Tournament vs Casual Gaming

Welcome and thanks for once again reading one of my rambling articles.

 I thought this time I’d look at the different types of game I seem to play, and one thoughts on them.

The ‘I bet Winner’ handshake

As you can tell by the title, I really see my gaming in two ways, either ‘casual’ or ‘tournament’ but those may be misleading titles. Because tournament play is not always at tournaments, and some tournament games may be casual

So how can a casual weeknight game be a tournament one?

Well lets tell a story – gather round. When I first was learning to play FOW I was quickly introduced to some of the other local players, after a few brief emails I organised a game against one of them. Now I has no idea what to expect so I thought ‘new opponent lets just go for something middle of the road’ do I grabbed my trained Canadian shermans for their first outing.

I came across a list which was being prepared for the LW nationals and got so badly beaten it was unreal! Since then I’ve come to realise that against some of the local players, it’s always tournament practice – even against Ben and Winner you always bring a good list and your A game (though as I win when drunk/hungover driving to play these guys limits bringing my A game lol).

how to win at wargaming…

It’s actually pretty enjoyable, I’ve always found a close game which I lose is vastly preferable to a one sided game I win. At the same time though I wouldn’t take a tournament list to one of the local clubs (actually that’s a lie, I might do as a first outing to try it out) but again that’s normally a more casual environment, so what’s the fun in having a completely one sided match?

Some people I’ve discussed this with think it’s insulting to not do your utmost to win (within the rules before someone makes a comment ) and ‘going easy’ or taking a sub optimal list is insulting to your opponent. I disagree with that, I think wargaming is a form of social contract you both are there to enjoy yourself, and whilst a competitive fight to the bitter end may be fun for one, is it for both? There are also times I like the challenge of using a random list, and that applies even at tournaments – now I will digress to a different game system for an example, but I have far more 40K tournament experience.


 I took armies or lists which the great and the good may have described as uncompetitive, but that was fun, it was a challenge, to scrape a win or draw. And this is my idea of casual gaming at a tournament. You may not be winning it, but the enjoyment and pride from wringing out the best of the list that you brought is fantastic. But at the same time it’s also fun trying to match yourself against good players with the best list you can make.

As always I hope this stimulates a little thought about how you play and what you enjoy.

 Until next time

 Thanks for reading

Category: Flames of WarRamblingTournament


  1. Casual for me – I've never played in a tournament and probably never will. There's enough accusations of skulduggery in our Thursday night games – Heaven knows what would happen if there was a trophy to win!

  2. I've always found a close game which I lose is vastly preferable to a one sided game I win.

    Will agree 100% with that statement…

    I never get the "uncompetitive list" argument my experience is that more often than not BF gets the points right or close enough to right that if you understand your list and you understand your opponents list you should have a fighting chance. I frequently run my StuG Battery list in the local tournaments and have done well despite their being described as "uncompetitive." Then again I take a casual approach even in tournaments.

    1. I do agree that most FoW lists are competitive. Are a few a little better than others? Sure they are, but thats always going to happen with a points based game. But I think FoW is more about the player than the army, as you say "if you understand your list and you understand your opponents list you should have a fighting chance" and I think that is spot on.


  3. I tend to bring lists that I consider fun for me. I don't care if its under-strength or non-competitive or the reverse and is a monster list. I paid my money for the models and I want to have fun. Its not often that I play the same list more than a few times before changing it up.

    So if I bring a 3 King Tiger list and get thrashed its not because I am being disrespectful to the opponent its because I have 3 KT's and I think they look awesome.

    As you may have guess, not a tournament player at all 🙂

  4. This is what I love about gamers!

    People always have their own 'value' they gain from wargaming – including ideas I don't think of as I don't know them.

    Helps me understand people more which is great!

  5. Interesting post. I'm reasonably competitive, so I always try to win, but it can be the slippery slope to misery!

    The tournaments I've enjoyed most have been the ones where I know beforehand I'm not going to have the most competitive list there, but I've set my own goals and had more fun. Strangely, they're the ones where I've had my best results! Maybe it's a lack of self-imposed pressure, or maybe lower expectations, but not taking it all too seriously is the key.

    I submitted a tournament list a couple of days ago – the 8th Independent Penal Battalion for a LW 1750pt comp. I know it will get hammered more often than not, but I figure in one game it will all come together, and that will make it all worthwhile 🙂

  6. I think this is a very interesting topic.

    I agree, many of the games we play are are tournament practice games, though some also have been campaign orientated, eg. playing axis of attack games – running Grenadiers that I don't normally choose to, or Firestorm Lorraine – running RT tanks, was well out of my comfort zone… but interestingly running these lists that you wouldn't normally choose to, were very interesting and fun…

    When not playing a tournie, I would almost welcome, a feature whereby, you choose your core force, then a program variant of Easy Army say, might then spit out a randomised list that you have to use, based on the fact that commanders in the field didn't always have the exact troops available that they wanted…

    It would certainly keep things interesting for those 'friendly' games, making you think outside of the box – dare I say thus making you a better commander in the long run?

  7. I'm a strong believe in playing with "weaker" lists or options makes you a better player. In our old Blood Bowl league a guy called Maz played 2 seasons with Vampires (a very weak team if you don't know the game). He went for being someone you were a little weary of but should beat into a very tough player to play against.

    I think the same idea can be done with FoW, I keep looking at the RT Germans from BBG as fun lists but also lists that would make you a better player if you win with it.


  8. Fun I think is different for different people, hence it's a game for all sorts. It just helps I think that both people understand what is fun for each other

  9. Only been 'playing' for just over a year and attended one tournament, and only get to play 'club' games about 16 to 20 times per year as I work overseas, but I thoroughly enjoy the 'game', for its historical background/content and the fact that I can represent my favourite troops 12SS Hitlerjugend, although 'up against it' in Atlantik Wall, and by far not the most lavishly equipped 'boys', they are part of what makes the game 'fun' for me, and that's whether I win or lose.

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Article by: Mark Goddard