Would Restrictions at Tournaments Bring More Players?!?

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We talk about the unthinkable here…. would limiting what you could take in organized play actually bring out more casual players to tournaments?!


Episode 144 is here, download it now! Tournament and Hobby talk all in the same place. Say it ain’t so! Forge The Narrative is bringing you the best in Warhammer 40k Podcasting.


We talk a lot about restrictions on tournaments in this episode.  I know that is a sticky topic, and I am all for no holds barred play but…  I also believe in tournament organizers doing what is right for their local scene.

We’ve talked before about type 1, type 2 and type 3 play.  We talk a little bit about what Type 1 might look like in this episode.


Battle Forged Armies Only

No Gargantuan Creatures

0-1 Imperial Knight

No Other Super Heavy Vehicles

No Formations that give free upgrades/wargear

Your Primary Detachment must have at least 2 Troop choices

[spacer height=”20px”]

Psychic Phase!!!!1111oneone:

Psykers can contribute no more than 11 Warp Charge Dice per phase (no matter how many are in your army).  Your army can have more psykers but the WC they generate is capped.

In part of the talk we get to the tournament essentials and highlight Frontline Gaming’s terrain.  Line of sight blocking terrain is huge!  I mean… its one of those things that if you don’t have it then it can really influence the fun that someone has at your event.  FL’s attention to this is amazing.  Please check them out if you haven’t already.  Laser cut terrain mixed in with some plastic designs by Games Workshop go a LONG way when dressing up your tables.  In a lot of areas it is the last thing that TO’s opt to spend on.  We argue that it should be move up close to the top.

Anyway.. please let me know what you think about the ‘intro’ to tournament restrictions.


If you like this sort of banter we also do a live webshow every Monday at 10pm EST. You can find those posted over on the FTN Google + Page. The rebroadcast is over on our YouTube page.

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Justin Troop – troopsmash
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Adam Abramowicz
Andrew Whittaker

  • Simon Chatterley

    So ban every super heavy except an Imperial Knight?

    Yeah, that won’t really work.

    I really enjoy competitive play but I really only play ITC rules which heavily change the style anyway.

    Really cramping what people can take will just kill the competitive world rather than bring in new folk. The stigma that all us competitive gamers are the spawn of the devil is just ingrained.

    My best games have been in this format. My worst when GW decided that to win Throne of Skulls you needed to get best game votes. I saw list so dirty it wasn’t funny.

    • Chris. K Cook

      ITC heavily changes the style? Its the least annoying comp. Go look at the straight up cancers that the other Comp systems are.

      • Simon Chatterley

        Again why are comp systems cancers? It’s just another way to play a game.

        After all chess with a time limit and clock is a different experience than chess with no clock. Both are valid ways to play and have there fans and neither system is wrong.

        Competitive 40k just let’s people play the game differently. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but no one forces anyone to play the game.

        I play casually and competitively and I have lists for both so I’ll bring something appropriate to the conditions. The fact the game allows this level of balance is not our fault but as humans we have to play the game fairly. Which isn’t what you would call easy to achieve.

        • Shawn

          I was going to rant here, but decided against it, since your post isn’t that awful. I will say this though: There is no balance in tournament play, no matter how much you imagine it. Seven Flyrants, or a Scat bike army later, and your still the loser. Don’t forget the ITC voting is entirely unbiased, so that your army doesn’t get nerfed.

          • Simon Chatterley

            what I really meant was “imbalance” rather than balance. There is no real balance in 40k.

            Tournaments will always have a stigma to casual gamers. For a variety of reasons (not all skill) you can get some serious bad beats in them.

            But a properly run event with decent terrain and a social aspect attached are great weekends. There will always be those who can afford the best and newest stuff and have the time to micro analyse the rules. This happens in lots of other hobbies and in professional sport as well. The miracle of Leicester winning the Premier League is exactly that. Money normally wins that.

            So “balance” is nearly impossible in professional sport, why do we all cry about needing it in competitive 40k? Rock up with a list, play, learn and have fun. Simples.

          • Shawn

            Your analogy with professional sports is a good one, but not quite right, I dont’ think. Warhammer 40k isn’t a professional sport, therefore, it’s not a job where millions of dollars and players’ salaries are on the line. It’s a hobby were players like to compete from time to time, and for players to have fun at such non-professional venues. If the rules can’t be balanced enough so everyone has a fair chance of winning, and win based on tactics and strategy and not the most expensive toy or broken rules, then there’s no point. One of the reasons I prefer single CAD, Highlander, or an Escalation type events.

            Your assessment of casual gamer is spot on. However, we do like to compete once and a while and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have the same level of fun too. The nature of the beast of 40k is part of the problem with this, but formats like ITC could reign the shenanigans in much better, but they just don’t care too.

  • Heinz Fiction

    How about no knights and no formations. If I wanted to play Apocalypse I would have bought it…

    • Chris. K Cook

      Why don’t you just play 5th ed then?

      • Josh Watkins

        5th plays better than this mashed garbage that’s for sure. at least back then you didn’t need a boat load of books to run a competent list an it only needed minor tweaks to fix an balance out … so ya

        • Couldn’t disagree more, 5th was such a bland edition, give me 4th back GW *shakes fist*

          • Josh Watkins

            never played 4th so I couldn’t say but the fact that you could have fluffy lists an a solid tournament list building foundation. The blandness can always be improved an honestly I would rather have a strong foundation rather then a loose hodgepodge of “do what you wish”

          • JJ

            The thing I miss the most about 4th and 5th was that the focus was on fielding an “all comers list”!

          • Severius_Tolluck

            I don’t know about that, 5th ed as the start of the major deathstars… or lots of missile spam for marines (which i guess is an all comer so I will give you that)

          • JJ

            Other than the big 2 deathstars (orks/paladins) Which could have been fixed in their codex. 90% of the focus was on an army that could take on all comers.

      • Heinz Fiction

        I do.

  • nagol

    as a more casual gamer hells to the ya it would. but alas tournaments are not for casual gamers. i think there definitly needs to be a distinction there. putting heavy restrictions brings out more casual guys maybe but your hard core guys will leave for other tournaments which allow them to go balls out

    • ZeeLobby

      Even within competition there’s tiers though. I enjoy tournaments a lot, but am definitely not a WAAC player. I usually love events now, because they’re restricted heavily, or boringly sit through 5 rounds of scatbike spam.

      • JJ

        Come on he purchased it and it’s legal for him to run 36 scatbikes don’t complain. He should get to play with “all” his toys.

        • Shawn

          I liked this only because it’s sarcasm. And thanks for clarifying that JJ.

  • Bradley Macduff

    to attract a more relaxed audience you would need to basically get them to give up being just what they are casual and relaxed. you cant turn a sheep into an elephant

    • Shawn

      Disagree Bradly. I play casually and still do tournaments, but I am picky and choosy of the format. All anyone should deserve is a fair chance of winning. To be honest, you don’t get that fair chance of winning majority of the time, not even in ITC sanctioned events where fluff, FOC, and unbiased voting is out the window.

  • Ronin

    Honestly, I think psykers are a way bigger problem than super-heavies and gargantuans. It’s because of psykers we have things like invisibility, rerollable saves, deathstars, and now teleporting marines thanks to the Angels of Death book. Keeping the nerf to psykers thanks to the FAQ is the best direction for this game to move forward and be more inclusive of people who want to play how they want to play.

    Super-heavies and gargantuans can still be included, but I’d make it so it’s high risk, high reward for taking one. Rewarding victory points for killing them or making them bloodied is a step in the right direction.

    • Stealthbadger

      Just on the point that bad 40k is better than no 40k, I agree with this but the problem is that bad 40k drives people away which leads to no 40k 🙁

  • Crablezworth

    Why do knights get the special snowflake?

    • JP

      Imperial Knights don’t have Destroyer shooting. But if that’s their measuring stick, I’d only ban Superheavies and Gargantuans that have destroyer shooting and ban destroyer shooting from being taken by ANY unit in ANY army.

  • I think better rules would make for a better tournament system. Just saying. All these articles and ideas concerning the best band-aid for GW games is nice, but in the end, GW has to produce a good set of rules.

  • I play competitive fluff and would like to play in some tournaments. None of that would make me more likely to play. Honestly, it would make me less likely to play. Tournaments should be what they are. There are multiple ways to enjoy this hobby: painting/collecting, playing, fluff. And there are multiple ways of playing: narrative, WAAC, semi-competitive.

    I wouldn’t take a WAAC list to a narrative game, so why would I take a fluff list to a tournament? Well, I might would, but I’d know what I was getting into.

    If battle brothers couldn’t join and psychic boost each other’s units, I’d feel more confident playing in a tournament, but it wouldn’t change my desire to play,

    • Chris. K Cook

      No we need to blandise the game into nothing. For us a casuals, its not for the power gamers who want to make it an pissing contest.

      We Casuals need to be told we can’t take the fun stuff, for our own good.

      • There has been a lot of telling people what’s good for them going around lately. If I want to play in a tournament, I’ll play in a tournament and fit myself to that format. If I want to play narrative with a buddy, I’ll fit what I’m doing to that.

        But then I have a short fuse with this stuff. People are always telling me what units to add to my army. It’s so annoying. I play Eldar, but I don’t even own a wraith knight or wraith anything, a single jet bike, or a single warp spider. I have one wave serpent. I don’t have a seer council. I have the fluffy army I always wanted when I started back in 2nd edition. Many are the same miniatures. But everyone is always telling me I need those pieces, the very ones people say break the game.

        • Chris. K Cook

          You sound like the sorta guy I’d enjoy playing against.

  • Chris. K Cook

    No. What we casual folks want is to be allowed to play with all our toys. Not to be told that all the minis we spent time and money on can’t be taken because some WAAC jerk is scared of FW or LoW or just wishes we were still playing 5th ed.

    Most Casual players don’t care about winning or loosing so long as we have fun. Comp is all about maiking it easier for different sets of folks to win, if you only want to enter if you think you will win then you are not a casual player but a WAAC guy that doens’t enter enough tournies out of fear of losing.

    I enter tournies now and then bescause I like to meet new gamers and play different folks. And I like having a deadline for my latest army project.

    Most these restrictions in most comp systems are just trying to neuter the game back into 5th because the powergammers running the tournies don’t like the fact that the multitude of options we have now means they can’t mathhammer a list that will take on everything and win.

    • JJ

      “What we casual folks want is to be allowed to play with all our toys” This right here is the cancer of 40K.

      This is why there are divisions in racing. It’s no fun for anyone if the guy with the Ferrari is allowed to race with the guys driving ford escorts! Well it’s fun for the guy with the most cash, but everyone else stops showing up!

      There are plenty of actual complaints about the proposed format, AKA why only allow Imperial Knights? But restrictions are always going to be a part of the “tournament scene”!

      Well unless you can get rid of the “why would I drive 2+ hours to a tournament to get destroyed in 5 min by some jerk with a broken list”

      It’s just cost benefit analysis.

      • Tirelion

        People wanting to play with their toys is the cancer of 40k? Really? I think you are right about divisions, but we are talking about an event geared towards bringing out casuals. You may not like it, but this is NOT how you achieve that goal.

        • JJ

          Yes! The whole I bought it I should get to play with it irregardless of if It actually makes for a good game is major attitude problem with this game. It’s the same argument I hear from 5+ knights guys when they show up to game and no one wants to play them!

          Knowing that I can bring my 14yr old cousin to play without having his teeth stomped out because he’s new and doesn’t own enough models to counter knight spam/super friends/flyer spam, is a major concern. Honestly it’s killing the community faster than most people think.

          Billy spends 200$ building an army shows up to casual night, gets stomped in 20 min or so by the” well I bought it I should get to play it crowd”. This happens 2 or three times, then billy sells his stuff and goes back to x-box. Oh and tells his friends that the game and community sucks.

          • Tirelion

            So play an arranged game instead of an event game. I see it the other way around. People like you suck the fun out of this game for the rest of us. If I spend $200 on a model that I assemble and paint, then yes, I should get to use it, and frankly the health of GW as a business and by extension, the health of the community, depends on it. Your example is aslo invalid, because you should expect someone who is new with a low model count to not do well at an event where veteran players will be playing. There should be places for every type of player to play what they want.

          • JJ

            So you’re ok with “He who has the biggest wallet wins?”
            I’m perfectly fine with this as I have a job and disposable income, but this attitude will kill the game!

            I didn’t say anything about skill lvl, of course the new guy is going to lose, but getting your teeth kicked in in 20 min because someone else “wanted to play with a warhound” I mean they paid for it, they should get to play it right?

            It’s easy to have this attitude if you have the disposable income, I just choose to not kill my local gaming group.

          • Tirelion

            Magic had restrictions and different types of play so people could play what they wanted. I played magic for 20 years, you aren’t going to win any arguments there. As for restrictions in 40k, they have always existed at different events to some degree. Yes there should be both types of events. People should be able to play the models they buy, one way or another. As for “he with the biggest wallet wins” there will always be some degree of that, like it or not, restrictions or not. You pay to play, that’s how it is. Welcome to real life in hobbying. If that’s an issue for you then you are in the wrong hobby.

          • JJ

            lol playing magic for 20 years pulling out the old ” I know better than you I’m old” Funny since I have played since Alpha..

            My problem with the “biggest wallet game” is that you drive people away. I really don’t want to see the community die, which is the direction the”I bought it I should get to play with it” is going.

            And as far as the Condescending “real life” comment. Next time just go ahead and call me “Boy” and get it over with! LOL

            Personally I have no problem with pay to win as my other main hobbies are Guns and a 59 Ford. This is the cheapest hobby I participate in. My argument is for those people who haven’t had my opportunities.

  • Chris. K Cook

    What will bring in the casuals is different prizes other than just rewards for beating face.

    A wooden spoon, a judges choice for coolest army, ect

  • Chris. K Cook

    As for psykers, if you are pumping out heaps of dice you are probably weak elsewhere. Plus most psykers are squishy, just shoot them already!

  • markdawg

    Well duh look at the ITC

  • Defenestratus


    Why do the imperials get a super heavy but the xenos don’t?

    Thats f*ckin bullsh*t.

    You people sound like a bunch of whiney brats that think that they’re *REALLY AWESOME* plastic soldier generals and get your butts kicked by people with formations and toys that *you* think are unfair.

    You’re no-fun players.

  • Randy Randalman

    Lots of casual players want to play Gargantuans and Super-Heavies. Concurrently, if you ban everything except Imperial Knights, then Imperial Knights will dominate.

    These types of “restrictions” often feel like hater/bias towards a particular army or unit type instead of efforts to balance things. Furthermore, people who literally can’t afford to buy anything aren’t the same as casual players, so banning expensive super-heavies isn’t anything but a slap in the face to people who buy fun ones that aren’t at all OP.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Forgeworld suffered this for years. One or two models were scary, now almost all of it is always forbidden. Like my poor grot bombs is basically left as a lord of war now…

  • Drpx

    40k=Square peg.
    Tournaments=Round hole.
    Alt. Comp=Hammer.

    Also, why do Knights get a pass but Baneblades get the banhammer?

    • joetwocrows

      you had me at round hole and square peg…

      • JJ

        60 percent of the time it works every time!

  • Tirelion

    Most casuals aren’t intersted in 1000pt events with tons of restrictions on our toys. Not worth my time.

  • Peripheral

    Why not go with weight divisions at tournaments? Limited and Unlimited?

    And there is no excuse for a lack of terrain. Empty plastic fruit and lettuce/greens bins, spray painted gray, dry brushed a lighter gray. Done. Instant pre-fab looking concrete structures for LOS blocking.

    • euansmith

      Give equal prizes for best army from each faction? Of course, this falls down when someone turns up with some allied nonsense.

  • happy_inquisitor

    Variety is the spice of life; some people go to a big event and choose to play Combat Patrol rules.

    I think trying new things out and shaking up the format a bit is a good idea. Not all the new formats will work but if some of them do then you have succeeded in adding some more players to the community of tournament goers.

  • Shiwan8

    No. Especially the suggested list of restrictions that just made the tournament autowin for the eldar players.

  • Frank O’Donnell

    So formations that give you free stuff is out but yet formations that give you a load of USR’s is fine,you do know their a reason why a plague marine cost more points then a normal one ? it always amazes me how players don’t see that USR’s have points values to.

  • Astmeister

    In german Warhammer Fantasy tournaments there were always restrictions and imho made them much better.
    The restrictions here are way to relaxed in my opinion. I would suggest:

    0-1 Super Heavy or Gargantuan
    0-2 Flyers or FMCs
    No choice except for Troops more than twice
    0-2 FoC
    0-2 HQ choices

  • Spacefrisian

    No allies No need for other restrictions

    • Astmeister

      Good idea in principle. I also had this on my list. However, you cannot play Knights and genestealer cult with this restrictions…

  • euansmith

    I was with you until you said, “[spacer height=”20px”]”; that’s just one restriction too many!

  • ChubToad

    Only allow CAD on tournments and get on with it. It cannot go simpler than that.

    • Nameless

      unless someone wants to play Harliquins or Inquisition

      • ChubToad

        But they can allow CAD for those armies too. As the house rule some other things. I mean there’s an easy fix for those kind of things.

        • Nameless

          but if you are allowing the alternate force organisation for the factions without HQ/Troops – why disallow the alternate force organisations for the other factions? other than subjective complaints about balance

  • Morgrim

    Most of the tournaments I’ve seen here limit you to two or three sources for your army. Mostly so that the organisers actually stand a chance of efficiently figuring out if your army is legal, but it also cuts down on the crazy Imperial battle brother deathstars (again, mostly due to the issues figuring out if they’re valid).

    Oh, and absolutely no “Come The Apocalypse” forces on the same side, but that’s mostly stopping people taking Knights in very weird armies.

  • Andrew O’Brien

    I like limiting it to 1 gargantuan, but I don’t know why knights would be the only ones allowed.