Comp and the Force

Get out yer sabers young Padawans, Obi Wan Reecius is here to drop some knowledge on you suckers!


Probably the most controversial topic in our little brand of nerdery. As such it’s been talked about to death, but I have an article to write and you slackers that should be working want something to read, so in goes my two cents on the subject. Prepare for a troll hunt!! Get your flamers out and ready!

What is comp for those of you new to the game? It is the (thankfully) dying concept that gaming event organizers need to impose a system of control beyond the rule books on what players coming to their event can and can not bring. The stated intent is to make the game more “fair” or “fun.” Typically, this is done by utilizing a list of banned units, placing limits on the number of certain types of units you can bring, or by having a type of scoring system wherein each player is given a “Comp Score” by either judges of their peers. These scores can be determined according to a rubric or can be totally subjective.

When looked at in those terms, it sounds OK doesn’t it? I bet there are a lot of you out there that think, hey, you mean I could go to a 40K tournament and not play 3 Hell Turkies lists? Sweet!

The issue though, is that you are now imposing your arbitrary ideas of how the game should be played on your attendees. Comp is actually a system of control disguised as benevolent guidelines for the greater good.

Big Brother knows best, and he knows you should play with your army men like he does…or else!

The core issue with comp is that in theory it sounds fair but in practice you have to subjectively decide what is “broken” and what is not. There is no, none, nada, nicht way to objectively determine what is broken or not. It is an emotional reaction to the perceived power level of unit X. Your perception of what is too good, or too weak is going to be influenced by a gazillion ancillary factors. You may think Tervigons are broken because your army doesn’t have the means to deal with them and you lose to them every time so therefore they must be overpowered. However, another person may smash them every time and think they are quite weak. Maybe you think Mephiston is OP because he can do something the super d00der from your army can’t. So, duh, he’s totally broken!!$*!)*#

The point being, most people that play 40K have a very limited knowledge of the game as a whole but often think they know everything about it. In reality they typically only have a working knowledge of their army(s) and to a limited degree those that they play against regularly. And, often, they don’t even know their own army’s rules all that well. What this often means in practice is that a lot of folks think that it is the better choice to say someone else can’t bring something they don’t like than to find a way to overcome the challenge before them with what they have.

So, we end up with these silly pejoratives that get hurled around like “Cheesy,” “Beardy,” “WAAC,” etc. The applied result is that someone may say, hey, I think Thousand Sons are OP (I am not making that up either, we have a guy out here who gets called cheesy for using -GASP!- AP3 Bolters!) and decides that it is only fair for everyone (not selfishly motivated at all, oh no, no) that no one be allowed to bring more than 2 units of Thousand Sons. Otherwise you are a Cheese Wad deserving death by fire!!! Anyone who think differently is obviously one of the enemy!

Now what about the player that lovingly collected and painted an army with 4 units of 9, in matching Rhinos? They can’t play in an event when his list is legal? How does that make him or her feel? Who cares, right?! Obviously a hobby killing WAAC attack, power gamer’s only motivation is to ruin the hobby!

Now, that’s not to say some people don’t go out of their way to build the most powerful lists they can. Some people enjoy playing the game that way and that is fine. It is still within the limits of the rules. But playing against it unprepared can be a pretty painful experience.

This all too often results in the notorious Chimpmunking syndrome where after you get molly-whomped by something, you react with your ego thinking that it wasn’t the other player’s skill, your lack thereof, luck etc. that caused you to lose the game, but their cheesey, broken list. Given the opportunity to then rank your opponent on his comp score, all too often people fall victim to the negative urge and mark the other person down on comp.

I myself did it once against 7th ed Daemons in Fantasy that just smoked my Wood Elves every time and I was sick of it. I felt so badly after for allowing myself to be so petty that I told him what I did and bought him some beers after as a way to apologize. We humans can be weak and if we let our egos take over we can be pretty crummy. Comp encourages these negative actions.

But, but, but, what about the seriously douchey players that really are just being jerks!?!

Yeah, those people do exist as a tiny minority of the hobby at large. But is it fair to create rules to punish individuals that adversely affect everyone else? If the douche is playing within the rules, are you targeting the real problem by trying to limit what they can take? The list doesn’t make the douche, the douche makes the douche. Give him an army of My Little Ponies and he still won’t be fun to play. Cowboy up and address the real problem by talking to the disruptive individual about their attitude and behavior. Don’t beat around the bush with faux-rules that are in reality a veiled attempt to change the way people feel and think about the game. That’s Big Brother stuff right there, my friends.

But, Obi Wan Reecius, I hear you lamenting, what does any of this have to do with The Force?!

You like that Segway? Boom! Yeah son, I played that card! Muahaha, tremble in awe at my epic jokes!

How this article has anything at all to do with the Force is quite simple.

An individual that thinks it is his or her environment that should change to accommodate their world view and play style can be seen as a Sith Lord using the force to impose their will on others. It is placing their values ahead of others and choosing to force everyone else to play the game their way. Often, this is motivated by negative emotions such as fear of what someone else will do, jealousy of the abilities or rules of their opponent’s army or list, and desire to control what other people think and do. It is refusing to look inward at what they can do to overcome challenges and instead reaching outward to stop others from potentially placing challenges in front of them.

An individual that chooses to not use comp in their games is accepting responsibility for their actions. They choose to focus on the one thing they really can control: them self. This individual accepts the fact that they may come up against a list or player that simply outclasses them that day for whatever reason. Instead of reacting negatively to this and trying to punish the other person, they take it as a chance to look inward and see what they can do to improve and overcome the challenge their opponent presents. Positive emotions such as confidence that they they can find a way to succeed, acceptance of the fact that different people choose to play in different ways, and open mindedness to even changing the way they play in order to mesh within their gaming environment are often common with this mindset.

And you want more proof that the comp crowd tends to be more negatively motivated and antagonistic? Just read the comments that follow and take note of the tone, content, and which side of the fence each person is on. Who are the folks going out of their way to be negative about things they don’t like instead of maturely choosing to simply not go out of their way to read material they don’t agree with? How often do you read “anti-cheese” gamers saying negative things about tournaments (often by people who don’t even go to them, haha)? Compare that to how often you see the tournament crowd going out of their way to say negative things about a casual gamer’s narrative campaign? The explosion in popularity of tournaments over the past years, and the falling away of comp is also a good indicator of the fact that a lot of folks prefer to play without it. The rule books are comp enough and what all of us have equal access to.

I am not at all trying to say that this is a binary division and that folks are only one or the other, or that one side is all good and the other all bad as that is obviously untrue. But in my gaming experience–which I have no problem at all saying is a lot more extensive than most folks–the above stereotypes have proven to be largely true.

Flame on!


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

30 Responses to “Comp and the Force”

  1. Avatar
    kombat May 1, 2013 1:29 am #

    hahaha i love this article 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Francis May 1, 2013 2:01 am #

    I disagree with you Ressius however I am not despite your belief’s going to lambast you. I simply don’t play people who play differently to me I.e tournament players. As I don’t find the lists they use and their attitude to the game irritating. This approach I find solves problems.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 1, 2013 7:58 am #

      Hey Francis,

      I appreciate and encourage dissenting opinions as they usually provide an opportunity to learn something new. I intentionally used provocative verbiage in this article as it was written for bols and I get quite a kick out of irritating the trolls that hang out there! Haha.

      That said, if a group of players choose to use comp amongst themselves, it’s all good. Everyone is free to play how they choose and so long as people are enjoying themselves, I’m happy for them.

  3. Avatar
    Francis May 1, 2013 2:02 am #

    Woops spell check is annoying drop the “don’t”

  4. Avatar
    Spoonfunk May 1, 2013 5:43 am #

    Personally the only form of comp I have found acceptable is those that do the following

    1) Have a specifically tailored event (aka tournament but narrative events fall into this) that has a comp system that gears towards reinforcing that sort of play or playstyle, i.e footsloggers ball, da boyz gt, or narrative events that want fluffy armies (by their definition).
    2) They advertise that they are comping the system and why. Having a justification that doesn’t include “making things fair or balanced”. For instance I went to an event (local tourney) that comped for spam. They advertised it as such and stated that the reason was they wanted to see variety on the table, instead of the same tired spam lists.
    3) comp systems that don’t preclude you from winning the tournament if you decide not to run a list that runs in accordance with the comp. I would rather see a system that decided that it doesn’t want certain lists and flat out denies certain builds rather than penalizes you for taking those units

    Overall I generally don’t like comp but every tournament faces the issue in some way or another. Do they let people abuse the system and win because of bad game design instead of tactics or do they try to reinforce their views of the way things want to be. Ultimatly it is based on the the question of what type of event do they want to run and whether or not their is support for that system. Sometimes though I do get tired of playing the same old 40k and a comp system can be used to inspire or create a differant spin on the way we play the game…that is refreshing (depending on how the comp system is done).

    Finally most tournaments run a comp the way I see it. Whether or not they decide to include forgeworld, double force org, or include missions that aren’t in the base book. All of those things can affect the way lists are built and the way the game is played. The way see it bitching about a tourney having comp is pretty much pointless and the best way to voice your opinion is either open a dialogue with the TO’s (if possible) or vote with your feet.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 1, 2013 8:03 am #

      Those are all excellent points. And I agree, actually. As I said elsewhere, this was an article written for bols where you ten to get really crummy, angry people and I enjoy provoking them, sometimes!

      We go to comp events all the time and enjoy them. There’s a place for every time of.gamer and play style. Like you said, sometimes it’s fun to change it up. What irritates me though, is when the comp crowd becomes close minded and demonizes tournament players.

      However, that bias can go both ways.

  5. Avatar
    Charles May 1, 2013 7:43 am #


    It’s a good article and I agree somewhat about comp, in that it should not be done in the core gaming community.

    That being said there is or are issues some people have with the out of kilter forgeworld stuff. IMHO primarily due to the fact that its very lopsided in the quality and quantity between the forces. This coupled with the low cost of some games balance changing item specifically the imperial guards saber defense platforms. These are the one I hear the most chatter about over the podaspher and in forum rumblings.

    This is where we are at now allowing these in 40k tourneys just might ruin it for some while making others join the cant beat them join them club. Ask yourself this, do you want a stale meta. With the rapid release of new codex’s and such would it not be better to keep these perceived broken units from forgeworld out of the game so in a year or two from now we can see how the game has Changed and has settled in. Would that as a whole be better for everyone in the gaming community.

    If we allow t he new 40k to unfold we might find a more diverse gaming community with a meta that cannot be planned for making the tournaments more exciting to go to and in return might bring more people out more people to these events.

    Which is a good thing for all..


    • Reecius
      Reecius May 1, 2013 8:15 am #

      Hehe, thanks for stopping by and giving.your opinion.

      Forgeworld is a hot topic these days. However, you hit the mail on the head when you said perceived power level. That’s just it, it’s perception, not necessarily reality. Look at the results of the bao and adepticon.The bao had forgeworld, adepticon did not. The bao had an incredibly diverse mix of armies in the finals, adepticon had 9 of 16 necrons. W4bich of those is stake?

      Now, I won’t say it is all one cause as that isn’t true, but saying forgeworld reduced variety has so far been objectively disproven.

  6. Avatar
    Charles May 1, 2013 10:54 am #

    Heya Reece .

    Ya great point btw, the BAO/ADEPTICON comparison. So really using the original article and what I wrote, and your follow up, my conclusion that I’ve come to is a real simple one.

    NO one can control the WACCYNESS. No amount of comp, or anything.

    Fortunately despite all of this I still want to blow wads of cash on this hobby and, and start to attend tourneys out there like the BAO, 11th company’s tourney in November , which will be my first foray into waccdom. Oh and a side note, my buddy uses forgeworld all the time against me and we’ll I have fun with it, though it is only eldar lol.

    Oh and a side note ill be in San Francisco this July thinking about swinging in for some gaming..whadda ya say.


    • Reecius
      Reecius May 2, 2013 10:33 am #

      Hell yeah dude, come on by! We love having new folks at our shop. It’s really small, but a lot of fun. If you bring your army we could do a video battle report, too. It’s always fun to have fresh blood in the bat reps!

      I think you will find that at tournaments people are a lot nicer than you imagine. People tend to know the rules really well and games are actually pretty damn fun. There are occasionally d-bags, but it is not the norm at all. Good luck and say hi to the 11th company guys for us, please!

      And yeah, like you said, you can’t control what people bring unless you write their list for them. Power gamers will bring the strongest list within the limit of the rules they can. That is their nature. Using comp doesn’t alter their nature.

  7. Avatar
    Tony May 1, 2013 11:45 am #

    There’s a reason that NO other organized game uses comp, for anything except POSSIBLY side-prizes (favorite player awards, etc) and never for determining actual winners.

    It rewards passive-aggressiveness. It actively discourages an environment of respect for the other person as a fellow competitor. Did they play, utilizing an aggressive list designed to win? Clearly, he was abusing rules loopholes! Bad Comp! Clearly, he was playing an unfluffy list designed to win, because his Tactical Squads had X weapon loadout! Etc.

    Comp is an artifact of bad times, before ‘rational’ game design became the norm. Sort of like how some people play deliberately unbalanced historical games. But come on, we’re adults here. Weird, subjective, passive-aggressive back-stabbing should not be involved in competitive gaming.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 2, 2013 1:02 pm #

      I agree 100%. The fact that most comp scores are secret too? It just exacerbates the issues you raise.

    • Avatar
      winterman May 3, 2013 12:45 pm #

      Salary cap is comp…

  8. Avatar
    Lyokos May 1, 2013 11:51 am #

    I like the way u touched on ego and true self here. But most of all I liked checking bols after reading this here and how everyone missed the point and went into list buiod arguments!

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 2, 2013 10:23 am #

      Hahaha, isn’t it funny? I set the trap and they jump into it every single time! It is a bit petty on my part I suppose to kick the hornet’s nest over at BoLS from time to time, but they are an awesome group of guys that run it and for some reason they get such crummy comments on their articles that really make it a toxic place to hang out at times. It amuses me to antagonize them on occasion! haha

  9. Avatar
    Brian May 1, 2013 3:30 pm #

    At one point I though like you Reecius. But than I left the US for a few years and played all across Europe. One of the things I discovered after preaching against comp was that I actually liked it. I am not a huge fan of limiting units ( which most tourneys usually restricted to 2 of everything except troops) but even after a while I found it not to be that bad. As you mentioned in your article you learn to adept and so do your tactics. The comp system that I saw played across much of France and many places in Germany tended to rate your list prior to the tourney. Usually went along the lines of giving a player a 5 (rockhard list) or down to a 3 or lower( “friendly list”). These numbers gave you points. Typically if you got a 3 than you had enough point that equated to a minor win. First rounds saw 5s playing 5s and so forth on the way down. Rarely did a 3 ever match up with a 5 and to be honest most of the times the rock hard list did win. But you had a chance if you were a 3 to pull off an overall win. It took some luck. This comp score replaced sportsmanship by the way. I cannot think of ever running across a sportsmanship score. The other thing I like was that all list were sent in at least a month in advance. Sounds crazy right? But it worked well. Majority of tournaments worked on this site and you were ranked. It was kind of cool to see who was coming to tourneys ahead of time and what armies they were “playing” (i put this in quotes because it did change at times). Did this stop people from taking the rockhard armies? No but it made it an interesting challenge going into a tournament knowing you were a few points down at the start and you would have to play the really competitive list right at the start instead of beating down some baby seal. For the truly talented competitive gamers they did not care because they knew they were up for the challenge. The same can be said for the “fluffy” guy. I had a good friend who all last edition kept pulling out his necrons and while he never won a tourney he at least was in the running for placing all the time. Usually until he ran into a rockhard list at the end 🙂

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 2, 2013 1:04 pm #

      Thanks for adding your thoughts, Brian.

      The article above was using a lot of hyperbole. I believe there is a place for comped events for sure, and they can actually be quite fun when everyone is in the spirit of them. Like you said, it really helps to change things up!

      It’s just the tribalism that can come along with comp vs. no comp that annoys me.

      Like I always say, if you and your group are having fun playing the game a certain way, then I am happy for you! We don’t expect to impose our gaming values on others, I just like to write provocative articles that (hopefully) stimulate good conversation.

  10. Avatar
    Rob the nob May 1, 2013 4:49 pm #

    In major tournaments comp is a bad idea you want to play the best people with their best army’s cheesy or not it is a tournament. You don’t see sports teams not playing their best players in the playoffs to make it fun for the other team. Yea a players attitude can affect the mood of a event. But that comes with the territory we play a game with plastic toys that we lovingly put together paint and spend a lot of time with and the others in our community due the same you just got to grow thick skin and get over it. Just rember there are people in our community that their lives suck and all they do to make themselves feel better in life is to be a bad winner and attempt make others feel like crap while losing but there is a time and place to solve those arguments. It is just a game with plastic men and will have absolutely no affect on the world as we know it.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 2, 2013 1:13 pm #

      Well said.You never know what causes a person to act like a douche wad, and it could be because they are going through a rough patch in their lives.

      And like you said, a tournament is a contest of skill. You want the best competition which means the other person’s best list.

      That is not to say you can’t do it any other way at all.

  11. Avatar
    Egge May 2, 2013 8:00 am #

    A great read! I’m going over to Bols for some trolling when answering others comments but though to give my true opinion here.

    I go with the rule: “The TO is always right”. I might not agree but the TO is always right for his/her tournament. If they hold a tournament claiming that their comp/non comp system is the true and best way to play 40k – they are right! For that specific tournament. I really hate it when people say stuff like “That is not how 40k is supposed to be played” or “That is not true 40k”. The truth is, 40k is not a tournament game. It is designed to sell models and to be mostly a chill-out game. The second you are putting 40k in a tournament setting it is not really “40k” anymore. According to the designers, at least.

    But I think that an TO can say what true 40k is. For a specific tournament. Then the players can decide if it is true enough to their liking.

    There are some “facts” I hate about comp however:

    1. “Comp is bad”. People tend to remember the bad stuff about comp if they are negative about it and the positive things about if they like it. I have played under some really crappy comp-systems but I remember tournaments where Space marines players used their vanguards assault squads to assault the Tyranid Lictors and small unit of warriors in an epic fight in a tournament finale. I found that finale much more entertaining than the Necron flyer list Vs Grey knights with IG allies. All comp systems are not bad. The points in the codexes are in fact a comp system. Placing terrain can be used to shift balance and is also, in a way, comp. Same thing can be said when using different missions and amount of Kill points, for instance. Comp is very different to each person and are used in so many formats that saying that “comp is bad” is really really wrong except for only one person.

    2. The game doesn’t need comp. The statement is true enough, actually. The game can be played without any external balancing factors. But the second an TO decided for comp then that tournament need comp. Many times the option is that an TO will not hold an tournament. I always prefer to have an tournament than non at all. Even if I disagree with the rules included. So I think this statement is on the same level as “The game doesn’t need players”.

    3. The game is balanced. Ha! That’s a funny one. We all know it it not balanced. This doesn’t mean that comp makes it more balanced, though.

    4. Comp forces me to use units I don’t like. This is also right. For one individual. There is also a lot of people who need to buy an necron army to have an competitive army but that is “beside the point” and “fair” for some reason. I hate necrons, and Grey knights. But if I want to win a tournament I have two choices, buy a new army with units I don’t like or play in a comped event.

    5. Comped events are not competitive. Wrong. This can only be true if people stopped trying to win if playing in an comped tournament.

    6. Comp doesn’t give variation. Of course it does! As long as you don’t have a vast majority of comped event around you a comped tournament is different from a non-comped tournament. That’s variation right there! Also many people use different set ups in their army when playing an comped event. I use more lictors and raveners in an comped event but not in a non-comped event. I think most people are like this – they will want to use the most overall effective units that gives them the greatest chance to win. If that unit is not 200 flyers then they are not going to use 200 flyers. So you get variation in choice of units and type of tournament. I have, however noticed that the same races generally wins. I think this is because the best players just use their typical race and then vary the units inside.

    All in all I prefer variation. If I have played a lot in comped tournaments then I prefer non-comp. If I have played in a lot of non-comped events I long to take out my favorite units instead of the doom of malantai. As long as a system is clear in what the organizer will do so that players can act accordingly then I see no problem in any system. In my opinion, comp is a good way for an TO to encourage the type of armies he thinks the game should be about. And as long as he takes the time to organize an event – then I’m go for that!

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 2, 2013 1:17 pm #

      Some very good points! I agree with pretty much everything you said.

      The TO’s word is law at their tournament. So true. If someone takes the time to fund, plan, and run an event, they get to call the shots. So long as they are transparent and post the rules ahead of time, it’s fair game.

      And comp events can be super competitive. Comp doesn’t “fix” the game, as you pointed out, it just changes it.

      Nice comment, lots of good stuff to think about there.

  12. Avatar
    Mercutioh May 2, 2013 11:24 am #

    I have opinions!!! AND ANGRY CAPSLOCKS! WITH MULTIPLE TPYOS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS TO SHOW I IS RITE!!!!!!!!!!! Wait is that supposed to go over to BoLS?

    I can say my tournament experience is EXTREMELY limited(read I just played in my first Tourney two weeks ago). But Comp has had an effect on my 40k experience from the earliest beginnings. In the Sacramento area competitive 40k begins and ends with a certain store. 3 years ago when I started to play the game with my Neighbor. Who was also just starting. He inferred a lot of what was kosher with the game of 40k to the tourney scene at said store. At the time there were some HARSH comp standards in place going so far as to say “Named characters are never allowed because they are over powered.” This shadow of comp ruled my early days learning the game as I consistently forced myself to use unnamed Chaos lords to run my war band when Secretly I wanted that REALLY cool looking Fabius Bile dude to run my Teenage Mutant Ninja Space Marines. (shaddup tactical players telling me he sucks I know that now!) Needless to say I broke down and finally bought him so I could have my Steroid Cannibal army running the table eating each other along the way. I found out I had missed SO much of the game as had my opponent. I missed out on cool rules like Abbadon and Drach’nyen. Or Typhus letting a Plague Fart. All these cool FLUFFY things had been stolen from me because someone felt it necessary to dictate what 40k SHOULD be.

    All Tournament organizers do this whether it’s deemed comp or not, BAO is even guilty by varying mission type structures and allowing Forgeworld.In some cases this is acceptible and even necessary. Where it becomes an issue is when you the tournament organizer tell me the player/purchaser of goods, which one of my toys(that are legit parts of the game, sorry forgeworld fans) I can’t play with. Because at the end of the day that’s what it all boils down to. IF you want your friends to continue come over don’t make Bull shit rules telling them what they can’t do. Just like Mom said.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 2, 2013 1:21 pm #

      Great comment!

      Yeah, I was waiting for someone to call us out on what we do with the BAO! ANY change to the game, any change at all, is a form of comp as it subtly shifts power.

      And yeah, limiting special characters, etc. is a legitimate choice to make but that is SO limiting. That literally makes it impossible to run some types of armies. Deathwing? Gone. Ravenwing? Gone. Inquisition Army? Gone.

      The thing with comp is that it can quickly get out of hand. It turns into a type of witch hunt where everything that gets branded “cheese” gets cut out of the game. But who determines what is cheese? What kind of game are you left with?

      After lots of practice and lots of trial and error, we have found leaving the game alone as much as possible has been the best strategy for us.

      • Avatar
        Mercutioh May 3, 2013 10:51 am #

        Comp in the form of additions is more fun to me than takeaways. Positives always win over negatives. So the BAO comment wasn’t truly a call out, just a point of order. I’m building up to play in my first BAO next year. (or maybe Vegas, I haven’t decided yet. Though if it’s Valentines day that’s a hard freaking sell my friend) I’m even ramping up my practice by Bribing Reece with food,errr Scheduling a game with Reece, to see how far behind the curve I am. I’m glad that as a major TO you realize how much influence decisions like these make beyond the scope of what you’re trying to do.
        Even the garage players like me pay attention to how the game is being played on a major tourney level so we can play 40k the “right” way. Every version of Comp is a statement of such.
        I may even end up being the impetus of some comp if the Drakes wreak havoc like they did the last tourney I went to.

        • Reecius
          Reecius May 7, 2013 12:21 pm #

          No worries, I was hoping someone would call us on that as it is a good point of discussion.

  13. Avatar
    Vybert May 2, 2013 8:25 pm #

    Durn Libertarians with their FACTs and common sense. /grumblegrumblegrumble 🙂

    • Avatar
      Vybert May 2, 2013 9:32 pm #

      hmm, would appear I “submit comment” before intended. The rest of the comment follows….

      Speaking on the point of TOs comping lists or modifying what can play;

      Well written and enjoyable article. I really like the connection to the Dark Side and the “Big Brother” style imposition of will. In my experience with comp, one of the biggest examples of tends to flow from an individual’s own ego is the way in which the cheesy and broken units in need of fixing are always in the “other” armies. Very rarely do people see a need to fix their own. You Tervigon example demonstrates this perfectly.

      This can be a real problem when a TO attempts to comp a list, or create a system of restrictions for their event. Too often, biases from their own experience, their regional or game group experiences, rules interpretations, and internet wisdom combine to create an imbalanced system which is supposed to replace the imbalanced system which exists in the meta of the day. It takes a group of TOs with a true depth of understanding of the game at the synthesis and evaluation level (to steal from Bloom) to be able to make changes like that. Even then, is it needed.

      One thing about your article, though, is that it does appear to be written from the standpoint of, “Comp is bad, mmmkay”. Interestingly enough, I think an argument could be made that you guys are modifying the system and what can be played to fit your world view by allowing Forge World. The arguments I heard from FLG before BAO did include mention of how FW models dealt with the flyer imbalance. What is this other than changing the basic world we play in because it fits your comp view. This quote from Raw Doggers thread,
      “Therefore, at least so far, FW seems to have achieved our goal of balancing things out a bit and to increase variety!”
      shows that you guys are playing Big Brother. GASP! It’s like when Luke sees his bionic hand and realizes he’s becoming his fater. 😉 Now, I don’t say that to be adversarial, but trying to throw a little intellectual honesty and courage into the discussion. Perhaps their is a way to make MINOR modifications, minor comp, and improve the game we play when we play it competitively? There are some items that ARE broken. Maybe just a nip and tuck here? Or is that even possible? Maybe once you start down that road its too easy to go too far? Or maybe with the changing meta its just chasing the dragon.

      Now, on other players rating comp on your army;

      That is just failure BECAUSE of the chimpmunking you’ve pointed out and lack of understanding of how the other army works. How often have I had people complain about the Doom before he even hits the table. In my experience he really only lasts more than one turn in half the games and only does damage the first turn he’s down in half the games. Good players know what to expect, but we don’t always ask emotionally intelligent good players to rate our lists…. At Broadside out of six points points for “army” (sportsmanship rated separately) I averaged four and a half. It puzzles me what I could have done differently to make those folks who gave me a 3 or 4 to score me higher. Nids have only one competitive core right now. Not a lot of flexibility. Nids also are an army a lot of mid level players don’t face a lot or understand. How can you ask these folks to rate if your army was “balanced”, “fluffy”, or “win at all costs”. For crying out loud, Dougs “hobby killer” army scored higher in opponent comp than I did and he brought all the cool toys (still love you though, man). Asking opponents to comp you asks too much of people who may have lack of experience, preponderance of bias, or be emotionally hijacked after a loss.

      • Reecius
        Reecius May 7, 2013 12:20 pm #

        You make some excellent points.

        Allowing players to influence their opponent’s score in a competitive setting is inviting disaster. It’s like saying a Football team can penalize another team for using their best players, it doesn’t make sense.

        And I did very much write this article with a biased opinion. I did that on purpose though, it was meant to be a bit over the top.

        And very good point, one which I was waiting for some one to call us on! By changing anything in the game at all, you are imposing a form of comp. Unless you play exactly as the book outlines (which doesn’t work so well for tournaments) you are inadvertently imposing comp on the game.

  14. Avatar
    winterman May 3, 2013 12:50 pm #

    I wouldn’t want every tournament to have comp, but there’s some merit to the idea that many comp systems encourage list builds and ideas that you wouldn’t really see in a non-comp tourny. What I’ve disagreed with is that comp can some how make the event more balanced (which is the opinion of many TOs who have comp). I think every comp system can be broken, just like the non-comped system can and is broken.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 7, 2013 12:22 pm #

      I agree that comp tournaments have a place and that they are good fun when you play in the spirit of the event! I just don’t like them in a competitive format.

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