GW Grognard: Silence is Golden

Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to educate and illuminate your life!

Dance, monkeys, dance!

I enjoy watching 40K games. I like the painted models, I just hate painting, and the different visions people have of how a model is posed. I enjoy seeing how people play, and react to their opponent’s play, during a game in a competitive setting. One thing that really bugs me though, among a number of other things, is not the players themselves but the spectators. The problem I’m talking is what I call the “Fishbowl Effect”

I feel like this when I play 40K or at work sometimes

Now, in a lot of competitive games, as the rounds progress during the day, the top players begin playing each other. As a result, people begin to gravitate towards these tables to watch the game play.  This also occurs at your local game store when people are playing in an tournament or for a league game. It’s usually people that are hanging around because they are just there with a friend that is playing, or their game is already over. What ends up happening is that a large group of people gather around 1 or 2 tables.

During the game some of these people will start to comment about a number of aspects of the game. They may even “help” by reminding players of rules, dice rolls, and other things the players may have forgotten. They may also comment about how good, or bad, someone’s roll was, or how certain models are destroying the opposing army. These people need to be quiet, and, actually, the whole group needs to disperse.

Move along, nothing to see here.

I don’t know where to begin as to why this isn’t cool. Like I tell me wife* “you should just stand there and look pretty”. If you aren’t playing the game, then you should not be talking about where your buddy should move his models, or what to shoot at. That person is to win the game on his own merits, not with the help of  their friend that they brought  along, or a teammate that already finished their game. It puts the other player at a disadvantage and can cause some tension between the two players. So just zip it and wait until the game is over, so you van tell him how he sucks and you would have easily won the game.

The other issue with a crowd around a game table is that of personal space. Most game stores do not have a lot of gaming space. With the tables, armies, and the players taking up a lot of, it doesn’t leave you a lot of room if many people want to spectate. As more people gather, they begin to crowd the actual players and may cause some players to be a bit “anxious” with so many people watching their every move. This also has the unintended side effect of telling the players when someone has made a bad move, or have a run of bad luck, as the spectators will sometimes leave the table in droves. This is almost as bad as just telling the players the outcome because they will notice and it will affect how they play the rest of the game.

It is really on the organizer of the event to be sure that the top tables do not suffer the “Fishbowl Effect”.  This will help with keeping your players sane, and, hopefully, with the integrity of the event.

That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know your thoughts, and any stories about people interfering in a big game, in the comments section. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!

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*If I actually told her this, she would kick my ass



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.

11 Responses to “GW Grognard: Silence is Golden”

  1. Blight1 June 9, 2018 3:17 am #

    I don’t understand this hatred for chiming in if you see a rules mistake. Sure in a tournament setting actually telling people how to play is a bad idea but if you see something being played wrong and there is no judge watching the match(which we’ve talked about being impractical for most matches) then you should let someone know. Having the game be played correctly should never be a bad thing, especially in a tournament setting.

    • seth June 10, 2018 4:01 am #

      Because I am playing against a specific person……NOT YOU.

      We all make mistakes. You helping one person or another is making the game 2 vs 1.

    • Rob Butcher June 10, 2018 5:17 am #

      So you become an unofficial judge on one table, for one game. What about the rest of the room? Competition? What if the rule has been FAQed and you are wrong? It happened to me yesterday and I took “five” to regain my focus.
      Barracking professional sportsman (who can’t hear you anyway because everyone else is shouting) might be fair enough … but there are NO professional W40K-ers. We’re just there to have fun.

      • pascalnz June 10, 2018 11:07 pm #

        there is a difference between reminding someone to roll, saying how his units are smashing stuff vs a spotting a clear rules infringement.

        not many people want to win having mistaken a rule and fewer less want to lose to someone not playing a units rules correctly.

        IF it’s a top table game , there will usually be a rules guy around and they should know whats happening[though there seems to be a constant stream of things that undermine that thought process:(]

  2. Lanaestra June 9, 2018 9:14 am #

    Well, I had a game once where this random dude came over and kept giving my opponent rules advice and it was all completely wrong. Every. Single. Bit. And every time I had to open up the rulebook and show him that it was wrong because the person I was playing against was new and didn’t know better. It was extremely irritating and it slowed down the game immensely.

  3. Toronto0305 June 9, 2018 6:16 pm #

    I understand the feelings about being crowded, and overly negative comments about people’s decisions while playing because those are both negative experiences. But gaming is a social hobby. Telling people to stand aside and shut up is terrible for the game as a whole.

    As a social hobby one should be encouraging others to enjoy the experience. The game being played is a game of dice rolls, strategy, and rules. So it’s an easy topic of conversation for people who may not know eachother to talk about and bond and potentially make friends. That’s what hobbies are all about.

    Of course the people who are telling you that you suck and could have easily won the game are the kind of comments that people should be making. People like that aren’t super fun to have around or play with, but neither are the people who want everyone else who’s around to shut up.

    • Anon June 10, 2018 5:46 pm #

      He’s not talking about that. He’s talking about walking up to a top table match and giving advice or trying to make rules corrections. Which is terrible.

  4. toronto0305 June 9, 2018 6:25 pm #

    I understand the negative feelings associated with people crowding around, and making negative comments. But gaming is a social hobby, and discouraging the social aspect is bad for the game as a whole.

    As it is a social hobby you should be encouraging people to talk and have fun. The game is a game of dice rolls, strategy, and rules. This provides the easy topic of conversation for people who may not know each other and allows them to talk, bond, and potentially make friends.

    I get that personalities clash, and people who say you suck and they could have easily won the game are not fun to play against or to be around. But neither are people who want everyone else to shut up.

    If you’re there for a single player experience where you never have to interact with anyone, perhaps there are other hobbies that are more suitable.

    • Rob Butcher June 12, 2018 1:35 pm #

      Social hobby ? so why act anti-socially trying to instill your idea of the rules/strategy when it’s actually an individual game … 1 on 1 NOT 1 vs any-one shouting loudly enough. The rules of GW are pretty clear, the generals on the table (and any TOs) are the only ones to intervene.

      Social ? also means personal responsibility to keep it quiet when others are playing. Especially when they are probably way better than you.

  5. Anon June 10, 2018 5:42 pm #

    I started in the middle of the article and thought you were talking about OPPONENTS talking to each other lol. Yeah, if you’re watching a competitive warhammer match it’s the same as golf. Shut up and stay out of it. Even rules aren’t your business unless someone asks about it.

  6. Vaclav June 10, 2018 10:33 pm #

    Heh… that reminds me a game I had at ETC teams. I was finishing my game against a fine chap playing Necrons and he rolled so well it was crazy. My centurion star basicly killed 2 necron Lychguard 😀 It was that bad. So I was the last to finish the game and my score would result in getting a draw or a loss for a team. So no pressure. Slowly other teamates from both teams started to show up at our table and my nerves were already streched thin. I made a gambit and Gate of Infinity my draigo at the enemy objective which would result in crushing victory denying him his objective and giving me line breaker. Draigo rolled 6 6 and deep striked out of the battlefield. My eyes went wild and my friend in a friendly gesture asked my in my native language: “Why didnt you pass the roll mate?”. He though it was funny, I though I was going to kill him. The other team was a bit unhappy that he talked to me in my native language which I promptly explained, that he is just a jackass and I will deliver his skull to Khorne later which satisfied them 😀 I finished my moves, ended up on some objectives but I was crushed that I have failed the team and I put my head into my hands and I let the other team and my captain count the points. Only after 2 minutes of my misery the captain told me I actually won 14:6 securind the draw for the team. I was soooo bloody happy I forgave my friend almost immediately and we celebrated a lot. However it can be really stressful and long story short: Dont talk to players or interup the game at the tournaments, that stuff is already stresfull enough 😀

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