Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Tips for Speeding Up your Tournament Play

Today sees the introduction of another new segment - Throwback Thursday. This revisits a previous forum post, something that is still relevant or needs updating etc.

The first of these is "Tips for Speeding Up Tournament Play" which I first posted in late 2010.

At the time I noted that:

One of the greatest causes of annoyance for both tournament players and organisers are games that are not completed within the alloted timeframe. An unfinished game is enormously frustrating and can ruin both a player's enjoyment as well as distorting performance.

This is still relevant. People pay to attend an event with a set number of games and so it is important that they get what they play for. The last event I attended had five games and we finished four. In the fifth game we only got through four turns and that is ultimately un satisfying. 

All of us are guilty from time to time of relaxing into a game and not watching the time but I do feel that we owe it to our opponent to be organised in both approach and execution. What is important is that an unfinished game becomes a rarity. Nobody wants to be categorised as a slow player.

So here is the list of six things that I highlighted in the original blog post. All can help you speed up play and ensure you and your opponent feel you've had a "fair" contest:

1. Army Builder Have a copy of my list in Army Builder format. This has all the statistics related to my actual list so I don't need to look up basic stats in the middle of the game. There are now other tools e.g. Quartermaster that perform the same function.

2. Cheat SheetI have a cheat sheet for my army. On it the basic stats are repeated but there is also a copy of the misfire tables (important for Skaven), the range and spell rules of the spells I use plus a list of things I have to remember each turn. Prior to an event I update this to reflect the list I am using.

3. Gaming AidsMake sure you have dice and templates sufficient for your game. To this I now add the Battle Magic cards that cover your opponent's spells.

4. Time Management If you work on the basis that Pre-Game, Spell Generation, Deployment and Post-Game take approximately 30 minutes then both players are left with an hour each in a 2.5 hour game. That works out to about 10 minutes for each player turn. Some will be longer, some shorter but if you strive to an average 10 minutes for your turns then you should be right - Dwarfs of course should only take 5 minutes as they ignore both the Movement and Magic phases.

5. Practice When you play your non-tournament games adopt the same discipline. Get used to playing at speed so it becomes your normal habit.

6. Reputation is Important If things start going against don't slow down. There is nothing wrong or dishonourable fighting a rearguard action but there is in playing purposely slow. bad reputations are easy things to acquire, hard things to lose. Be mindful of that.

To this list I would now add another couple of items:

7. Army Choice If you err on the slow side then it is important time management extends to Army choice. You are probably better to play a three block Dwarf army rather than a 15 unit Orc & Goblin army with three mages using different Lores. You need to help yourself and play to your strengths and limit your weaknesses. 

8. Don't Be Afraid to Raise Issue if you realise that time is going to be a problem then raise the issue as early as practicable. This might be "We'll need to be mindful of time, an hour's gone and we haven't started Turn 2". Make it a shared problem even if it isn't. By sharing responsibility people are less likely to get defensive.

Like everybody I have my slow games where the time flies. To all my opponents - if you ever think I'm taking too long then put a rocket up me. I certainly won't begrudge it :-) and I hope 


  1. I think 8 is the most important. If there are concerns then they need to be raised early so that both parties can work to solve the problem. It's better to prevent together than assign blame at the end.

    Cheers. Jeff

  2. 9. Don't use a dice cup and tray...

  3. re etc point three.I remember playing you at NZTC last year and thought it was a great idea to have cards for all your opponent spells. Seemed to save a lot of time asking "what spells have you got left" "what does that do" etc


  4. 10. Seriously, DONT use a dice cup and tray.

  5. Oh I forgot

    9. Use a Dice Cup and Tray - Speeds things up no end

  6. I think I'll hide in a corner on this one.

    1. I don't know what everyone else's problem is... You and I have finished every game we've played, right on or before time... Must be their fault...

    2. Very true. We even had time for a half time cup of tea and a natter

  7. 11. Don't think so much
    12. Avoid tactics other than "march forward, smash smash, throw dice, remove models"
    13. Play Dwarfs

    1. 14. Seriously don't think so much, non-Dwarf players over complicate things