Sunday, August 28, 2011

To go to tournaments or not to go - Part 2: Serious About Winning

Reason 2: People who play in tournaments are serious about winning

I think people fail to understand why tournaments exist in the first place. It's to find out who is the best at something, whether that be winning, painting, background fluff, or whatever, a tournament is there to see who is the best. One should expect that kind of attitude in a tournament. On the other hand, that is quite a turnoff for some people, especially if all they ever do is lose the games they play. It's frustrating to lose and even more frustrating to lose to someone who is super serious about winning.

However, I think this is a great way to make yourself a better player (and a better hobbyist if you go for the painting/fluff stuff).

If you plan on entering a tournament, you can always practice prior to the tournament. This will ensure you know how to deploy, how to move, how to use the army you plan on taking properly. Then when you show up, you can play knowing you can put up a good fight and you can play to win rather than not lose. I say play to not lose because a lot of newer players have an 'I'm going to lose' attitude right away when playing against a veteran player or when going into a tournament. With an attitude like that, it's no wonder someone would hate going to tournaments.

This can't be remedied easily, at least not just by going to tournaments. The player would have to want to become better so that they aren't the baby seal that's being clubbed every game they play. It bothers me sometimes that these players don't want to be better. They are content being beat on by the other gamers at the store and just attribute their losses to things like bad dice, or I only play for the fluff, or they just suck at the game or whatever. It's never 'what could I have done better so that I don't lose so badly next game?'.

This then breeds an attitude that people who play in tournaments will play with beardy armies designed to win and that their army just can't cut it against lists like that. Well, nothing is stopping you from making your own beardy army designed to win. With the new army books, it's quite easy to make a powerful army that is different from everyone elses. Every book has lots of good options and good armies are no longer pigeon-holed into one particular list (at least the 5th edition ones, 4th edition books still suffer from the there is only one or two good options). This might mean spending more at first, but once you get into buying only the useful stuff, there are going to be a lot less wasted purchases (Griffon squadron anyone?)

With such a pessimistic attitude these players miss one of the other points of going to a tournament. It's a weekend (or maybe just a day) of gaming where you can geek out with people who share an interest in your hobby. You get to meet new people and armies not from your gaming group and see loads of well painted and well built models. Winning isn't the only reason to go to a tournament but for these guys it seems to be bigger than the older gamers (for me it is the primary reason, but that's because I am a competitive gamer who likes winning).

A good side effect of playing against other competitive people is that you should want to be a better player so you can compete better (and again not be a baby seal who's there just to get clubbed). My first couple of tournaments helped me understand how to build good all-comers army and made me understand the rules better too. Also made me improve my painting skills so I wouldn't be embarrassed amidst all the well painted armies. If I didn't play in tournaments, I probably wouldn't have any incentive to really understand the rules of the game or even finish any of my armies. I'd just be another guy with a grey army getting clubbed by the other players.

Maybe I should try harder to convince these younger gamers to attend tournaments. So many good things come out of tournaments that, in my opinion, outweigh all the bad stuff. One of my favourite aspects of preparing for a tournament is painting my army which I'll talk about tomorrow in Part 3: My army isn't painted.

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