This Week in the ITC: Returning to IRL 40k

Hello competitive 40k players, SaltyJohn from TFG Radio here with a discussion of returning to comp 40k play IRL.

For many of us we’ve had a year or more break from playing 40k competitively in real life. During the various lockdowns, closures etc we’ve had varying levels of success and opportunity to participate in our beloved hobby. Some of us built and painted models, whittling down of pile of plastic shame, others added to their pile when they could actually get one of the three kits GW shipped to the whole US for each new release, some picked up TTS and attempted to master 9th via simulation in the same way amateur flight enthusiasts try to learn to fly using Flight Simulator. With similar results. Still others, myself included, had their hobby spaces taken over by kids doing school online or turned into home office spaces for ourselves so we just played a ton of video games or DnD online to pass time and interact with friends. Now though, many of us, are experiencing an opening up of things and a restart for events locally and a relaxing of restrictions for larger events to occur as well. So, as this happens, how best do we return to IRL 40k?

Read the rules. Yes, this should be obvious but it needs to be said. How we study the rules matters as well. Simply reading material, or even committing it to memory isn’t enough. It isn’t learning. The first time students come into my classroom we discuss that we don’t memorize in my class, because memorization isn’t learning. A person can have all sorts of things memorized, but if you cannot apply that knowledge you haven’t learned anything yet. Read the rules, then play a few games with someone who has already learned the game, then read the rules again. Read them in between games, apply them in practice, and you’ll learn how to play. There are significant differences between 8th and 9th, breaking old habits is important, and hard to do.

Absorb information. This is a lot easier now than in the past. There are a plethora of podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels etc to get information from. Find some good ones, absorb some content and be sure you read the comments. Normally I am not an advocate for reading the comment section on anything as it’s usually a cesspool of degenerative thought and the playground of trolls and bullies. But in this case the comment section can often be valuable in pointing out things the content creators missed, miss played, or otherwise got wrong. Which is a good thing, if it’s pointed out in a polite and constructive manner. Of course.

The other thing to remember as we return to playing 40k IRL is more a conversation around social norms. We’ve all been dealing with a global pandemic and it’s effects on our various communities. As we have a broader reopening of society again we should endeavor to remember that many people have different comfort levels, and come from places with different restrictions and guidelines on best practices. Be sure to read up on what the guidelines are in the area you’re traveling to for an event. While there be respectful that not everyone has had the same experiences during the last year as you and so may take things more, or less, seriously. The event host is hopefully responsible enough to hold an event that is within the guidelines for their area, if you’re not comfortable with what an areas guidelines are, consider not attending the event until later. We might all be eager to start gaming again, but don’t allow your eagerness to create situations that will lead to drama and bitterness.

Next week I will start to dive into some of the standings in the ITC so far this season! So tune back in next week for a more traditional version of this weekly series.

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About SaltyJohn

John has been playing Warhammer 40k since the 3rd edition box set with Space Marines, Dark Eldar, and weird green palm trees were in the set. He is currently a 40k Head Judge for the Las Vegas Open, the largest 40k tournament in the world. An avid board gamer, a huge fan of video games, and a guest spot on Geek and Sundry as a "Historian" during an episode of "Game the Game" round out his geek credentials. You can catch "Salty" John on TFG Radio's Twitch Show, and Podcast, as well as find him streaming video games on Twitch on the TFG Radio Twitch page from time to time.

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