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malladin.ben

What is Sporting Conduct in Guild Ball?

38 posts in this topic

There's been a few posts here recently, and some side discussions on podcasts, where sporting conduct has been mentioned. Guild Ball is a fairly new community, so I thought it might be worth having a discussion as to what was considered sporting and unsporting within the game.

Firstly, what do we mean by sporting conduct in general?

My answer would be that it is "to try and make your opponent's game as enjoyable as possible despite trying your best to beat them, within the rules of the game." 

I think it's important that you try to beat your opponent, as this shows them respect, but you can also do everything in your power to help them enjoy the game, even if you're smashing them.

Another key issue here is "within the rules of the game" - if you are doing something that is entirely within the rules of the game, even if it creates a negative experience for your opponent, I don't think that should stop you from doing it, and sometimes trying to account for things outside the rules of the game can lead to some messy grey areas that can cause more problems than they solve.

So what about some specifics? Here's some rules I set for myself when playing to try to be as sporting as I can be. You may or may not agree with them, so feel free to chip in with your thoughts. Those who've played against me may not agree that I keep to them, but I do try - honest.

Avoid Dice Moaning: Much as it can be frustrating to get that bad roll at that crucial time, it is not your opponents fault that it went wrong for you. Try not to react to strongly to when dice go badly for you, as it can make your opponent feel guilty and hence make things less enjoyable for them. Dice probability will invariably even out over shorter or longer periods of time so keep it in perspective. Its probably something we will all do from time-to-time, but if you're aware of it it might help you do it less.

Open Information: Be as informative to your opponent as you can be. Explain what you're trying to achieve in the activation, when you have a few plays that combo up, explain the combo, be open to answering as many of your opponents questions as you can. But in a tournament setting you also need to be mindful of the clock, so I wouldn't spend any longer describing what I'm doing as it takes me to do it itself if it was during my activation, and if my opponent asks me a question I will put the clock onto them whilst I answer it. Conversely, be mindful that too much questioning can put your opponent off their game and disrupt their concentration. Ideally, rather than asking them, ask to see their card and find out the answer to your query yourself.

Precise measurements: Measure your movement precisely, being aware of the gaps between models, when moves need to be in straight lines and where there are melee zones you're trying to avoid. The measuring widgets from Frozen Forge are great for this. You don't always need them, and often the narrow sticks or multi-sided widgets are fine, but when you start having to move around other models those narrow sticks might end up cutting a corner the base wouldn't allow. When making a complex move, discuss and negotiate with your opponent what sort of position you want to get to, what you want to avoid getting there. Use proxy bases to check for gaps and positioning for where you want to move to. When you've got to generate some dodges to get into range for a shot or into melee with a specific target model, its worth pre-measuring and discussing with your opponent so that you know how many inches of dodges you're going to need to pull the move off.

Offer Chances to React: When I declare an attack or charge I will try to ask my opponent whether they want to counter or defensive stance.  Admittedly sometimes I forget, but I'd rather my opponent had a clear cut chance to think about it before just picking up my dice and rolling them. Now if my opponent starts to spend a while pondering the decision I might switch it over to their clock, but I will always try to ask.

Clock Discipline: Keeping track of the clock in a tournament game is a common issue. It's easy to forget to switch your clock over, and when your opponent forgets and you end up taking a long activation on their clock it is can create awkward situations and it can leave you feeling that you should offer to allow your opponent to do their next activation on their clock. I recently had a situation where my opponent let me do this early in the game, but then he ended up clocking out later on. I have no idea whether my activation was longer or shorter than the one he let me do on my clock, and felt guilty afterwards as a result. Because of this I am setting myself the rule that I will never take an activation on an opponent's clock when I failed to switch the clock over at the end of my activation. I will also try to be vigilant about the clock and remind my opponent to clock out at the end of their activation as much as I can.

No Gotchas: I suspect this might be the most controversial of the things I'm suggesting here. There are only a few gotchas in Guild Ball: Unpredictable Movement, Countercharge, Clone, Glut Mass, Gravity Well. There's a lot to keep track of in the game and it's easy to forget something like this despite it being open information. I don't like it when I forget about these rules, so I will always try and pre-warn my opponent if they are likely to trigger one. If I'm playing tenderiser, I will often place a 6" measuring stick down next to him during an opponent's activation so that they know the danger zone to avoid. Similarly when someone moves to engage brisket I will remind them about UM. Sometimes I forget to prewarn, and when I do I will always let my opponent choose to take back their move if they like.

No Messy Takebacks: Takebacks are an issue and it is often considered sporting to offer a takeback where you made a mistake. I suppose the best situation to be in is not to have made the mistake in the first place, but we're human so it happens. Its can put you in a difficult situation if you don't offer a takeback after you made a mistake to your advantage, but you need to also remember that it is your opponent's responsibility as much as your own to check you've got the rules right. I think when it comes down to sporting conduct, this is a rule that you apply to yourself when it comes to whether you accept an opponent's offer of a takeback, i.e. you don't. You might come across as unsporting if you don't offer a takeback when it was your mistake to your advantage, and if it happens several times people might start to get suspicious, so I won't go so far as to say don't offer the takeback, but I think the sporting thins would be to refuse one if offered. That said, I think there are plenty of occurrences where a takeback is a minor matter and not a problem. One example is on a dice roll: if an opponent rolls too few dice on a roll during an activation I will quite happily let them go back and roll another dice and add it to their result, I'd even be happy to do this if it was a few attacks ago where it's not going to have a massive difference on the result, such as the chance of a few extra points of damage. But if someone rolls too many and I don't realise until after they've rolled again, I've lost my chance and there's no takebacks. I think the key here is how much would the takeback result in a change to the state of play. If it's something minor like a few extra damage before the next activation occurs, then that's not going to affect choices that might have been made or dice rolls that have happened since, whereas if it changes the positioning of models or one players chance to react or make different choices, it best left as it was.

If it's within the rules, it's all good: There's been some talk about specific moves or plays and whether they are unsporting or not, or whether if something causes your opponent a NPE you shouldn't do it. Some examples: deliberately kicking out of bounds to get the ball thrown in, a Fillet activation that takes out 3 or 4 models in a turn (perhaps more common in S2), or a Shark activation that gets you a goal with no chance for countering from your opponent. If something is legal and within the rules it shouldn't stop you from doing it. If you're playing against me I want you to try and beat me as fast and as comprehensively as you can. That in itself shows me respect and I appreciate it. Even though I may have a moan on here about Shark or Vitriol, it doesn't mean I don't want you to use them to the best of their abilities against me, nor do I want to put you under any sort of pressure not to play whatever guild you want for whatever reason you want. There's an important saying here: "hate the rule, not the player." If something you do in trying your best to beat me with the tools you have chosen to bring gives me a NPE, that is not your fault, and I should not make you feel that it is. (However you should perhaps allow me the right to blow off steam and push for rules changes on forums like this afterwards.)

What rules do you have for sporting conduct? Would you change any of mine?

Cheerio,

Ben

 

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Great post!

 

In 1.5 years of going to GB tournaments, I have only had 1 game/opponent where a sour taste was left in my mouth which is far better than many other games I have played.

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@malladin.ben On your comment about gotchas:

I think a good fix for this is for common practice to change so that tokens that represent one-time triggered abilities (like UM, close control, etc.) go on the model at the start of the turn and are removed when it triggers.

The whole point of tokens is to remember things. For this instance people use tokens after the effect doesn't need to be remembered anymore if they use a token at all.

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2 minutes ago, RedSam said:

I think a good fix for this is for common practice to change so that tokens that represent one-time triggered abilities (like UM, close control, etc.) go on the model at the start of the turn and are removed when it triggers.

Excellent idea especially as I have been caught out with this regularly and have undoubtedly been guilty of it myself as well.

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Interesting topic! 

I always find it hard to choose my vote the best Sportsman, I often find myself voting for the least sore loser out of the people I beat. This always feels unsatisfactory to me as there is so much more to the concept, including the polar opposite - a gracious winner.

@malladin.ben your list matches pretty much the standards I attempt to hold myself to. I might be a bit stricter about take backs as it can lead to bitter situations, but I'm as hard on myself I hope.

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Sorry, but I reserve the right to moan like feck when Seasoned Brisket misses a 3 dice shot on goal (96% chance of success, people. 96!!!) for the umpteenth time

:P

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This seems to be the case for any of her incarnations. I play vbrisket in alot of my butchers lists. Shes missed a goal in the last 3 of my games, the latest being a tap in.

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I feel like the only thing here that I don't agree with is the notion of: I ask a question and my opponent ships the clock; whilst they wax lyrical about the answer - I don't consider that sporting.

If you do something and your opponent seeks to clarify that, then shipping the clock seems unnecessary provided you're confident enough to answer it succinctly - and if you're not then you should definitely answer it on your time.

In fact any time some one ships the clock uninvited for a reason that isn't the end of their 'segment', or a clearly understood interaction or interrupt (like in WM consecutive tough rolls or marking damage grids, counter-X etc) I feel constitutes an attempt to unseat their composure.  If that's your goal then go for it, however, if you want the facade of genteel society - which is the inference I got from notions like allowing your opponent to back out of an unforced error (sic counter charge, UM) I'd suggest simply playing sixes and sevens.  

In short, I feel some of this is good form, some borders on cotton wool, and some of it I don't agree with.  The end result being that whilst there is probably a significant area of commonly accepted sportsmanship the edges are almost equally as likely a personal affair. 

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55 minutes ago, Desertspiral said:

I feel like the only thing here that I don't agree with is the notion of: I ask a question and my opponent ships the clock; whilst they wax lyrical about the answer - I don't consider that sporting.

I actually agree with you here, I will revise my thinking on this issue.

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2 hours ago, Desertspiral said:

I feel like the only thing here that I don't agree with is the notion of: I ask a question and my opponent ships the clock; whilst they wax lyrical about the answer - I don't consider that sporting.

If you do something and your opponent seeks to clarify that, then shipping the clock seems unnecessary provided you're confident enough to answer it succinctly - and if you're not then you should definitely answer it on your time.

In fact any time some one ships the clock uninvited for a reason that isn't the end of their 'segment', or a clearly understood interaction or interrupt (like in WM consecutive tough rolls or marking damage grids, counter-X etc) I feel constitutes an attempt to unseat their composure.  If that's your goal then go for it, however, if you want the facade of genteel society - which is the inference I got from notions like allowing your opponent to back out of an unforced error (sic counter charge, UM) I'd suggest simply playing sixes and sevens.  

In short, I feel some of this is good form, some borders on cotton wool, and some of it I don't agree with.  The end result being that whilst there is probably a significant area of commonly accepted sportsmanship the edges are almost equally as likely a personal affair. 

I agree, unless your opponents is asking a lot of question to try and burn your clock (another form of bad sportsmanship)

So to make sure I understand you, you don't think counter attacks, counter charges, and unpredictable movement should be on your opponents clock?

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19 minutes ago, Dracilic said:

I agree, unless your opponents is asking a lot of question to try and burn your clock (another form of bad sportsmanship)

So to make sure I understand you, you don't think counter attacks, counter charges, and unpredictable movement should be on your opponents clock?

I believe that actions - particularly anything that requires dice should come from the active players time pool. 

Consider this though with something like UM; in the time it takes you to posit the question, reach over to ship, them to move and ship back, you to resume your turn.  It's possibly cost you ~10 seconds, which is ample time for them to resolve a um, with out the break to your tempo and concentration.  

If they're mucking around and umming and ahhing - that's different though. 

The clock  is a weapon, and how people chose to employ it is a personal one.  

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Just now, Desertspiral said:

I believe that actions - particularly anything that requires dice should come from the active players time pool. 

Consider this though with something like UM; in the time it takes you to posit the question, reach over to ship, them to move and ship back, you to resume your turn.  It's possibly cost you ~10 seconds, which is ample time for them to resolve a um, with out the break to your tempo and concentration.  

If they're mucking around and umming and ahhing - that's different though. 

The clock  is a weapon, and how people chose to employ it is a personal one.  

Alright just wanted to clarify. I personally just like the clock to always be on the active players controller's clock. But I see your point.

I definitely think you can be unsporting with the clock.

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18 hours ago, Isante said:

Great post!

 

In 1.5 years of going to GB tournaments, I have only had 1 game/opponent where a sour taste was left in my mouth which is far better than many other games I have played.

Very similar experience here - and that was at my most recent tournament that I attended. Other than that it's all been gravy.

I might even go as far as saying that the GB community is one of the most pleasant that I've had the pleasure of being a member of!

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I feel like if someone moves into counter charge or unpredictable movement they should not get a take back.  The point of those skills is to catch the opponent with their pants down and if they don't measure it out that is their fault.  In  tournament if someone declares a charge and moves it,  i declare my counter charge, they should have to live with that, not get a take back to where they guess the model was.

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3 hours ago, Dirt Rey said:

I feel like if someone moves into counter charge or unpredictable movement they should not get a take back.  The point of those skills is to catch the opponent with their pants down and if they don't measure it out that is their fault.  In  tournament if someone declares a charge and moves it,  i declare my counter charge, they should have to live with that, not get a take back to where they guess the model was.

I think I agree. I'll point out, once*, that "hey, Greyscales has UM" at the beginning of the game. After that it's up to my opponent to A) remember, 2) ask "does that model have any shenanigans?" or iii) ask to look at the card.

It's an open information game. If me or my opponent fail to take advantage of that fact we should live with the consequences.

*I'm assuming a competitive/semi-competitive situation, not a demo or learning game

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5 hours ago, Dirt Rey said:

I feel like if someone moves into counter charge or unpredictable movement they should not get a take back.  The point of those skills is to catch the opponent with their pants down and if they don't measure it out that is their fault.  In  tournament if someone declares a charge and moves it,  i declare my counter charge, they should have to live with that, not get a take back to where they guess the model was.

That's not how I want to play the game at all. I don't want to win a game just because you've forgotten something about my team. Whether the gotcha is the point to the ability is arguable, but possibly that's for a different thread.

When my opponent starts moving a model towards an area covered by countercharge or a model with UM I will (if I remember) say something like "watch out for his countercharge range" so it rarely comes down to a take back. 

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5 hours ago, malladin.ben said:

That's not how I want to play the game at all. I don't want to win a game just because you've forgotten something about my team. Whether the gotcha is the point to the ability is arguable, but possibly that's for a different thread.

When my opponent starts moving a model towards an area covered by countercharge or a model with UM I will (if I remember) say something like "watch out for his countercharge range" so it rarely comes down to a take back. 

I think it depends on the setting. In casual play, sure, I am going to be very loose and focusing on having fun and helping my opponent improve. I am going to help them out with reminders. But if it's a tourney, where position or even possibly playing the next day depends on a win, it's every man for himself and I am going to get a little salty on take backs. 

Another good example I had just this week is choosing playbook results. My opponent chose a tackle against Flint. When I declared Close Control, he took back that playbook result and chose something else. That's fine in casual play and it's no big deal. In tournament play, you're sticking with your ineffective tackle, buddy. 

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@Cadilon I said I suspecty no gotchas rule might be controversial...

Personally, I don't see a difference between casual and competitive play. I want to win just as badly in a casual game as a competitive game, but if I win I want to win because I am genuinely better at the game, not just better at remembering things. The level of "take back" you're talking about with close control is not what I would even conside about takeback.

I really dislike the expression "every man for himslef" in any aspect of life. Sorry dude, but I suspect I wouldn't enjoy playing you with that attitude. Not saying you're not right, technically, but we're here to play games and have fun. Whether my opponent is having fun is almost as important to me as winning, but I feel much better after winning a close well fought game against an opponent playing at the top of their game than one where I'd won because they got caught out by all these gotcha abilities. 

Personally in think these abilities abilities not there to catch your opponent out, but to force them to make hard decisions and go for suboptimal choices. If played like that they make the game more interesting and challenging for your opponent, which should increase their enjoyment of the game. If played as gotchas they increase players' frustration and deny them the ability to actually play the game.

Here's an example. I was proxing farmers vs shark the other night. Shark wanted to charge Harrow, bounce off him a few times to score. Because he was protected by Tater's counter charge he had to come in to engage Tater as well. That cost him a dice on his attacks, and added an extra 2" of dodges to his requirements to get into shooting range. Long an short of it he didn't quite manage to get into range so I'd stopped the shark t1 goal. Without having to revert to gotchas. That was much more satisfying than if I'd counter charged and left him with a stack of INF he couldn't spend.

I'd recommend you try playing this way. It makes the game more fun for both of you.

Cheerio,

Ben

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2 hours ago, malladin.ben said:

@Cadilon

I want to win because I am genuinely better at the game, not just better at remembering things.

Whether my opponent is having fun is almost as important to me as winning,

The two most important statements in this thread, IMO.

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7 hours ago, Cadilon said:

I think it depends on the setting. In casual play, sure, I am going to be very loose and focusing on having fun and helping my opponent improve. I am going to help them out with reminders. But if it's a tourney, where position or even possibly playing the next day depends on a win, it's every man for himself and I am going to get a little salty on take backs. 

Another good example I had just this week is choosing playbook results. My opponent chose a tackle against Flint. When I declared Close Control, he took back that playbook result and chose something else. That's fine in casual play and it's no big deal. In tournament play, you're sticking with your ineffective tackle, buddy. 

Agree w/ Ben that Stoic/Sturdy/Close Control/Tough Hide (those 1 dmg results) should not be in the same situation for playbook results as something where models move/dice have been rolled subsequently. 

If someone wants to select something besides strip close control, I am always happy to let them.

One thing with widgets I will do (the frozen forge type), I will ask that proxy bases be replaced with the actual figure once movement is finished/before dice are rolled. This prevents the 'counter-charge, etc., avoidance take-back' that could be created if you're just using those tokens to mark out your whole activation and only moving at the end of the sequence. 

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@malladin.ben do you warn your opponent every time they are about enter counter charge or an UM? I ask because i will warn my opponents before the game and as well as I can remember once for each trait/ character during the game. I always feel like I have done my fair share.  

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6 hours ago, jmrhode1 said:

@malladin.ben do you warn your opponent every time they are about enter counter charge or an UM? I ask because i will warn my opponents before the game and as well as I can remember once for each trait/ character during the game. I always feel like I have done my fair share.

Obviously I'm not @malladin.ben, but I'll offer my thoughts;

I absolutely do remind opponents whenever they are about to trigger UM and allow them to change their movement if they want to. I've never used a model with counter charge, but I imagine I would do something similar there. I don't like it when I get burned by an ability I forgot or just didn't know about, so I don't want to make that happen to anyone else.

That's a big part of why I think things like UM should have tokens on the board up until they trigger. That way, both players know about it and can make appropriate decisions just by looking at the board. It's hard for either player to make mistakes by forgetting or to encourage mistakes by withholding information.

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1 hour ago, RedSam said:

Obviously I'm not @malladin.ben, but I'll offer my thoughts;

I absolutely do remind opponents whenever they are about to trigger UM and allow them to change their movement if they want to. I've never used a model with counter charge, but I imagine I would do something similar there. I don't like it when I get burned by an ability I forgot or just didn't know about, so I don't want to make that happen to anyone else.

That's a big part of why I think things like UM should have tokens on the board up until they trigger. That way, both players know about it and can make appropriate decisions just by looking at the board. It's hard for either player to make mistakes by forgetting or to encourage mistakes by withholding information.

I'll add to this I even ask my opponents if they'd like to use it after being burned by forgetting it myself once. So burned it cost the tournament.

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My normal approach is to tell my opponent if the status of an ability changes; if Compound moves within 4" of the goal, then I'll announce that he's there and that he can now counter charge.  

 

From that point on it's up to them to remember and own their actions.

 

There are exceptions, obviously.  Some games are by either explicit agreement or implicit understanding learning or teaching games where there'll be more signalling, but in general I don't expect my opponent to point these things out to me nor do they expect that of me.

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