Friday, November 12, 2010

Tavern Talk: Rituals

As we all know gamers are creatures of habit.  This extends into the realms of our gaming, whether it be how we treat our dice to how we prepare for a game.  Some place their dice with the 'six' up to "inspire" good luck, while others will not roll the same dice twice in a row.  Some gamers have mascots for their armies - either a specific model or even a cuddly toy.  So the question posed is; what are your gaming rituals? 

Oddly enough, I don't have a great many rituals, despite the fact that I tend to be very OCD about certain things.  While I don't have a compulsion to make sure all my dice are facing up as sixes, I do have a few things that I do compulsively.

A minor compulsion I have is using my own stuff.  I won't use my opponent's play aids.  I won't use their tape measurer.  I won't roll their dice.  I won't use their rule book.  In tournaments I have walked all the way around a table to the other side in order to roll my own dice rather than just quickly roll my opponent's.  I just have a feeling that I should be self-sufficient and be prepared.  Being prepared is absolutely key to my compulsions.  I am ultra-punctual in all facets of my life, and I excel at time management.  15 minutes early is right on time, and on time is 15 minutes late.  I will get a lot of anxiety if I am not where I need to be early, or if I am not finished with a project well before the deadline.  That parlays into wargaming in my need to be prepared with all my tertiary play aids.  

Despite that weirdness, my biggest compulsion by far is only playing painted armies.  I won't play with a gray or primed force.  I need to be full painted.  I simply won't play a list if I don't have it fully painted.  I know this makes me rare in the extreme when compared to the overwhelming majority of wargamers, who by my reckoning, play primarily gray, or basecoated, armies.  In a lot of ways, this ties into my obsession with preparedness.  Nothing will motivate me to finish a modeling/painting project like a tournament date scheduled.  The anxiety I'll get from having an unpainted unit or groups of units with a tournament date looming will motivate me to finishing the project.  Under normal circumstances, it may take me a month to finish a couple of units, but give me a tournament deadline coming up and I can power through that same project in three days.  

That is one area that makes me sad about other players.  As nice as it is to play with a fully painted army, it's super nice to play against one.  In my Fantasy 'Ard Boyz prelims this year, I played against a fully painted Lizardman army in the 3rd round after playing gray Brettonians and gray High Elves.  It was such a pleasant game to see two fully painted armies clash, it made me wish everyone else had my level of obsession with painted forces.


  1. Mine is: Don't touch my pen. I have lots of pencils and a couple spare pens, but you go near my grey beauty and I'll HURT you. (Esepcially after my green Waterman, a gift from TheDude at high school graduation walked out of my work desk a year ago.)

  2. I have the feeling I'm an anomaly in that I have no gaming quirks, rituals or superstitions. I'll gladly roll my opponent's dice for my armor saves, use his/her tap measure, grab their rulebook, etc. It has nothing to do with ill prepared on my part, it has to do with simple convenience and saving time.

    Often I'll play opponent's and I'll have a bad streak in rolling and they'll tell me to put those dice aside and grab some others. I never do though.

    I'm with you on the painted armies. For a tournament I won't field unpainted stuff, casual games I don't care though. Even in casual games it's nice to see fully painted stuff for sure. However, having been under the weight of a large painting commission lately, I haven't had time to paint my own stuff so plastic gray or black primed it is.

  3. Long ago whilst playing 40k I needed to roll a Morale test for some random Eldar unit. The guys I was playing with called me "Al" instead of "Alex." I picked up my dice, started shaking them in my hand like I was at a craps table and said, "come on guys, we need some morale!" I unintentionally pronounced morale like "More Al," which my buddies found amusing and the expression stuck. Whenever a leadership test was rolled, it was "we need more Al!" I still find myself saying this even around people who have no idea what the hell I mean.