Are you new to tournament gaming, or not sure if it is the right fit for you? Do you want suggestions on how to have the maximum possible enjoyment form the event or are looking for suggestions on how to prepare? Have no fear, our own team member Tony Guidotti of Turn 7 Wargaming has compiled a list of tips to help give you an edge over the competition and some methods to make sure you have the best experience you can at the Renegade Open.
Why should you play in a tournament?
There are lots of reasons people play in Warhammer tournaments. Some people enjoy the social aspect, others like showing off their hobby skills and seeing the conversions and paint jobs of others, and of course some people enjoy the competitive side of the game. I personally enjoy crunching numbers, making lists, and trying out new tactics against exciting opponents. No matter why you like wargaming, tournaments are the best, and most fun, way to experience it.
What should I bring?
- Your army. Duh.
- A copy of your list for yourself, the TO, and each of your opponents. See below for more information.
- Dice. See below for more information.
- A rulebook from the current edition of play, any codex you are making use of in either your primary or allied detachments, a printed copy of the most recent general game FAQ and a FAQ for every army used in both your primary and allied detachments.
- Hydration and a snack. See below for more information.
- Medication. Does standing all day make your back hurt? Does thinking to hard give you a headache? Bring whatever medication you will need to have the best day possible.
- Two tape measures. I always bring two because between opponents forgetting and mine breaking, they get more use than you think.
- All three game templates. It doesn’t matter if your army uses them of not, you want to have them in case your opponent forgot theirs. This prevents you from having to harass another table to borrow one. I would also highly suggest a tactical template (1”, 2”, 4” and 6” measurements) as they greatly speed the game up. The Gale Force 9 version is most popular, but you can also order them from our event sponsor Applied Perspective for only $5.99. I also suggest a way to mark exploded vehicles. Terrain Foundry produces great ones cheap, but psychic cards work great too.
- Two pens (or pencils if you prefer.)
- A way to carry your army. See below for more information.
- Comfortable clothes. See below for more information.
What should my printed list look like?
There are many preferences out there about how a typed list should look. My own personal preference is for lists that are written ‘in your own words.’ While programs like Army Builder are detailed, they are hard to read quickly before a tournament. Simply list each unit in your army on their own line. Include the number of models, the unit cost, and any options or upgrades you have selected. The job of your list is to give a clear and concise description of your force, so aim to have those two adjectives as your goal. Also, your lists MUST be typed. No one wants to try and decipher messy hand writing. Also, not everyone knows the same abbreviations, so do not use them on your list (I.E. write lash whip and bone sword instead of LS/BS)
What is so special about my dice?
There are lots of types of dice out there. Personally I use regular Chessex cube dice (including original 36 dice I bought a decade ago) rather than going out and buying casino and precision dice. Not only are they cheap, but because of their light weight and small size I don’t need to worry about them knocking over models or taking up too much space while rolling. The most important thing with dice though is that they are easy to read. The dice I use are purple with white pips and white with black pips. Even if my opponent is at the opposite end of the table they can read them. While marbled dice or transparent dice may look cool, they are impossible to read. Be a fair sport for your opponent and bring something that is easy to see. As for dice with vanity sides (such as a skull instead of a six), remember to have all the vanity sides be the same number on the dice (typically ‘1’ or ‘6’). I honestly can’t stand the use of these dice, but if you do enjoy using them I would suggest as you are about to roll for the first time with them (for example while determining table side) explain to your opponent which side has the symbol on it. This will lead to a more amicable game.
Make sure you have enough dice for your army. You should not need to roll your sixteen storm bolter shots in two batches because you only have twelve dice. I would give 36 as a minimum for the amount of dice you carry.
To determine if a dice is cocked, my rule of thumb is to place another D6 on top and see if it balances with all concurrent sides parallel. IF the dice can’t stay on top them it needs to be rerolled. In the same vein, I also have a personal rule that I suggest to opponents when the issue arises that any dice that is off the table (even if just on the side board) that is off the table must be rerolled. This prevents conflicts that arise due to inconsistency.
Pro tip: Pick up failed dice rolls rather than successful ones. This allows your opponent to inspect your rolls and makes in not look like you are cheating.
Why would I worry about hydration while gaming?
Being on your feet, talking, laughing, and drinking is thirsty work. Drinking lots of water is a must if you want to feel great all day long. I also bring a snack for times when I get hungry between rounds and don’t have time to go to the restaurant and get regular food. I personally carry jerky in my army case as I don’t need to worry about it going bad.
How should I transport my army between rounds?
Using your foam and carrying bag just doesn’t cut it at big tournaments. Having to pack and unpack your army greatly slows down games. Having a tray also gives you a place to reset your army between games, long before you find out your next table. I use a large catering tray with a smaller restaurant tray on top to carry my army as it gives me a height difference between my models and my other gaming supplies. Many others use TV dinner and lap trays to move their armies. Cookie sheets work great to. Just make sure you have something.
What should I wear?
The two rules of thumb are layers and good shoes. Layers are great because you can adjust your own temperature rather than being at the whims of the venue. Shoes are a key ingredient to not having your knees and back murder you. I know very few people who can play a full day of games in flip-flops. Get some tennis shoes an equivalent with good arch support. I even have thicker socks with better arch support for tournament days.
When should I show up?
Thirty minutes before the end of registration. This will give you time to rectify any mistakes in your list found by the TO, unpack your army, as well as talk to fellow gamers.
What kind of army wins tournaments?
Armies like yours win tournaments. Time and time again I see armies that are deemed uncompetitive, that are too outdated or are not optimized, placing at the top of tournaments. Rather than worry about what is in your list I think there are two factors they all have in common. 1) The players playing them know their armies. It cannot be stressed enough how beneficial it is to know your army. This applies to both to its rules as well as how your units interact with each other. 2) The players want to play the army. Even players who min/max and spend hours doing math-hammer have an internal reason for why they play the army. This could be your army theme (I like monstrous creatures, so my Tyranids are Nidzilla), wanting a challenge (Reece and his foot Eldar in 5th edition come to mind), or even just specific units that you really enjoy (I made my Chaos less efficient by adding a Soul Grinder just because I like the model). Play your army the way you like, because that is how you will have fun.
Tony’s Pro Tips For You
- Keep track of the missions. I use a D8 to measure track the game turn we are on, and then use dice above and below it to track my opponent and I’s progress toward securing the objectives. This is a great way to not lose site of the mission. There are countless times I had less than ten models left but won because I was playing the mission and killed their troops but nothing else.
- Always ask questions. If there is any doubt in your mind as to anything then ask your opponent. Not only will you be able to better make decisions in the game, but you will quickly learn more about other armies and opponents think.
- If your opponent and you are having a conflict, bring it up as soon as it is an issue. Waiting until after the game or a few turns in only sews the seeds of conflict and can lead to hard feelings down the line.
- Know your army. This was said earlier, but it goes beyond just tactics and synergy, but literally have practiced using your models. It took practice to get used to flyers. I never bring my horde Orks to events because I know I have not gotten used to moving 180 models quickly yet. This includes also being physically being familiar with the squads. You should be able to look at a models and based on either its paint job or modeling job be able to know what squad it is in. For example, in a recent game I had 3 units of plague zombies in one combat, but because each unit is clearly marked we could quickly progress through combat.
- Make friends. Warhammer is a social game. There are lots of cool people like you at tournaments, so you should make some friends. A large portion of the people I hang out with are people I met gaming, and lots of others talk about one of their favorite parts of traveling to tournaments being getting to see friends for other tournaments. So break out of your shell and meet somebody new!