So I’ve never hidden the fact that I really, REALLY hate tournaments in tabletop games. With a blinding passion. It keeps me up at night. It forces good games into “metas” that leech the fun out of the game. In my area, Warmachine / Hordes tourneys dominate the scene so much that finding a good casual game takes herculean efforts. Recently I’ve noticed X-Wing has become rather toxic at times. Fortunately it hasn’t taken hold in my local area but some of the things you see online. Well. Let’s look at this:
The short version is that there’s a lot of situations at X-Wing tournaments where an intentional draw is to the advantage of both players, and tournament mechanics combined with how FFG has enforced certain wordings has encouraged it.
The short, short version is that people are being rewarded to not play the game.
Now I don’t like games getting to the point where people play ultra competitive, soul crushing lists that don’t bring much fun to the game. Where they rules lawyer every point bringing in every observer to haggle over the tenth of an inch long after the fun has been sucked away, beaten, dissected, dried up, turned to ash and blown away. Even by that standard this is farcical. People can gain an advantage by NOT PLAYING and this hasn’t even been responded to?
I play games for enjoyment. The only FFG tourney I attended I ended up taking home cards. After edging out a win in one match and getting WHOMPED in the second. And I’m fine with that. I love showing up on nights and playing a couple casual games where people are trying out fun and interesting lists. Right now even with tourneys all over X-Wing is in a decent place meta-wise. The new wave has shaken things up and while regionals are up, as well as a charity tourney this weekend, people are flying some interesting stuff.
This isn’t affecting me directly. I can avoid the LGS on tourney prep nights and during tourneys. I like playing a couple games a month and weekly play is on tap here, but just knowing this mindset exists is deeply disturbing, and hearing that FFG has even condoned it (hopefully only as a mistake) also disturbs me.
Strangely, the game that seems least affected by all this is 40k. I know that there is a tourney scene, but you see more leagues than tourneys, partially due to the epically long games that any GW product can generate. 40k and Games Workshop in general is in pretty poor condition, but hey, they don’t have to worry about ugly tourney scenes. Which is nice.
To wrap up this messy post; tourneys can take a fun game and turn it into a competitive mess. X-Wing has pretty good meta management, but letting this intentional draw foolishness go on really damages the brand.