Improve Your Abilities: Run Your Own Tournament by Allan Maxwell

18 Jun

There was a story I heard a few months ago about being the best, about how to rise above the rest in your chosen field. Not going to bore you with the full details (it was in ‘Management Speak’ after all), but the outcome was interesting. There was a study into the pro athletes, the best actors and the bestselling authors, looking at what it was that made them better than the others around them. The answer: only around 10,000 hours of practice. That’s 1ok more time honing their chosen skills than others to climb to the top of the pile. Unless your Tom Cruise, who clearly lucked out his auditions. Or Peter Crouch…

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but that seems like a crap load of time to get damn good at gaming. There are surely many other, easier, ways to improve our skills on the 40k battlefield? I have one suggestion – start your own 40k tournament.

Why? Here’s my reasoning:

Eat into the 10k:

It’s competitive practice. You set the stage not only for you and others to enjoy a good tournament, but you get to see and meet many others and their Army Lists, looking for what works and what doesn’t.

More time to develop your tactics. Change up your army before a major tourney – find the right list and army before hitting that top tournament in Nottingham.

Create real time to develop your army and in-game skills. Practice till your better than the rest in an environment that suits your ambitions.

Find your combat squad:

Set up your own Tournament Team out of the people who attend local clubs and tournaments. Become an elite force aiming for glory on the bloody battlefields, learning and developing skills from each other. We all know the idiots out there that think the hobby is a solitary pastime, but it’s not, it’s all about people getting together and playing wargames. And maybe beating each other too.

You’re gonna get people together discussing tactics, lists, armies, the right HQ choices… The list goes on. Learn from them.

Engage the enemy:

Not as easy as it sounds Mr Maxwell? I can’t just set up a competitive tourney next week! I have a life you know!

Yep, but it’s easier than you think. I know, I’ve set up several.

First, decide what you want to do. Start small – even three or four people in a league, and build to ten/twenty. Use the tournament set ups you’ve been to too help you create your own.

Keep it simple. A few rounds, points for winning/losing/drawing with some Sportsmanship awards. You can do points for painting to set incentive to complete armies for the majors too.

Visit your local clubs, GW, Hobby shop, Tesco… wherever there’s people gaming, and get to know them, they will be ones you can promote too.

Take part in local tournaments to get to meet more players and to invite them to your tournament.

You can charge for your event – but make sure it’s not for profit. Use the money to pay for a venue, for tables and scenery, for promotion and for medals or certificates. Show your costs to the entrants and be open about it. They’ll be more likely to come again or become regular opponents.

Consider your theme: Is it hard-line lists, or do you want to play out Battle Missions or run like a Throne of Skulls? This will set the tone for the tournament and entice the players you want.

So, Maxwell, what’s you point?

This is just the basics of course. What we’re aiming to do here is set a competitive environment so you can hone your skills and start improving your positions in the major tournaments. Setting up your own tournament gives you a unique perspective and give you contacts to learn (steal…?) from. It brings like-minded players together to achieve goals. It forces you to learn the rules and seek understanding of the Codex’s.

It makes you a better player.

Maybe not a pro, but it’s one way to develop those skills and become proactive in your goals. Just don’t become another Tom Cruise; there are enough of them already.

For more musings from the Maxwell go to


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