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40k Editorial: Bringing the Hobby Back to Tournaments

4 Minute Read
Nov 10 2017

BBF here to talk about bringing the hobby back to the tournament scene. It can make everything better for attendees.

No matter what rules you change, the meta is always hungry.

Chasing the Eternal Meta

Note that I don’t advocate banning certain units or in general using army composition, nor rating your opponents’ army. Rules for army composition used to be a big thing in the US along with ratings… they don’t work. Here is a good example of why army composition does not work – back in 7th edition there was a system briefly en vogue called Highlander where you could only take one unit each from HQ, elites, fast attack and heavy support… everything else open was taken troops. It sounds okay in theory but some armies have much better troops than others such as eldar windrider jetbikes spamming scatter lasers (back then). Enforcing select rules for army composition does not eliminate the meta, it only changes it. There will always be a meta.

Making a list, checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…

Making Things Better

There are things though that TOs can do that can overall fairly improve tournaments such as army lists being submitted in advance and properly verified prior to the event. Sure it requires time and effort but just like building terrain it’s just another task. There are big tournaments such as the American Team Championship (ATC) that has been checking army lists for years now and they have hundreds of attendees. One of the major drawbacks to not checking army lists in advance is that if a player is using an illegal army list and wins several rounds then is caught say in the semifinals or final round it skews the entire event since players that lost to them in prior cannot be properly compensated in terms of their win-loss record.

There should be a strict rubric in terms of models put on the table and painting requirements. Every army should accurately reflect exactly what it is. No one wants to play against lasguns painted with blue barrels representing plasmaguns. I will never forget a game at a major tournament versus a Tau player running Riptide Wing camping in a fortification. None of the Riptides had arms and the fortification was a cheap piece of terrain intended for aquariums. The opponent kept trying to use whatever weapon systems for his Riptides were the best each turn and his army list was totally illegible. The top of the third turn I stopped the game and asked a TO to force him to provide a legitimate army list, he ended up conceding the game. The larger the event the more important are these requirements.

Your army is gorgeous, have some cash!

Put Your Money Where Your Hobby Is

There should be equivalent prize support for the best looking army and the army that most accurately represents its background. There can be two categories – those selected by the TOs and those voted for by the players. It’s okay to spread around prize support, the most competitive players don’t need to take the lion’s share home. Another thing that could be voted on by players is the worst army in terms of designing a list solely based upon winning. Don’t dock any points, just let it be known.


Games Workshop used to run a Grand Tournament system in the US and it was extremely popular. You saw a lot of extremely beautiful armies because players were appropriately rewarded for their efforts. Of course now you can just pay someone to build and paint your army so it’s no longer necessarily representative of a player’s actual time and effort… however that in and of itself is not a good reason not to do so nor is it irrelevant. If we only reward players for winning their games the hobby suffers overall.

Without the hobby, we might as well be playing with cardboard chits.

The Hobby Matters

Bringing the hobby back to tournaments is not my idea but I fully support TOs and individuals that are striving to do so. The Long War has been an active advocate of this concept for several years now and just this year the ITC has put new rules in place for their system to make for an overall more enjoyable experience. I tip my hat to them for their efforts. Eighth edition is still fairly new and there is no better time to strive for this opportunity to improve the tournament scene in general.

~How would you support the hobby aspect of tabletop if you ran a major event?

Author: Steve Turner
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