As Army Men tournaments have become more marketable, professional, and mainstream, even to the point of livestreamed top tables at major events, the community has become painfully aware of some of the failings of our humble sport.
Slow play, rules bending opportunists, and even blatant cheating have all been issues from Day 1, but never as glaring as they are now. There are several reasons for this, but primarily it’s because we, the community, are now able to watch the finals of these events in real time and see everything that happens (how cool is that, right?!). Much like when we watch the Superbowl, every play of the game is right out in the open, fully transparent, for all the world to witness. This is a double edged sword, because while this is incredibly exciting overall, it also exposes some uncomfortable truths.
In the long run, however, this is actually pretty great because the sooner we are forced to recognize the problematic issues, the sooner we can confront them and move on to a stronger position, excising the tumors before they grow inoperable. The most direct and efficient method of dealing with much of this unsavory business is simple: TOs need to grab their striped shirts and be more proactive about policing poor behavior at their events.
Greatest NFL dynasty to date.
Traditionally as TOs, we have always been standoffish at tables, out of simple respect and a lack of precedent for our direct involvement in other people’s games. We tend to allow players to shape and control their own games and experiences without our interference, because as players we also want to be afforded that same level of courtesy. And this works exceptionally well within a casual context. However, the paradigm shifts when we step into the role of Tournament Organizer and are expected to establish order within the context of our own events. At this point, we have essentially assumed the roles of police or referees, rather than simply being another casual observer, and it is unfair and unjust for everyone involved if we neglect those self-imposed responsibilities. How do you think it would feel to have a cop simply raise his eyebrows and compliment your burglarized home instead of taking a report and trying to find your things?
How maddening was it for you to watch a player at LVO 2018 take 45 minutes of a 2.5 hour round to deploy a handful of units with no one stepping in to say something? Having been in similar situations – as have many of us – it drove me crazy. This is the point where a TO should be stepping in to give a warning or a penalty to the offending player. Regardless of intent (i.e. simple ineptitude or deliberate strategy), the result is a major disruption of the game, which must have consequences. Otherwise, we lose order and without order we have chaos, which is simply not conducive to organized anything.
Naughtiness isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Of course, this isn’t to say that there should be a TO watching every table of every round, but certainly it’s logistically viable to have one positioned at each of the finals tables, especially at important events, where so much is on the line.
As we have previously discussed, the gentleman’s agreement just isn’t viable at the competitive level of play. We simply cannot rely on players to be unbiased enough to act in the best interest of both themselves and their opponents, especially when the stakes are raised exponentially. Perhaps the only thing we can rely upon in such a context is the inherent self-interest of human nature.
Presented without comment.
While it’s a fine and practical working concept for pick up games and the like, in any sort of organized sports, we wouldn’t allow the players and team coaches to adjudicate the game themselves for the same reasons. So, why should 40k players be held to a different standard? Human nature is the same, no matter which people are involved and to purport the notion that 40k players are somehow inherently more virtuous than professional athletes or anyone else, for that matter, is simply disingenuous.
P.S. – Now, I’m writing this in the middle of Adepticon, so God only knows what all we will see come out of that event. But as of this writing, there was some unfortunate business involving Andrew Gonyo and an illegal list, which ultimately led to his expulsion from the tournament. The TOs made the right call. Whether or not he intentionally committed the act is irrelevant, he was caught using an illegal list, and there must be consequences for such actions. Such arbitration sends a message, not only to the individual perpetrator, but also to the rest of the community, where it serves as a deterrent to that particular behavior. Side note, this isn’t an indictment of Andrew Gonyo, personally, as I’ve never met him. I’m sure he’s a lovely person but in the true pursuance of justice, no one can be above the law.
As any criminal justice professional will attest, there is no way to efficiently adjudicate motive. All we can deal with are facts and evidence. If a kid gets caught with a stolen Playstation, that kid is in possession of stolen property, regardless of how it got into his backpack. It’s not a perfect system, to be sure, but it’s as perfect as it can be given the circumstances. And at this point, tournament organizers need to protect the credibility and reputations of themselves and their organizations over those of any player, regardless of that player’s community status.
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