Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Conceding games: The honourable way out?

I remember a phrase from the 4th edition rulebook regarding conceding a game. I believe it said something like: "Conceding a game counts as a victorious slaughter though you and your opponent are free to negotiate more balanced terms of surrender". I've played many a game of 40k and not being the best general I've lost many times more than I've won (many times more than I'd like but that's another story). This is most clearly represented in my recent losing streak to Luckless Xenos which before I beat his Nids last week was longer than the range of a deathstrike missile.
My "wooden spoon" prize for finally beating Luckless Xenos. The lettering reads 'Ukos' which is Tau for spoon.

I have always struggled to beat him and will admit I've occasionally conceded games when all hope seemed lost but recently I realised that it wasn't as fun for either of us if I did. So now if I know I'm going to lose, I simply carry on playing, making outrageous tactical decisions that are my only hope of winning even if minutely slim (I have beaten off a hive guard in assault with fire warriors, it can be done) and ultimately enjoying myself. There is a certain calm madness that descends when you know the end is nigh. I haven't conceded a game in a long time and feel much better for it. Anyway that's my stance on conceding from a loser's point of view.

On monday,  I played our club's resident space wolf player. I took my standard 1500 of: 
Shas'el Retha'la, fireknife with fireknife command team and 2 gun drones
Shas'el Li'sun'yi, fireknife with fireknife command team and 2 gun drones
2x deathrain team with flamers and 1 gun drone
2x 6 fire warriors in devilfish with disruption pod
2x railhead with burst cannons, disruption pod, multitracker and blacksun filter
Total = 1500 (It must be said, I like symmetrical lists)

My opponent took something like;
Bjorn with plasma cannon
3x grey hunters in drop pods (1 unit double plasma, 1 unit double melta, 1 unit double flamer) they may have wulfen and some other upgrades
5 wolf scouts with melta bombs
2x long fangs pack (1 with 4 missile launchers, the other with 2 las cannons and 4 heavy bolters)
1500 ish

Mission: capture and control Deployment: Dawn of War (we both forgot night fight)

His objective went my top right in a crater. I deployed mine right in the bottom left corner in preparation for a devilfish tank shock.
Space Wolves deployed first with Bjorn in the center and wolf scouts out on my left.
I reserved everything then promptly seized the initiative.
  The Tau walked on opposite my objective. Roaring onto the table the hammerheads swiftly caught Bjorn in their sights and both missed.
The fireknive's and one unit of deathrains slaughtered the scouts, the other deathrains shaking Bjorn.
Spreading out, I waited for the inevitable drop pod assault. 
  The wolves retaliated swiftly dropping the melta squad next to the hammerheads as I had hoped, this dragging them away from my home objective and meaning they'd take two turns to reach their's. The flamer squad dropped next to my battlesuits, I was confused about this at the time as plasma would have done a lot more damage. The long fangs with missiles set up on the space wolf objective, the lascannon/heavy bolter squad opposite them. The flamer grey hunters flamered and rapid fired into Li'sun'yi's squad. When the smoke cleared I'd lost a drone, a wound on the body guard and a wound on the shas'el herself. The meltas killed a hammerhead, not a big loss.
  The Suits moved about to counter the flamer hunters, a devilfish showed up deploying it's fire warriors for a fish of fury on the same grey hunters and the hammerhead set up a side armour on Bjorn. The fireknives slew the grey hunters, the hammerhead took away Bjorn's plasma cannon. The deathrains fired on the long fangs with missiles causing enough casualties for them to flee off the table, wolfy tails between their legs. The suits rearrange using the drop pod for cover.
  The other drop pod fails to show up, this would be a recurring theme.The long fangs ineffectually shoot. Bjorn chases the Tau. The melta hunters go for the objective.
  The Tau jig about, the hammerhead misses, Bjorn loses his lightning claw and the long fangs lose a heavy bolter to crisis suits. the other devilfish shadows the hammerhead.
  The melta hunters change their mind, the long fangs ineffectually shoot at crisis suits hiding in cover.
  The Tau adjust their positions and shoot at the long fangs cutting them down and making them run (my opponent was horrendously unlucky with leadership). 
My opponent concedes on my turn 4. He still had a dreadnought, albeit lacking it's weapons, a full unit of grey hunters right next to his objective that I'd have struggled to shift and a full unit of grey hunters with plasma in reserve.
Reflecting on this game afterwards the victory felt hollow as it always does when your opponent concedes. It doesn't feel like an honest victory when the game ends prematurely especially when the conceding player can still alter the game. He could have deployed the plasma hunters onto my objective causing me some trouble and could easily have had a draw with the melta unit. True he made some mistakes but he could have rectified them. To me conceding is giving up and not only does it cheat you it cheats your opponent of a fair, honest victory. 
   So my stance on conceding from the point of view of a winner is the same as when I lose: conceding is not the honourable way out, regardless of how bad things seem, in the words of Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest, "Never give up, never surrender!"

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