The Dice do not Abide, man: Modeling for Advantage
So over the weekend at KublaCon (which I still owe you guys pictures for), I was able to watch a 40k tournament that was going on there. For the most part, I saw some beautifully painted armies and great sportsmen, as with any tournament though, there were some people doing anything they could to "enhance" their skill by taking advantage of the way the rule system is written. At TheDiceAbide.com we like to think that we can play both competitively and fun. We don't feel there is need in questionable behavior, such as grading people down on comp to put them lower in the standings, modelling for advantage, or in general, any behavior that can be considered being a jerk. I think I speak for most of us when we say that we like to play a good competitive game where the best general comes out on top.
To kick off this new segment, "The Dice do not Abide, man," I'll be talking about Modelling for Advantage, what it is, and what you can do about it.
The basic idea behind modelling for advantage is taking a stock model and modifying/converting it in some way which benefits you, frequently quite a bit. Another, less common way, is to try and purchase smaller, dated versions of models which may be easier to hide, or grant cover to. Allow me to give some examples which I saw over the weekend.
The first was an Ork player, he had a pretty decent army list, and probably could have won with it just fine with a bit of practice. I was taking a look at his miniatures, which I always do because I love seeing other people's paint, and I noticed something, all of his models were from the current range, except his Trukks. Instead of the current and quite attractive trukks, the player used the older Gorkamorka miniatures. At first I thought nothing of it and gave him the benefit of the doubt, but after watching the guy play a bit, I noticed that he was using his converted (taller) warbikes to block LOS to the diminutive trukks behind them.
The second was a Tyranid player. He had quite a classic collection of miniatures, though I noticed a few curious things. First was that his cannon fodder troops were all using the most recent, larger miniatures. The second thing I noticed was his 2nd edition Hive Tyrant, as you have seen in my past articles, I use this miniature as a Tyranid Prime. I told him something along the lines of " I use that as a Tyranid Prime too," to which he responded that it was his Hive Tyrant and that he was sad that he didn't have enough time to convert it into his Swarmlord. I was a bit baffled, but I kept my comments to myself and watched the game. The player was using the very old plastic Space Crusade version of the Tyranid Warriors, which are as tall as the 2nd edition Tyrant to block LOS (comparison photo below). The player also had a brood of 3 zoanthropes, 2 old and 1 new, I'm not sure if it was for any advantage, but it was also suspicious, I didn't stick around him long enough to find out.
Now that we know what Modelling for Advantage is, what can you do about it? In a pick up game, it's pretty easy to tell the opponent to stuff it. In a competitive game though, the sad reality is, there isn't much you can do about it.
There aren't rules specifically written about the subject, other than base sizes, and if the base size is different, the rulebook says to make sure the opponent is okay with it. In a tournament setting, if you are sure that a player is blatantly doing this, I would bring it up to the tournament organizer, just to get their feedback on it. The other recourse you have available to your disposal is sportsmanship scoring. I don't normally like marking people down on sportsmanship, but this kind of behavior is exactly what that score is for. After the game, and after scores are recorded and turned in, it isn't a bad idea to tell your opponent why you made your decision, and if low sportsmanship scores are hurting them competitively, maybe they'll change their ways.
On that note, I leave you with this, the BEST LOS blocking conversion I've seen to date.
So what are your guys experience with this, and how did you deal with it? Think I'm totally wrong? Let me know your thoughts!