Should Morals Play A Part In 40K Games?

Pimpcron asks the questions the fake news won’t.
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Dude, don’t ask me what that was about. I have a bag with words that I sometimes dump out and whatever it says on the floor is my opening paragraph. Anyway, in my near-decade of 40k-ing morality has come up many times.

But it begs the questions: 

When do you “play fair”?


When do you play seriously?

Friends That have No Business Being In This Hobby

You have a friend that you want to get into the hobby but his entire personal life is a dumpster fire. His credit rating is probably a single digit, his past history could be one big National Lampoon movie, and when you see him, you often have to pat out some small flame on his clothes. He’s the type of person whose hub cap falls off and gets to the parking spot before his car does. You guys are good chums and it would be great (for you) to get him into it. But you also know that he really shouldn’t be spending the money on a hobby like this, and monitary drain this would put on him would just further his life problems.

High Road: Don’t try to get him into it knowing that it wouldn’t be a good thing for his already mis-handled life.
Realist Road: He’s an adult and can make his own decisions, even though he has a long history of making bad ones. His problems aren’t your problems and you can’t worry about everyone. Introduce him to it and let things fall where they may.

Other Player Forgets To Do Something

I’m sure you’ve ran into this a million times. You’re in a game and your opponent forgets to shoot with his Devastator squad hiding in that ruin. If he does shoot with it, you’re likely going to be missing an important model and may lose the game. Or your opponent forgets to roll for reserves and is about to start moving models. That’s when you struggle.
Me: I need to do the sportsman-like thing and remind him, it’s what Jesus would do.

Jesus yells down from Heaven: “Let the scrub fail, maybe then he’ll git gud!”

I have a few personal guidelines I use for this situation.

I will remind my opponent under these conditions: it’s a fun game (not tournament), I am currently winning, he’s a nice guy.

I will NOT remind him under these conditions: it’s a tournament, he is winning or we are closely tied in a tight game, or he’s not likeable.

Remember people, you get more in life with sugar than poop. Nearly everyone will be easier on you in life if you’re not a rube.

Cocked Dice

We’ve all played that guy: his dice is slightly clocked but clearly a definite number and it’s good for you; he grabs it and re-rolls declaring “cocked!”. Dice lands in the same spot later on and it’s good for him, suddenly it isn’t cocked anymore in that position and he keeps the result.

The Proper Resolution: If you can set another dice on top of the cocked one without having it slip off, the roll stays. If the top dice falls off, then re-roll.
More-Proper Solution: Punch him in the nose for be a d-bag and yell “Nose blood for the Nose Blood God!” (a lesser-known cousin of Khorne). My motto is “WAACs get wacked”.

Opponent Making a Poor Decision

I find myself doing this nearly every game: an opponent is about to make a dumb mistake and I offer a better choice out of sportsmanship. 90% of the time, they take the better choice. I only have one friend who will intentionally ignore me out of spite. I could be saying “you get your 2+ save” and he would just remove the model because he doesn’t want to listen to me and roll the save.
While I know that this might be irritating to some, its helpful to most. Of course this follows the same criteria as the “forgot to do something” paragraph above. If I’m trying to win, you’re on your own tactically. Ultimately battle comes down to general’s decisions for better or worse, and your mistakes give your opponent an advantage. Most of the time I’d err of the side of being honest/helpful.

~How do you handle these types of situations? Are you a “let them fall” kinda person, or a more sportsmanship-oriented person?

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  • cudgel

    You’re all (rusty metal) heart, PC, do you mind if I call you PC?

    • Sure! I’ve been called Pimpcron, The Pimpcron, Pimpy, PC, Pimpster. I’m just happy you read my stuff. Call me Marcus if you want. Or Sandy. I don’t care. 🙂

  • King Renegado

    We just houserule that ALL cocked dice be re-rolled. Make sure my opponent knows that I am re-rolling a dice that would benefit me.
    We do it as a sort of wildcard. It might be beneficial, it might hurt. WHO KNOWS?!
    I am also pretty forgiving about letting my opponent do something if they have forgotten to do that something- at least if found in a timely manner.
    If they are halfway through their assault phase and realize they forgot to make a reserve roll, or suddenly remembered that they forgot to shoot with something at the top of my movement phase… No.

    • I always ask my opponent if the dice is cocked, haven’t ever had someone be a knob about it

  • benn grimm

    A) He’s a big person now and better plastic crack than real crack…or worse…alcohol…

    B) What Jesus would do, it’s a game ffs…

    C) Lol, depends how much bigger they are than you I guess…

    D) see B).

    • I already told you what Jesus would do. Let them fail. Then they might git gud. 😀

      • He would get kicked out of the game store for his Dasani full of wine anyhow

      • benn grimm

        Tbf, he’d probably just tip over the table and rant about how much it all cost…;)

        • Henry Faulkner

          classic JC

    • Nate

      Jesus loved the poor, make Jesus love them more 😛

  • Chiwawa

    Whenever I or my friend point out a mistake or an omission to our opponent/s we often get ignored or even rebuked for distracting him/them.
    But this I our lot in life.
    We play Necrons together, we are not loved people.

    • Haha.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      That’s because you are perceived to playing a crutch army that is for simpletons,” why my marines/Daemon, etc are not as forgiving etc etc” *eye roll* Least in my gaming circle. So usually people think they know best is the other thing too.

  • Karru

    In all games, I spent more time helping my opponent than I do planning my next moves most of the time, at least it feels like it. If my opponent makes a mistake, I let him take it back most of the time depending on the situation. If it is something like “I forgot to shoot this guy and I already rolled for charges”, I allow them to go back. If its something like “I didn’t mean to shoot this unit against this one (because it didn’t do enough damage) can I take it back?”, I won’t.

    When it comes to dice, we have a simple rule. If it lands into terrain or any other piece that isn’t the “flat” surface of the table, a model’s base, a rulebook left on the table or a movement tray, even if it is completely flat, you re-roll it. It makes the game that much smoother since there are no arguments whether the dice is cocked or not.

    Going back to me helping my opponent, I usually actively try to ask if they are sure what they are currently doing if I see a situation that I find even slightly odd. “Why are you shooting those Tactical Marines first? Wouldn’t it be wiser to shoot that blast first to maximise casualties?” Sometimes it is a well thought out plan, other times it is an oversight.

    Then again, when it comes to any situation where both players have to “agree” with something, like how many models are under the blast template or if the charge distance is 1/100th of an inch away from making contact, my usual reaction is the same. If it benefits my opponent, I give them what they want. When I aim the blast template for them, I usually add one more than I originally count. Not sure if the tape measure is touching the base of the unit my opponent wanted to charge? Whoops, the model magically moved 1/10th of an inch towards and now touches the tape measure.

    When I am the one looking for benefits, I usually go with the opposite situation. Only models that are clearly under the template counts. I won’t spend time looking the model with a microscope to proof that my template covers the paintjob of the base trim so it counts as being hit. Am I close enough to charge or am I just barely out of range? I’m out of range.

    I don’t want to spent most of my game arguing with my opponent. I came to play a game of 40k and by the god-emperor I will enjoy it.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I admire your philosophy.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    Except at tournaments I always allow take back moves and offer advice, because I am a gentleman. I still almost always win because I am also a scholar. Sadly I am not also an acrobat.

    • Andrew

      Noticed this too. Even pointed out a couple times “We’re pushing toys around and rolling dice. I’m not that worried about losing.”

    • ZeeLobby

      Have seen this as well. That said there was a player at an event that easily was adding an inch or two to every movement, and when opponents brought it up he claimed they were killing the joy out of a fluff toy game. In the end it just comes down to respecting your opponents playstyle. If they’re hardcore competitive and you agreed to play them knowing this, then make clean measurements and expect a challenge. If they’re a fluffy player who doesn’t really care, then feel free to relax. It just needs to be on both sides, and decided on before a game starts or depending on event. I always play competitively in fluffy games, and let my opponent a know that, but I let my opponent change his mind and help them out. But I can’t stand when a fun-player continuously bends the rules in their favor. I guess they’re more like closet-competitors.

      • Dude, I despise the 8″ infantry moves that people take. That would probably be my biggest pet peeve.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. I mean if your just starting, OK, and with some gentle mentioning from your opponents, you’ll get the hang of measuring correctly. I’ve found measuring sticks or those thin retractable tape measurers (even have some of the old GW ones) are great for beginners as they can set them down and then move models.

          But yeah. Nothing is more frustrating than playing a game and trying to be tactical, but always being shot and/or charged first while your opponent gets a 2″ boost to all his moves. At another event, there was another guy (always seems to be one) who even called out his opponent out for moving too far while he did it all game. It’s crazy these people exist, haha.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            I think at tournaments a different stricter social contract applies. There is no need to be rude about it, but any incorrect moves should be called out immediately and a TO informed. If they are doing it to you they are probably doing it to everyone.

            In a casual setting you can just choose not to play a persistent offender again. Though I have found that a tedious but polite and boring tutorial on how to measure correctly, delivered with examples, every game usually ensures they either stop doing it or stop wanting to play me!

    • I got my face punched in in AoS yesterday, it was awesome because it was a very thematic fight between my Nurgle forces and my friend’s sylvaneth. She summoned wildwoods into the midfield and I foolishly walked into them like the orcs in The Two Towers

  • orionburn

    Pretty forgiving on all things (dice, forgot to move/shoot, etc) up until the point where they themselves make a dick move. We all get frustrated when things aren’t going our way, but FFS seeing 40+ year old guys throwing a temper tantrum is a sad sight to behold.

    Played a 6 man game recently and one guy was getting hammered fairly hard because of how he had deployed. I will sometimes go after another opponent for a turn to ease up on them. Been there and I know it sucks to lose half your crap by turn 2 or 3 when everyone else has most of their stuff. Guy started tossing his dice up in the air one by one for rolls and they were bouncing all over the table hitting models. After that it was back to killing off his stuff as much as possible. Don’t splash the pot, kids. That’s how you end up in a dumpster behind your FLGS.

  • Maitre Lord Ironfist

    Agree on a lot. Just be a decent player and not Luke. Jsut be a little more Benter. I noticed i raged some games iplayed with my brother. that was not cool. I thought, why am i doing this. It is not fun.

    What i mean with Benter is: I got the feeling he can be happy for his opponent too win. So i tried it. I feel like the game won a lot.

  • Godlir

    A. I don’t tell people how to live their life.
    B. I don’t tell people how to play their game.
    C. Everyone rolls in the box of shame.
    D. I don’t tell people how to play their game.

    • David Leimbach

      Hey!! The (shoe)box of shame. That’s what I call my army transport.

  • orionburn

    One other thing that’s a big factor for myself in handling things is the relative newness of the player is to the game. Nothing can put a new player off like a jerk that is unforgiving in a game. I’ve become good friends with many of the guys at my local shop and I am so thankful that they took the time to help point out better ways to play, forgiving me for dumb mistakes, and so on as I learned to play the game.

    I’m definitely harder on myself if I forget something. I chalk it up to it being my fault for forgetting and it being a lesson learned the hard way.

    • I agree, but it is still cancelled if he’s a jerk. I take no quarter with jerks; even if they are noobs. 😛

      • orionburn

        Oh I agree…lol

  • Deacon Ix

    It also extends to lists, last HH game I played my opponent said he didn’t have any flyers or much anti air, so I cut my flyers from 4 to 1 (I did then take 2 Mhara Gal which turned out alot better than I expected…) we had a good game and he commented that my force was nicely balanced.

    That game did have plenty of forgotten actionvwhich where allow to be taken out of phase (if it wasn’t too out…) and it was more enjoyable for it.

  • Sure

    This is a game invloving toys and dice where the top prizes are no big deal (if you think they are a big deal, get a real job and move out of your parents’ basement/garage/etc). If you are going to be a jerk (my first choice word begins with a d, but the forum…) over this game, I am so sorry how your life turned out. Good news, though, there’s still time to save yourself

  • David Leimbach

    Cocked dice rule, if you can set another dice on top of it without it falling off, the number stands. If the dice falls off, then it’s a reroll.

    • I guess that practice is universally accepted then. I didn’t know that.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        It was actually written in both 40k and whfb brb’s in the past!

  • Davis Centis

    As always Pimpcron, you are full of wisdom (and insanity). Too often I ignore the money one, but that’s because I believe in people to make their rational decisions. Plus, I say they can use my models if they want to play without spending anything, and thankfully I have the models to spare now.

    For the second situation, I’ll always say that they missed something if I realize it. Sometimes the situation is reversed; I forgot a rule that hurts me half a turn ago and neither of us noticed. In those situations, I’m a little less likely to say something if it’s really half a turn ago, but I’d say I still bring it up 95% of the time (so yeah, 1 in 20 still isn’t the best record).

    On the issue of cocked dice, I guess I’m just very liberal about it. I’ve seen so many people do such ridiculous things that I just don’t care any longer. If it’s clearly cocked and they’re trying to use it, I just say “it’s cocked”, and 99.9% of the time they just agree. However, I never disagree with them if they say it’s cocked; just not worth it. Sometimes that means someone rolls and the uneveness of the terrain makes it cocked practically automatically (the GW forge world battlefield is terrible for this), so in those cases I just say “it’s a bad board for this, so let’s use a dice box” and then everything’s fine again.

    Lastly, for an opponent making a poor decision, I try to wait and remember it at the end of the game. If they lose, they’ll be more willing to listen to my suggestion. Only difficulty is trying to remember. I tend to write up battle reports that I only send out between my friends, and at the end of each battle report I list a lesson on what I saw as the biggest mistake made. A day or two after the game, people are much more attentive because the emotional protection they have over their game has faded, and now they’re just remembering how much fun the game was.

    • Great ideas all around Davis. I think you’re right that waiting until later for suggestions makes it easier for them to listen to.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        Yeah I may interrupt if it is completely bonkers, but I will wait, let them complete the move, then explain why it may have been poor, and then offer them the redo, that way they see the mistake as they made it and can compare.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        Yeah I may interrupt if it is completely bonkers, but I will wait, let them complete the move, then explain why it may have been poor, and then offer them the redo, that way they see the mistake as they made it and can compare.

        • And for the record, I’m not interrupting them in a rude way. Just making a suggestion, I mean, hey they might have thought of a better solution that escaped me. So I’m not cocky about it. But the majority of the time they go with my suggestion, as it was actually better.

  • ZeeLobby

    We do the dice balance test. If you can balance a second dice on top, without moving the bottom dice, it stands. Have seen some pretty impressive balancing efforts. Almost a mini-game in itself.

  • Mad Leprechaun

    Don’t interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake; unless it has something to do with beer. – Napoleon, I think.

    • petrow84

      What, if not interrupting him will yield me more beer? – Homer Simpson, I think

      • Mad Leprechaun

        not if his mistake is knocking over one 🙂

  • Malevengion

    I enjoy games more when the other players are having fun too so I try to be helpful and polite. I do draw the line if I catch my opponent cheating though and I have little patience for rules lawyers who try to justify their cheating by brow beating me with arcane interpretations of what’s allowed in the game. No need to be polite with cretins.

  • Jabberwokk

    Sorry I just want you for your body. I really don’t know what a moral is anyway. Can you eat it? Love ’em and eat ’em is my motto.

    • I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I like it!

      • Jabberwokk

        I’m a Tyranid. duh!

  • petrow84

    A: their life to live and lead, and who knows, they just might found something they are awesome in, after being crappy in everything else (wait, am I talking about myself?)
    B: Being Good Guy Jesus in fun/practice matches. The “do it now, but I won’t let you do that on a tourney” line usually makes them to memorize things even on their death-bed.
    C: It’s an unwritten rule of wargaming in my LGC. The first instance it happens, you ask whether to re-roll. Whatever your opponent says, it will stay that way throughout the game. (my right forward kick above neck-level is also very good, so they rarely risk Pimpcron’s More-Proper Solution)
    D: let them do stupid thing, explain after battle (if they did not ragequit). I like if they do the same. As for forgetting the rule, see point B.

  • Xodis

    Pimpcron with the tough love, I love it!

    We always house ruled that if you can’t hit a giant table with a tiny die, then your model can’t hit his target. Cocked dice though we just accept it as it’s facing. Occasionally an opponent will say “That’s cocked, reroll it” and it’s usually more of a “dude you’re sucking here is small advantage” type of thing.

    As for poor decisions, I usually help out the guy who is completely getting ROFLstomped, but most often I wait until the move is already committed and then ask why? Maybe they have a plan, maybe they just shot themselves in the foot, most likely one of us learned something that moment though.

  • Talos2


  • Chet Atkinson

    I usually only play likable people and I also want to have a fair match. If their dudes in the ruins forget to fire it’s not realistic so I remind them. This is reciprocated if I forget too. Same goes for cocked dice – always reroll unless it’s obvious what it would be. The only time it gets awkward is a roll of a scatter die. If the scatter die ends up some way from the target do you try to move the blast template parallel to the direction (which is how I read it) or do you move it to where the arrow is pointing (how my opponents’ read it)???

  • Grenn Dal

    I try to be helpful as much as I can. I kept forgetting to remind you of your lucky stick rolls last time we played. I hate when I forget things like that.

    • Hey there he is! Grenn Dal in the flesh! Yeah, and I appreciate being reminded. I had to remind Leon about his 6+ FNP nearly every turn too. 😛

      • Grenn Dal

        those pesky special rules are a pain to remember

  • Ravingbantha

    Morals should be a factor in all aspects of your life. The fact that you are playing a game should be irrelevant. Simply having a debate about this goes to show how immoral people can be. If you can’t play a game and still uphold moral values, then you’re probably going to fold on your morals when it’s really important.

    • But what if I neatly fold my morals? Like the kind of morals you’d see on the shelf in a store?

  • it’s true, some people just aren’t cut out for social gaming. I just wish they’d stick to League of Legends and let the rest of us tell stories with our dollies

  • Anggul

    I do things pretty much the same as you.

    There’s simply no reason to make the game less fun for each other just so one of you can win at toy soldiers. Even if you’re playing competitively, there’s no point in playing if you aren’t enjoying yourselves.

  • Heinz Fiction

    Came for the moral dilemmas. Didn’t find any…

    • Then what’s your answers to each section?

  • Nicholas Blackie

    I think the idea of arguing over cocked dice is stupid, anyway. Unless there’s some crazy magic involved that stands a die straight up on its edge, there’s going to be one face that’s more “Up” than the others.

    I can’t count the number of times in Warmachine or Malifaux where I basically coached my opponent on how to beat me (less so in 40k, I lost that enough on my own without helping my opponent), but I consider it a teaching experience, and it usually results in a pretty tight, enjoyable game, especially if I’m playing with a newer opponent.

  • MechBattler

    My two cents.

    If a situation comes up where my opponent misses something or they’re about to make a dumb decision I’ll point it out to them on the basis that it’s a chance to teach them something and a chance to help them become a better player. If they become a better player, it makes future games more challenging and fun.

    Unless they’re a jack@ss. Then I’ll let them make the mistake and spank them for it, so they learn the lesson the hard way. That way I get the satisfaction of teaching AND experience schadenfreude for knocking them down a peg.