Monday, October 1, 2012

There is Such a Thing as a “Bad Win”

Example of a Bad Win.

by Rich K.

OK, I had a super crappy set of games on Saturday.  Two loses and one win.  The win is where I have the problem.

I learned that I should be more careful who I play against.  Some one I play against regularly (and beats me consistently), who is a good player and writes very good lists, tends to play less for mutual fun and more to destroy everyone he comes in contact with.  That's just his play style.  I knew this going into the game, so it’s mostly my fault.  But, fielding 21 Terminators as Troops may be a bit overboard against a sometime-player such as myself.

Also, I didn’t find out until midway into the first game that he was testing his tournament list, which strikes me as odd because I’m not all that great of a player.  He should be testing vs other higher skill players… certainly not me.  So on game 1 I got destroyed.

Being who I am, I wanted a second crack at him because I did make some dumb mistakes in game 1.  This second game, though I made less tactical mistakes, went poorly, too.  2/3’s of my army was dead on turn 3.  This was a worse whipping than game 1.  I conceded at that point as I’d only killed 3 or 4 of his models.

I think these losses were due to four things:
  1. The bland CSM codex.  “All Space Wolves get Counter-Attack at no extra cost?!!  They can field Terminators as Troops?!!  WTF?!!”
  2. My rolling, which was horrendous: one roll of 8 dice yielded the following numbers: 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4.  I needed 5’s to score a hit.  This happens to me a lot because I'm a cursed roller.  Yahtzee!
  3. His rolling, which is typically like this: 5, 6, 6, 6.  (With Rending!)  Experts agree, he is a blessed roller.
  4. My being a mediocre player.
This brings me to game three and the point behind this post.  He offered to write up a CSM list and play me again.  So, he duplicates his previous list (lots of Termies and minimum troops) just with CSM rules.  I declined the game… why repeat?  I already know that my army isn't good against that many Terminators.

He comes back with a list more in line with mine: actual troops, 1 HQ, some Havocs, nothing special.  He’s a far better player, but at least I felt I may have a chance at a win.

The rub here is that by turn 2 I knew he was letting me win.  For some reason this really pisses me off.  I was considering quitting the game as it was, in essence, meaningless.

I am vocal when things go poorly, which is a bad habit taught to me by XBOX Live, I know.  I don't freak out, mind you, but I will let my frustration peep out.  I try not to let that part of me effect the game, but I know it does.  I’ll curb that better in the future.

That said, as of last Saturday I really think that there is no point in playing this player ever again.  Mostly because I’ll always have the question in the back of my mind “did he let me win this time, too?”  It also calls into question my one previous win against him (a win that until this last weekend, I was quite proud of), which makes me even angrier.  My behaviour then was in line with a close game of average rolling.

I don’t mind getting beaten at a game, I let things go in a matter of minutes, typically.  I’ll try to keep my mouth shut when the rolls go badly in an all-day way, I promise.  I also don’t mind, too much, the current lack of depth in the CSM codex.  After all, I hadn't switched to GK, yet.  But, never, ever, let a player win*.  That’s just insulting, discouraging, and robs any past or future victory of any meaning.

I’m doing my best to beat you, you should do your best to beat me.  If I lose, so be it.

Later Edit:

Am I being a dumb-ass here?  I know list building is part of trying to win but his competition list just wasn't going to fail against mine.  I had no way to deal with that many Termies.  (How do you deal with that many Terminators, anyway?)

I just can't figure out why this bothers me so much.  He was trying to be nice, after all.

*That excludes small children and absolute N00bs, of course.


  1. Rich, I know how you feel!! I'm more a hobby person like dynamic miniatures with decent paint jobs. I'm also not a big min max person, also a believer in WYSIWYG. This doesn't spell out well for me in game terms, does my captain look cool?? Hell yes he does does that combiplasma with a power weapon look cool?? Yes does he do well against terminators hell no!! My rolling also mimics yours, my last outing I had Death company, with a chaplin. On a charge into close combat had like 45 to 50 attacks on nob bikers. I rolled when the dust settled I had 9 hits!!!! Of those 9 hits 3 wounded which he failed, but then got his FnP rolls and passed. He then went on to wiped out my whole unit!!! Because my dice thought we were playing Yahtzee!!! Do I get pissed yes but I have fun. I'm currently like 0-8-1 record with my space marines, yet to have won a game.

    1. Yeah, Ellis, I have very little issue with the losing, because that's on me. It's the fake win that really bothered me for some reason.

      During that second game I focus fired at a squad of his termies with 3 lascannons, 1 quad gun, and 7 Plague marines and scored 2 lascannon wounds, which he invul saved with 6's. The whole day was like that... even the game he let me win. But I'm used to my crappy rolling. :)

    2. I'd recommend getting a couple of vindicators. While its true they can get shut down, they at least give you the tools to take care of mass terminators or paladins. That does suck about the win though. I think the better route is to provide help, such as if you move X there I'm going to shoot them with Y. Then let the player make his decision. If it is an issue with lists, just lend some sympathy to the looser and don't gloat. As you said though, you already had no problem with loosing.

    3. Vindies sound good but before I plunk down the money I want to see what the new codex brings. I have a Forgefiend on it's way and the Helldrake. Might need two or three fiends!

      He didn't gloat. He was generally a good dude. It was me who was pissy. Mistakes were made on both sides.

  2. You beat terminators with IG Demolishers and plasma guns in Vet squads, haha. As far as Chaos is concerned, you're out of luck until the 6th when you'll actually get some options. You're just plain behind the eight-pointed-star-ball with a bland and outdated codex and you're just NOT going to be able to go head to head with a top-tier 5th edition codex.

    As far as list building is concerned, I think it depends on who you play with. For my club, we play tough-fluff lists; varied, fun and characterful choices that aren't outright detrimental to our lists. Every now and again, the club picks up and goes to a tournament and for the handful of preceding weeks, our lists get dead 'ard. After all, we're about to hit a tourney and we want to win.

    It probably bothers you because even if you won that game, you didn't actually win. By not playing his best, he robbed you of a meaningful victory. Basically, you got a participation trophy. Without real struggle, victory is meaningless and a meaningless victory isn't a victory.

    1. If I'd started rolling normaly, I probably wouldn't have even guessed that he was letting me win. But when a squad of his Noise Marines weathers 2 turns of plasma cannon fire from 3 oblits with only 1 kill scored and then RETREATS from a 4" charge, you know something is up. Half of his troops sat in Rhino's "holding" an objective for most of the game. At the end he "forgot" to disembark 2 squads so he could capture an objective.

      It's hard not to smell the fishiness, at that point. I think my super-bad rolling screwed us both on that last game.


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