It was early in the morning before the second day of the first team event my friends and I had managed to attend.
We were 2-1 as a team from the day before, and the favored team to win the event had taken a loss as well. Inexplicably, my team of middle table titans had a real chance to grab the top spot of the tournament. Our only two obstacles were one of the most talented teams of 40k players in attendance and our own stupidity.
We all piled into my car (we didn’t even know we were spitting fluids all over each other since this was a time of innocence before COVID) to discuss the round pairings. We knew what armies we were playing and we knew our opponents. This is when a teammate exclaimed his Chaos Knights WERE the secret sauce to our pairings and he COULD beat the other teams Tau player. Now, as the player with the 6 Eldar Flyers which were -2 to hit at the time, I was like “you sure bro?”. He was sure. We “surprised” the other team by pairing our Chaos Knights player into the Tau right off the bat. Leaving my Eldar flyers to play a Castellan list containing 3 Custodes Grav Tanks and our Death Guard dreadnought spam going into Magnus and Friends.
To make things even more exciting the top table was played in a back room where only the top table players knew what was going on. About halfway through my game, which was super close, and one of the most fun tournament 40k games I have ever played, our Chaos Knight player came walking out of the back room with a deadpan expression. If we were playing poker this man would have won.
He wasn’t playing poker though, and his appearance out of the back room so soon could only mean he lost. He surely couldn’t have kill three Riptides and 40 Drones that fast….
My fears were confirmed when the first thing my teammate said to me was, “I got taken to Tau school”.
That event was almost two years ago, and we still give our teammate grief over calling his shot (I’m actually doing it right now on our group chat). Its this type of adversity that forges a group of people into a team.
This little teaser scenario is one of the many reasons a team event is one of the most exciting and fun experiences a 40k player can partake in. If you follow the FLG podcast Chapter Tactics (which you should it’s amazing) you may have heard one of their latest episodes on 40k team tournaments and their host’s unanimous decision on the undeniable fun of these team events. While the current plague times (thanks Death Guard players) may have put a stop to these types of events exploding onto the scene, this world will eventually turn back to normal. When it does team events are going to be an even more popular way for event organizers to get the 40k community back out into the hotels and gaming stores across the world. Team events have a lot of benefits to organizers, but come with some serious hurdles that need to be overcome by both the event organizer and the players. Let’s assume the event planners can effectively plan events and help out the players who are asking “how in the world do I get a team together?!”
How I Did It:
Me and a friend had been playing 7th Edition in my garage for some time before the release of 8th Edition, but the release of 8th was when we got seriously (back) into the game. I have always been a planner and organizer, so it felt natural to organize a tournament at my local store. Before this I had played exactly one other person in 40k, and I was getting real tired of his Guard. I sent a message to the local store owner who was totally cool with me bringing in players and using his space for a tournament. I ran that tournament using rulebook missions, 1500pts armies, a pen and a piece of paper. Magically, I met other 40k players in my area who were passionate about the hobby I loved.
If you are looking to expand the player base in your area talk to your local store and see if you can run an event there. Use their social media to get the word out, and you may be surprised at the response. Once those people show up at your hastily assembled tournament they are your captive audience! Make an announcement you are interested in starting a 40k team, explain your goals (a loose hobby group or a group of players ready to push themselves to the top), and the rest will take care of itself.
The ‘I’m not running an event’ Method:
Some people read the above and think that there is absolutely no way they are running a 40k event. They are either too new to the game, not a planner/organizer, or would much rather play in events then run one. The solution to your lack of a team problem could be simple in this scenario if there are already events being run in your area. From my vast training, knowledge and experience of 40k events (I think I’ve placed like 10th one time…) there are a few different levels of players at an event. Players who are serious about the game and are revolving around the top tables, some people who are very good players but not quite top table level, the middle table players having a good time and trying to do well, and the dude that just loves Genestealer Cults. The people in the middle tables are who you are looking to talk to about starting a 40k team. These players might be on a team looking for new people, or they might be looking to join a team. Tournament 40k is bigger then it has ever been before, and it will keep getting bigger. Tell those potential teammates about big team events like ATC and the upcoming FLG team events and get to work planning! Or, trick some person into being the “Captain” and make them do all the logistical work while you enjoy the fruits of their labor.
If the local scene is lacking in your area its time to head to social media. Sometimes it can be as easy as searching Warhammer 40k and the name of your town or the closest city, but this may not always work. If there is absolutely no tournament 40k in your area you have your work cut out for you. The best advice I can give is build a good working relationship with a local hobby store who may be looking to grow their 40k business. Become their community manager in all things 40k. Social media, beginner events aimed at getting new people into the hobby, and spreading the word of all the new awesome 40k content creators should drum up some hidden wargamers in the area. Make no mistake, this is the long road, but it is more manageable then ever with 40k becoming more and more mainstream.
I started playing 40k around the age of 13, and I never dreamed I would be telling people I was part of a 40k “team”. That word is in quotes because I use the term extremely lightly. My team doesn’t practice, we don’t have a hierarchy (except the person writing this article who attempts to herd his teammates like cats), and some of us haven’t ever attended a 40k event of any type. We are just a group of gamers who really love this game, have an unhealthy amount of toy soldiers for a group of adults, and find that being part of a team of people who share our love for these things elevates our hobby to the next level. That’s all you need to make a team, but a cool team name might help also.