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Game Netiquette

Posted by Denny Koch on May 5, 2010

Wargame conventions and game meetings are a combination of some appealing factors – an exciting scenario, many hours which are exclusively dedicated to  The Hobby without everyday stress disturbing your concentration, an easy-going atmosphere determined by victory and defeat and the inspiring exchange with others who share your hobby.

These maneuvers, battle days, cons, game fests (or whatever name you may choose) are events promising a good time – and most likely will keep this promise! But sometimes, in the heat of battle, things may happen which disturb the good atmosphere. Maybe different, incompatible behaviors collide with each other.

In order to avoid such things and to guarantee good time for everyone, some advice for having a good time together – the “HFC Netiquette“.

Before the game starts….

If you select a game you already played before, tell your opponent. Tell him about your experiences with this game and your opinion about the balance. Despite the fact that both players face the same situation, being familiar with a game can be a huge advantage, for example in an ASL scenario where you know important LOS questions etc.. This isn’t a problem if your opponent knows about it and is able to judge the situation. Not to tell him isn’t fair.

If a game was selected which is slightly unbalanced for one side, inform your opponent! So-called dogs are very interesting for some players who love this challenge (“playing the underdog”) or who are interested in the historical accuracy often portrayed in these games, while others dislike them as unfair. If you know that a game is a dog, give your opponent the chance to know what to expect.

In games requiring a set up which is done one after the other, allow your opponent to do his setup alone. Even if you don’t watch him, your presence could be quite disturbing. Some games even require to do the setup out of sight (for example games where counters are hidden or concealed).

A game with almost no setup time: Up Front

Try not to extend your set up time. You should find an acceptable compromise between the necessity to create the optimal set up and the fact that a long setup is quite unnerving for your opponent. It is not polite to let him wait for 2 hours, until he can do his setup. If you know in advance which game will be played, work on your “perfect setup” at home (maybe with the help of a VASSAL module or on a sheet of paper), so that you can avoid long considerations. But tell your opponent if you use an already worked out set up!

Whichever game you play, you will soon realize that there is one phase in each Sequence of play-system which isn’t explicitly named in the rulebook, but which belongs to the old wargaming traditions: the TaPPh – Taunt and Pose Phase, the pre-game phase in which mocking comments should inspire your opponent… this is okay, but you should take care of not overdoing this and always respect the thin line between friendly mocking and insulting. The wrong words could destroy games even before they began…

During the game…

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