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40K: Oh No! I Forgot To…

6 Minute Read
Nov 30 2017


No Take Backs!

Look, we’ve all been there. You’re at a tournament playing your third game of the day and everything is going swimmingly for you. You’ve just moved up your troops and can’t wait to put the hurt on the enemy. In a rush of excitement you nominate you first unit to shoot, pick its target and start rolling dice. “Eight wounds!” You cry out in triumph, then, slowly – a sinking sensation. You look around and it dawns on you. You’ve forgotten your whole psychic phase! What do you do now?

We’ve All Forgotten Things

Like I said, above, we’ve all done it before. Be in in a friendly game or at a major event each one of us has, most likely many times, forgotten a key thing. Maybe we’ve skipped a whole phase, forgotten to deep strike a unit, not fired a key unit, or maybe there is an important stratagem we skipped using. Sometimes its a minor thing, forgetting a bolt pistol shot, sometimes your whole battle plan is wrecked. No matter how hard we work to remember things at some point, fatigue, excitement, or simply having too many things to balance will trip us up. In a friendly game such mistakes can often be waved away.

However when it happens in a major tournament, what should the players do? 

Deal With It

The simplest thing is to just deal with it. You’ve forgotten to do whatever it was. You don’t get to do it. Simple. Time to move on. You’ve made an unfortunate mistake and that’s that. The milk is split and crying won’t help. Sometimes this is the right choice. Sometimes, this is the only choice, if I’ve forgotten my physic phase and now it my opponents movement phase, well there is no going back. But sometimes there are other options.


Ask To Go Back

You can always ask your opponent to let you both turn back the clock and do whatever you forgot to do now. I’ve never been to an event where anyone had a problem with both players agreeing to do this. Nor do I see any issue at all with at least asking the other player. It is of course up to them if they will agree to let you go back, but I see no harm in asking. If both players agree to it, go back and re-do the part of the battle that was missed. Everyone can be happy.

Should I Let The Other Player Have A Take Back?

So lets say the other player forgot something and is now asking to go back, should I agree? Now obviously this is going to be case by case, but to me there are two key factors:

1. How much time has passed since the mistake was made?

2. Did the results of actions taken after the mistake was made effect my opponent wanting to take the action.


For the first point, I feel the time between the mistake and the realization of it are important. If the other player forgot her psychic phase and has only fired one unit, I’d let them go back. If they are wrapping up the shooting phase, then it’s most likely too late. This is obviously case by case, but but as a rule of thumb I would let someone go back if we are the first action taken after the mistake almost 100% of the time. If its longer I would consider it.

As for my second point, it can also be boiled down to, do I feel like the enemy is trying to get an advantage out of their mistake? If the Chaos player I am playing with makes his attacks and then after rolling for wounds states they forgot to use Veterans of the Long War, having now seen just how wounds they got I would most likely say no, it’s too late. (Though if I said yes I would make them re-roll). Had they rolled better maybe they wouldn’t want to use VoTW, so this is giving them an advantage. On the other hand if the enemy forgets to use Cloud of Flies during her movement phase and asks if its OK to use it at the start of the shooting phase I would most likely say yes. It’s unlikely the enemy got any advantage form that.

Be A Good Sport

Being a good sport is important in wargaming. While we are trying to batter down an opponents army and win a game, having fun is also a main goal. To me if you can, I say let the other person make up their mistake. At the end of the day its important to realize there is a ton of stuff going on in any game and it’s easy to miss something. It’s also easy to get excited and jump ahead in a game. I’ve seen plenty of people excited with making a long charge go right into the fight phase, forgetting the other charges they need to make. At the end of the day part of being a good sport is realizing whats going on. Even if we can’t always let the other person go back and correct a mistake, we can all work to prevent them from happening.

True, it’s not your job to point out your enemies tactical mistakes, but I do think part of being a good sport is pointing out if the other player has forgotten something. Are they about to make attacks but haven’t charged with a key unit? Ask them if they wanted to charge with that unit first. Or at the least say “So we are moving on to the fight phase now?” Did they state “I’m going to shoot unit A with unit B, but first let me shoot unit C over here?” Remind them about unit A if they forget. Don’t throw the game, but be a good sport.

At The End Of The Day It’s About A Fair Game

When I play I want a fair game. I want to win because I out-played the other player, or got some good luck, or had a better list. I don’t really want to win because the other player forgot some minor detail, or got caught up in the excitement of the game and moved too quickly. I also don’t want to give the other player the unfair advantage of hindsight. So yes, even in a tournament I’d consider letting the other player have some take backs. And hopefully she’d do the same for me. I think if we could all do things like that we’d have a much more enjoyable gaming experiences.



So What do you think, is it OK for players to get some take backs? Let us know down in the comments! 


Author: Abe Apfel
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