Thursday, December 23, 2010

How to deal with TFG.

TFG, better known as "That F%#@ing Guy", is known and maligned by pretty much everyone in the gaming community.  They also exist and can't be ignored.  Their favorite habitat is the competitive environments of Tournaments and competition based leagues/campaigns, normally where prizes and bragging rights are in ample supply.  TFG can ruin your day/game if you let them, but there are a few simple things you can do to mitigate TFGs effect on your game and provide you with good tools to counter their non-sense.

I like analogies.  I am a history teacher, for those of you who didn't know, so analogies are second nature at this point, and I also used to work with first graders so I know a lot of children's' books.  So let's use an analogy and one of my favorite children's books to talk about TFG.  We're going to call it:

When you give TFG an inch.

When you give TFG an inch of extra movement he'll want another one too.
When you give TFG another inch he'll want to move with out measuring at all.
When you let TFG move without measuring he'll want to assault 8 inches not 6.
When you let TFG assault 8 inches he'll want to go back and move a unit he forgot.
When you let TFG move a unit he forgot he'll want to fudge his deep-striking units.
When you let TFG fudge the distance on his deep-strikers he'll call you on your moving units too far (whether you are or not).
When you let TFG call you on moving units too far he'll eat up your time with inane rules questions and arguments.
When you let TFG eat up your time with inane rules questions and arguments he'll want to call a judge.
When TFG calls a judge you've already lost your game.

That's all well and good but how does it help deal with TFG?  Simple, it illustrates the absolute point of the article; you can't give TFG an inch!  Let me be clear, I am talking about gaming in a competitive event only, this is not what I advocate for casual gaming.  When you run up against TFG in casual play I suggest packing up your minis and not giving the guy the satisfaction of playing a game or let the guy do whatever he wants and just not care, I have done both and they are equally amusing.  In a tournament there are a few easy steps to dealing with TFG.

1. Identify TFG.  If you already know you're playing TFG then you're set.  If not there is a simple rule for tournaments.  Everyone is TFG until they prove otherwise.  Sorry guys, this isn't US government 101 you aren't innocent til proven guilty your TFG until you prove you're not.  If the guy isn't TFG then play him like it's a casual game since, honestly, that's what most people want anyway.  If he is TFG then proceed with the following.

2. Make sure TFG knows you know what you're doing and that you're aware of what he is doing.  This is easy to do out of the starting gate, pay attention when he is deploying his army/battle group.  Talk about the units in his army in a knowledgeable way and call him on any "fudging" he may do of the distances in his deployment zone.  When he sets up those Long Fangs in terrain make sure you talk about all the LoS (Line of Sight) blocking terrain that's in the way so he knows you know the LoS rules.

3. TFG loves to play fast.  He likes to measure fast, move fast, roll fast, explain rules fast.  Normally this is to keep you from catching his many gaming indiscretions.  He will often measure one way and move another with out measuring or move with out measuring entirely.  Call TFG out on that immediately, the FIRST time it happens.  The moment they pick up the unit simply say "You didn't measure that direction, please measure that direction then move the model while either maintaining the tape measures position or marking the furthest distance the model can move."  If they roll and pick up dice quickly simple call them on it, "Hey there was a 1 and a 2 in the dice you just picked up, you need to roll that again and be more careful on your future rolls."  If you get into a rules dispute there are two things TFG absolutely hates above all others. The first: pick up the rule book and start looking immediately rather than debate with him.  TFG is a great rules debater, often he is great at debating rules so they bend to his favor, use the Rule book to slow him down and enhance your argument.  The second: TFG hates when you call the judge, or Tournament Organizer over.  If you have a good TO he will be immune to TFG's rules debates and will rule correctly and decisively (notice I didn't say he'd rule in your favor, sorry we are all fallible even me!).

4. TFG will play as loose as you let him.  He'll play so loose that if you let TFG he can get to the point where in the final turns of the game he won't even pick up the measuring tape.  Yes, it happens, I have watched it first hand.  He'll play so loose that if you let him he'll be taking 6+ armor saves against wounds from AP5 Bolters.  Yes, I have seen that too.  You need to control the flow of the game, both speed wise and rules wise.

5. If calling TFG on his behavior in game, and watching closely only leads to his being a sour grape and knee-caping your sportsmanship score (if your tournaments have "soft scores") then so be it.  We all want to be nice guys and the guy people want to play.  But you don't gain anything from allowing TFG to run roughshod over you.

6. If you're watching a game where TFG is blatantly cheating you may want to consider alerting the TO/judge.  Some TO's view their role as less referee and more mediator.  The difference being; a mediator steps in when called upon and a referee will call out foul play where ever and when ever they see it.  Both types of TOs/judges have pros and cons.  Depending on the TO/judges disposition alerting him to the problem may or may not be a prudent course of action.

I will leave you with a situation I found myself in about a year ago.  I was playing in a tournament at our FLGS and there was a player none of us knew or had seen before.  We sat down to play our game in round 2.  It was Capture and Control (ha! no really it was!) with Pitched Battle deployment.  He set up first and I immediately saw he was deploying outside the 12 inch line.  I reminded him that we measure from the edge of the mats not the table and he said he knew.  I asked him "Are you sure that Wave Serpent is inside the 12 inch line?" He said yes with out measuring to be sure.  Most players at this point would do one of 2 things, let it go or call over the TO.  I walked over and measured it myself.  He was miffed that I did that but the rest of our game went amicably.  Neither of us gave the other a great sportsmanship score but we didn't knee-cap one another either.  I found out after the tournament was over that he and one of our tournament regulars had a terrible b!tch fest of a game.  Both gave each other rock bottom comp and sports scores and were incensed. It all stemmed from TFG constantly fudging movement distances etc. and my friend not calling him on it.  Then in the final turn of the game TFG moved almost a full 2 inches further than he should, toward an objective, and my friend finally called him on it.  The problem was my friend blew up at TFG about how he'd been mis-measuring all game etc. etc.  TFG's response was simply, "If that is true, why didn't you call me on it earlier?"  I also found out from his round 1 opponent that he was never clear about which units were in which transport, and he rolled so quickly that my friend was never quite certain what was going on.
If you give TFG an inch...


  1. Good post, and great series of books.

  2. Lol!!!!

    How about when you gently call somebody on their rules bending a whole game and then when you do something that you can show in the rule book is correct but they have not seen it before and it helps you win they blow up.....

    Or somebody who brings in drop pods empty and argues they can walk the squad who bought the drop pod on first turn because drop pods come on half in first turn.....

    Or anybody who has headphones on listening to music while they play the game, especially TFG when they get mad cause they are loosing for not paying attention to the game....

  3. Oh my God, I lol'd sooo hard. Nice article.

  4. Excellent and timely article, Overwatch. Great read and highly useful!

    ...even though, as a Warmachine player, I thought "TFG" stood for Temple Flame Guard at first. I was like "whut?" they ain't that hard to deal with!"

  5. Baahahahahahaha. Funny and informative. If you give TFG an inch. Classic.

  6. Wow, this is incredibily prosecutorial. Everyone is TFG until they prove otherwise? What about the benefit of the doubt!? I would hate to play a game against you. Sounds to me like YOU are TFG Overwatch nto the other way round.

  7. Wow your spelling is incredibly bad.

    This article is fantastic, funny, and extremely well written. Overwatch, I think you are quickly becoming one of the best blog writers on the net. I love reading your articles even if I disagree with a lot of what you say it is always exceptionally well done. Kudos.

    Christopher, just shut it.

    BTW. Having read through battle reports and tactics/strategy articles of yours I seriously doubt you are TFG. Plus, I have played you before so...

  8. Christopher:

    I personally find that the "treat them like TFG" stops as soon as you begin chatting to the person.

    Ive found that TFG rarely takes you through his list in detail, dose not check to see if you have played against his codex, nor take time to explain rules you don't know about.

    Usually you can gauge people on meeting them.
    People are not perfect we all make mistakes, it comes down to how you conduct yourself.

    So yeah ill treat all players i don't know as TFG until that point, and rightly so. Its a real shame but there are to many of those people who populate the game.

  9. As a TO(though not for 40k), and a player, I agree with this article very much.

    I find that there is a group of folks, that play fast and loose with the rules, and do so because they are allowed to do so.

    If you call them out each time they flub(politely of course), they will be forced to play within the context of the rules of the game, and if you start instantly it makes them know they can't hustle you, and will most likely make the game a great deal more enjoyable because you won't have to constantly be in their grill.

    Lastly, Honestly if you get paired against TFG, be willing to put your Soft Scores in danger. Why? depending on his level of douchery your scores might be dead meat anyway, you might as well establish that he is a jerk for the TO(so they TO can monitor him), and keep him from getting a cheap win at your expense. The key to this is report it to your TO, my most frustrating moments as a organizer is when players are silent about problems, because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings, so I can't correct them, and ensure they have a good experience.