Friday, January 9, 2009

Preparing for a Tournament

Preparing for a Tournament:

There comes a time in every gamer’s life when they feel the strange urge to leave their comfortable den of gaming and venture out to find new competition. To most gamers this means but one thing… Tournaments! In this article I hope to give you some general advice on how to prepare for an upcoming tournament whether you are a new to the scene or just need some general advice for the next upcoming tournament.

Pre- Tournament:

Some of the things to consider when signing up for a tournament are:
What army are you taking?
Have you practiced enough with said army?
How many points is the tournament?
Are there any special rules that might be in effect?
Do I have enough painted?

These are some important questions to ask yourself before you sign into the tournament. I would suggest an army you are comfortable with as you will know the full extent of the armies’ abilities and will not have to venture to the rulebook/codex in order to figure out abilities.

*Though as a side note there is nothing more exciting than starting an army from scratch for a specific tournament.

If you do not have enough practice for your army play some different scenarios with your group. Not only will this spice up regular gaming but also slowly train your ways of thinking with the army you have chosen to be a bit more versatile when it comes to tactical thinking.

Low and behold the days loom near and you open your mini case to find out all those nights spent doing ‘other projects’ resulted in you not finishing your army. Usually what happens in this stage is a couple of all nighters trying to make you army look perfect, basing them with exotic materials and writing words no one can possibly read on their armor.

The best advice I can honestly give you is just because you do not get tons of minis accomplished in one sitting doesn’t mean that painting night was a failure. It’s understandable that most people do things besides the hobby, we go out, watch movies, play video or computer games and so forth. Try and set a simple goal for yourself, maybe today you only paint the base color of the miniatures, tomorrow you do all of one color and so on.

This method of painting when applied to batches of miniatures is known as assembly line painting. By applying this method you are saving time by painting groups of miniatures in a relatively small amount of time, but we will talk more about that in it’s respective article.

Tournament Day:

You are already showered possibly had some breakfast in you and are standing on the registration line. Some important things to ponder while you wait are: did you bring enough dice? Where are your rulebooks and/or codexes? Is there extra glue? Because accidents will happen eventually and finally do you think you have enough energy to spend anywhere between 6-8 hours gaming.

Most people would think they could handle that many hours of gaming and even more but it’s not quite as easy as it seems. Some things to consider are: you will be standing on your feet for most if not all of those hours. You will be constantly hunched over pushing models. You have to be alert to almost every dice roll and let’s not forget to turn on the brain today at every turn you are making decisions and hopefully thinking ahead of what can happen in game.

My suggestions to try and slow exhaustion are: Drink water instead of soda or an energy drink, for although they might help you by giving you a ‘boost’ you will eventually crash when the boost goes away and be even more tired. If you ate breakfast (and I hope you did) don’t stuff your face at the buffet because a couple of hours later when the tournament organizers are calling for tables/time you might be stuck on the john regretting it. Eat something light and take some fruits or cereal with you as a snack in between rounds. You can eat a feast fit for a king once the tournament is over and you are discussing the results with friends over dinner.

Important Things to Remember:

-Always keep your eye on the objective! Whether it’s a hill or a mountain full of corpses always remember that though your army might get pounded to dust holding onto “Outpost 5” with an odd unit can mean victory.

-Know the rules to your own army, it is not up to the opponent to remind you of every single rule of YOUR army. Sure some people will remind you but often times people are so caught up trying to remember a plethora of things that they might forget.

-Resolve a rules dispute in a calm manner. This can’t be said enough not only because it shows you are a good sport and willing to hear your opponents view of the rules. But also if there is sportsmanship scores in the tournament arguing or getting loud could lose you a few points. All else fails just call a judge and say that you weren’t exactly sure how it is ruled and your group plays it differently. Don’t make a big fuss and don’t call your opponent a liar no one wants to be “that guy” at a tournament. Trust me.

-Watch the clock. Time literally tends to fly between greeting your opponent, reading the mission and deployment you would be surprised how much time is used up. Complete all your turns in a timely matter and if your opponent is taking too long politely hint that the round will be over at a certain time and that you can’t wait to take that break in between rounds.

-Have fun! The most important thing to remember! Though you are in a tournament remember that you play with toy soldiers in order to relax not to suffer a brain aneurysm.

Those are but a few suggestions that most players will know somewhat but sometimes fail to practice when the big day comes. It’s easy to get caught up in life and forget some of these simple but effective guidelines that can make your tournament experience both fun and rewarding.

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