An Expectation of Civility (and Family Photos... Again)

I'm in sort of a weird place right now, as far as my hobby goes.  I'll leave that for later articles, but what I want to say here is I'm looking backwards a bit.  To that end, I broke out some of my old armies. 

Be prepared for Family Photos Again Again, and Again Again Again... and so on.

Today though, I opened up the 13th Company.  This was my favorite tournament army for a long, long time.  Frankly, had they not done away with the Codex I'd probably still be playing them.  What's interesting to me as I walk down memory lane is how much the tournament scene has changed.

Here's what I mean.  Nowadays, anything goes, and you have the endless discussion between 'To Comp' or "Not To Comp' - but for the most part, nobody uses the word 'cheese' anymore to describe an army.  There is a sense that if an army can be created from a Codex, it's okay.  Obviously there are varying degrees of that, but back in the days I played my 13th Company army all I ever heard was 'cheese' and 'bullshit' and 'broken' over and over... and usually from people who thought they'd walk over the army.

God, but I loved my broken-bullshit-cheese-Marines.  It's the army I used to go unbeaten in a few large RT's.  My favorite run was at an event in Amarillo (I think - it's in West Texas, so who cares?) where I was the only army to go unbeaten.  Game 4 was against a mixed-arms Inquisitor lead Grey Knights force, complete with every dirty trick that was popular back then... what made it lovely was the dude's mouth.

He was a nice enough guy, but he spent the break between rounds 3 and 4 telling anyone who'd listen how easy it would be to kick my ass.  I'll give him this, he wasn't a crybaby, and though he lost pretty quickly he was a good sport about it.  The dude I played in Game 2 was a local called 'Grumpy Phil'... he wasn't grumpy, he was an asshole.  He made that game no fun at all, but everyone jumped to his defense; "That's just the way he is."  Okay, the way he is is an asshole. 

I'm much less likely to forgive shitty behavior in my old age.  Ironically, I'm much nicer now than I ever was a decade ago, but I like the idea of a Social Contract that's being kicked around the Blogosphere right now...

I have the right to expect civilized behavior.  I'm going to be on my best behavior, and while I don't expect a stranger at an event to instantly embrace me, I don't think common courtesy is too much to ask.

I'll say one last thing, in the spirit of bringing up the past... I fully expected to win Best General at that event, given I was the only unbeaten player.  But it was an old-school RTT... Grump Phil ("...that's just the way he is, he's okay!") knocked my sportsmanship, though naturally enough I gave him good marks, and my painting got extremely low marks.  Those points were enough to take away my spot, and I'll admit to this day it's a bit upsetting.  The Mighty Mighty Carlos won something - though I forget what it was - with his Imperial Fists.  Anyway, he told me later that he planned that army for RTT's knowing people like bright colors, like yellow.

He was smarter than I.  I got very few points because the painting judges said my models were 'dirty.'  No shit - I PAINTED THEM THAT WAY.

But I'm not bitter. 

(This is about half of my 13th Company - I didn't want to break everything out.  As always, click on the pics for a close-up.)

In all seriousness, I'm not bitter, a lot of that was for effect.  The Tournament Organizer was a good guy who made the mistake of asking folks off the street to judge painting.  He thought they'd have an unbiased eye, but instead they didn't know enough about painting to recognize differing styles.  He called me later to apologize and told me had my painting not been knocked around, I would have taken Best General.  Also, Little Barrera got a low score too.  His Ultramarines had numerous greenstuff conversions and hand-painted symbols, but the judges didn't know that... instead, he earned fewer points than Chemotep Tony's base-coated white and black-lined Marines.  Ouch.

I think Tournaments are about expectations.  If one concentrates too much on placing they'll miss the opportunity to just have fun.  I want to do well at BoLSCon this year, but I'm going to keep it firmly in mind that it's a fun event.

Not like Hard Boyz...


b.smoove said...

Sorry to hear about your tournament troubles. This is precisely the kind of story that has kept me at arm's length from the scene.

The 13th Company looks fantastic. Is that some of the (very) old Green Metallic paint I see?

Herr Fernseher said...

I think this is still a very cool looking army.

Also, I'm looking forward to hearing where you may be heading, hobbywise. I still haven't gotten to do a large, battle-tile, linked 40k campaign. Could be even cooler if we're about to have some uber terrain built...

Darkwynn said...

If you don't have fun Brent at Bolscon.. I am just going to buy you copious amounts of beer till you forget it :)

One way or another you will have fun!

evil homer said...

I've always liked that army, several of the squads are themed by chaos bits as I recall, I always like the slaanesh squad.

That was a rough list but not cheesy.

The_King_Elessar said...

Good article, I like the army, and it's nice you're still harping on (:p) about expectations etc...means it may still be relevant when I eventually do a planned post on it myself.

Chumbalaya said...

Neat minis dude, sorry to hear they got crapped on.

If I end up heading to BoLScon, I hope we can meet up. Titans of the blogosphere we are.

Brent said...

BSM: Good eye. It was a green ink over boltgun metal, if I recall.

Darkwynn: Ya, I'm coming down early with a hefty budget for good beer and bad bar food...

Without a doubt Chumby - I hadn't heard there was a chance you'd be there. Let me know when you know for sure.

King: it seems a popular subject right now; it'll stay relevant.

As far as the post, I probably oversold it a bit. Getting screwed by softscores in a RTT is damn near a tradition with those things. The Indy circuit does it better.

AbusePuppy said...

>There is a sense that if an army can be created from a Codex, it's okay.

Isn't this how it should be? Ideally, the codex is balanced such that any legally choosable force is of similar power. (The reality, of course, is that this is impossible, but that's the goal.)

I also take exception to the idea that a tournament where winning battles is paramount can't be fun- there is a world of difference between playing to win and being a jerk. Interacting poorly with your opponent can happen in both casual and competitive games- I'm sure you've met casual players that you hate playing against, for whatever reason.

I definitely agree about courtesy, though- you DO have a right to expect your opponent to behave in a reasonably polite manner, because that's part of the social contract of... um, human society. Now, a certain degree of trash-talk and gaming banter is generally expected, but it's important to judge who the person across the table is and how they'll react to it. Start out polite, engage them, and if you can get a basic level of acquaintance established and are getting along with them, feel free to bring things up a notch.

That really sucks about your painting and sportsmanship scores- and, to be honest, that sort of thing is one of the reasons I'm opposed to including them in tournaments. Painting points should be, if anything, a very simple "unpainted/basic three-color/well done with highlights+etc" scoring system, with more complicated judging reserved for actual painting competitions.

Gonewild said...

I don't think an opponent's opinion on another's sportsmanship (or lack thereof) should carry weight when determining final scores and loot distribution. It allows for a measure of abuse at the hands of poor-sports and douche-waffles. That is one of my primary dislikes with regard to 40K tournies.

On a lighter note, your 13th Company looks great. I'd like to see pictures of those models you didn't include in this post.

Brent said...

AbusePuppy: Yea, I couldn't agree more! I guess my opinions on the matter didn't come through.

What I meant should be clarified, since I'm not sure which section lead you to believe winning can't be paramount... frankly, I think tournaments are mostly about winning. You don't go to lose!

That said, if you judge an event on whether you placed or not, you probably won't have a good time. There are only a few top spots.

How about this? It's okay to lose, provided your opponent beat you fairly.

Mmm... the topic seems simple, but it's not so easy to clarify.

I'll have to flesh out these ideas and give you a better answer.

Gonewild: Yea, that problem was endemic with RTT's. Softscores and vote-blocking made them a pretty bullshit affair at times.

The_King_Elessar said...

I once mixed Snot Green with Mithril for an interesting effect. I also painted a number of Bob Bikes a Boltgun/Blood Red mix...I can't actually remember the exact process though. :(

Big Whit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Whit said...

That RTT was what 10 or 15 years ago? Mike still talks about how that event turned him into a casual gamer. He has just now recovered from that traumatic experience. I also remember when I first started playing, you wiped me out with this army and then told me the fluff behind them. Great army, great theme, and great schooling lesson!

Anonymous said...

"That's just the way he is." Okay, the way he is is an asshole.

I laughed at that, well stated.

I think since your 13th company has many different schemes an ignorant judge might would think it was a mistake, but I think it works.

One thing that would really help unify an army of such diverse appearances is to make all the bases consistent.

Brent said...

Gerbil... I completely agree. The bases are different right now because I'm bringing them up to date with brown edging.

I used to keep the edging black.

Also, the colors differentiate the squads; it's much easier to see what's going on when they're separated squad by squad - as EH said above, the Slaneesh themed was his favorite, and probably mine too.

Truth be told, I'm not sure what I want to do with them. I could use them as Space Wolves pretty easily, but it would be hard to add anything to them since my painting style has changed so much.


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