GW Grognard: Chipmunking

Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to stuff your head with stuff I know!

I’ve been playing in tournaments since late 2nd edition and really hit my stride when 3rd edition started. I played in all of the Los Angeles Grand Tournaments and a couple in other cities. With the recent happenings at the Las Vegas Open champs, people have been talking about bringing back the sportsmanship score that Games Workshop used to use (and some old tournaments, like Broadside Bash, still use).

All this will do is bring back the “chipmunking” that used to happen during events. “Chimpmunking” was when a player would give their opponent a low score, either in sportsmanship or army composition, because they either lost the game, or to help their clubmate. There are plenty of examples of collusion ruining people’s fun at tournaments. And since you asked, I have plenty of examples.

There used to be a group of good fantasy players that would win a lot of events that they attended. They were also excellent painters so they had the hobby side covered. To fix their sportsmanship, they would give anyone they played against, win or lose, the lowest sportsmanship score possible. This would ensure that, as one of their players progressed, they would outscore everyone on the sportsmanship portion of the tournament.

There was a local player, in order to cancel out the effects of  people scoring sportsmanship honestly, convinced many of the area’s players to score their opponent’s at the max level (BEST GAME EVER!!!!!!) . This caused the sportsmanship scoring to be worthless and caused the people that actually did score their opponent’s accordingly to be viewed as a blight on the community.

After games there would be some tension between certain players due to them being able to figure out who gave them the low sportsmanship score (The individual scores were kept secret, you were only shown your overall score). This caused some undue tension after a tournament, or the next time theses players met. It even can cause uncomfortable car rides back from a tournament in San Diego (that’s a story to tell in person).

So what do we do? I honestly don’t know. People have been bandying about various ideas. Some seemed to have merit, while others seem to remind me of those bygone days. To be honest, I haven’t seen a real need to go back to the days of “chimpmunking”. I actually hope something happens. I think there are plenty of organizers that can come up with something. Hey, you can even throw some suggestions down in the comments section on how I can improve my sportsmanship score(I’ve only won the award once in 18+ years I’ve been playing.  Just don’t suggest I actually be nice.

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About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is judges for LVO and head judges other major 40K Grand Tournaments.

16 Responses to “GW Grognard: Chipmunking”

  1. AngryPanda March 17, 2018 4:31 am #

    I remember that mess. Sportsmanship is entirely subjective. This even goes so far that people feel unfairly treated depending on how the opponent’s army builds functions, even if both ways are equally effective.
    And the moment clubs/groups of friends come into play the whole thing turns into an absolute mess.

    • Adam March 17, 2018 10:28 am #

      Yup, then once GW did the ‘Ard Boyz tournaments, that was all gone (along with paint requirement). I don’t think GW should have gone that far but they were already on the way out of the tournament scene by that point

  2. SeaPainter March 17, 2018 5:07 am #

    Scoring people on “Sportsmanship” is one of those things that sounds good, in theory, but would be far too subjective to add value.

    In order to score it fairly, we would need to define the concept in a clear, objective & quantifiable way.

    I think that if players earned the points from TO’s/judges for performing certain pre-defined sportsmanlike actions, over the course of the tournament, it would better achieve the desired result… but that would wind up putting an extra burden on those individuals.

  3. AbusePuppy March 17, 2018 7:55 am #

    I feel that part of the problem is not just chipmunking (which absolutely happens, but is generally less common than people assume) and more mismatched perceptions of what an “average” sportsmanship score should be. Basically, when an explicit scoring guide is not provided (and many times even when it is), different players will have very different ideas about what kind of scores they should be giving out. Some players rank every one of their opponents a 10/10 unless something went wrong during the game- others might consider that same game a 5/10 (even if they enjoyed it just as much.)

    When sportsmanship scores are wholly arbitrary and left to the discretion of the player, you see a very broad range of scores for different kinds of people- and that is problematic when you’re trying to make honest assessments and give out awards for that sort of thing. You can see similar effects in online fora where people can rate threads/comments or in product reviews; one person’s three might be someone else’s seven.

    • Adam March 17, 2018 10:30 am #

      I actually like the FLG format of “Dpn’t be a dick” Its just need a bit more refinement and definition, along with the possibility of actual sanctions for acting like a dick.

      • AbusePuppy March 17, 2018 6:45 pm #

        The version that I’ve seen that I think works best is a straight thumbs up/thumbs down system; thumbs up is the default for “the game wasn’t horrible,” with thumbs down requiring a specific explanation for why you’re scoring them that way. If a player gets enough thumbs down (typically more than 1/3, but you can adjust that for different tournament lengths), that’s when you start looking at penalties.

  4. Rob Butcher March 17, 2018 2:02 pm #

    Hmmm …. GW still used that approach for the W40K GT Heats 1-3 (2017/8) and it has been discussed live on warhammer TV.

    And it’s preferable to chess clocks.

    • AbusePuppy March 17, 2018 6:46 pm #

      It’s not really an alternative to them- they are solutions to two different problems.

      • Rob Butcher March 18, 2018 11:56 am #

        not really poor sportsmanship and poor time-keeping are often found in the same person (or did you miss the LVO ?)

  5. Davis Centis March 17, 2018 6:40 pm #

    The way we handled Sportsmanship, which I liked, was that each player had to rate their games, from favourite to least favourite. In a three-game tourney, that means you’d rate one player best, one player medium, and one player lowest, regardless if they were a nice person or not. If you were rated “best” by all three of your opponents, you probably won best sportsmanship, and probably deserved it too!

    Not a perfect system, but it was very good at preventing “gaming” the system.

    • Duz_ March 17, 2018 6:57 pm #

      I like that idea, will actually provide some differentiation between player scores.
      Would be interested in attending an event to see how it works.

      Biggest issue would be making sure players remember to fill it out and remember the names of who they played

      I do like the thumbs up or down system for 3-5 various questions. Still subjective but the whole notion of sportsmanship is.

    • Casey H. March 18, 2018 12:01 am #


      I’ve experienced it a few times before.

      In a 3 game RTT, a Top Opponent, Medium Guy, and Least liked Game score works.

      For a GT, it’d be that each opponent gets one of the following scores:
      6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The ‘1’ doesn’t necessarily mean a douche, but it gives incentive to make each game as enjoyable as possible for each player.

      I’d like to see *some* aspect of sportsmanship return.

      (and thus, will talk to my local TO about it).

  6. StayHandsome March 17, 2018 7:54 pm #

    Just change the wording on the sportsmanship scoring so that a max score of 10/10 is very clear. Instead of, for example, “my opponent was pleasant to play against” make it “my opponent was the very epitome of sporting behavior”. Then it’s clear that a 10 is someone who was above and beyond expectations, the average player should be 5-7, and a Reeshus would be 1 or 2

    • Rob Butcher March 18, 2018 11:57 am #

      Why a score out of ten? This isn’t school.

      In the UK GW events, you simply select the two most sporting opponents and two best armies you faced in the five games you played.

  7. Sam Valdez March 19, 2018 10:38 pm #

    Glad others remember the days of chipmunking as well.

  8. Codi March 20, 2018 9:50 am #

    I like some form of “Favorite Opponent” or ranking Favorite to Least Favorite opponent. Anything else is too easy to abuse.

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