Chapter Tactics #22: Clock Management and Slow Playing

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Today PeteyPab brings on the winner of the 2017 Las Vegas Open Brett Perkins to talk about his winning LVO run and also help people tackle one of the biggest issues in competitive 40k today. Games not finishing on time. 

QOTD: What do you guys do about slow play, or games not coming to a natural conclusion?

If you want to follow along with all of the sponsored events I mentioned click here for the Best Coast Pairings app to download it on your mobile device and view the army lists for that event.

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About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

21 Responses to “Chapter Tactics #22: Clock Management and Slow Playing”

  1. Michael Corr
    Michael Corr March 5, 2017 8:23 am
    #

    Nice episode, really enjoyed it.

    I know that nobody wants to play a losing game or being forced to play a game, but if I had spent the time and money going to the LVO for my opponent to concede a game before playing a single turn, I think I would be pretty annoyed.

    • Peteypab March 5, 2017 9:47 am
      #

      Yeah, that was rough. I never mind though. My opponent conceding a game is less mental and physical energy I use up. Also, I would have time to run out and grab a snack!

  2. Vercingatorix March 5, 2017 12:19 pm
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    Oh man, that kid in the background. Getting to me.

    • Peteypab March 5, 2017 12:45 pm
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      Yeah, I heard his kids were just really big fans of mine and were dissapointed that they couldn’t be guests on my show. That level of devotion really gets to me too.

      • Jural March 5, 2017 3:51 pm
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        Be careful- if you get anymore fans a Kardashian is going to try and date you

  3. Rawrison March 5, 2017 5:51 pm
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    I’m sorry, Daddy Pablo
    My list is on the app now
    I guess it wasn’t before

  4. Mike March 6, 2017 6:22 am
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    OK so first, good podcast. It was a good listen at work. I’m not one of the usual listeners, but the discussion material pulled me in. Be prepared for this, as this is a summation of most of my arguments on the issue that have evolved over many many discussions on it over the past couple years.

    So, starting right into that, I have to disagree with the notion that the rash of unfinished games in the past two years has anything to do with the players, and that it is somehow not relevant to increasing amount of rules and models on the table. (Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that no game has ever had or will ever have a slow player, I’m saying that the upswing of unfinished games in recent times is not largely because of them. They existed before the issue became a pandemic, and they will after a solution is enacted.)

    First, as a question counterpoint, if it was the players, then why is this problem only surfacing in recent times? Why was finishing games not an issue over two years ago, in 6th and the start of 7th? A large portion of the tourney crowd are not new players. They are the same players who have been showing up for years now. Do the people saying the players are the primary cause of this issue actually believe that many of these old players just spontaneously started playing slower? And further than that, if it was the players as the primary cause, why did the renegade open GT’s solution of lowering points improve the rate of finished games so drastically?

    In the face of the renegade statistics, it is very hard to argue against points being a significant factor. They also had more participants than the year before, showing that the point drop was not a deal breaker for attendees.

    Second, while I agree with you on some of the methods the players can use to expedite their games, I disagree that those methods should even have to be used. The time limit should not be set so restrictively (compared to the amount of points) that I actually need to waive minor rules disputes for fear of running out of time. There should be, ideally, plenty of time to resolve any rules interactions and still finish a game on time. After all, a single scout marine at a questionable 2″ attack range causing an extra wound could cause a failed morale check, a sweeping advance, a warlord kill, a unit kill maelstrom point, and a consolidation onto a suddenly clear objective. To me, telling players to forfeit their possibility of low odds events just to save time is a very clear sign that the time limit is too restrictive. Every player should have time to take every legal game action they can to win, and not run into the situation where the time limit is what is stopping them.

    Third, as for solutions: I will absolutely never support the hard punishment for not making it to an arbitrary point in the game. Some armies have certain sections of the game where they take a larger amount of time than they do in other sections. As an example, drop pod spam takes no deployment time, but has an absolutely massive first and second turn as their entire army effectively deploys during those turns. They and similar armies tend to peter out so that, assuming they don’t run into the time limit before turn four, their fifth sixth and seventh turns would take mere minutes apiece. Deciding arbitrarily that the game is sufficiently resolved after say, turn four, for example, is not the one size fits all solution that it would seem to be. And punishing that pod player for not making it past four when that is actually 95% of his game done is also a sweeping decision that affects people unequally.

    Additionally, and this is probably the most important point against this action, is that new players hoping to get into the competitive scene are easily intimidated away. Many of them already cite TFG behavior and cheesy “unfun” lists as reasons that they refuse to attend events. We do not need to give them more reason not to show up by insisting that they play at breakneck speed, forfeiting possibilities as above or waiving their right to doublecheck their opponent’s rules, lest they face bans or similar injunctions.

    Any TO reading this already knows, but for the rest of the readers’ benefit, the “newbie” showing up to the event is our life blood. We absolutely must have them there, and they must have a good time. If not we will not have that event down the road. Eventually our Robinsons, Naydens, and Perkins’ will retire (for real this time,) and if newer players have not been showing up and graduating to regulars due to their enjoyment of the event, the event will be done. It is beyond paramount that any barrier to new players is removed or mitigated as much as possible. If you want an event where only the “experts” are allowed and must play by hardcore rules such as straight up DQ’s for time issues, do it in an invitational, not an open event. When you label an event “open,” you are saying that anyone is allowed to try their hand at the competition. Following that up with DQ’s that essentially target newer and slower players is, to put it as nicely as I can, two-faced, and absolutely not acceptable.

    There are also plenty of people who believe that just telling everyone to speed up is going to work. I’m not trying to be rude here or anything, but have you ever gone to the side of the road and shouted for people to “drive better?” Did it work? I’m gonna assume not.

    Additionally, all this talk and tips about getting your game to finish might be nice, but it won’t reach many 40k players. I know it might seem unfathomable, but some people show up to open GT’s without reading every FLG article, without listening to every podcast, and without watching every twitch-streamed event.
    To put it in another analogy, it would be like if there was a tar pit on one of the lanes of your local highway. Trying to spread the word about it only goes so far. For as long as people drive on that road, you are going to have people that didn’t get the memo driving right into that pit. The only real solution that puts a stop to it is for the administration to construct a road around.

    To sum up, I don’t mind staying at 1850 points, as long as the time limit is adequate for it. There should be enough time that two players, playing slow armies, should have time for a bathroom break each, a judge call, and a few minor rules look ups, while still finishing the game naturally. We are currently trying to cram too much content into too little time. We either need less content or more time, and adding time has a lot of practical issues to it, such as fitting in enough game rounds in a weekend (I like 40k, but damn son, three 3+ hour games per day is asking a LOT,) or getting venues to let you even be there that long.

    With that, point lowering is the only solution that remains viable to me, and the majority of players will never agree on…well anything, so it falls to the TO’s to make the smart informed choice for them. Taking votes about it from players around the world is silly. I know some of the players that vote, and I wouldn’t trust them to decide on dinner, much less game design. They also aren’t the ones attending these large events. If the TO’s won’t move without majority approval, then they need to get it from the attendees, not Jim and Dan who have played one ITC event at their local store and consider themselves experts.

    That about does it. I would love to hear your opinion on these points Petey.

    • Petey Pab
      Petey Pab March 6, 2017 7:48 am
      #

      I agree, TOs should switch to 1650 points. What you have to understand is our target audience is people who are stuck playing in 1850 points who want to finish their games.

      I also think giving players losses is heavy handed and doesn’t work in larger events.

      Enough people listen to this podcast to make it worth it.

      • Petey Pab
        Petey Pab March 6, 2017 7:53 am
        #

        Institutionally the ITC did try to change the points level. I understand your frustration with the voting system but I’m not going to undermine the ITC process on my podcast, and I understand the necessity of having a vote the community votes on.

        Also, lol at the “Drive Better!” analogy. We still go through all this trouble to teach new drivers how to drive properly though.

  5. Zero-charisma March 6, 2017 10:30 am
    #

    I was listening to a Scottish competitive podcast that said they handle it by noting on each game whether it came to a natural conclusion or not and if it didn’t it gets tagged as a “slow game”. At the end of the tournament you had a tally of how many slow games you had and I’m not sure what the penalty was but basically if you played against someone at the end who had less slow games than you then it counted against you somehow. It takes away the incentive for people to lie i think…

    • Mike March 6, 2017 10:51 am
      #

      That sounds to me like another non-solution that attacks the symptoms of the disease rather than actually trying to cure the disease. I just can’t understand the logic behind using these systems where the players are actively punished for the game being too big for the time limit, rather than just fixing the points to time ratio.

      Also from your details that sounds exactly like the kind of system that encourages the players to “cooperatively lie” and claim their game finished naturally.

      • Zero-charisma March 6, 2017 1:57 pm
        #

        Why would you lie if you know that your opponent is getting marked as a slow play, and if he keeps doing it throughout the tournament he’s going to build up more marks and then if you face him in the end and you haven’t been slow playing each time then you’ll have an advantage over him

        • Mike March 6, 2017 5:31 pm
          #

          But you already played him. I don’t know about your area, but every event I’ve ever gone to has used Swiss style pairings, which means you can’t play the same person twice.

          And even if you could in some kind of bizarre circumstance, you’d be better off not having a slow play mark on yourself, so it is mutually beneficial to agree that “the game finished” in that situation.

          Again, trying to punish players for the game being too big to fit in the time limit is a terrible idea. You might as well be punishing them for getting wet on a rainy day or slipping on some ice. Most of them don’t want to do it in the first place, so instilling a punishment is just dumb.

          • Zero-charisma March 7, 2017 6:51 pm
            #

            I think I maybe not explaining it right, because you’re not looking at playing them a second time you’re looking at the end of the tournament to see how many marks of slow games do they have.

          • Mike March 9, 2017 11:01 am
            #

            But you would also have one, and you aren’t competing against just that guy for ranking, which means all the other players now have a step up over both him and you, which is not favorable for you. It would be more in your favor (and his) to just convince him to say that you finished so that neither of you gets marked.

            Unless you somehow convince the judge that he was solely responsible for the slow play, and get only him marked for it, it’s better to just lie.

            Think of it as a big multiplayer 40k game. Attacking a single other player and forcing him to respond to you in kind makes it very likely that, even if you finish him, you will be next to go, as the other forces sat back unharmed, and you put yourself in a vulnerable position with some damage.

  6. GTA March 7, 2017 9:49 am
    #

    Hey Pablo,

    First off I really like your podcasts but.

    I wanted to ask why you even suggested the thought of “shunning a player” or “ringing your bell of shame” for people who don’t upload their lists to the best coast pairings app. I know it was all jokes but you may or may not know it but you may be creating a culture of people that verbally attack other players at the start of their games who don’t upload their list into the app at the table.

    I know you suggested cheating as a reason why people wouldn’t upload their list and combating illegal lists. But have you considered the social aspect you lose when people upload their lists. I honestly like to explain to people how my list works after I hand over my list and engage in the social aspect of the list instead of having them look on a app for my list. This allows me to either ask additional questions on their knowledge level on my list or just be able to learn things about the other person which makes the game more comfortable and enjoyable. Trust me I really appreciate the aspect of being able to see a list after a tournament or even upload it beforehand as much as the next person. But during the tournament I don’t want my opponent to call over the TO at the beginning or the end of the round because they heard from your podcast that since I didn’t upload my list that it could be illegal and they need to combat it.

    I know Frontline strongly supports BCP, and I do as well but next time think about the fact that saying “shunning a player” or “ringing your bell of shame” might go farther than your podcast and might end up affecting a actually tournament game negatively.

    • Peteypab March 7, 2017 10:47 pm
      #

      I understand the sentiment, but I just don’t agree with some of it. It was all in good fun, and I certainly will be careful with how I say things in the future. I certainly wasn’t trying to insinuate that anyone who doesn’t submit their lists is a cheater.

      Now having said that, the social aspect will be fine. We want more events to make BCP list submission mandatory because it makes it easier for everyone.

    • Peteypab March 7, 2017 10:51 pm
      #

      Also, if players start to attack each other verbally about things, I think it would happen for things like slow playing, poor sportsmanship, terrible conversions, and flat out cheating before we even get into the realm of not submitting your list on the BCP app.

      Though, I understand my position as a podcaster, and I will try to be more aware of how I say things. To be fair, in the last episode I asked people not to attack each other about the FAQ

  7. Patrick M March 7, 2017 11:30 am
    #

    Could we get a Chapter Tactics on Fortifications such as Void Shield Generator, Imperial Bunker and Skyshield Landing Pad. Curious on how do you assault units on top of these fortifications. Example a fully loaded Skyshield with no room to place models how would you assault them if you can not get to base to base contact.

    • Mike March 7, 2017 4:24 pm
      #

      Both ITC and GW FAQ’s answer this the same way: if you roll the distance needed to get to them, you get to them, and just wobbly model syndrome for placement.

    • Peteypab March 7, 2017 10:42 pm
      #

      What Mike said