I agree that if you’re going to play WARMACHINE or HORDES, you should have a good grasp on the basics of the game and understand the way your models work. I’d be a complete idiot to say otherwise.
However, there’s a difference between being knowledgeable of the rules, and being a rules snob, rules lawyer, or a I-think-I-Know-It-All. And believe me, it’s a fine line.
I guess the difference is the intent behind it all.
Sometimes rules lawyers simply have the need to make other people wrong. There are people who seem to have the need to be right all the time. I have come to believe that underneath that need can be the need to want to make other people wrong. It’s about power and control over other people. When we are insecure and lack self-confidence we will try almost anything to build ourselves up. Someone who doesn’t know how to do that in a healthy manner may think that tearing down other people is the way to make themselves feel better. The problem is that it is only is a temporary fix, and when it wears off, the insecure person will need to find another victim to get their fix.
Tearing other people down doesn’t really do anything to build ourselves up. It is an illusion. What it really does is to keep us from making true connections with people in our gaming community and establishing strong relationships in the hobby. The best thing to do is carefully and politely explain to the other person how you disagree with their knowledge of the rules, and discuss it. And if all else fails, then agree to disagree. Then you can take a step forward and research the rule further in the forums by for an answer and/or clarification.
If we want to build our personal gaming rep there are better, easier, and healthier ways to do it than by trying to make others wrong. Once we understand that we are all doing the best we can, we can begin to accept others as they are and learn to accept ourselves as well. Once this begins to happen we can begin to support people where they are and build strong happy relationships within the local and regional gaming community, which in turn will help us feel better about ourselves and ultimately have more opportunities of fun. By helping others, we build a stronger community. And in the end, we all benefit from that increased strength.
As a Press Ganger, I juggle this situation a lot. Many players feel that Press Gangers are Rules Experts. They should be experts in the game, able to quote chapter and verse to find the answer to all questions within the game. Yeah, right. I’ve been playing WARMACHINE for a little while now, but there are other guys locally who have played it a lot longer than I have and more frequently. Hell, sometimes when I am blindsided, I fumble over simple rules due to distraction or surprise. Stupid, huh? But it happens. I just have to take a deep breath, focus, and then use whatever knowledge and tools I have on hand to settle the situation. Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. I learn from my mistakes, and celebrate my successes.
I played in a friendly game the other day during our Casual Play League. There was another game going on next to us. Haphazardly, I was asked a rules question about Spray Attacks. I had to stop for a second, and recall what I think I knew. I made a judgement call from memory and it turns out I was right. However at the time, I didn’t have access to MKII Prime at that very second. It was a simple question, but had I made the wrong assessment of the rules … it could have turned ugly later on. I just do the best I can, and really, that’s what we all do when we’re playing WARMACHINE. I mean, seriously, it’s still a game, right?
Like the clown often asks, “WHY SO SERIOUS?!”
When you run into a disagreement on the rules in a game, take a moment to figure things out without trying to prove someone wrong. If you’re in a tournament, ask the Tournament Organizer for a “ruling.” Or, simply read the text from the card out loud without adding your own perception on the text. Sometimes this is enough to find the truth behind the disagreement. Other times, this will not solve the problem. That’s when you have to crack open the book, and look things up. And if all else fails, come to a reasonable agreement and then head off to ask your question on the Rules Forum.
Always remember that Page 5 is all about having fun and enjoying a like-minded community of hobbyists who love WARMACHINE as much as you do.