crew to make any decisions that will result in an enjoyable format.

    Also I don’t recall GW ever having a “standard set of rules for tournaments”; where did you get that idea? …they had some basic mission packs that I still own,

    • Bahkara

      Back in the late 90s early 2000s they had a TO packet that gave you the format in running a GW game tournament. This included specialist games. The new attitude and solution by long War is just going back to these days. So expect a lot of chimpmunking and painted armies winning overall when losing multiple games

      • spikeybits

        Bahkara, sorry for the confusion there. With the Long War hobby score system it is literally impossible to chipmunk anyone. You get one vote to rate your favorite opponent, down to your least favorite opponent. There is no giving people a 0 because you didnt like them over and over dawg. You give out one zero, and one max to your overall favorite and fill in the scores in between depending on the number of opponents (3, 5, 7 etc).

        The beauty of this system IMHO is that say someone has a bad game, and they rate a good solid hobbyist and sportsman a 0, if he is that top notch of a player his hobby score will average out from the hit (which I suppose is the only way to truly “chipmunk” someone). Conversely if they are a total **hole to play and someone gives them top scores one turn (i.e. a buddy) the average will still bring them down towards where they need to be.

        If you are a top notch general, and a just a average hobbyist and not an ***hole you’ll get probably max scores. For instance the last event I ran an ELDAR player of all things went 3-0 and got max hobby score because he was’nt that guy, and he hobbied his army!

        • winterman

          While ranking helps alleviate chipmunking it doesn’t eliminate it. Especially at larger events where large clubs could theoretically conspire against others at the event. Especially if sports scores matter at all for prizes or podium.

          This also still keeps the usual issue with sportsmanship scores — it has less to do with you and much more to do with who you end up playing against (and with ranking — who your opponents end up playing against). I have won several sports awards and I have always felt it had more to do with luck of the draw then anything on my part.

          Should also note this idea is not new at all. NoVa Open did it the first two years, I have done it often in 5th. My experience is while it creates separation for determining a favorite opponent, it doesn’t necessarily surface poor sports and also creates a lot more sour grapes from folks who get low rankings yet are normally noted as good sports. It is also a true headache to tally for any event large then 32 or so.

          • babelfisk

            I have had the same experience of winning sports rewards and feeling like it was more luck than anything I did.

            I have played in a few local tournaments where each player was given a certain number of points for sportsmanship, and after each game players would check yes or no to the question of “was your opponent a good sport/enjoyable to play against”, with multiple ‘NO’ answers resulting in lost points or removal from the event.

          • Muninwing

            maybe you’re just modest?

  • Solidus

    I didn’t really find the article that helpful or entertaining. It seems like an opinion piece mostly about competitive play, written by someone who admittedly doesn’t do much of it. Just the simple fact that you asked so many times “Does this REALLY need to be done?” indicates that you really don’t get why so many people are upset.

    It is a little unfair, and D-baggish to say “If you know those lists are at a tourney, don’t play. Simple as that.” Because it really isn’t as simple as that. Some of us have been collecting and playing for a long time, and we don’t like being forced to stop just because GW doesnt give a rat’s $%^. We love the game. We WANT to play. I personally love the lore, love the models, and love most of the players. But i DO enjoy playing competitively, and I DO like going to tournies. Our group DOESNT like how it is now, and HAS stopped buying and playing but…is that really what is best for the hobby? “If you don’t like it, get out” ?

    Most of the time, one assumes when playing a “game” with another player, that both players with inherently have the same chance to win. A level playing field in which both players have the same opportunities to succeed from the get-go. That’s all we want out of 40k, and anyone that claims that that is the case now is just kidding themselves.

    • David Leimbach

      Simply don’t play might work for Monopoly, but not for a game where part of “playing” is investing heart and soul into an army building/painting. Bad matchups will happen, but there should be some reasonable expectation of a fair match some of the time.

      • Brian Evans

        Dead on!

    • WellSpokenMan

      Other games that intended to be games instead of playing make believe with dice might be a better option. GW has the ultimate say on what 40k will be and competitive play is not what they have in mind. I understand it is hard to give up on competitive play when you have so much invested in the game. Unfortunately, no matter how much the community fights it, GW is not going to change course until sales drop significantly. Even then they are likely as not to Sigmarize 40k instead of making it a viable competitive game. I never tell anyone to stop playing 40k, but I do suggest that you diversify your hobby a bit. You’ll feel better if you do.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Even if sales drop, they aren’t going to make a competitive game. Tighten up the rules and make the game better, sure, but it will always be a beer a pretzels game.

        • WellSpokenMan

          It’s more a beer & pretzels experience

      • Muninwing

        “GW has the ultimate say on what 40k will be”


        only because we let them.

        back when M:tG was new, i went to a local store and was told that my deck couldn;t have more than 4 of any card (or 1 from any of those on a list), and we had to have at least 60 cards (not 40, like in the rulebook). it wasn’t even a house rule, it was something that had trickled down from various places.

        we immediately started playing that way, and assumed others were too. even when we played at different stores, or met up with others, we played “standard deck” and it was more or less the same everywhere.

        now, with the internet, there are more opportunities for standardization.

        if we as players could agree to give authority to one central — and impartial — body, they could standardize, recalibrate, and modify without GW’s say-so.

        they don’t want to be dealing with a “game” or “toys” anyway. they have made that explicitly clear in management statements. and in a lack of FAQs.

  • snakechisler

    GW wants you to use their Data Cards, Maelstrom objective missions is where 7th is at so build it into the Tournament scene stop fighting it there’s a number of examples/ideas floating round of how to do this.

    Hobby scores
    Points for having it painted, Points for having it painted with more than 3 colors end of.
    Army composition anything that uses allies or multiple sources gets less points than those that don’t. Anyone who has a Thematic army gets a bit extra.

    Embrace random so what if a 6 does 6 + D6 Hull Points, you want as much diversity as possible, currently the scene seems to have caught Deathstar-ites

    • Spacefrisian

      But what is a thematic army, i remember that stuff going out of teh window when Salamders got there chapter tactics, mastercraft alot and be superior with all your meltas. And still claim lore friendly armylists. Not to mention that there was even a team here that had a salamander army switch amongst each other to rack up best painted prices. The same army won even 4 times best painted at the same tournament.
      1 time there were no other armies painted besides that one and mine, didnt bother voting or putting my army up for display, cause my painting is just for tabletop qualtiy, not winning paint matches.

    • Nameless

      personally I would tier hobby score a little more:

      a) is it clear to someone familiar with the army what every unit is? (I’m not against non gw models, but your opponent shouldn’t have to ask every turn what such a model is)

      b) are 9 in every 10 models in the army painted (no grading for standard, just a quick check that the player has put in a suitable amount effort. the odd unpainted model signifies more a new inclusion rather than no intent to invest themselves into the hobby)

      c) does their army include conversions, kit bashes or other examples of them going above a base line, simply are they willing to go that extra bit. without grading on how well they did. (conversions, and other unique looks should be encouraged as part of the hobby)

      For composition scores I would be more inclined to suggest a system based on repeated units but such a system would be hard to implement without infringing on thematic armies. however there is little to know way to decide on what army is thematic, certainly not in the current edition with the prevalence of formations. surely any formation is by its very nature thematic? and yet they are often the most powerful options available.

  • Square Hole = gw

    Round peg = tournaments

    Hammer = itc

    For as pointless as I think it is, gotta commend those trying to make it work.

  • Joe

    People tries to blame the problems on those rascally tournament players. I don’t. If it’s a legal army list, then game on! However, you have army lists that don’t fit within the background, like Aaron Aeong’s Dark Angel and Space Wolf mix at Nova. Or the armies with 2 minimum troops (which, is a problem going back several editions) and loading up on the ‘good stuff’.

    GW has never cared about competitive tourney play, unless they saw a way to make money from it. If ITC wants to improve the tourney scene, they have a lot of work to do, because there’s a handful of books that aren’t competitive in the current meta.

    • babelfisk

      Which I find amusing, as I think that GW could make money from the tourney scene, if they were willing to invest in it.

  • Muninwing

    “Of course, the ITS Missions we use for Infinity were created by the company that made the game, Corvus Belli, in the same way that we had a standard set of rules for tournaments from GW back in the day.”

    while GW pushes the “we’re not a games company, we’d be embarrased of our product if we thought of them as toys” line, we look to them for official rules.

    which they do not care about giving us.

    as much as some people might not like ITC or FTN or whatever else, we have experienced seasoned individuals with hefty experience in the field who we are dismissing the expertise of in favor of the supposed long-view of a company proving they have none.

    i’d love to see a kickstarter appear for a 3-part unified tournament rules list. a $20 book, written and edited and organized by the TOs of all the various GTs and groups out there… with 3 styles of tournament setups unified and playtested and applicable free FAQ/errata.
    – RAW (every rule clarified as written, nothing more)
    – RAI/Comp (every rule clarified and fixed for reasonability; points lists fixed for balance)
    – semi-narrative (as above, but space made for restrictions and potential scenarios)

    if the committee doing this were to get the blessing of GW, or find a legal way to circumvent it, they could start to take the burden of rules that GW obviously does not want off of their shoulders. and the community would be better off for it. and people attending multiple GTs or even smaller tournaments would have clear and reasonable expectations delineated by the documents.
    i’d pay for that.

    were i in a leadership position in my local club, i’d pay more for a hardbound, professional-looking version with other TO tools included.

  • Crablezworth

    What ITC has done is commendable, but I just wish they’d do the same thing for 40k, because they’re peddling apoc, not 40k. Bring back the foc, bring back armies actually looking like armies instead of collections of stuff from a handful of books, it won’t fix imbalanced codex’s but the game will be much more enjoyable and far less gong show. That and drop maelstrom, it’s just the worst.

  • Crablezworth

    Sportsmanship scores are just tools of the passive aggressive, they don’t promote anything. Much like painting scores can become a tool of the passive aggressive. It starts with the TO and the standards they set and uphold, want people to paint? Don’t allow unpainted. Sportsmanship is more subjective because the TO would/does have to set a standard, I tend to think of sportsmanship as how you communicate with opponents, but there is often bizarre cultures from area to area and store to store, so much so that essentially not allowing your opponent to cheat is seen as unsportsmanlike and that’s just bs.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Painting should not be based on how well your army is painted but whether a) all of the models have paint on them and b) all of them have a minimum three colors. The minute you go beyond that criteria is the minute you return to the era where people are forced to pay pro painters to paint their armies, which is something no one wants.

    Sportsmanship is used as a weapon to intentionally drop your opponent’s score.

  • benn grimm

    Great, just what we need; another article about tourneys from some-one who doesn’t play in tourneys; great excuse for all the other guys who don’t play in tourneys to give their entirely unfounded and useless opinions on said subject. Good ol’ BOLS…

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      It’s all about the clicks.

      • benn grimm


    • Stormcaller

      So in order to express opinions about this hobby, we have to be experts? Not enough that we build, paint, read, listen and play the game? Elitism at its best…

      At least I was honest enough to state that I am NOT an expert.

      • benn grimm

        I think that its preferable you write about what you know. Going to 5 or 6 tourneys a year doesn’t make you an expert, but it makes you more interesting to listen to on the subject of tourneys than some-one who’s only ever been to two local tourneys. That’s nothing to do with elitism, its just common sense.

        • babelfisk

          Then write your own article? The outside perspective is good to have.

          • benn grimm

            Why would I want to read an article by me? Surely that would be a little narcissistic? Other views are good, interesting even, but there’s nothing new here, just a bunch of slightly ignorant passive aggressive rehash and tabloid style confrontational oversimplification.

        • Stormcaller

          It is also valuable for folks who are not immersed in the tournament community to provide commentary, as it can be more objective.

          • benn grimm

            I have to sleep so i can’t write as long a reply as I’d like; but basically it comes down to empathy or lack there of; in your piece there’s a lot of ‘i dont understand why…this or that…’ and i as the reader felt; ‘well yeah, of course you don’t understand, you don’t go to tourneys…

            You make a lot of generalisations and simplifications, which you also probably wouldn’t if you attended more events and understood the scene a little better. Possibly.

          • Stormcaller

            My style of commentary uses rhetorical tools to illicit response…I freely admit this.
            But the point you keep going back to…I can provide an analogy for. Many people have never played american football (I specify because I am a big soccer fan), on any level. yet they know detailed aspects of the game, watch it, and comment on it profusely. is their commentary any less valid simply because they haven’t played the game?
            thanks as always for your honest feedback.

          • I presume we are discussing casual observers rather than professional commentators/broadcasters? Yes, I think their commentary is likely less valid than someone who used to/does actively play the game or is involved in the organisation of the events the teams play in.

            You of course wouldn’t expect those commenting to be the best in their respective fields – if they were then they’d likely be too busy playing instead. However I’d expect that they have practical experience of what they are discussing, which is preferably recent.

            It’s not to say that they can’t be right in what they say, but that in general I wouldn’t expect what they say to carry as much weight as others who are more closely involved.

            Please don’t take this as a criticism of the article as a whole, just as a response to the question you specifically asked above. 🙂

  • Trio

    I don’t get why people whine when someone search for balance “you know it’s unbalance deal with it, if you don’t like it don’t play”
    Yes it is, yeah i try to deal with it.
    The problem is that in a perfect world we would have a perfectly balanced game in which every list i choose is equally powerfull, with some counters and some with which it’s powerfull.
    And the outcome of the game would be influenced only by the ability of the player.
    And i know this isn’t a perfect world, i have to deal with it every day, but if with a set of rules i get closer to that world… Why not?
    Would a casual player be sad to play a balanced game? Probably not! Would a tournament player be sad? Certanly not!
    A friendly player? Same…
    That’s what make me go crazy about the gw reasoning with AOS
    “You don’t have to have a balanced game to have fun” yeah! That’s totally true!
    But i wouldn’t be sad to play a balanced game and the people who wants one would be happy…
    If you try to get closer to it you aren’t making anyone sad!
    Maybe you make a mistake and you have to redo that
    But not even try is a closer to failure than trying and make a mistake

  • Gartenzing

    I would just like to hark back to the origins of the tournament scene, through Warhammer Players Society (WPS.) Back in the day (WHFB 5th Ed) there was little balance through army books, allies were allowed etc. The community created its own set of comp rules, and decided that sportsmanship, painting and army comp were important (GW later adopted these principles- the first UK Grand Tournaments adopted the WPS ruleset! )

    In WHFB 6th Ed and 40K 3.5, GW decided to pander to the tournamant crowd. This didnt work for them in the long run, and so they have now abandoned it. Part of this is WPS backing off from public interaction (due to threats to their members more than anything else) and also that GW wasnt getting the feedback from tourney players that they had through Ady MacWalter, Rob Broom et al.

    The set standard for tournaments was always to codify a set of rules for players to agree to, that were outside the usual set of play (right down to FAQ’s). Moving back towards that, IMHO, is the right thing to do, good on ITC, ETC etc for setting up a player base and encouraging people to play in a certain way. It adds variety, and plays to the strengths of the game.

    Carry on, and play historically 🙂

  • Locke

    It’s really simple imo. If you really don’t like the rules the tournament organisers have created then don’t go. If TOs are running successful tournaments then it means that people are enjoying the format and it shouldn’t really need to be criticised just because *you* don’t like it. If you can find enough people that want to do a tournament where everyone role plays their faction for example then do it but don’t complain when the people who enjoy the game for other reasons dont attend.

  • Drpx

    For some reason, most of the tourney players I knew in 40k all decided to go to Flames of War when it came out.

  • Master Avoghai

    “But does attempting to balance play through the use of specific mission sets really affect the overall results, or mitigate the effect of “broken” lists? Since I assume that most players, like Paul, who go to tournaments, bring beatstick lists to begin with, what is the point in using missions for balancing?”

    I think by “balancing” the organizers just want to make sure that it’s not just people who bring copy/paste lists they’ve seen on the web.

    Tournies are competition that award good PLAYERS : people who know how to handle with their armies and know the forces and weaknesses.
    Keeping the same scenarios always leads to the situations where people starts to copy what good players do and ends up seeing the same armies again and again because the meta is identical.

    changing scenario awards the ones that really know how to play and adapt with what they have.

  • Michael Godfrey

    get rid of allies and you wont have any cheese tigirus/draigo bombs

  • jeff white

    “If you don’t like the rule set, the conditions imposed or the missions, you can choose to not play. Simple. Really. Yeah, being able to get some credit for your beautiful paint job and playing like the gentleman (or woman) you are would be nice, but it’s not there. Deal with it.”

    this old ‘this way or the highway’ bullishite is for the birds.

    “The only folks who think this effort to make some order out of the chaos is a bad thing are those who didn’t win, and don’t have the personality to enjoy the game and the company of fellow gamers despite getting their butts handed to them.”

    and this is the reason that i will never read another of this author’s pieces of “work” again.

    what rubbish…