Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday Sermon: Cheats never prosper!

Is he or isn't he?

There's been a lot of talk in the news recently about cheats, and it seems eventually cheating will catch up with you. No I'm not talking about Lance Armstrong, although that in and of itself is an interesting cautionary tale. Here we have a man who was undoubtedly an extremely talented and gifted athlete, who if you believe the huge body of evidence against him is actually guilty of quite possibly the most elaborate doping scheme the world of sport has ever seen. Obviously Lance Armstrong denies these allegations, and I'm torn about whether to believe them. I mean the brain looks at what has been said and by whom and nods in sad agreement. But my heart, the part of me that admired Lance Armstrong as the supreme athlete I thought he was, just can't bear to think that he might have won all his titles and performed all these super human feats while under the influence of performance enhancing drugs. It honestly, and genuinely upset me an awful lot.

Why? Because I take the spirit of competition very, very seriously. You see to me if somebody kicks my ass at any sport or game I want to know that my ass is being kicked fairly. I might not like it that somebody is getting the better of me, but if it is in fair competition I'll extent my hand at the end of the game and be a gentlemen about it, and say well played. Sport was always the same for me, although the levels of sport I've played at have never got to the levels where doping would have been present (I hope) there were always cheats. People willing to bend those rules just a little bit to gain an edge. Here's the thing, I think the urge to cheat, to gain the upper hand is so ingrained in the human psyche that it is almost inevitable. Here's why. Even me, who I think is a paragon of fair play at times, I inform opponents when they've forgotten to do something, even when it's to my own detriment, so yes, even I sometimes get urges to 'nudge' that miniature slightly when no one is looking because then it'll be in charge range. We've all had these thoughts I'm sure, even if they are infrequent.

If you live in one of these, then perhaps...

Yep, sometimes it would be so easy to cheat in these small little ways and have no one even notice, that I'm surprised by my own personal restraint. Funny thing is I've caught others doing such things, or 'fast rolling' dice and picking up 'successes' that never were, before people can check them. It's cheating, no matter how small, and no matter how inconsequential such stuff often is to the outcome of a game. But, it gives people that little edge, an unfair one mind you, but an edge. Now I'm not saying everyone out there is a serial cheater, that's just not the case in my experience. Nope, the opposite is true actually, in my now 28 years of gaming I've actually come across very few incidents of actual cheating, minor or otherwise. So it seems that the code of honour that resides in me, resides in all of you lot too, which is actually quite comforting to know. Yet I contest it's a struggle in all of us too. The urge to 'win' is a very strong driving and motivating factor in humans, it has been driven into us by evolution. The need to get an 'edge' is strong in many of us. So while I'm not saying it's a case of people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, I am saying that maybe more of our own houses are constructed of glass than we first thought. shouldn't throw too many of these!

For some of us it is too strong. I'm sure many of you know where this is going don't you? Well there has been a bit of a 'buzz' throughout the tournament scene recently over an incident of cheating at Beaky Con in Tampa, Florida. The old loaded dice urban myth if you will being totally busted as a myth, as it becomes reality. Well guess what, I knew it wasn't an urban myth as I'd seen the act been committed in front of my very own eyes. I've been on the end of loaded dice, it wasn't nice, but it was so blatant that it wasn't even in question when witnesses and independent observers were called in the verify my claims. Hell recently I've even heard tales off of gamers people have built MoFaux decks with two red jokers in them and no Black Jokers, plus a slightly altered set of suits that would be difficult to clock as a gamer unless you had an awesome card counting ability. All sneaky, and not so sneaky, ways of getting an edge... or if we're calling it what it actually is, cheating! Yep, that most heinous of crimes to a Brit, not playing fair. It's just not cricket or gentlemanly, and it flies in the face of what we stand for, it gets our stiff upper lips all a quiver at the injustice of it all... but lets calm it down a notch or two.

I've read the comments of rage, anger and despair from gamers. Gamers who weren't at this tournament, gamers who quite frankly will never likely meet this guy. Did he behave like a douche bag? Yeah he did. Is it good that so many people find his actions abhorrent? Yeah, in a way I guess it is, but that so many people seem to be so enraged and vexed at his actions does seem to smack of fake plastic rage. I'm sorry, I read the story and thought the guy was a bit of a dick, but he was dealt with. Why should people from Australia, Britain or France be leading a global witch hunt for a guy who games in Tampa, Florida? Seriously? Are we that deprived of excitement in our lives that we have to pursue some poor sod who has already been named and shamed in a room of his peers? Why do we need to do that? There are theories, but I'm not going to do them, lets just say part of it is to do with not wishing to be associated with such acts, the other part is trying to absolve some of our own sins. Look, the incident was dealt with on the day, it's done and dusted, why drag it out? It just makes the problem seem far worse than it actually is. Cheating is actually quite rare, and severe cheating like this even rarer, yet with the hubbub it has caused you'd think it was a plague afflicting our hobby. It isn't.

Apparently these are the offending dice... my question is why?

So I'm not going to join the witch hunt for this chaps name that seems to have ensued, because quite frankly I don't see how that will help the situation. 'Make an example of him and others won't want to follow suit' I've heard. Except in other walks of life that sort of treatment doesn't work does it? Nope, it's human nature to be unmitigated *bleeps* at times. We all like to think committing heinous, foul and dishonest acts aren't within us, that we could never do such things. But, research and honest introspection will prove otherwise. There have been a number of famous 'lost wallet' studies down the years. The newspapers love them, they show as a 'headline' that a surprising amount of us, in fact the vast majority of us, will hand the wallet in or give it back to the person who 'dropped' it. What the newspapers rarely discuss though is the 'peaking' phenomenon many of these studies have witnessed. You see, in many of these studies the behaviour of the individuals prior to keeping, or returning the item is just as important as the ultimate act, and what is interesting is that a surprising amount of people will open the wallet up to see what is inside, yet again the vast majority.

Why would you do that if the idea of keeping what is inside hadn't crossed your mind, no matter how briefly? Of course you could also be looking for some form of identification or name I guess, and I wouldn't like to ascribe a motive where there isn't a clear proof of one. But, it is interesting that people do peak inside first before deciding to give the wallet back. So while most of us wouldn't use loaded dice, fiddle with a deck of cards, or do any other myriad of dishonest things during our games, lets not pretend we're all whiter than white... we're not. I bet many of us will think about it from time to time, and some of us will have cheated, even if only slightly, and as a kid I was a despicable cheat at Blood Bowl, but that was part of the rules. Honest! No seriously I was a complete git with cheating, often I'd have more re-rolls than I was allowed, have more players on the pitch and even move further than my players were supposed to. But if I'm airing my dirty linen I used to cheat against my dad at Warhammer Fantasy too, I had what many would term 'elastic tape measures syndrome' shall we say? Things that were just out of charge range when measured, sudden were in charge range.

Ben Johnson another famous athletic cheat.

However, I never won many games that way, and it never did me much good. Plus I always felt bad when doing it, so I just stopped. I guess my parents did a pretty bang up job of raising me to be as honest and as fair as I could be. So before we all start stoning this cheat to death lets make sure our own houses are in order first. Lets make sure we've never done anything even slightly dodgy in our own games ourselves first shall we. I'm not accusing us all of being dirty serial cheaters, but I bet there's a few of us out there who have, at the very least, bent the rules just a teeny tiny bit. Is that the same as using loaded dice? No, but it is still cheating isn't it? So what should we do when faced with this behaviour? Well if it's you doing the cheating, bloody stop! If it's your opponent well call them on it, but be civil. Trust me the embarrassment of a room full of their peers knowing that they're a cheat will be punishment enough, and event organisers, what should they do? Well that's a judgement call isn't it? I'm not going to join the calls for lifetime bans or their like, why? Because it's toy soldiers people. Peace out!


  1. It's an odd one the whole cheating thing. We had a guy who cheated at our club pretty often, the thing was that to start with everybody knew about it, so if anybody played him, you knew to look out, and at the same time he wasn't even a good cheat. Despite all his efforts he still never really won. Why he continued to do it I don't know. The thing was beneath all that he was a really nice guy, just he compulsively cheated. Still a bit of an odd one.

    As to loaded dice, I've been on the end of them. Well not quite loaded, but I remember a good while ago now, when I still played in my local GW of playing a kid with extremely good dice. None of us could figure it out, he just seem to get consistantly generally pretty good rolls. We checked the dice, they rolled right, didn't roll a 6 all the time, and didn't feel particuarly heavy. Then we realised that the offending d6 in fact only had 4-6 on it, and we'd never really clocked this. Needless to say the offending dice was removed.

    1. There are different forms of cheating, let's call them "hard" and "soft" cheating. Hard cheating is the invention and manipulation of results and the game environment; such things as loaded dice and similar gimmicks, not letting you opponent see what you rolled, taking more point then you are allowed, etc. Soft cheating is the manipulation of the game system for personal advantage; "forgetting" rules, modeling for advantage, ignoring the rule's author's intentions when they are obvious, etc.

      Hard cheaters, like the guy you describe are usually very weak players who are covering for their deficiency, which is why few hard cheaters win much. Soft cheaters are often very good at the game they play, which is part of the reason some much venom is spewed towards "WAAC players" because they manipulate the game at its margins and win while they do it.

    2. @Mecha Ace, I don't think cheating is as odd actually as many people think it is. You have to see it as the extension of our natural desire to win. To me getting a win via cheating isn't a win at all, but the self delusion of a cheat is normally so strong that they'll brush such criticisms aside with consummate ease. As to the cheat you describe his motives were clear. If he really was as bad as you say then surely he was just trying to level the playing field and give himself a chance. To be repeatedly beaten at something is a very strong motivator to cheat. I mean the sad irony of Lance Armstrongs cheating is that many in cycling felt at the time the only way they could even hope to compete with the guy was by cheating. Many in the sport were caught during his most prolific years. he guys who finished second, third and fourth etc. were often caught cheating. Yet there was Lance, clean as a whistle and still way better than his peers even when they were doped up to their eyeballs. People felt they had to cheat just to stay on Lance's coat tails. Sad but true.

    3. @Spiffy, I tend to think those that cheat by direct subversion of the tools or apparatus of a game, like dice, are actually really unsophisticated at the end of the day. Because f this they are far more likely to be caught. The rules lawyers or gamey sorts are a different breed altogether as you say. I'm not so sure I'd call them cheats. In fact I'm not so sure what I'd call them. I mean I've taken advantage at times of loopholes in game systems, but they were all 'valid' as the rules allowed them. I'm less likely to look unfavourably on someone who actually uses the chinks in a games rulebook than I am someone who just outright cheats by "forgetting" a rule. If the rules are sloppy and allow for a wide variation of manipulation then I'm sorry that's the games designers fault, and you should probably not be playing a Games Workshop product if it irks you! :P Joking aside the line you draw is an interesting one.

  2. I don't want to wander off into a discussion of socio-psychology, but public shaming usually involves a common sin, one that the people doing the shaming are themselves guilty of. By holding one man out for shame and abuse other people feel like they have done penance and been absolved through his suffering. You see this on display every time a politician gets caught in a sexual indiscretion. Polls show that the overwhelming majority of men are less than perfectly faithful, yet when someone in the public eye gets caught he is ritually humiliated because so many other people feel guilty about the same thing.

    I'll bet that cheating in wargames is the same deal. I won't say everyone done it. But, many even most people have bent the rules once in a while. So, everyone wants to punish Loaded-Dice-Guy because it will make them feel better whatever infractions they are guilty of.

    Ultimately, wargaming is about playing with toy soldiers. As hobbies go, its pretty silly. Many (most) wargamers a little more seriously than they ought to. No one should be tared and feathered for cheating at a wargame; however, no one should have his ego so tied to the performance of his toy soldiers that he feels the need for massive cheating either.

    1. I didn't want to wander of into psychological reasons for witch hunts and their ilk. But, I did touch on the two main motivators for people becoming so involved in them, and as you say for many it is an attempt to absolve themselves of their our guilt. I'm always wary you see of the ring leaders of such events.

      As I said in my article, or tried to intimate, when I've asked people to be brutally honest with themselves about cheating in wargames and whether we've ever done it I have yet to come across somebody who is pure of heart, and can look me in the eye and say no. Most gamers I know will have cheated on at least a few occasions, eve if it was only mild infractions such as nudging a miniature a couple of millimeters forward so they're in charge range.

      As for your last paragraph, I agree. True when the mini's are on the table and the random numerical generator of choice (dice or cards) comes out I'm in it to win it. I am a competitive person deep down in my soul and I know that. Do I sulk if I lose a game? No, do I get angry? No. But I do want to win. It's just that I've gotten good enough at most wargames I play to not have to worry about the whole cheating thing to win. I'm also not going to drag somebody through the streets so an angry mob can pelt them with stones just because they might have cheated. I'd rather take that sort of energy and do something positive with it... like paint some miniatures.

  3. I'm actually writing my thesis around unethical behaviour (a very specific part of course). And the concept of cheating 'a little' features strongly.

    There are and always will be bad apples who are just dicks and go all the way with their cheating. But the vast majority of people still want to be able to look at the mirror so to speak. However, one should never underestimate the human ability to rationalize small transgressions. All these little transgressions add up though. It's this accumulation that generally has the largest impact. Here's an example. How many wheighted dice have you encountered? And how many people with 'elastic tape measure syndrome' have you encountered?

    What I'm saying here (besides waffling on about a subject that fascinates me) is that it's inside all of us. That doesn't make it right. But the whole 'holier than thou' thinking achieves nothing either.

    1. Having studied psychology to a fairly advanced level Aeria I never underestimate the human ability to self rationalise any behaviour!!! We are fanbloodytastic at self delusion and deception. We lie to ourselves more than we lie to others. As I said in my article, we do all have the capacity to cheat, and we do all know exactly what cheating is. We may self delude ourselves, but deep down we know. So yes I agree it is inside us all, that was part of the point of the article, and as for the holier than thou thing, well I've often found those who actually are holier than I am are often far more sympathetic and understanding, and they don't feel the need to point it out.

  4. One of biggest challenges as a "Gamer Dad" is teaching my son that we play for fun, and that winning (while fun) is only a bonus. If you would rather not play than loose - don't pick up the dice. Of course, I have to be an exemplar too...

    Of course this is all about sportsmanship, but it includes cheating. If we didn't have a competitive spirit we probably wouldn't bother getting the game in the first place and going to all that trouble of painting everything up. So its about tempered competitive spirit. I'm sure that what we try to introduce everyone to in kids/little league/Under 12s sports. maybe for some people it just doesn't take when they have the additional temptation.

    1. Now there's an interesting topic. Raising a child right so they know that cheating isn't a good thing and that it is morally dubious. My folks did a really good job on me. However, there are some young children I know who seem to have a pretty iffy moral compass when it comes to cheating.

      I caught one of them rearranging the deck of cards in a game so it would favour them in the next few turns, while his brother was out of the room. When I challenged him on it, apparently his brother should have gone to the toilet before the game had started. So in his head it was perfectly OK to cheat if you weren't caught!

      I've tried to explain that it is not OK, and that it is severely wrong to cheat regardless of whether or not you get caught or not. It just doesn't seem to have sunk in. I see them cheat at computer games all the time online and I just have to shake my head. Not my kids I guess, so it's not my problem, but it does make me think about whether or not we're raising a generation of win at all costs ass hats.

    2. You bet - its quite a challenge too, especially when you get the "but others cheat so if I don't I'll never win" counter argument brought up.

      Not your kids, but potentially a future opponent one day, so its everyone's problem. What we can all do about it is another thing though. Just keep on holding the Line!

  5. The question is, where does cheating become serious? Alot of people say "it's only toy soldiers". Could you not then say drug doping at the Olympics is fine because "only running" or diving for a penalty in football where again "it's only a game". How about cheating on your wife? "It's only sex!". Cheating is cheating, and anyone guilty of deliberately breaking the rules for personal gain should be permanently banned for life from that discipline.

    1. TableTopper Harley22 October 2012 at 09:36

      The last sentence is that sort of black and white thinking OK for someone in puberty (see also here: but hardly suitable for coping with reality, or morality for that matter, which is made up of all kinds of shades of greys - as well as more than on white and black, come to think of.

      Almost everyone deserves a second chance, especially when it comes to something so ultimately unimportant as cheating in tabletop games.

      Yes, unimportant. It's a game. IT's meant to be fun. If someone has so hard ego issues, or is still so young that (s)he has difficulties to grasp the concepts of common morality, the purpose of this hobby, or self-deceit for that matter, then that is sad and can break some games. But no one is permanently damaged.

      This is not to say that cheating is OK, it's just meant to put things into perspective.

      To say it differently: You are assuming that someone would EXCUSE something when putting it into perspective. That is a fallacy. (i.e. you are just not getting it).

      Give that idiot some slack. He has been punished enough (although I would agree that it would have been better to exclude him from the whole tournament). Banning for life? Seriously?

      We give real criminals a chance of rehabilitation (even though in most systems the criminal is sadly left alone with doing that rehabilitation), including murderers and rapists - and for very good reasons (if you do not know those reasons, it is maybe time you started thinking and reading about the concept of human dignity).

      Btw. "cheating" used in the meaning of "adultery" is just lazy language. Having ex-marital sex might be immoral in your view but has nothing to do with the topic.

      From wikipedia (fine enough this time, IMHO): >>[Cheating] is generally used for the breaking of rules to gain advantage in a competitive situation.<<

    2. @Chris, for me the question isn't 'where' or indeed 'when' does cheating become serious? It's more when did we decide wargaming in a friendly tournament in Tampa Florida was as serious as the Olympics? The punishment I was always taught should be commensurate with the activity itself. So rolling a loaded dice in a wargame is not as serious as taking a performance enhancing steroid in the 100m final of the Olympics. Sorry it isn't. Because it isn't only 'running' it is a globally significant event where most of the globe tunes in to watch it. The winner is adored and adulated as the fastest man or women on earth. Along with that title comes a huge fiscal reward. The winner of that tournament in Florida would not become a world superstar. In fact there unlikely to have become known even in our little global community, or indeed America, or Florida or Tampa. It only mattered to those in that room and I bet half the attendees couldn't themselves give a flying fudge cake who actually won. So trying to escalate the acts in Florida by linking them with cheating in other disciplines is a weak argument. Here's an example for you, is cheating on a mock exam as serious as cheating on the actual exam? Both have implications, but one certainly offers a greater gain than the other. Also as TTH points out bringing in the idea of adultery into this discussion is really, really bizarre. Adultery is the word we should use for that, because 'cheating' isn't what it is. In fact calling it cheating is part of the self deception that Aeria and I talked about a few comments above. calling it 'cheating' is a way we self deceive and diminish the act act we perform. Adultery is far more serious than cheating. As for being permanently banned? So if I sleep behind my partners back I should be permanently banned from sex? I don't even want to know how you'd plan on enforcing that!!! lol.

    3. @TableTopper Harley, I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who found the witch hunt of this chap a little disturbing... and yes... annoying. Would I have thrown him out of the entire tournament? My thoughts are yes. But the event organisers took a more Christian approach than I would have. However, despite what I or anyone else thinks the infraction was dealt with at the time. Raise the issue of the loaded dice, warn the community they exist, then move on.

      Like you I believe people deserve a second chance. Mainly because chucking them in jail at the tax payers expense, when they could be out earning money and helping lift the tax burden slightly across society is just stupid. I don't think of rehabilitation programs in jail as taking it easy and going soft on people. It makes damn good fiscal sense that you'd not want a criminal coming out of prison where their only choice is crime yet again. That leads to more victims, more expense and a wasted resource.

      I agree with you, the idiot deserves some slack. He's been caught. In his circle of gamers he'll be known as the cheat. For the rest of his gaming career amongst his peers he'll be scrutinised far harder than any other gamer would be. Yeah, he deserved everything he got in Tampa, and probably more. I just think people should let it go. Especially those who weren't there and are never likely to meet the guy, let alone play him.

    4. While you might think that some things are more important than others, that is only your perspective. sure, most of the world would agree that the 100m final is more important than a friendly game of 40k, but if i was on the receiving end of the cheating, i would disagree. the 100m final has no impact on my life, the guy with the loaded dice does. I am afraid i agree with Chris in that it doesn't matter one jot what the activity is. if the intention was to cheat, then that is all that matters in my mind.
      ban them, leave them, do whatever you need to do, but i would want nothing to do with anyone who cheats once they have been found out.

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. Wether you care about the olympics or not, millions of people do. The scale is vastly different. Furthermore, he is being punished. Social stigma is not to be taken lightly for social animals like humans. Wether there should be further punishment is something for the people involved to deal with. Not because you heard something on the internet once.

      Considering moral choices as black and white is what makes people feel self righteous. It's the same kind of thinking that leads to gaybashing for instance. "Those people are immoral and need to be punished"

      Rape and murder are not cheating, so I don't know what that has to do with anything. Let's just say I disagree very strongly with your view on the death penalty.

    7. OK I steeped away from this for a few hours and I come back to people swearing at each other, which is a big no, no on my blog. So Chris your comment will be removed for that reason and that reason alone.

      @Atreides, so was it you this guy stole time from then? I didn't realise you were in Tampa Florida. My bad. Yes cheating sucks, and the guy was dealt with. What I find unsavory is this global witch hunt that is happening. He was dealt with in the tournament. Whatever the rest of us might think the problem was addressed there and then. As it should have been. A lifetime ban for a wargamer caught cheating? Oh come on. None of us would be able to play a game if we were banned because of cheating, even so called honest mistakes.

      @Chris, Sorry then you're somebody with a very warped perspective on this hobby. So the Olympics aren't as important to you, as a game being played in Tampa Florida between two people you've never met and are never likely to meet? Punished harshly? What does that involve? Chopping his hands off? Your time might be valuable to you, but the truth is it's not to the vast majority of people. Most people couldn't care less about your time, or for that matter mine. The punishment should fit the crime and loaded dice should in my opinion have seen him booted out of the tournament entirely. That he wasn't was a judgement call made by the organisers.

      As to the lefty hand wringing... sorry what the hell are you on about? Since when has it been right wing to waste loads and loads of money on ineffectual deterrents and rehabilitation? Right wing and left wing are such outdated modes of analyzing political discourse now it's laughable. The reason the West has gone to the dogs as you put it has little to do with what you think it does. Countries that have proper rehabilitation programs and decent universal education systems in the West have far lower crime rates than those with the death penalty. Go figure.

      @Aeria, I agree, but others don't. Apparently some guy using a loaded dice is more important than someone using drugs in the 100m Olympic final, or at the very least, just as bad.

  6. Hi there

    Miniatures wargaming is my second hobby ... my first hobby is Magic .. yes with cards, silk and ropes ... not with spell and potion.

    Cheater and magician use same things for different purpose.
    The bible for all of us is not the W40K rules but the 1902 "The Expert at the Card Table" writen by S.W. Erdnase (which is a pseudo for an unknown author)

    Erdnase explains in details the mind of a cheater. The book is still a reference amoung magician (and certainly amoung cheater).
    It contains a lot of description for "cards manipulation". But if you remove them, you have the best book describing the world and mind of cheaters written by a cheater.

    A good cheater
    - dont use "gimmicks". He only use "advanced dexterity" and "mind control".
    - NEVER speaks about his skils. He try to look a normal guy ... doing normal gesture and normal reply
    - Knows when to win and when to loose. He also knows when to leave a table.

    if you combine these 3 principles ... the conclusion is clear. A good cheater can NEVER be caught. And cheaters that make them caught break one of the rules.

    Now it is extremly difficult to be a "top of the art" manipulator without showing it.
    For the ego ... it is quite impossible. It is like having skils in music ... and not playing in fornt of a public.

    So Erdnase explains that your level of cheating needs a goal in order to control your ego. It is often money but it can be glory.

    But why cheating ? Erdnase explains that amoung gamblers, there are some peoples who refuse the rules of the gods, who refuses the random part of a game. They want to control "destiny"
    If it is quite a noble goal, the mind of a cheater want to see the control. He needs to see amoung the blinds.
    Other players are blinds ... he breaks the rules in order to see.

    And it becames a drug. He works harder in order to control more.
    He needs to control others and to control himself. The second part is more difficult. He has to know his limit, to remind himself he is just a man and not a "god".

    Cheat fate or lose your soul .. it is Malifaux .. now perhaps you can understand the sentence :)

    1. Eisengrim I have indeed and am aware of the The Expert at the Card Table. It was a fair few years ago now that I read the book. But I can can remember the gist of it. What struck me though wasn't that the mind of a cheat was somehow different to the minds of none cheats. In fact I think they are still quite similar. Nope it was the levels of justification a cheat will go to, to rationalise their behaviour. That's the difference, the ability t self delude that you aren't doing something heinous to your fellow gamer in this instance, but rather that you are being 'clever' 'skilled' or 'noble'. All very nice sounding platitudes. Truth is it's just one more lie a cheater tells themselves. Once outed, we should always try to educate a cheat of the error of their ways. Why? A reformed cheat is always best able to spot current cheats!!!


    2. You put the debate on the "morale side" and I understand. Magicians are used in Casino to detect cheats.

      Cheat need a justification ... they dont understand that's they are on the wrong side. In their mind they are no "good side" and "wrong side".

      In magic history, cheats dont learn from magicians ... it is magicians who learn from cheats.
      In 1921, Dai Vernon was young and has studied during years all cheat. He encounters Houdini and became "the man who fooled Houdini" ... which can be dated as the "creation of modern magic"
      So yes from a pure technical point of view ... cheats are the best.

      If we resume in "sermon" style. My father learns me how to cheat ... it sounds crazy.
      Why he does it ? Because he explains me that the world is "not fair".

      You cant fight cheat if you dont learn from cheats !
      And i bacame the anti thesis ... i never cheat during my life.

    3. I think you misunderstand. A magician isn't a cheat, they might employ slight of hand, or the tools of a confidence trickster, but they don't do so to gain the upper hand on somebody. They do it to entertain. A cheat at a casino counting cards for example isn't in my eyes actually cheating. They're playing the system. Casino's don't like it because they've actually loaded the outcome in their favours, the casino's that is. No game in a casino favours the player. So the player turning the odds on the casino annoys them.

      However, in a game where the rules are set to offer a level playing field, to deal with both parties fairly, like ostensibly in a wargame scenario, for one player to cheat to tip the scales in there favour is wrong. Going outside of the rules and the parameters set shows a distinct lack sportsmanship, and actually shows someone who is quite cowardly in some respects. The world might not be fair, but in our games we attempt to reverse that truth, it's the reason so many of us are concerned with balance in our games. So we try to manipulate systems to give us all a fair crack of the whip in our games. So to step outside of this is to step outside of the community as far as I'm concerned.

    4. you misunderstand
      As say my wife : Magic is only cheat

      And she is right. A magician is a cheat. But his goal is different.
      You think the line is so clearly defined
      What about magician who use a large amount of pick pocket
      What about mentalist who rarelly present themself as Magician

      And to finish, let s go to one of the oldest trick .. what about
      three-card Monte

      When i do Monte, i could do the same to cheat people ... the line is not so clear. Just in mind. Magician are bad cheat "on game" because they search something else.

    5. Again you seem to completely miss the point. The difference as I say is that a magician performs a show. You know what you are going there to see. A pickpocket is a thief. Just because a magician can lift stuff off of an audience member doesn't mean it's stealing if they give it back and it's in the context of a show. As to three card Monte, if you are performing a street hustle, it's a hustle, not a magic show. You aren't doing it to entertain, you are doing it to fleece somebody out of their cash. Maybe it's a language barrier thing here, but there are distinct differences that I see that you don't.

  7. I think a lot of anger is generated by the perception that a given player intended to cheat for advantage in a game. Forgetting a rule or picking up the wrong due is easily excused. Deliberately seeking to manipulate the outcome of a game, outside if the rules, is more difficult to let go.

    Consider Kopach's 3 points. That seemed to be an accident so most players were willing to let it go. Loaded dice are more controversial because they demonstrate intent.

    1. Of course using a loaded die shows intent, and that's why I'm sorry but I think it shows a crude level of intelligence and indeed a crude level of cheating. A real cheat, a 'good' cheat if you will, is able to hide there activities, and when they are caught brush them off as an accident. Or indeed explain them away. I remember playing a Dwarf player many years ago now who said all his units had shields. Fine I thought, they're a cheap addition and confer a decent armour save bump. However, he hadn't paid for any of them in his army list. In fact there were a few things he hadn't paid for. I still won but I brought it the the event organisers attention. He explained it away as an honest mistake, and apologised profusely. He has subsequently bee caught doing similar things multiple times, and always the same apology of it being just a genuine mistake. He's always been let off as well. Why? Because there isn't a single wargamer out there who hasn't made the same genuine mistake at one time or other. As I said, loaded dice are easy to spot and are crude. The more subtle cheats are the ones to really worry about.

    2. genuine mistake is a super "cheat"

      The trouble is that miniature wargaming are too complex ... and cheating is Easy.

      I mean how many times we end the game, saying to ourself

      "I have forgotten special rule number 103 which would have cancelled the special effect from these models"

      If you want to play for winning ... dont play miniatures games please.

      Play Chess, Go, Poker, Backgammon, Mah Jong, ... but please dont play a game full of errata and clarification.
      Dont play a game full of unbalanced profile. In chess, both players have the same miniatures .. you know well why.

      Fantasy Wargamming is just a way to stimulate brain and imagination in endless fantastic conflict.
      Tournment are just relevant to see others creation ... not to define a winner.

    3. @Eisengrim, Cheating in wargames is easy, if people know what things to slide past there opponents. The whole genuine mistake thing is significantly worse than the obvious cheat, such as loaded dice in my opinion.

      I play wargames to pit my wits against my opponent and to try and gain the upper hand either by my cunning army lists, or my application of said army lists on the board. I do so though knowing tha t like my opponent I subject myself to the vagaries of fate, and whatever random decision maker the game employs.

  8. Since you mention it, I am appalled about what is being alleged about Lance Armstrong. I want to believe he is a man of higher integrity than to cheat, and even if it does turn out to be true, the fact is that we will be remembered by this generation for cheating, rather than what a legend he was and what he did for survivors of cancer.

    Thankfully nobody has ever cheated me that I've noticed. I've been accused of cheating once over a 'cocked' dice check which apparently I did too quickly, but I re-rolled the offending dice taking whatever result came up and the game went on. The person I know with the worst reputation for cheating doesn't even cheat. Then again, not being a part of the tournament circuit, I've not come across anyone who would feel a particular need to do so.

    It seems those people with a wider experience of the hobby than I can look upon this with a lot less niaivety. (sp?) But get this - I'm running a Dungeons and Dragons game over Google+ Hangouts, and as 2 of them don't have webcams, I have to trust what they're saying about their dice rolls...

    It's early days so far but we'll see how it all turns out.

    1. I've actually come across more cheating in so called friendly games than I have tournament games. I think cheating isn't all that prevalent though, but what disturbs me is that one incidence of cheating has led to a global witch hunt. The guy he cheated has a right to be pissed because he missed out on a game. I have a right t think it was a shitty thing to do. But as I wasn't there and I wasn't affected, and nor am I likely to be affected, I don't see why we need to get het up about it. Worry about your opponent cheating, not some dick halfway across the world. Jeez! :P

      As for Lance... I can honestly say the news has devastated me. He was a personal sporting hero of mine, and an absolute legend for what he has done for the fight against cancer. So to hear these allegations, and to hear how comprehensive they are is a bit like taking a body blow. I hope they're not true... but it looks like they are right now.

  9. The witch-hunt, to me, is just kind of funny. People aren't going to do anything to this guy other than stain his "e-honoure" to no great effect. It'll blow over and he'll do it again.

    I've seen all kinds of cheating in various systems during various events over the years. Funnily enough, the worst of it is almost always in 40k, with one exception know locally as "Big Ropey James". If you're playing him, then the best thing to do is just walk away and wait for him to be disqualified (also don't lend him money....).

    I know in games I play distances tend to be flexible, rules tend to be open to interpretation and in general things don't get all that serious. This is because I have the luxury of playing with a group of people who mostly just want to have fun rolling dice and pretending to be Space-Racist or whatever.

    Then there's that one guy... you've played Battletech so you'll know what kind of situations you can engineer if you take a lance consisting of four of the same mech variant, use the appropriate miniature for each of them, use pencil to mark your sheets, use the same sheets every game, just keep rubbing and finally to keep shuffling the sheets around physically on the table all game. None of it is technically cheating, but there's a strong suspicion that when all of this is going on, while he checks your maths out loud and doesn't bother doing the same for himself and takes that particular unit.... he probably is.

    1. Like you I have a group of regular people I play I rank them as close friends, good friends, friends and acquaintances. Then there are random people I see at clubs and stores. I rarely play people nowadays I don't really know, so cheating isn't an issue for me. I've said my piece on the global witch hunt for this gamer and I've found it really strange. But that's my perspective on it.

    2. Yeah, the moral outrage over it was kind of strange. It's not like anyone is going to be able to do anything about it if they don't personally know the guy.