Hello, SaltyJohn here to bring you a topic all about the dreaded TFG. TFG, better known as “That F%#@ing Guy”, is known and maligned by pretty much everyone in the gaming community. They also exist and can’t be ignored. Their favorite habitat is the competitive environments of Tournaments and competition based leagues/campaigns, normally where prizes and bragging rights are in ample supply. TFG can ruin your day/game if you let them, but there are a few simple things you can do to mitigate TFGs effect on your game and provide you with good tools to counter their non-sense.
I like analogies. I am a history teacher, for those of you who didn’t know, so analogies are second nature at this point, and I also used to work with first graders, so I know a lot of children’s books. So let’s use an analogy and one of my favorite children’s books to talk about TFG. We’re going to call it:
When you give TFG an inch
When you give TFG an inch of extra movement, he’ll want another one too.
When you give TFG another inch, he’ll want to move without measuring at all.
When you let TFG move without measuring, he’ll want to assault 8 inches not the 6 he rolled.
When you let TFG assault 8 inches, he’ll want to go back and move a unit he forgot.
When you let TFG move a unit he forgot, he’ll want to fudge his deep-striking units.
When you let TFG fudge the distance on his deep-strikers, he’ll call you on you moving units too far (whether you are or not).
When you let TFG call you on moving units too far, he’ll eat up your time with inane rules questions and arguments.
When you let TFG eat up your time with inane rules questions and arguments, he’ll want to call a judge.
When TFG calls a judge, you’ve already lost your game.
That’s all well and good, but how does it help deal with TFG? Simple, it illustrates the absolute point of the article: you can’t give TFG an inch! Let me be clear, I am talking about gaming in a competitive event only (and perhaps in online discussions with TFG). This is not what I advocate for casual gaming. When you run up against TFG in casual play, I suggest packing up your minis and not giving the guy the satisfaction of playing a game or let the guy do whatever he wants and just not care. I have done both and they are equally amusing. In a tournament, there are a few easy steps to dealing with TFG.
- Identify TFG. If you already know you’re playing TFG, then you’re set. If not, there is a simple rule for tournaments: Everyone is TFG until they prove otherwise. Sorry guys, this isn’t US government 101: you aren’t innocent until proven guilty; you’re TFG until you prove you’re not. If the guy isn’t TFG then play him like it’s a casual game since, honestly, that’s what most people want anyway. If he is TFG, then proceed with the following.
- Make sure TFG knows that you know what you’re doing and that you’re aware of what he is doing. This is easy to do out of the starting gate: pay attention when he is deploying his army/battle group. Talk about the units in his army in a knowledgeable way and call him on any “fudging” he may do of the distances in his deployment zone. When he sets up those Long Fangs in terrain, make sure you talk about all the LoS (Line of Sight) blocking terrain that’s in the way, so he knows you know the LoS rules. Even use your measuring tape to make sure the deployment zone is correct etc.
- TFG loves to play fast. He likes to measure fast, move fast, roll fast, explain rules fast. Normally this is to keep you from catching his many gaming indiscretions. He will often measure one way and move another without measuring or move without measuring entirely. Call TFG out on that immediately, the FIRST time it happens. The moment they pick up the unit simply say “You didn’t measure that direction, please measure that direction then move the model while either maintaining the tape measures position or marking the furthest distance the model can move.” If they roll and pick up dice quickly simply call them on it: “Hey there was a 1 and a 2 in the dice you just picked up, you need to roll that again and be more careful on your future rolls.” TFG will like to roll behind things, making it hard for you to see the results. Under no circumstances should you let that happen, correct it immediately.
- If you get into a rules dispute there are two things TFG absolutely hates above all others. The first: pick up the rule book and start looking immediately rather than debate with him. TFG is a great rules debater, as often he is great at debating rules, so they bend to his favor. Use the Rule Book to slow him down and enhance your argument. The second: TFG hates when YOU call the judge or Tournament Organizer over. If you have a good TO, he will be immune to TFG’s rules debates and will rule correctly and decisively (notice I didn’t say he’d rule in your favor). The TFG home base in rules debates is claiming it’s fine by RAW, so therefore it’s allowed. The fastest way to end RAW shenanigans is to call a judge immediately. If you attempt to engage in the RAW debate then and there, you are more than likely woefully unequipped. TFG combs the rules for RAW breaks in the game to use to their advantage and then uses the various online communities to create a basis for the argument long before ever getting to your table. Call a judge.
- TFG will play as loose as you let him. He’ll play so loose that if you let TFG he can get to the point where in the final turns of the game, he won’t even pick up the measuring tape. Yes, it happens, and I have watched it first hand. He’ll play so loose that if you let him he’ll be taking 6+ armor saves against wounds from AP5 Bolters. Yes, I have seen that too. You need to control the flow of the game, both speed wise and rules wise.
- If calling TFG on his behavior in game, and watching closely only leads to his being a sour grape and knee-caping your sportsmanship score (if your tournaments have “soft scores”) then so be it. We all want to be nice guys and the guy people want to play. But you don’t gain anything from allowing TFG to run roughshod over you. It will only embolden their bad behavior and make them more zealous about it in subsequent games with other opponents.
- If you’re watching a game where TFG is blatantly cheating you may want to consider alerting the TO/judge. Some TO’s view their role as less referee and more mediator. The difference being that a mediator steps in when called upon and a referee will call out foul play wherever and whenever they see it. Both types of TOs/judges have pros and cons. Depending on the TO/judge’s disposition, alerting him to the problem may or may not be a prudent course of action.
The realities of TFG can be taxing. There is an arena now where combating TFG is both necessary and more difficult. That’s outside the game, particularly on the internet. Many online communities in the gaming realm suffer from infiltration by TFG. Many times simply written off as trolls these people; whether real people on Facebook or quasi-anonymous accounts on the ever decreasingly relevant online Forums like Dakka still represent a problem. In many cases, they are attempting to hone their rules traps based on RAW abuse, and in others, they are creating an actual deterrent to people playing and worse creating a deterrent to constructive rules questions. Combating TFG in this environment is difficult as they will often fall back on “just asking questions” as their defense. By asking so many ridiculous rules questions, TFG can actually cut down on the number of participants in online rules questioning and help create the void of rulings needed to combat them on the table top. Calling out TFG online for their ridiculousness can be difficult, and it can even lead to the perception that you yourself are a nuisance. Especially if TFG is good at spinning his/her own behavior into a positive light.
I will leave you with a situation I found myself in about a year ago. I was playing in a tournament at our FLGS and there was a player none of us knew or had seen before. We sat down to play our game in round 2. It was ITC mission 3. He set up first, and I immediately saw he was deploying outside the zone. I reminded him that we measure from the edge of the mats, not the table, and he said he knew. I asked him “Are you sure that Wave Serpent is inside the 12 inch line?” He said yes without measuring to be sure. Most players at this point would do one of 2 things: let it go or call over the TO. I walked over and measured it myself.
He was miffed that I did that but the rest of our game went amicably. Neither of us gave the other a great sportsmanship score, but we didn’t knee-cap one another either. I found out after the tournament was over that he and one of our tournament regulars had a terrible bitch fest of a game. Both gave each other rock bottom comp and sports scores and were incensed. It all stemmed from TFG constantly fudging movement distances etc. and my friend not calling him on it. Then in the final turn of the game, TFG moved almost a full 2 inches further than he should toward an objective, and my friend finally called him on it. The problem was my friend blew up at TFG about how he’d been mis-measuring all game. TFG’s response was simply, “If that is true, why didn’t you call me on it earlier?” I also found out from his round 1 opponent that he was never clear about which units were in which transport, and he rolled so quickly that my friend was never quite certain what was going on.
If you give TFG an inch…
But of course, give Travis, Adam, and the Producer some slack and help them out with their Patreon!