Keep your eyes on the prize.
Welcome to today’s article. This one is another special guest post, this time by UK Game Expo 2019 winner Thomas Conboy who is also Scottish. I’ve been hearing stories about cheating for months now so this has been on the slow burn but now I think I’ve waited long enough. Remember though this is not an accusatory article, it’s just there to make you aware of how cheating can occur in Warhammer Underworlds and what you can do to combat it. Cheating isn’t rampant in the game thankfully but I still feel this is a very useful subject to discuss.
In any gaming genre there is always and likely will always be the scourge of cheaters. Its a shame but it is the very much a reality and because of this I’ve decided to compile a list of ideas in order to combat cheating as best as you possibly can.
1. The Rulebook
First and foremost the very simple one is to know your rulebook as best as you possibly can and be sure to have it with you at all times in any tournament format (ALWAYS BRING THE CURRENT RULEBOOK). If you are unsure about anything do not be too shy to ask for a moment to double check the rulebook. It is too easy to take advantage of a new player and confidently deceive them by giving false information, since by the time they realise later that you had cheated them it is already too late as the game is over and done with.
2. Cut the Deck
Always cut the deck. Always, always, always! Cut the opponents deck and again don’t be too shy. Consider different ways to cut the deck and always change it up that way your opponent can never be sure how to stack his deck to counter your foreseen request to cut, take 5 cards then another 4 cards then another 5 and stack them up randomly again as an example. It doesn’t have to be the same old half the deck and back on top again as this can be so easily read and be used against you. Making you think your opponent is trustworthy when really he’s forced you to cut as he stacked his deck ahead of time for it.
3. Leave the dice
Insist dice remain face up on the table until you have confirmed the result. If someone is eager to announce a roll and then lay hands on their dice then that is an easy in for a cheater. If you have not had the time to see what was rolled do not take your opponents word for it as its his/her fault for picking them up before you are comfortable with the result. Insist on a re-roll where you can actually see what has been rolled and with the last 2 rules do not be shy. If an opponent is apprehensive in doing this it can be for 1 reason and 1 reason only. To cheat you.
4. Wound Tokens
Ensure wound tokens are kept far away from fighter cards if they are not applied. A trick I’ve noticed a couple of times are folk who like to leave wound tokens close to their fighter cards. Even shuffling them around a bit and possibly creating the illusion that one of their fighters has less wounds than it actually has. Over a long Grand Clash it can be hard to keep track of everybody’s wounds and this small game of deception can be enough to make you think charging your fighter in is a good move when it really wasn’t. Keep all wound tokens away from fighter cards unless they are applied!
5. Count Scored Objectives
If the scores are close (within 2-3 glory or more) and you’re even the slightest bit unsure about your opponents scoring ask your opponent what objectives he/she scored and run through it. There have been instances of players throwing in a glory or two here and there in order to sneak the edge in that close game that would have ended in defeat. Unfortunately it’s not enough to take your opponents word for it and even just checking this once can be enough to put them off trying it again later in the tournament.
6. Use Markers
If an ability effects multiple fighters (e.g. Howling Vortex) it is best to use some kind of marker to indicate who has been effected and who hasn’t that way your opponent can’t sneak an extra push in their by going back to the fighter he/she started with (you can use anything for this but I like using wound tokens). This is more of a protection from an honest mistake tip rather than cheating but you can never be too careful.
7. Cards Above the Table
Ask your opponent to keep his cards above the table at all times. This one should be obvious but I’ve found it so baffling how many players shuffle their deck and hand their hands underneath the table out of view of their opponents. Perhaps sometimes its an unconscious action which is fine we’re all human but it’s important in order to stop side loading in decks and other possible ways to cheat that cards remain in full view at all times.
8. Read the Cards
If your opponent is using a card and you’re not sure what the wording of the card is. Ask to look at it and read the entire thing. Don’t be shy and don’t be intimidated if your opponent is apprehensive. It should be in his/her best interests to make sure their actions are clear so as to avoid any confusion or bad blood when it comes to claiming a win.
I understand it all boils down to confidence and nobody wants to look silly or pedantic but any good honest decent player will take the time to help you and make sure you are comfortable with the entirety of the game in all its complexity. Even under the time constraints of a Grand Clash it’s more beneficial to have an honest 2 rounds with your opponent than to manage to fit in 3 rounds but be left with that bad taste in your mouth because something just didn’t feel right. If you’re unsure ask and again with the golden rule, don’t be shy!
So there you have it, a rather comprehensive guide over the signs of potential cheating and what you can to combat it, all thanks to the great Thomas. Once again this is not accusing everyone of doing any of these things to be automatic cheaters, I myself realised I was guilty of sometimes doing points 4 and 7 by accident so as a result I always ensure I leave excess wound tokens in my token tray as well as removing them from the table once a fighter is out of action and I always make sure I leave hands above the table. Following all these steps just helps to ensure information about the game state remains clear to both players so confusion and ambiguity are minimalised.
The most important points to remember are: never be afraid to ask questions, don’t be shy and always point out any ambiguity over the game state. Usually your opponent isn’t cheating and it’s a honest mistake. If they are cheating and you do have proof you must always call a judge but don’t jump to conclusions immediately. As always observe and chat with your opponent. It’s not an easy subject but hopefully this will help clear up the game for everybody.
So until next time keep the cheats away and those crits pure!