On Rules, Sportsmanship, and Page 5

EDIT: After thinking more about this, and cooling my jets a bit.  I think I am probably a bit in the wrong here, and that this opponent was just trying to hold me to the same high standard we all aim for.  I will certainly, and happily, play him again.

I will admit, I am fortunate.  I play primarily in a shop filled with good sports, and I really enjoy the fact that I rarely have to deal with ‘that guy’.  I rarely ever have to argue about the rules, and I have rarely ever had to resort to rolling a die to decide a situation.  I play with great people, and I truly appreciate that.

That is why tonight was so hard for me.  I really struggled with what happened; wondering if I was justified in how I felt.  I believe I am, but that is why I wanted to share this story here and see how other people see this situation.  I am being brutally honest, and I want the same in return.

Our local shop was running a Speedmachine event tonight.  Several of us in attendance were doing so largely to practice for the same event at Lock and Load.  In round one, I was paired with another one of these individuals.  It was my Cryx against his Retribution.  Because it will be relevant, here are our lists:

  • Skarre, Queen of the Broken coast
  • Nightmare
  • Deathjack
  • Malice
  • Ravyn, Eternal Light
  • Hyperion
  • Aspis

In round one, I largely ran ahead and cast a few spells.  On my opponents first turn, his warjacks ran forward.  Ravyn activated and cast snipe.  When I asked what the range was, he measured and saw that he was 4-6 inches too short.  He went to move Ravyn closer, and I corrected him, reminding him that he needed to pay for the spell he cast before he moved.  In the recent past, this opponent had asked me to be ‘harsh’ about the rules so he could prepare.  In one part, I suppose I was doing that here, although the rules on spell casting are quite clear.  You pay for the spell and then check the range.  Had had made a small error (not that it mattered, we closed on each other very quickly), and continued.

On my following turn, my warjacks engaged fully.  Afterward, I advanced Skarre behind them, declared I was using my feat, taking four damage (the number of models I was running; at this point he had two left), and marked them on Skarre’s card and ended my turn.  My opponent collected his focus and said (I am paraphrasing), ‘so, you didn’t declare which models you used the feat on’.  Keep in mind, I hadn’t done anything more during my turn after feating, and he hadn’t done anything yet either.  So, the information about which models I did or did not feat on hadn’t affected anything yet.  He could have asked me to tell him which models were affected, but it became quite clear that he was going for a ‘gotcha’ – calling me out that I had made my own mistake, not unlike his earlier.

I noted he was correct, and resigned immediately; Skarre was clearly doomed.  However, this feeling began to bother me that my error had been entirely unlike his own.  This wasn’t ‘turnabout is fair play’; this wasn’t page 5.  This was revenge.  I decided that I would drop from the tournament. I was worried about what I would say to this person if i stayed around, and I just wanted to leave.  To me, if felt like this person had forsaken fair honest play and Page 5 to nab the win.  In case you aren’t familiar, Page 5 is both (literally) page 5 of the Warmachine/Hordes rulebook, and (figuratively) Privateer Press’ statement on fair play.

  1. Thou Shalt Not Whine
  2. Come heavy, or Don’t Come At All
  3. Give As Good As You Get
  4. Win Graciously and Lose Valiantly
  5. Page 5 is Not an Excuse

It became clear to me as I drove home that the events of this evening flew in the face of Page 5.  I think if you asked my opponent which models I had feated on, he would have told you he knew, even though I hadn’t verbalized it.  He could have asked me which models I had included in my feat; such information hadn’t affected any part of the game when his turn began.  The game could have gone on smoothly, and with dignity, had he done so.  However, he took a cheap shot to get a win.  Maybe because of my correction on his earlier spell, although I certainly  see both situations in very different ways.

At this stage, I do not want to play this person again.  If paired in another tournament, I will do so because I don’t want to disrupt tournaments.  However, I do not want to spend my precious free time playing opponents who value the win over the game.  It was out of respect for the game, the rules, and Page 5 that I corrected him on the proper protocol for spell casting. I cannot help but feel that my opponent valued the win, and beating me through the highest of pedantic details, over those same things.  That isn’t what this game is about.

Did I make the same kind of error he had?  Did my failure to enumerate my feat targets during my turn mean I could have it apply to no one?  I really want to know if I am in the wrong here.  I don’t think so, but it has happened often enough before, and I want to know what you think.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated.

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5 responses to “On Rules, Sportsmanship, and Page 5

  1. As I play against and in tournaments ran by hacksaw, I will tell you what he says about it. “If you don’t mark your spells or feat targets clearly and I get called over to clarify and there are no markers, then there is no spell/feat” In my humble opinion you both screwed up and it is what it is.

  2. I agree; after thinking it over I do think he was right to push me on how I handled the feat. In the end, I am better for it. It is a mistake I won’t make again.

  3. Smash and I had a conversation about this last night (especially since I was the TO for the event), and I will say it here as well; as you surmised, I think you are somewhat in the wrong there. The rules are pretty clear, and as Andy Blakely mentions above, if you don’t call out what your target is, you are doing it wrong. Given I wasn’t at the table when the conversation took place, and I only saw the aftermath, I am not certain how the conversations went. I will say I am impressed by your ability to step back and accept the mistake you made. Not everyone can do that.

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