Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Spirit of the Game" Redux

I always like to pick at a scab so I’m going to revisit a couple of posts from earlier in the month on the “Spirit of the Game”. My treatise was that there were some things that I wouldn’t do regardless if they were legal because they weren’t in the spirit of how I (note- it’s all about me, my wants and desires) think the game should be played. These things aren’t illegal; rather they take advantage of rule mechanisms rather than tactics or strategy to gain an advantage.

I am revisiting the subject after listening to a podcast earlier in the week and a guest outlining how he was getting his army tournament-ready. The player in question was using Dark Eldar and in his description of how he went about things there were three aspects that made me raise an eyebrow

The first was in relation to how he moved on his Raiders. The player indicated he moved them on sideways so they could move the max distance he wanted and then he pivoted them at the end of the move. He said because of the shape of the model, long and thin, it gave him an extra 2” to his move making first turn assaults more likely.

The second instance concerned his expensive HQ selection. Here it had been physically constructed so it could be hidden behind GW’s Webway Portal. This conjures up images of crouching wraithlords. Yes, true line of sight is the rule but for mine it in itself is not a mechanism to be exploited.

His third questionable tactic was the deployment of the Webway Portal. Here he deployed it in terrain cover with just the smallest fraction outside of the terrain. By having at least part outside the terrain and he could bring on units so they didn’t have to move through difficult/dangerous terrain but gained all the benefits of having the Portal in cover.

Now all these are probably legal. I haven’t checked but I’m pretty sure that this guy would have his facts straight. However to me, they all fall off my moral compass. That means “I” wouldn’t do them personally, mainly because when the rules writers sat down to put the game together “I” don’t think that these would be their intention.

In all instances I struggle to see them as tactical prowess rather they are exploitation of rules mechanisms. To me things like linked combats etc are clever play, these just seem desperate.


  1. I agree entirely, Pete.

    Regardless of legality, if I played someone behaving like this, I would not be impressed. He's trying too hard.

    But then, I could never handle flying a Bloodthirster butt-first at the enemy either...

  2. for #1 the section on vehicle movement is fairly sparse, but does say tha pivoting a vehicle about it's center is specifically NOT concidered movement. I hate that personally as well but I can't find anywhere that's not specifically banned.

    #2 doesn't actually strike me (in his specific example) as egregious as a crouching wraithlord (or even better a "tunnelling trygon" where only the torso peaks off the base). TBH Dark Eldar figures are pretty short to begin with and the webway portal is pretty tall, but the spirit is certainly not there.

    #3 I have NO problems with whatsoever. It's a simple fact of area terrain. In my mind it's the same as assaulting a unit that has a member with it's base on the edge or over the edge of the piece of cover. If you plan your assault right, making sure 1 of your models is in range of the assault but the rest are out and you reach that 1 model without doing a difficult terrain test (because you aren't crossing it to get to that model the opponent has left out in the open) then you don't get the penalties for assaulting.

    Which is exactly why you have to be careful when you're terrain not to allow it to happen.

    I guess the above assault example could be seen as exploiting a weakness in the rules as well. I just got used to it as it's so common around here.

  3. Blaise, the whole point of #1 is that it isn't explicitly against the rules, but that it is just exploiting a loophole in the way the rules are written, in a way that is quite obviously against the 'Spirit of the Game'.

    As to #2, the webway portal is 1.5" tall at it's peak, so I'd expect most models to be able to be seen over it as almost all models are around this height or taller. Even the DE ones are that tall.

  4. 1.5" tall? I thought it was like the vortex grenade in apocalypse. I stand corrected then, that's definitely cheesey.

  5. It is the same of the vortex grenade I think, but since that's 3" across, isn't it only 1.5" tall, or is it not a perfect hemisphere? My bad if I got mixed up ;)

    I still think it's dodgy to convert you models to make them smaller for any in-game benefit though

  6. Actually, here's the perfect picture to give people an idea:

  7. If you were to make a character out of a normal warrior, or even use the stock Archon with a plastic warrior head then yes the webway portal is tall enough to hide behind with no conversion needed. The figure in the linked image is quite tall and is on a tall scenic base.