- The deed- The player picks up the tape measure, opening it up to the exact value required he appears to be laying just as a gentleman should, however as he picks up the model to move it he is still holding the measure in the air, which then ‘floats’ along with the model for a millisecond or so, adding an inch or more to the movement in one entirely innocent seeming motion.
- Warning signs- actually fairly easy to spot as it’s pretty darn blatant, he seems to moving faster than you expected, and he never puts the tape measure down during the entire phase, preferring instead to loosely wobble it around in the air above his models.
- Prevention- question the odd move or two and he will usually take them back and start being more cautious, although some players can get aggressive when challenged, it’s best to catch it early when a combination of deployment and movement limits allows you to say how far a model could have move.
- Dastardly rating- 2, blatant and cheeky, but not too dastardly unless he’s a repeat offender
Stretched out- beginners
- The deed- Similar to dice Scoopers, this trick relies on speed- your opponent opens up the tape measure, drops it by the model/unit in question, then swiftly moves them as far as possible before snapping it shut and moving on to the next unit, repeat as needed. The tape measure (were you to get a clear look at it) is usually only within Google maps accuracy to the actual distance required, and he has managed to sneak an extra couple of inches to all his units.
- Warning signs- does he measure with the tape upside down? Some players do this as it allows them to place the tape unit on the floor, thereby visibly not ‘floating’, but others do it so you can’t see the numbers when measuring, another sign is measuring first, then putting the measure away before moving the unit. The final sign is speed- if they are moving too fast for you to see the measure then keep a careful eye on those distances.
- Prevention- it helps if you have a chance to shoot before his movement as you can then obviously point of “that unit is X inches away ok?” but failing that just ask them to slow down a bit, this technique is usually quite barefaced to once you catch them they should rein it in a bit.
- Dastardly rating- 2 not particularly accomplished naughtiness, still one to watch.
“I was at a local tournament, only about 8 players and no real prize support so there wasn’t much to play for bar pride. My opponent in the second game had a very sneaky way of moving, he would first carefully measure from the front of his unit then mark the point they were moving to with a dice, all fair so far. Then after he had done this for all his units individually he would move, but as he placed certain units down he would ‘nudge’ the dice ever so slightly forward, the unit obviously going with it”.
- The deed- I think in moments of excitement we can all say we have been guilty of this particular cheat by accident, (alright, it's just me) basejumping is the time-honoured tradition of measuring to and from different points on a base- usually from the front, to the back, thereby gaining a full base worth of movement every time they move.
- Warning signs- you see them do it. Pretty obvious really. If you make sure you measure from the same point as a habit, hopefully they will too, it can be unconscious and an accident though so it’s best to give the benefit of the doubt.
- Prevention- Tell them to stop it, this is so blatant (and potentially accidental) that there are no more complex methods of prevention, keep your eyes out and call them on it.
- Dastardly rating- 1, probably the cheapest trick in the book, easy to see, easy to spot. One word of warning though- I do this. A lot. It’s always an accident though so feel free to slap me upside the head and tell me to stop it.
- The deed- Now I love me a beautiful gaming table, sculpted and elaborate it’s an evocative and inspiring table to battle over, however, as well as the interminable cocked dice arguments caused by such beautiful terrain there is also the occasional time when a model simply won’t stand where you want it to go, despite there being no rules restrictions that disallow the movement. So in the interests of fair play, you declare to your opponent “it can’t stand there but we know where it is…” place a marker with the model nearby and move along.. except for a groundhopper, who won’t place a marker at all, or will place a totally unsuitable marker in the wrong place (like a dice, which they will ‘accidentally’ then roll later that turn) they may also claim the model to be elsewhere when targeted by an enemy..
- Warning signs- lack of marker is the most obvious, although a player who seems to hop between wobbly terrain sections without any real cause can be a giveaway as to this particular technique too.
- Prevention- Place an appropriate damn marker in the right place! Never EVER take your opponents word for how great their memory is (see ‘The straight up, low down liar’ later) a marker can take the wind out of any groundhoppers sails, so make it a habit.
- Dastardly rating- 2, very situational, and pretty easy to ‘counter’ (did you see what I did there?)
“I was on the bottom table at my first tourney of this system, playing against an apparently ‘pro’ player who had had a bad day, his pig monster thing moved up to near a wall, but due to its pose it couldn’t nestle right against it (was about an inch and a half away). He pointed to the wall and said “it’s in cover so we know where it is yeah?” to which I readily agreed, having spotted the fact it was just within range of my Robot’s charge. His turn passed without too much incident, including the croc thing firing being measured from the wall,, on my turn the Robot declares it’s charge and.. fails? Because he denied all knowledge of the pig being even near the wall, I called a judge over, but it was his word against mine, and as he was a ‘Pro’ plus the model was clearly nowhere near the wall, the judge ruled his way and I pretty much threw the game, and quit the system. (And now I always mark positions on the board!)”
Forewarned is forearmed…
- The deed- he leans across the table, finger extended like a 6 year old pretending to be a cowboy, pointing at one of your units he asks an innocuous question “is that a magic banner?” bemused you answer and think nothing of it.. but he just premeasured his charge without you even noticing, how? This guy actually measured his hand, finger, arm, elbow, and having memorised those measurements now using them to check vital distances.. This particular trick has many variants (one player had rips on his rulebook every 2 inches so he could lay it on the table to see distances) as well as the old fashioned accidental gesticulation with the tape measure, but the end result is the same- guess range without the guesswork.
- Warning signs- the Lean is a dead giveaway, but also watch out for conspicuous placement of rulebooks, army books , notepads and open tape measures at weird points in the game.
- Prevention- Many systems are moving towards allowing pre-measuring, so this trick is dwindling in use, but the best way to stop it is to keep a clear table, and ask ‘leaners’ to watch the table as they are knocking things (who cares if they really are, it should put the wind up them a bit)
- Dastardly rating- 1, not particularly useful in many systems, real experts can guess ranges pretty well without tricks
“I know this sounds too stupid to be true, but I swear one of my mates had measurements tattooed on his arm, he had this tribal pattern wrapped round his arm, and he had specifically asked for the thorns to be an inch apart on the straight section that ran up from his wrist to his elbow .
- The deed- Indecision is one thing, but even Little Miss Fickle would lose her temper with this opponent, he moves his model it’s maximum move towards you leader, then suddenly changes his mind and moves it back… sort of anyway, it may not be exactly where it was originally.. He then moves it left, no wait, right, no wait move it in, out, in, out, shake it all about. After a few minutes of this the model could frankly have been anywhere on the table as far as its starting position is concerned, eventually he makes a decision, he’s moving it toward your leader after all, oh look- he’s in charge range! Well I never..
- Warning signs- pretty blatant really, and easy to spot if there are obvious markers near the starting position (in Base 2 base with a friendly or piece of terrain for instance) but on a flatter table it can be very hard to remember where he started. ‘Nuggers’ tend to be very decisive most of the time, their indecision only kicking it when the opportunity for foul play presents itself.
- Prevention- again this one is usually going to boil down to a confrontation, if you do think your opponent is dancing around a bit then keep an eye on starting points and helpfully remind him of them if he starts taking the mickey. Hard core tourneys sometimes use the chess ‘hands off’ rule to moderate against this, but even that isn’t a guarantee.
- Dastardly rating- 3, mainly because only a confrontation will resolve it, and because it is really, really annoying…
The Stumbler/Oops? I did it again..
- The deed- I’ll be the first to admit that if I was a bit more co-ordinated I may have taken up sport instead of wargaming, but when you run into this opponent you’ll wonder just how this klutz gets out of the house, At its least irritating end stumbling is when a player ‘accidentally’ knocks over one of his own or his opponents models with his hand/sleeve/measure etc, then replaces it in a slightly better location for themselves. At its worst end it can be very extreme, knocking over whole units, or even stumbling into the table itself knocking everything over to mask the replacement of one unit,
- Warning signs- a player being more clumsy that usual when it comes to the crunch, especially after a flawed move they can’t undo..
- Prevention- keep an eye on where knocked models were originally, and challenge your opponent if you think there are mistaken in their replacements, remember to replace your own models when they get knocked over, rather than letting your opponent have free reign.
- Dastardly rating- 4, as well as risking damage to his own models he is willing to damage yours for a bit of an advantage in game, this is not only petty cheating but it also shows an absolute lack of respect for other peoples property.
The ConnoisseurRather than knocking a model over to replace it a connoisseur will reach over and pick up a model of yours with the words ‘I really like the way you have…” After some effusive complements of the miniature in question it will be replaced…in the wrong place obviously… This con is easiest to spot when you aren’t that good at painting…
Similar to the Connoisseur, a Mechanic is more concerned with his own models, picking them up during your turn and tutting with phrases like ‘I need to repaint his shoulder pads…” or “is that a chip on his codpiece?” the mechanic will then usually replace them without too much care in an advantageous spot, some rare mechanics will pick up your models to show you imagined chips or even offer to glue them for you…
“In one of the most horrific episodes of cheating I have ever encountered, I once witnessed what became store legend as ‘the power bomb’. During a very heated game both players (let’s call them Chaz and Dave) were taking it the limits of sportsmanship, right into gamesmanship, at the end of his movement phase Dave realised one of his core units was dangerously exposed and well within range of a unit that would have no problems squashing it, there was no way Chaz was going to let him go back to the movement phase and shuffle it, and you could see Dave starting to panic. An opportunity presented itself when Dave managed to kill one of Chaz’s models on his side of the table, a big metal model worth a fair amount, and rather than passing it over straight to Chaz, he sidestepped so that his reach passed over the unit in question, at which point… he dropped it… This thing was at least half a kilo of solid pewter, it hit that unit like a nuke, bits of plastic and bases everywhere, the metal thing miraculously survived with only a few scratches, but the unit was written off. ‘Heroically’ Dave said he’d just play on with proxies (placed a safe distance back from the original position), but Chaz called it- after all if a player is willing to smash one of his own units to avoid a charge, there’s no telling what else he’s been up to.”
Stretched out- The Experts
- The deed- whereas the previous stretched out was usually a spur of the moment decision to cheat, the expert stretchers are in their own league.. several stories of heated and stretched plastic measuring rods, custom printed movement templates and even a tape measure doctored with extra long inches have reached my ears, and whilst I have yet to see one (or at least catch one) along with Loaded dice and Marked cards, these stretchy scumbags are walking in to the room with the intention to cheat, and the tools to do it as well…
- Warning signs- other than the usual signs a player has moved too far it’s almost impossible to spot these, mainly because it’s almost inconceivable that anyone would go to such extreme lengths to gain a few mm of movement, of course if their measuring stick is a bit melty looking or their tape measure is drawn in crayon it may be a bit easier to spot.
- Prevention- how so you prevent something no-one expects? If you catch them get them DQ’d in a tourney, or just pack up and quit in a casual.
- Dastardly rating- 5. Meticulous and nefarious in equal measure, one can only hope they burnt themselves whilst melting it…