Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cheaters - Why do they do it?

Well the short answer is because we let them...

Last weekend I played at the Conquest Seattle Slaughter; the first of the new GW Tournament Circuit. This happened to be my 30th GT since 1999 when I played my first at the same location (and on the same weekend IIRC).
This was the second year of this particular event, and by far a huge improvement over last year's. Yes, there were some "drama Llamas" out there over the club that had been scheduled to run it pulling out at the last minute (2 weeks "notice"), but the organizers pulled an excellent team together, and they worked on terrain for 2 weeks solid (one guy put in over 100 hours alone) and made the show work. I had a great time, and I look forward to next year's event (I'll blog my games when I have more energy).

Now those of you who read my blog (on the infrequent times I update it...) may recall last years write up and the shit-storm over the play-what-you-display issue. Now, I'll be the first to agree that this was not a breach of the rules per se. There is no such rule (well there is now!), but damn it was a thrashing of the spirit of our hobby, and as we English are fond of saying - it was not cricket (!).

The same guy was back this year. Predictably of course - he came second last year, and was gunning for a trip to Vegas. This is a going to be an on going problem with the way GW has designed this Circuit - everyone wants to kick ass... but I digress.

Once it was known he was playing there was a collective groan, and there was even a move to have him blocked from the event. We all knew going into the gaming room what his reputation was, and everyone pretty much dreaded a match up against him (I both dreaded and wanted one!). Well it turned out he played true to his nature. Comments about bad sportsmanship, whining when models were removed, slow play, pre-measurement - these were all in abundance all weekend. And lo and behold, at the end of day Sunday he walks off with the Overall Championship - and that treasured spot in Vegas.
Few applause, no hand shakes from enthusiastic buddies, no "well done mate!"...
So I hear a "WTF?" from you... yeah me too... I did not get to play him, and as all my games went to turn 5 or 6 I did not get chance to see the games. But others did... and they video taped it!

One of those videos can be found here, there is also a good commentary by the videographer here.

It is obvious from this footage that the player did cheat. You know what really got my goat about this? He scored 47/50 on Sportsmanship... yeah the same as ME. Me, who has won 4 GT Sportsmanship awards, who owns up to his mistakes openly, politely calls all his opponents on errors and scores his opponents fairly. FRAK.

So how did he get away with it - for all FIVE games. The opponents let him. Simple.
They. let. him.

Either they were scared of him (he is a big guy), or they did not want their scores affected by him sandbagging (chipmunking) them, or they were too stupid to realize the implications (which I doubt in this case). But either way, no one had the balls to stand up for what is right in the game - fair play.

Now some will argue that the Judges should have intervened. Well, firstly no one told them about it until after the fact. Secondly, note their role - Judges - not one of 3 Referees in a Soccer game, not one of 5 (?) in an NFL game looking for infractions, or even 3 in an NHL game. A Judge, who weighs evidence presented to them, and makes a decisions based on that evidence. Let's face it, in a room of 60 active tables, you can not have 60 "referees" watching the games. It is beholden upon the players to do something about it.

Complaining (even legitimately) after the fact is too late folks.

As a result of these videos, and player discussion, a tourney organizer has taken the bold step of banning the player in question. I applaud this, however, the Seattle GT has been sullied by this player (and I hope he gets beat down badly when he plays in Vegas, 'cos I know some of the guys who play at that level well, and they will NOT tolerate his BS!) two years in a row.

Will it ever recover its reputation as one of the best on the circuit? I played in the first 5 GTs that were held in Seattle, and of the first 20 or so I played in they were the best. I hope it does. But that will take a shift - a shift in the attitude of players; stand up for the hobby! A shift in organizer's attitudes - be willing to ban a bad player. And an education for this individual in the wrongness of what he has done to our hobby.

I hope I can be a part of all three of those "shifts".
Because I love this hobby.


  1. Great post Jason.

    Watched that vid and my mouth dropped when he moved the warp spiders. I call people for that kind of p-taking in casual games but in a tourney I'd be calling a judge over if a player questioned me calling him on it and kept doing it.

    With a player like that the first time I saw him do any dodgy movement I'd pull him up and tell him he had to measure each models movement from the base.

    There's playing fast and loose when playing casually, which I'm cool with, but playing in a tourney like he was is just taking the p.

    I presume pre-measuring was fine too otherwise I'd have slammed him for that right from the get-go.

    I can see why some players get worked up about tourney players if that's what they meet at a tourney.

    One bad apple spoils the rest.

    A tourney experience against him would give a bad feeling to his oppo even if the majority of tourney players are actually great fun to play against.

  2. Well said doc, as I have heard a number on this person over multiple forums I am glad I was not there. It saddens me that people just post 6 every game, and in turn when I run event I watch them. I watch and see if every game was a 6 because no way in hell is every game I play a 6.

  3. Jason,

    I watched the video and its pretty unreal, Its pretty clear to me (and has been) that the 40K tourney scene needs an enema and flushing this guy would be a good start, followed getting rid of the stupid sportsmanship point giveaways (as you so clearly point out,) in favor of a good game/bad game vote system-
    Not that fantasy is a ton better, but tougher sports scoring and Composition have a tendency to keep out guys like this pushing into less restrictive environments where then can get away with blatant cheating. Here's to better luck and an honest game...hope we get a chance to chat at Adepticon!

  4. I can't believe it has come to video surveilance. I haven't watched the commentary, but yeah premeasuring was in evidence, also moving the front model the X inches than rear models overlapping the front model... Also he just seemed to bump things around a lot.

    At the local tourney (Mini-Astro Van) this weekend, ie Yesterday. Lee thought my first opponent cheated just plain made up a rule that didn't exist in the Eldar Codex. I still fought him to a draw as I kept making my armour saves, I told him to get a real power weapon... Anyway I also noticed that he didn't do his wound allocation by the book as he did a split charge with his Seer Council so he could charge my landraider and the guys who had gotten out of the landraider, then later when my guys wouldn't die the Farseer and Autarch seemed to have magically rejoined the squad. It honestly didn't matter, we fought to a draw, no worries from me.

    But yeah I said right away that tournies would see an increase in competative players from out of town especially as Vegas draws closer.

    I just gotta shut up and paint. I totally don't worry about the other guy when it comes to scoring. You know me I almost never give out perfect scores.

  5. That blew my mind - it made my nose bleed.

    I'm not a seasoned 40K player, I don't pretend to know all the rules and still make mistakes and forget stuff. I am appreciative of people pointing out mistakes I have made and if I know they are right, I'll make the correction. If I'm not sure, I'll look it up for my own education there and then and discuss the rule in a professional and courteous manner with my opponent. If I made a mistake, mea culpa.

    Likewise, if I know an opponent has made an error or if I see something which I don't think is correct I'll point it out or ask about it. If I'm right I'll consider it closed and carry on with the game, and if I'm wrong I'll put it down to self-education, consider the matter closed and carry on with the game. But by gum if I see crap like that being pulled I'll be pressing the judge button.

    I'm not an academic learner - I can't sit and read a codex or rulebook and take it all in. I learn by vocation. Each game I play, I learn a little more, especially if I haven't got the opponent's codex.

    I don't enter tournaments to win prizes. Just to mix it up and meet new people and learn how to be a better player. Not necessarily a more competitive player, but one who is more likely to make the game more enjoyable for all concerned.

    I have yet to compete in a tournament of this magnitude, but it certainly makes me more wary of what my opponents will be doing at Trumpeter this March. I would hate to think that I have to be suspicious about every move an opponent is making. Ruins the enjoyment of the game for me.

    I only had a 5 cent piece - can I have 3 cents back?

  6. Doc,

    I completely agree with you, and that video was appalling. I do have to say though, it is up to his opponent to call out all the pre-measuring, slow-playing, and mis-measuring that was going on there. Not that it makes the actions right, but nobody in 5 games said anything to him? This issue should have been resolved in Game 1, not after the tournament.

    That being said, if I have already lost a game, I don't really care that much about being uber competitive and I would let a lot of that stuff go (although maybe not to the extent that this guy was doing it). But if this guy "won" the tournament, I really cannot believe nobody said anything to him.

    Looking forward to seeing you at Adepticon this year! Who knows, maybe we will get a matchup!