Howdy fellow nerds, Mr.MoreTanks here with an article that sprang to my mind while I’ve been frantically preparing myself for the Las Vegas Open!
I’m very excited to get in there and roll dice with all the big boys despite my poor showing at events this year. Over the past two years I’ve been extremely lucky to have traveled all over the country getting to play in more and more tournaments; and in these travels, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons that I hope to pass along to you. Take them as you will, simple suggestions that I’ve found help me make the most out of every event.
This article isn’t necessarily about how to win an event mind you, though there are a few tips in there that should help to point you into the directions of the upper tables. Without further ado, here’s some ideas, in no particular order from Mr.MoreTanks about how to get the most out of your tournament experience.
- Bring modeling supplies; super glue, insta set, and if you’re feeling very ambitious pinning supplies. The wear and tear of traveling and moving around a venue hall all day will unfortunately cause “casualties.” It’s always preferable to simply throw a model’s arms back on with some super glue as opposed to just having a half built model on the table. Beyond that, no one is more thankful than an opponent who is lacking glue and gets some from their fellow player from across the table.
- Bring a couple extra copies of your army lists. Papers get lost, or misplaced. Having extras is always a good call. Few things are more frustrating for an opponent than not being able to look at an opponent’s army list. It’s not only good etiquette, but its a good way for you to make sure you and your opponent are clear in your understanding of each other’s forces.
- Make sure you introduce yourself to your opponent before any dice roll. This is so easy to forget about, but such an important part of this hobby. We’re all at the event to have an awesome time, and a game is a social interaction; it should be a fun one for both parties. Take a second to ask where your opponent is from, check out their army, find something you like about it, find a bonding point. Never forget that the person across from you is just that, a person. They’ve spent a lot of money like you to be there, they’ve spent hours on their army too, they want the memorable experience you’re craving. Make it for them, be their favorite opponent. Offer to buy them a drink, or bring a bottle of your favorite booze to share with your fellow gamers. The round doesn’t have to just be about the game, its about finding a new friend and having a blast.
- Before dice roll, talk over a couple points with your opponent. What is exactly what terrain wise? Where does the ruin begin and end? What does a cocked dice mean? How do you measure it? Do you reroll a dice that doesn’t land on the FAT mat? Do you count how many Wounds and Hull Points are left or how many they’ve suffered? Things like these may seem obvious to you, and your opponent’s thoughts likely are the same. Now make sure those obvious thoughts are clear to one another.
- Drink water. Seriously, dehydration is a killer out there. Not even taking into account the obvious potential from hangovers, dehydration is a major detrimental factor. Playing with a headache and muscle cramps is awful and distracting to say the least. Eating salty junk foods won’t help too much either. Chug that water, it feels good and will keep you up and alert in your games.
- Have hard copies for all of your units. I know some books are just bullshit expensive, but even having PDFs of them is better then Battlescribe or nothing at all. You have a responsibility to be able to show your opponent everything you’ll be using should they request it, and always be able to back up your claims of rules or wargear with evidence.
- Know the missions, play them beforehand if at all possible. This will help you not only with the mission itself, but put you at ease and make you more relaxed. Stress is good, and can be helpful if it gets the right about of adrenaline going, but too much stress is going to fry you and turn simple choices into hard ones.
- Practice with your army. Know it inside and out, play as many games as possible with it. Understand all of its strengths and weaknesses. If possible, play it against the nastiest lists out there in the most disadvantageous missions. I know I was always keen to try and play the Kill Points missions with my Battle Company, especially against Eldar, to help me know what to do and what not to do.
- Sit down, standing on your feet and leaning over a low table to hours and hours a day is physically draining. If you’re uncomfortable and in pain, you’re not going to be focusing on the game. Then you’ll be making mistakes, and that’s going to cost you.
- Go to bed early. Fuck this option. I hate going to bed. If I’m asleep, that means I’m not hanging out with my friends, or drinking, or gaming, or shooting the breeze. If you want to win though and make the most of your experience, then you need to sleep. Sleeping is critical, but at the LVO, your best bet is simply hoping that your opponent is dealing with a worse hangover than you are. I’ve won some games this way, and lost some this way.
- Get up early. Again, fuck this option. I hate getting up out of bed, ROTC was miserable. Still, it builds character. Getting up earlier than thirty minutes before dice roll is a big part of being successful. Groggy generals are worthless ones. Get up at least an hour before, if not earlier. Eat a little breakfast, walk around a bit, get the blood pumping. This is how you’ll get the most out of yourself and your experience at the event.
- Eat something, preferably something healthier. A cookie and a Monster energy drink is not a lunch or breakfast, your brain burns calories like crazy, give it the tools it needs to succeed. This can be a big part of preventing a hangover too. This though can be very tricky though, especially when traveling at a big event or where time between rounds is a factor.
- Carrying tray, if you can’t bring a display or carrying board with you due to traveling restrictions, there may be some alternatives available. If you don’t mind shelling out some money, you can simply pick up something like a white board or cork board somewhere near the venue. Another alternative is that if the event is in a hotel, you can request a tray from the staff. Something simple that they’d serve water on, more often than not, they’re very happy to accommodate.
- Relax, this is after all just a game. This is by far the hardest piece of advice to follow, especially for myself. I want to win, who doesn’t? After a game I feel I should have won, I get furious with myself, bitter and angry I keep thinking about the last game and I don’t ever quite fully focus on the new game at hand.
- Leave the dice at the table. More metaphorically than physically, this goes hand in hand with the previous point. When you walk away from your last game, let it be. If you’ve won, ride the high but make sure you enjoy your evening with the people you’re with and do something else other than 40k. I can’t shut up about 40k, it usually drives the French Overlord crazy because I already talk too much, let alone about only one subject. He loves getting stuck next to me on an airplane so I can retell my story of my first round at Adepticon. Remember Jeremy? That time? With the Green Tide and the Void Shield? And I had only grav? Of course you do. The point is that if all you’re thinking about is 40k, you won’t be able to take in and enjoy experience beyond just simply rolling dice. And your friends may come to hate you.
There you have it folks, just a couple ideas on how to get the most out of your tournament experience. I really want to emphasis point number 3. This is by far the most important part of a successful event. Hopefully these ideas have some points that have given you some insight and will help you to enjoy your event. What do you think 40k players? What are some other good ideas that I haven’t mentioned? Share with us some of your favorite tournament experiences in the comments below. Get that LVO hype on! See you nerds there!