Some of the differences of atmosphere between a tournament and open gaming include:
- Much larger crowds (Rogue Trader Tournaments seem to always fill the game stores past "comfortable" levels)
- A "festival" atmosphere as there is so much to see and do (armies to drool over, forms to fill out)
- During a game, a rigorous focus on the play at hand. In part due to time, and in part due to importance in the tournament
- That rigorous focus also translates to an increased intolerance to any perceived lack of focus such as wandering off for snacks or to see how a buddy is doing at his table
- Socializing with your opponent is usually fine and a great deal of the fun, just don't allow it to delay the game
-Have fun. If your playing your fun army, remember its a "fun" army, some people come with their "list o'death", just enjoy the game. Pick an army that you like the models and know that can do well. Make sure it has a great amount of Long range fire power (both anti-armour and anti horde), close combat capabilities and mobliiy to gain objects and table sides. In essence a 'balanced list'.
-Always check the army list requirments. Occassionly you are allowed 1 unit you can switch in and out with another.
-Read the rules and FAQs and know them better than the back of your hand, constant flipping through books will not only annoy your opponent, but also significantly slow down the game...you can theoretically lose because of running out of time at the last moment yet still have the superior force on the table.You don't need to know every rule, but time is precious and if you have to go search your codex each time to move a unit, then I am becoming unhappy.
-Have background fluff as it will often be used to justify army composition
-WYSIWYG, to avoid as much confusion as possible, model it as it is; failing that always explain before the match starts any peculiarities ("the power mace is a thunder hammer because the piece broke and I have no glue")
-When you lose, ask your opponent to critique your playing or your list. You didn't lose on accident, they can likely tell you how to step it up for next time
-If you play multiple tournaments, be prepared to make changes to accomodate your evolving play style.
-After a lot of play, you will be associated with your army,i.e. 'that guy with the Iyanden Force', or '2 Chaplain Blood Angels army', or 'Deathskull Speed Freaks dude'.
- Play the army before the tournament. Play somehow, and some way. If you have new speeders then you want the experience of watching them shot down by basic troops enough times to learn how to use them effectively BEFORE you get to the tournament. Know your army.
-Play the scenario you receive. Each game is different and its not all about just blowing up the enemy. Battle points are not the most important factor, but if you are serious then you should know what you need to do to get the most points befoe turn one in each game.
-Bring a well-painted army. The first victory on the battlefield occurs before any dice are rolled - when you and your oppenent see each other's armies for the first time. If your army looks better than his, you have the edge already.
-Finish painting the army a couple days before the event at least otherwise you will be in a panic.
-Get rest the night before (eg, don't stay up all night painting). Playing your best in three fast-paced games in one day will push your mental endurance to the limit.
- Likewise, eat well before hand and avoid the candy and soda - when your blood sugar drops, your brain gets the brunt of the effect first.
- High Protein snacks to avoid the crash from suger snacks
- Always be clear on what dice you are rolling and for what. Oh, and don't pick them up beofre your opponent can see them, it looks shonky.
- Be prepared to meet all kinds of people, fitting all kinds of stereotypes...
- Be polite to your opponent, treat them as if they're your girlfriend's parents or something. Shake their hand, introduce yourself clearly, and try to remember their name.
- It can get quite intimidating sometimes. Every tournament I've been to, people seperate into groups, whether they're from clubs or if they just know each other from somewhere, so it pays to know someone beforehand to prevent any awkwardness. If not, it's quite handy to attempt to talk to people whom you've played in the earlier rounds, find out how they've gone and such. In short: get to know the people there. This may be a competition, but it's a very social game.
- As a general rule: if it's likely to cause an arguement, avoid it. This includes things like rule bending/nitpicking, double standards, etc. Similarly, it always pays to figure out possible rules problems before the game; for example, the height of a particular terrain object, or a possible grey area in your army's rules.
- Go over all terrain before hand, and it effects on models on foot and vehicles.
- If your army has special rules, go over them before the game. Not everyone has every codex and no one like surprises.
- Bring the toughest, fluffy army you can make. If you are in the US try to not to go overboard with the worst choices. (Siren Prince, Saim-Hann army with 18 Vypers with Starcannons etc.)
- As a general rule you want an army that is good at killing MEQs (Marines or Equivalents) which are your most common opponents.
- Make a check off list and check off your items and your army before leaving.
- Don't expect to win your first tournement. Mostly you will get your butt kicked, but you will learn a lot that will help you win future tournament.
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