Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Malifaux Manners or Mini Game Etiquette


Hello again readers. I've given some thought on this week's topics and I've settled on one that seems to be brushed over but is ultimately very important to maintaining a good community and just having people to play with in general. To me, tabletop gaming is the last bastion of great communities in gaming in a world that has taken a heavy hit from the callousness that has become internet and console gaming.
 Join any League of Legends or Call of Duty game and you will see or hear people calling out incredibly foul things and preening their pumped up egos all over the place. Tabletop gaming is a different animal all together. Being right across from your opponent can curb a lot of the abuse that happens online.
That being said, there are protocols to be learned and bad behavior does still exist in the local gaming club. Sometimes its accidental, and sometimes people are just jerks. I'm hoping my readers all fall into the accidental/bad day category. So lets make sure that we are all set for the rules of being a gamer that helps build community and keeps others coming back to play the games we love so much.


So some of these things seem like they should be common sense, and for most of us, they are but I'd be remiss if I didn't bring it up. Be a good sport. We all have bad days, we all have bad games. Playing games is our escape from the bills and the stress of our jobs and responsibilities. Too often people want to blame their loss on RNG or on the opponent's pieces being Over Powered which often isn't fair to your opponent. Take the time and let your opponent know that they played a good game. Learning to lose gracefully is tough, swallowing your pride can be hard, but acknowledging that your opponent played a good game as well is key to making sure someone wants to play another game with you.

Alternately, when you win make sure to let your opponent know how well they played too. Try not crow to loudly about your victory. If you go back to the last time that you lost and remember the feeling of being completely tabled by a Perdita crew, that's possibly what your opponent is feeling too. If its possible and you have time, whether you win or lose, go over the game with your opponent. I mentioned in the article about learning from losing that you should always try to get a good grasp on what happened in the game.

If you are going to an out of town tournament remember that to some degree you represent the LGS that you normally play at. People will know you as "that guy from XXXX store" and they will base their opinions of the store on your demeanor. Being a good sport will influence whether they decide to travel your way for tournaments later on. Everyone has been at a game tournament before and heard "Oh its those guys from XXXX. Those guys came in, rolled the tourney and were complete jerks." Don't give your LGS that reputation, this a place that goes out of their way to provide you with a place to play. Your bad behavior could cost them customers which might lead to you not having a place to play in the future.

Asking Permission

OK this is another common sense thing but I see it so often that I find it disturbing. We spend a lot of time on the hobby aspect of this game. I know that my Malifaux crews represent nearly a hundred hours of painting and basing and *shudder* gluing pieces together. Nothing makes your pulse race more than some person randomly snatching a fragile model up off the table to admire it. Not asking permission to touch another person's models, transport bag or even their cards on the table is rude and can give people a very negative opinion of you.
Even when models are sitting on a side table and you need room to put your stuff too, find out who the owner is and ask if its ok to move their stuff. Think of the heart attack you would have if you came to the table and your things weren't there. The same goes for people playing other games. Magic players have spent as much if not much much more for their things as you have with your minis and everyone has to share the same LGS space.


This is a tricky one. Most LGS are family friendly and don't really like to hear profanity spoken, and if you are visiting a new LGS its best to be on the safe side. If you know your opponent well and you know they don't mind then speak as you will. However, leaning towards the conservative when it comes to foul
language is the better option in public places. I'm still learning this myself, as I have to keep things very PG at work all week so on the weekends I'm a bit more free with my words. The same thing goes for blogs, podcasts and video battle reports. Profanity restricts your potential audience and might cost you the popularity that you deserve when it comes to your work.

Measuring and Model Placement

This is a biggie, and probably the most unintentional of bad manners in a game. The difference of a few centimeters can put a model in or out of engagement range or out of line of sight and model placement is a large part of the learning curve for any miniature game. Make sure when measuring distances that you measure from a consistent point every time, back to back or front to front on the base, there won't be any questions as to where it was supposed to end up. If there is ever any doubt find a neutral 3rd party to eyeball things for you. Malifaux is pretty forgiving when it comes to measuring, and the fact that you can premeasure should make it easier to decide where you are going to move your models and cut back on the need for touching models any more than necessary.

Helping Out The New Player

So this is more suggestion than a hard fast rule but its something to point out. As Derek said in his first blog, this game is about community and the only way to expand it is to get more people interested in playing the game. When a table is set up with terrain and models in a LGS it will definitely attract a lot of attention. People will want to know whats going on and ask questions. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are trying to concentrate on the game.
If you can though, answer questions, get people's interest piqued. Most people start playing mini games because they saw others playing it, not because they saw the models on the shelf. By no means disrupt your game, unless your opponent is cool with it as well. However, be polite to the new people, even if its just to say that you can answer more questions after the game is over. (Note: This is by absolutely no means a good suggestion if a tournament is going on)

Being a Good Bystander

Which leads me to the next point. If you are a bystander please be respectful. Games can be tense, and
Don't be this Robin
require concentration on both player's parts especially in a tournament. Watching is ok, maybe even cheering a good move, but keep it quiet and keep it respectful to both players. Do NOT give advice. If it isn't a tournament game, make sure both players are ok if you offer some pointers, but always ask permission first. Once again, this seems like common sense but it is a problem that I see over and over again in tournaments and events. No one likes a sideline coach during their games.

Yes, She's A Girl

This is a point that saddens me to have to go over. Never the less, girls play games. Lets take a minute, let that sink in. Girls play games and more and more of them are playing as the community becomes more open to the fact that they are playing. If you get paired up against a girl please keep your opinions to yourself. No one wants to hear comments along the lines of "wow you are pretty good for a girl" or "I wasn't expecting a girl to be such a good player." It may seem like a harmless thing to say but it comes across as very condescending. Also, girls are not there just because their boyfriend/husband play. They also are not using their feminine wiles to help them win. What is a wile anyway?
 (Note: This also applies to younger players as well. No one wants to be treated in a condescending manner)


These are all tips that will keep everyone's Malifaux experience pleasant and ensure that you will have plenty of people to play with in the future. Remember, a person is not necessarily always a bad sport either. Part of gaming etiquette is to be understanding to a point. Don't hold a single bad game over someone's head like the Sword of Damocles. Sometimes you just have a bad day and getting frustrated in a game is the straw that breaks the camel's back. It happens and when it does, remember to breathe and that it isn't your opponent's fault things are going badly. I love this game, love the communities that I am seeing pop up all across the world and learning how to treat each other with respect will go a long way to making this game last into the foreseeable future. 

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox