Don’t be a dick – Tabletop Wargames edition

@wilw said Don’t Be A Dick or, given it was aimed at online gaming, #dontbeadick. It’s even got it’s own day of celebration. Wheaton’s Law should make quite a simple change to online and/or social networks with a remarkably simple premise:

will wheaton dont be a dick

This article on Unremembered Legion has grabbed my attention, and much like Wheaton’s Law, it’s a simple premise.

It’s strongly worded and the idea is Don’t Be A Dick. The reference in the article is “That Guy” and we all know or have played a game against them.
At this point, the discerning reader will not see mention of any particular game system. The idea comes back to basic courtesy, manners and respect that should extend to all games. Warhammer, Warmahordes, Infinity, Monopoly, Mah-jongg, pretty well anything that there’s an opponent. Except for Risk. That game … well, it’s a great way to start a fight!

The biggest problem seems to be that it’s a hobby and it should be enjoyable. The way that you enjoy your hobby can be entirely different to the way that your opponent does. Your opponent may enjoy “baby seal clubbing”, “min/maxing” and “power gaming” but that doesn’t mean that you have to. The gaming experience is a two way street and it’s about you enjoying it as much as your opponent. You may be a nice guy with a well thought out list that is competitive and is well presented (in the case of tabletop war games) but if you’re not ultra-competitive and go in hard, you may well find yourself being uncompetitive and not placing. Winning isn’t everything, of course, it’s still a game with a winner and a loser. It’d be nice to be the winner without having to be “That Guy”.

I did have a massive rant prepared about composition, sportsmanship and presentation. However, the original article promoted a response on social media from a mate that went along these lines:

… for me its kind of frustrating… as a TO of an event that has Sportsmanship and Comp… the hardest part is everyone wants that old culture… but instead of going to events and supporting that want, peoplw quit the hobby… when I came into the tournament scene in the very EARLY 2000’s there was etiquette and leaders… people who weren’t ‘that guy’, these ‘leaders’ turned their backs on the tournament scene… and the scene took new leaders who want to dreadsock each other… makes it hard to instill values when the leaders would rather quit than go…. id also add that one big change has been quality of TO…
Anyways…. it gone now
Its also pointless complaining about something people WON’T change…

It’s gold, right there.

At the crux of the issue is that there has been a shift in the culture itself, the tournament scene (in Melbourne particularly) was about etiquette and the leaders who weren’t “That Guy”. Now, a lot of those “leaders” have turned their back on the game and the tournament scene and that has created a vacuum that has been filled. Filled by “That Guy”.

Some players quit because the GW prices were out of control, the game system was broken, or just that life changed and competitive wargaming was not as much of a priority. It’s justified because it’s still a hobby and it’s supposed to be enjoyable: When it’s no longer enjoyable, you stop playing.

In years gone, I was a tournament player and my chosen game was Warhammer 40000. The whole range of GW games was never designed to be a competitive rule set and the broken combinations, rules holes and general ass-hattery got out of control quickly. Whilst there was an old guard against this, “That Guy” would be gently encouraged to amend their ways or encouraged to go and play something else.

Interestingly, the responsibility for the outbreak of “That Guy” also comes back to the tournament organisers. If they run events that encourage “Dreadsocking”, it continues to build the toxic culture.

“It’s also pointless complaining about something people WON’T change” rings very true. We all hate playing “That Guy” and the fucktardery that it entails, so why aren’t we doing something about it? Where are the old values of etiquette, respect and sportsmanship? None of us have changed that much, have we?

It’s up to us, the players, to reclaim our tournament scene. Remember “Wheaton’s Law”.

I propose an international movement back to the gentlemanly pursuit of wargaming where respect and etiquette stand hand in hand with friendly competition

We are playing with TOY SOLDIERS! Your house, your family and the stability of the universe as a whole does not ride on the result of any one game or tournament. Step back, take a deep breath and relax!

So, I hear you ask, what can I do?

Reclaim your tournaments! Start rebuilding the culture; band together with a bunch of like-minded individuals and do something about it!

Print out a series of cards with the above picture on it and give them to “That Guy” when you see them in action. Call them on it publically.

I tell you what, drop me an email and I will SEND you the cards to hand out! Seriously.

#dontbeadick and reclaim your hobby!

Links: – The original article that inspired the movement