Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Do I Consider Cheating In 40K?

by SandWyrm

I was asked in a comment to my 'Ard Boyz article to describe just what I consider to be cheating in 40K.

Here's ZerkeX's comment, with my answers added:
"Sandwyrm what is it that you consider cheating here bub. I mean I have a rep of being a good tough player. I make my game plan and evolve it to who I'm playing at the time. I played you down at your Game Preserve when you had the Tallaran. (not sure if you still have them.)"
I consider cheating to be anything done outside of the rules to gain an unfair advantage. Oh, and the Tallarns got sold off late last fall.
"Some folks I have played in the past were obviously cheating. From arguing with me over fluff passages saying this and that happen in the game to loaded dice. But is being an agressive player grounds for cheating?" 
There's nothing wrong with being aggressive as long as you're not also unpleasant. There are a few guys here in town who fall into this category, but I wouldn't call them cheaters. I'm also more tolerant of such behavior than most guys are.
"As I am sure that in the past I have had people think man that is just too good...he must be cheating somehow."
It happens. When the other guy's dice can't seem to roll a one, the thought goes through my mind. But that's a different thing from seeing an obvious cheater at work.
"So I'm going back to my original question. What is it that you call cheating. Arguing for a cover save? Constantly badgering your opponents over their movement amounts when they are moving less than a fraction of the space they are allowed. Large Dice, casino or otherwise? I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but at least 50% of players and most of your writers are guilty of most of these things."
Ok, here's a list of the blatant cheating I've seen at 'Ard Boyz: 

1) Deliberately Slow-Playing An Opponent

Any time someone pulls out a horde army, you can expect the game to go short, but if you can't seem to get through turns 2 or 3, then something is definitely up. I once had an Ork player on table 3 take 45 minutes to set up for the final game. Then, whenever he moved his models, he did some one at a time. He had two hands free, but he would only use one to move models. Each model was also VERY carefully placed such that it took 3 full seconds per infantry model to move them around. Later, he decided to go get a drink from the front register... for 10 minutes.

It's not usually so blatant, but when you're gaming a degree-of-win system for points, the delay can mean the difference between a solid victory or a massacre. Which matters when you're trying to stay on top of the heap. If you're winning or losing in a NOVA event, the degree of win only matters to your matchups, which is hard to predictably game.

2) Using Very Large Dice

Because the larger the die, the more easily you can game the roll to get what you need by dropping them instead of rolling them. If you're going to use casino dice, then use ONLY casino dice... and ROLL them. There's a reason that craps rolls in casinos are only valid if the dice are rolled and bounce twice before coming to rest.

3) Using Different Dice For Different Tests

I had to break myself from the habit of always rolling certain colors for certain tests. The results weren't any different, but it didn't look right to the other player. So I deliberately mix it up in my games. Why not just use the same color? Because multiple colors make it easier to roll multiple tests at once, speeding up the game.

The worst are when players bring weird glyph dice that only they can read. Or what look like hand-casted resin dice that may very well be weighted.

4) Moving Too Far

I've had even a nationally known player do this to me once. He measured his move, then he moved his model quickly in a sudden 'burst', while moving the tape measure away at the same time. And what do you know? He moved about an inch too far forward.

5) Badgering The Opponent

The nicer, more agreeable, version of this is to start asking your opponent about their conversions or painting during their movement or shooting phases, in order to distract them. At least then you can choose whether or not to answer. You can also stop it with "Sorry, I'm concentrating on this" if you want to.

The douche version is to start nitpicking every little move your opponent makes. The real douches will start insulting you too. Such as: "Once you start playing real competitive games, nobody is going to let you get away with (insert nitpick), but I'm nice so I'll let you do that."

The only response in this case is to be insulting back. By which time neither one of you is having fun anymore.

6) Deliberately Adding Up Victory/Kill Points Incorrectly

Doing this by accident in a casual game is one thing. But in a tourney I expect you to pull out your list and add everything up properly.

That's my list. I have seen some of this locally, especially the movement cheat. If it's a casual game I'll usually let it slide for the sake of friendliness. If it's a tourney game I'll call people on it early. That's usually enough to stop it.

And no, I won't be naming any names.


  1. How does one roll large dice to a degree with which you are satisfied? Bouncing dice ala craps in a game is never going to be feasible just because of the sheer numbers involved.

    What is the definition of roll ;)?

    1. I'm satisfied if the dice leave the hand with some horizontal motion and travel at least 8 inches before coming to rest. That's not going to give true randomness, but at least you're not looking in your hand, arranging certain faces up, and then dropping them straight down to get the results you want.

  2. One method that some (especially younger) players in my AO are guilty of is to roll too many dice. For example if their tactical squad is shooting 8 bolters at under 12", they might roll 20 dice, etc.

  3. Okay, I'm not going to say you do this, but I have seen and know for a fact that three of the 5 here at least one of your own writers does on a very regular basis, one of which is rolling large dice, and then harps on his opponents who roll them. (or at least he used to write here...looks like it is just only you for the moment.)

    Never the less thank you for pointing all of these things out and I am more than appreciative that you took the time to write out the things that bother you, and you consider cheating. And I do agree with them all. Thanks for the time you have given us in this post. I was not trying to be an ass with this at all. So if that was how you took it, please understand that this was not the intent. I look forward to seeing you at the next Nova Open. If I should have the time off to attend.

    1. Point taken.

      I'm not going to be at the NOVA this year because it coincides with my Anniversary. Mrs. SandWyrm was nice and let me go last year, but this one is the 7th, and it's VERY important to her. So maybe next year...

  4. This was an awesome article. Sometimes we play have to play people that aren't fun... It's just the way it is. Unfortunately competition brings the worst out of some people. I really hate slow play the most. I once had a game where my army consisted of less than 40 models and my opponent probably had close to 200 models. He always took his time during his turns - every time it was my turn he constantly badgered me to hurry up. We didn't get past the third turn and I could have easily beat him if the game had gone into a fourth turn. He is fairly well known on the circuit - maybe he didn't even realize what he was doing but it was a real pisser.

  5. 'Later, he decided to go get a drink from the front register... for 10 minutes.'

    While not at a tournament, I once had an opponent take a 'quick smoke break' (read that as: 45 minutes) cause he apparently didn't want to lose to Orks. Pissed me off so much it became the worst victory I ever had, and consequently, the last time I ever played him.

  6. "3) Using Different Dice For Different Tests"

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by that. I'd have thought consistency was worth striving for. If I'm playing Warmachine, and I'm rolling hits and damage and location all in one (because there are no boosts available, and all the rolls are the same; charging infantry unit or something), surely establishing and sticking to "black dice hit, white dice damage, red dice location" is better than swapping it out the whole time? Or with deviation: "red's direction, blue's distance"? But that might not be what you mean.

    "5) Badgering The Opponent"

    Guilty as charged. Mostly I'm just being friendly but that stolid say-nothing-its-a-tournament playstyle brings out the worst in me and I can't stop myself from trying to throw it off. I find there's something weirdly antisocial about it...

    1. One of our local players has a specific pair of large metal dice that are only used for Leadership tests, never for saves or shooting. Why? Because they generally roll below average.

      That's what he means by using different dice for different tests, I believe.

    2. @Von

      I don't play Warmachine, so a specific mechanic there may justify a consistent approach. But if I'm playing 40K and I only roll my white dice for Leadership tests, then it's going to make my opponent wonder what I'm up to.

      From my old perspective, white dice are easy to put down next to a unit that needs to test later. That way I'm less likely to forget the test, because they don't blend in to the table. But now when I roll the actual test, I'll mix up the colors of the dice I actually roll. So that it doesn't cause suspicion.

  7. Hearing crap like 'I would have tabled you in one more round' from sore losers who want to annihilate/table you instead of going for the scenario win at tourneys. While not a cheat, it's badgering. I also whitnessed one 17 year old guy trying to freak out two new, young players (12?)at their first tourney, telling them his list would table them if they ever met. Almost grabbed him by the hair and made him apologize, was so pissed. I settled for telling him he was full of shit, correcting him on his misinformation about his Dark Angel's abilities and to put his guys on the table vs my 'weak' orks. He avoided them and myself for the remainder.

    1. I had a guy do that exact thing to me in a GW store last year I had just started 2 months before and was still learning (still consider myself to be learning) it was his Space Wolves Vs my Blood Angels and basically had a good close fought game but then the store had to close so it had to end. Which was OK with me it would end on a draw and I would take valuble learning from it, but our Space Wolves opponent begged the store manager for one more turn which he was granted and proceded to wipe out one of my squads then rub it in my face about a great victory on his part...ok I was 21 but it still made me feel like leaving the hobby, he spent most of the time before the battle telling me about all the abilities of this that and the other and how he had won this tourney and that.......these players are not good for the game at all

    2. No they're not. In fact, they're the reason I don't take part in tournaments at all anymore. Regardless of game system. I'd rather play in a nice, friendly campaign with my gaming buddies at the local club that play some-one who cares so much about winning they can't simply enjoy the game.

    3. Came across this site and with this thread thought I would chime in as well. I played a Tourney in Savannah, Georgia in 1999 (I will never forget this). I had to call ahead since I was flying in from Okinawa, Japan to visit my mother and wanted to try my hand at a real tourney. Everything seemed to be going alright other than those who were so apt at wanting to win they wouldn't even show their armies until the last minute and that is when I noticed some slight roster changes happening real quickly. I let this slide especially from a late 30's guy who was deliberately spreading his across the table to inconvenience the opposing player. Again I chalked it up to the nuances of this hobby and certain types of people. However, during the first 40 minutes of the tourney one of the guys on the other side of the room (20 tables) started raising his voice and got everyone's attention with his berating, cursing, and physical threats. Everyone had stopped playing at that point, and the guy was ignoring the judge and store owner complaining of his opponents lack of understanding the rules, which in his mind constituted cheating. I was having a hard time trying to see who his opponent was and out of curiosity started to walk over. After 5 tables I realized why I couldn't see him. It was an 9 year old kid named Chris (whom I later played and let win). At this point I will tell you I am a United States Marine and well my walk went to a very fast pace and I got right in the guys face and proceeded to tell him in a quiet calm manner that if he didn't pack his things and leave I was going to go to jail for what would happen to him. At about this time the kid's Father walked in, and so the moment. He asked what was happening with his son so nearby, and I explained the situation as the guy packed his army and left. As I said I later let the kid win (asked the judge if he could work it where I would play the kid). The kid had fun, I was awarded the Best Sportsman award and 2nd place for the Tourney. I have to say this stuff happens more often than not these days that I have observed, so I don't play tourneys anymore. If someone does the things mentioned here I politely forfeit the game and move on to another player or go home. It isn't worth my time and it's just a game.

  8. I've been told by some folks that the way I mark my deployment zone is cheating - I tend to mark a 12" deployment zone at 11" without saying anything. It really screws up people planning their exact moves on the first turn to get shots off with their 24" range models.

    How do you all feel about that?

    1. Doesn't sound like cheating to me. You're marking out the deployment area you want to place your figures in, NOT the officialy allowed deployment zone. It would be more sportsmanlike to inform you're opponent that you're using less than the allotted amount, mind you.

    2. I very rarely mark a deployment zone and almost never deploy at the edge of the allowed deployment zone. If someone asks if I deployed at the edge or how far in I deployed, I tell them, "You'll just have to guess.". I don't think that is unsportsmanlike since, in 40K at least, there is no pre-measuring.

  9. Don't forget the ever-present "Rules Confusion Defense". Many times I've seen players trying to use rules from previous editions of the game to their advantage (I wouldn't know, I began the game when the 5th ed starter set came out), and when caught, try to blame it on the rulesets becoming intermixed in their heads. Other times they flat-out remember their own army's rules incorrectly. Strangely, this always seems to be to their advantage rather than handicap...

    Easiest way to fix it is stick by your guns, whip out the rulebook (or army codex), and prove your point. Rules-lawyering sucks, and sometimes even is their intent (see 1: Deliberately Slow-Playing an Opponent), but don't let them play with a "modified" set of rules or you'll be screwed.

    I knew a tau player that was this way. He'd make all these rules up about certain wargear or situations, and since I had never encountered Tau before him, had little reason to question him. However, when some things did not sit right, I had him show me the rule in his codex. Turns out, the way he thought it was supposed to be played was not the way the rules were written. This cost me a few games with him at first, but I learned to question him thoroughly when things didn't seem right or reasonable. The best defense I had against him was knowing his codex better than he did. One time, he and a Dark Eldar (before the new codex) player nearly came to blows over this issue. Of course, the Dark Eldar player was almost as bad, hardly knowing the 5th edition rules at all, but it was primarily the "Rules Confusion" of the tau player that caused the most trouble. The result was that the Dark Eldar player rarely played 40k at all after his experience, soured by this attempt at cheating.

    Can't say I blame him.

    Arm yourself with knowledge. Everybody hates quoting The Art of War out of context, but really the best defense against this type of cheating is to know your enemy and know yourself.

    1. This. And also, there is some very, very strong temptation to do this yourself: ever heard of bolt horrors? They're pink horrors, but all of them have bolt of tzeentch. no? it's because they don't exist. which I didn't know for a couple games. very nasty think to deepstrike next to you. And the temptation... when I found out bolt horrors were illegal, I realized that nobody knows the daemon codex thoroughly enough to call me out. nobody. I could keep using this fire-dragon good scoring unit to screw over my opponent, and they would be none the wiser. "come on," Tzeentch whispered, "it's a bad codex anyways... you could use the help." I took the high road. Stopped using them. But it was very, very tempting to use them just one... more... time...


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