Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How do you call out a cheater?

by Wienas

This is a question that I never thought I'd need to ask.  How do you go about bringing attention to a player who you believe to be deliberately cheating?

I ask because I am getting ready for local tournament where another certain player has signed up to play.  I have personally witnessed this player flopping dice, and he has repeatedly "forgotten" the same rule in multiple games in multiple previous tournaments.  The same player has also lied about the starting number of models in a unit to avoid taking a morale check.  It would seem that these things could be explained away as accidents, but the consistency of the occurrences leads me to believe otherwise.

I'll be on the look-out for these behaviors from this player, but I want to know how I should handle it if these behaviors "accidentally" happen again?  Should I give the player a warning?  Should I call the TO over and tell my side of the story?  Should I advise the TO to keep an eye on the player?  Do I follow suit and start flopping dice and "forgetting" rules?  Also, should I say anything if I see this happen at a different table, against a different opponent?

What do you guys think?


  1. don't drop down to his level, that is for sure a bad idea.

    I'd politely remind him once. Warn him the second time. Call the TO the third.

    Sometimes douchebags just need someone to stand up to them for them to stop and play the game correctly.

    Good luck though. I had a guy cheat me in a tournament, and I didn't know til after the fact. It pissed me off, and I won;t let it happen again.

  2. This is always a tough one. Personally, I think it's best to have the tough conversations. Talk to the TO prior to, then to your opponent when it's happening. The whole firm tone, politely refuse to back down kinda thing.

    I'm not sure there is a good way to handle it, but in my experience this kind of guy will inevitably try to convince you that you're at fault, like you're making a big deal out of nothing. Since we're - and I include all of us in this day and age - unused to confrontation, the adrenalin can muddle our thinking.

    That's one of the best reasons for having a TO on the lookout, to avoid the escalation.

    If you're getting nowhere, offer to dice off for it. You may be 100% in the right, but you have to get the game going again one way or another. Then try to beat the dude at his own game.

    Regarding the other players... that's even tougher, since that can backfire quick. If it's a friend, a polite word for what to watch out for is appropriate, but after that avoid the urge to get involved.

    That's generally how I handle it, after years of dealing with that kind of jerk. There's no best way to go, I'm afraid.

    Good luck - Brent

  3. Stay classy, and remember: victory is the sweetest revenge.

    I agree with Micheal;
    "Politely remind him once. Warn him the second time. Call the TO the third."

  4. No reason to give him three strikes. Warn him the first time, second time call the TO.

    If you feel like playing it cool, just say something like, "I'm sure you weren't doing it deliberately, but I feel like I HAVE to call the TO over in order to ensre the integrity of the game."

    If you don't feel like playing it cool, that's cool too. :)

  5. If you are really sure this player has a history of this, then I would try and give the TO a heads up. It helps the other players as well. If you do happen to face against him, definitely call him out on it the first time you see it happen. Be some what nice yet firm about it. The "I'm sure it was an accident, but don't do ___ again" is decent enough. If it happens again, call over the TO.

  6. I think the key is to build up a pattern of behaviour so waiting for multiple infractions is probably a good idea.
    It may be worth having a quiet word with the TO beforehand if this guy has past form. If you don't end up playing him then it will help to ensure that other people's complaints are taken seriously and if you do then you won't be dismissed as a bad sport.

  7. As a TO for many years... don't wait until you face the guy. Have a quiet word with the TO before the tournament starts!
    If it is a local guy and local TO, it's likely the TO already knows about the guy and will appreciate that there's someone else keeping an eye out. But if the TO and the cheater are unknown to each other, the TO is going to give the benefit of the doubt unless they see something blatant. By giving the TO a heads-up, you're protecting not just yourself but every other person in the tournament.
    A TO isn't going to d/q a guy just because someone else says he's been a problem. But he will keep a more watchful eye on the guy and might catch something that would otherwise have been missed.

  8. let the organizers know more or less "anonymously" via email

  9. Personally,
    id let the TO know of any concerns about this participent prior to the tournament commencing (several days in advance).
    This way,
    should you not Vs this opponant, the TO is aware of there reputation ahead of time if another participent makes a complaint.
    The issue will more than likely be resolved quicker if they know ahead of time, less chance of it putting you in a bad light.

  10. I would quietly mention it to the TO beforehand, but avoid badmouthing the guy to the other players. Too much of that and they'll start to paint you as the Negative Nancy in the equation. Then if it starts up during the games, give him one warning and then call over the TO on the second occurrence.

  11. I'd say drop a line to the TO, anonymously if you want, in case you don't come up against him so that others don't have to suffer from his actions.

    Don't say anything to anyone else otherwise you will be prejudicing peoples opinions and actions towards him which could make the situation worse.

    If you do come against him, make him play to the letter. If you see any infraction, simply say "I don't think it works that way" and then refer to a rulebook or codex. If he argues, especially if you have a specific ruling to go on, then call the TO to make a judgement. You can say that you just want clarification for your own sake so that you don't make such a mistake again, that way the blame is initially on you and he shouldn't get defensive, if the TO then rules in your favour, then he shouldn't be able to claim that you were "victimising" him (no guarantee he won't, if his behaviour is as you claim, he'll likely feel a victim everytime he's caught out).

  12. I'd suggest this:

    For the flopping dice:
    Always bend over and look intensively at the dice as he's rolling, and make sure he does the rolling out in the open.

    For the lying about starting numbers:
    I've always enjoyed reading your battle reports, so why not make one of every match in the tourny? Then make sure to take lots of pictures so you have proof of the amount of models in units and such. And also, ask for his armylist in beforehand or while playing.

    "Forgotten" rules:
    As the otehrs have said, simply remind him of the actual rule and point it out in the suitable rules supplement. If it's one of the many debatable rules out there, then call the TO over and seek his judging. If he's not available, simply roll for it.

    I guess that's what I would do, but you've gotten a ton of good advice here really. So just pick what suits you best ^^

  13. Just watched the video you meant on the flopping dice. I was under the impression that you meant he was flipping them after rolling them at times, but the video shows it's a totally different matter.

    But, once again, let him roll them openly, and make sure he actually makes them roll PROPERLY. The kinds of rolls he's making in the video i'd call out directly. The dice is supposed to move a bit over the table for me not to suspect cheating. As he's doing them, he could just as well pick them up with the 6 on top and then drop it from a 2mm height.

    Warn your friends about him, link the video for the TO in a mail and simply explain.

    Cheers ^^

  14. I've been warned. I was considering bringing Dice Cups for rolling.

    honest players have no problem using the cup, and fully understand. The shady ones, refuse. Most TO's don't have a problem with you asking your opponent to roll with a cup.

    TO's generally understand the desire to prevent cheating.

    My pet Peave (and one that's really hard to prove) is slow playing. When it takes me 10 min to take a turn, and my opponent 30 min to take a turn, something's off. and I'm not a speed player by any means.

  15. Best way? Video the game, then put up a blog post saying 'Possible Tourny Cheating Shocker!!1!'

    Proceed to wait a week, then post clips of said cheating.

    Sit back, and enjoy volume of internet traffic.

    Oh, wait...

    No, the best way is to tell the TO. ALSO - do NOT interfere in him cheating other players. Hard as it will be, you will be the jerk if you do. Try to get a judge to the table unobtrusively if he is nearby cheating.

    Just yesterday, I saw a player I KNOW to be a cheat attempt to deploy a Crusader in DoW. He also deployed 4 Tac Squads. It's hard to even begin to say how much BS that is.

  16. heh. I'm tempted to just have a Back40K writer's tourney in my garage or SandWyrm's basement. instead of going to the May 1st tourney.

    Your entry fee is Adult Beverages. Bring an appropriate amount to share. We will play for bragging rights, and for beer.

  17. As someone who repetitively 'gets it wrong', I'm in favour of the 'three strikes' rule.

    In a recent game with Tau I assumed all Battlesuits have night vision (not just acute senses), but I also forgot about the AP1 on both Melta and Railguns ... and the 2D6 penetration on melta too.

    Flopping dice is cheating and easy for a TO to spot and easier to enforce. bG's advice was diamond ... 40k's as much a 'voyage of rules discovery' for me than anything else... I don't like being accused of cheating ... but I'm the first to put my hand up if I genuinely got it wrong.

  18. @Farmpunk: Greatest Idea eva!!!

    And I agree on the dice cup if you really think he will be flopping dice. But make sure you have everyone use it, not just him. need to be fair.

  19. As to lying about how many models he had at the start of the game to avoid taking morale checks, surely a quick check of his army list will sort that out?
    If its a later turn, then just say that you'd like hit to lay models to one side for each round, and make sure you've been doing this yourself all game long, so that you can count and compare at the end of each shooting and assault phase.

  20. I great way to communicate with them is the "When you do X, I think Y, is that correct?" formula. It lets them know what you think without accusing them. For example "When you roll your dice like that it looks like you're trying to keep all your '6's, am I right?" In my experience once someone knows that you know, they tend to be more cautious or quit altogether. Plus if you do end up calling a judge over, you can point out that you've had one or more civil conversations about the behavior. Just as important, you can talk to a judge afterwards and let them know what happened and how many times you talked with your opponent about it, those little conversations really help make your case. Conflict resolution is fun stuff, good luck while resolving this one.

  21. I'd agree that a quick word to the TO beforehand would be a good idea. Everybody likes a heads up.

    As to this whole idea of 40k: Beer Edition. Yes. Just yes.

  22. My store has a dice tower for those rollers that have trouble "rolling"

  23. Some good suggestions have been presented here. Thanks to all.

    It would also seem that my co-contributors have a good idea of the player in question. A good number of players should have their eyes peeled.

  24. When guys from different local groups play each other there always some type of dramaz. Tournaments are not always the best places to make friends.

    I can't speak to events I've never seen. But if I'm guessing correctly, the person in question is a hyper-competitive player. I know him to try and take every advantage in the rules, but not to outright cheat. He also uses the small GW dice. You need the big Casino dice to cheat int the way you described. Again this is only if I'm guessing correctly who you are talking about.

    Even if you don't get along with the player in question, he's one out a dozen regular G2D4 40k players. Don't write off our whole local group because of one bad impression. For instance I know FarmPunk had a bad first impression with Scott, another one of our local players. They have since gone one to have friendlier games in subsequent tournaments.

    My suggestion, confront the person directly when something you think is shady happens. Maybe its just a misunderstanding. Maybe the person misunderstands a certain rule. Us guys at G2D4 play terrain a little differently then they do in Greenwood. We've played some minor rules wrong at G2D4 for a while to, and didn't realize until some of our guys went to one of your guys' tournaments.

    Posting passive aggressive accusations is not going to bring the 40k community together in Indy. That was my original intent when I sent Sandworm and FarmPunk the info on the May 1st tournament. I wanted to get some competition going outside of our comfort zones, not to stir up drama.

  25. We are not and were not trying to stir up drama. Names were left out, and only behaviors were mentioned.

    Cheating is common in all competitive environments, unfortunately. As part of the greater 40K community, it's something good to discuss.

    We're not writing off a group because we've had some bad experiences. I'm a bit disappointed I probably won't be prepared with enough painted pure codex WH to make a 1750 list I'm pleased with. I might get done, we'll see.

    SandWyrm and I didn't mean to stir up any drama on the boards either. I sort of felt we ended up walking into a situation waiting to happen.
    Through discussions on the 2d4 boards, several of the guys seem very nice.

    In the End, we at Back40K want to promote honest, above the boards play. Sometimes it involves confronting things we find suspect. I hope it helps us all to up our games.

  26. "I've been warned. I was considering bringing Dice Cups for rolling."
    Well I guess the first step is admitting it. Honestly Farmpunk is pretty nice guy despite it all, just politely remind him that your awake and paying attention and he usually backs down.

    But defiantly give the TO a heads up before the event. From the perspective of a past TO there is nothing I want less than some one messing with my tournament by cheating.

    And if you get stuck playing him, try to be classy. While I was joking about Farmpunk cheating the advise is sound. don't let him take you down to the gutters and give him one warning (or two if you feel so inclined) before politely requesting that a judge watch your game.

  27. @CaulynDarr: It was never my intention to make sweeping accusations towards an entire play group. I was merely bringing into the light some behaviors that I had either witnessed or overheard in the past that gave me cause for concern in the future. It is entirely possible that the things that I've mentioned previously can be written up as out-of-context misunderstandings, and that I'm just paranoid.

    I actually think that tournaments are a great place to make friends, and play people that you don't play on a regular basis. I look forward to the event and meeting new faces.

    I do find it somewhat amusing that by only mentioning certain in-game behaviors (no name or armies played), that people at multiple locations can figure out who this person is. There are competitive players all over the city, but very few whose behaviors might be considered suspect.

  28. Our group noticed the post and there was a discussion about who it could be.

    By implying that a member of a group is a cheater, you run the chance of making the whole group act defensively, as I did in my post.

    I don't mean to be apologetic about cheaters. I think cheating is reprehensible. But often the first reaction when there is an accusation is to defend your home turf in any argument.

    How to confront a cheater is valid discussion for gamers. I think this illustrates that it is often a difficult thing to do.

  29. actually, for all SandWyrm and I know, the person (or persons) mentioned in the article might be a guy from Saltire, me, or Peyton Manning. I honestly don't know who Wineas is referring to, and it really shouldn't matter.

    The post was not meant to be personal. It was meant to discuss problems with a 'competitive' environment.

    We've got 6 places to play (at least) in the Indy Metro area. It's not the first time we've made a post about our concerns with a tourney.

    Back in Feb. we posted our concerns about comp. It was a discussion that directly involved Wineas, and the Blue Moon Games tourney.

  30. @CaulynDarr: I had not intended to imply that a group of players had a cheater in their midst.

    It has come to my attention that this topic caused some controversy due largely to a conversation that SandWyrm and Farmpunk had on a forum. Looking at their conversation, followed by my post, I can see how it would seem that my comments were pointed toward a certain gaming circle. Again, this was never my intention. The point of the original post was to present some anecdotal evidence that I had observed, and that I believe could be considered cheating, and find out how the community would handle this situation should it happen to them. I didn't name any names because I wasn't trying to point fingers and call someone a cheater, but to start a conversation about what to do if you think that someone is cheating.

    Cheating is all about intent. I can't prove the intentions of the other player and, as I said in a previous comment, it is very possible that the things I observed were out of context and just honest mistakes. I don't know any gamers that haven't gotten a rule wrong.

    If any player was offended by my comments, I apologize.

    If anyone has anything they would like to discuss with me via e-mail, please feel free to contact me theback40k@gmail.com


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