Good Sportsmanship is so simple

Posts on sportsmanship like this one by Jawaballs get me thinking about this topic every few months.
That and my recent interest in participating in an upcoming tournament at my local FLGS has got me thinking.

It seems like most every game I stop and watch these days seems to be lacking this very thing. Is it that important to win?

I found this at a local daycare the other day. I think if you follow the simple steps outlined in the poster above during your next game of 40k, you should be all set.
Do we need a complex grading method with checkboxes and questions to make sure your opponent is being a "good sport?" Really is this what it's come to? Maybe it just never dawned on me until now.

You would think that we could figure it out, I mean if little kids can get it right with a couple of pictures...

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Ron- the only thing is you have people that pay to enter into these tournaments with the thought that there is only going to be something in it for the winner. So with that in mind there is little other thought than winning by whatever means you think that you can win by. It is far and few between players that can actually play in tournaments and keep up the great gaming attitude (unless there is a best sportsman award) that you are requesting. I hope you have good opponents and a great time at the upcoming tournament.

  2. @Steve P.- That's poor logic. "I want to win so I'm going to be an ass to the other guy because it will, somehow, help me win". You can still have a WAAC attitude without being a jerk. Every tournament I've gone to locally has been like that. I've never once run into a guy at a tourney who has not been friendly and a joy to play against, even if I got my ass kicked.

    @Ron- Yes, if kids can do it with a few pictures, us "grown-ups" should be able to too.

  3. The WAAC nature definitely (mostly) stems from the tournament scene. Like Steve said... People payed $ to enter and ultimately want to win. It's a bit silly to pay $ just to play a few pick-up games. Sometimes tournament players are blinded by their lust for winning the prize that they forget to be to good sportsmen and sometimes tournament player will carry this attitude over to 'fun' pick-up games.

    Bottom line is... It's all based on clashing personalities.

  4. I must say that I never have bad games. Wither it is the people I play against/with or it is me giving in. But after every game there is a shake hands. On the other side- I am 31 now and have my temper under control.

  5. I'm sorry but the "I paid to play" logic doesn't work for me. We have all played to play. Our whole hobby is expensive so we pretty much pay to play a pick up game. That is no excuse for people to act like jerks.

    I support tournaments that have prizes for more than just the most wins. This is a hobby after all and tournaments should support all aspects of the hobby.

    With that said, I do think the way sportsmanship currently works is prone to abuse and just causes more problem then it prevents.


  6. In my area we play by the rules quite strictly, but and this is a big but, we can let each other off and we do. When I play then I just try and have fun, I am not very good at warhammer but i still play. Now, I have been to a couple of free tourneys that go on for 1 afternoon and we still play it just like a pick up game. When it comes to tourneys then i don't care what list you take as long as you are not a jerk. Yea don't let me take things back but still be a good person to play against.

    Rant over. Jacob

  7. A good post Ron, thanks.

    Although it's worth pointing out that one of the bugs in the basketball game has a MASSIVELY unfair advantage.

    Damned power-players.

  8. Play something other than 40k, perhaps.

  9. I think a lot of it comes down to why we enter tournaments. Are we entering for the prize(s), or to play the game?

    Don't get me wrong on this, everyone who enters is going to be shooting for 1st place to some degree or another, and I doubt anybody would enter if they didn't enjoy playing. But usually one or the other takes priority.

    Personally, I've ever entered a 40k tournament. But in the Urban War events I entered and ran, everyone was there to play the game. To face opponents and armies they don't encounter in their usual gaming circles, and push themselves out of their comfort zone. To learn more about the game and to meet other members of the community. The prizes gave these days a little bit of competitive spirit, but there were no arguments or grumpy players, despite most coming away with nothing physical after paying to get in. They weren't disappointed because that wasn't why they went. :)

    Unfortunately I think that as long as players are going to take home a prize instead of playing for the sake of playing, there will always be poor sportsmen (and women) on tournaments.

  10. Pfft on winning, even in pay tournaments. If playing is a piece of birthday cake then winning is like getting a piece with a frosting flower on it... all the kids fight over them and at some point in your life you realize there's no real difference.

    "Narrative" is the win in this hobby. If your game tells a good story then you will always have fun. What I remember from 'ardboyz wasn't my successes but rather the parts of the battle that make for good storytelling (most of which have me on the losing end.)

  11. I rarely shake hands after the game, since I do so before it begins, and wish my opponent luck.

    I'd consider that far more polite.

  12. People play for their own reasons, and so long as they are varied we are going meet and play people whose style or sportsmanship we don't like. I think the key thing is to treat each time as a new experience and just write off the games where the character of the player interferes with the fun. I am satisfied if my units kill something.. anything. Giving an opponent the ability to punch back, even if it does not matter in game terms goes a long way as well. Everyone is entitled to a few bad sportsman like games. It happens to all of us. Forgive, forget, and rapid fire.

  13. I like how the first part is "Obey the game rules." Not "Let your opponent take back his moves." or "Ignore their mistakes." I think this is where most people run into problems. So many rules, and so often people forget one or two, and they get questioned over it. Suddenly they are on the defensive, and being on the defensive never feels good.

    While it's easy to provides Rules for sportsmanship, at the end of the day, if that guy across the table feels like you were attacking him personally, he's going to consider you a bad sport.

    And frankly, this I think is the vast majority of reasons people get docked on sportsman scores. I don't imagine many people are out and out rude. Indeed, I'd imagine most of those people are kindly asked to leave.

  14. I just played in only my second ever tournament at the weekend (, and there were no comp scores, no WAAC players and lots of happy gamers having a laugh. There was also beer, which might have had something to do with that.

    I paid my £12 for a day of gaming, not for a chance to win something and not for a chance to sit there mentally cataloguing someone else's sportsmanship errors. I am sure they were glad not to have to do the same, and just focus on the game.

    Did I let someone take a move back? Yes, he asked and I said yes. I didn't feel pressured to, because there were no comp scores, so I could do what felt right in the context of the game.

    I don't really have any wisdom to offer when it comes to sportsmanship. It's like art - you know it when you see it.

  15. There's a guy at our store, about 23, he does that douchebag thing where he tries to break your hand by squeezing really hard during the after game handshake. He does it to everyone, even the players much younger than him, and does it no matter whether he wins or loses.

    Nobody plays with him anymore, and it makes him amusingly pissy.

  16. @ Kevin- well you are very lucky then, every tournament I either play in or help to run has had at least one of those kinds of guys. Went to a tournament last week and the guy who took 3rd was that guy (didn't notice anyone else if there was anyone). But i also watched a guy help another guy learn how to use his army better, while they were playing each other in the tournament. So I am not saying that everyone is that way but there are those out there that do have that mentality, sorry for the way it may have come across in my original comment.

    I like to go to tournaments to play people that I normally don’t get to play, and to see what others do in both the hobby side as well as the competitive side. If I win some games cool if I don’t then that is cool too. After it is just a game why be so serious about it right?


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