The concept of "Pubstomping" in T9A

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    @Anselmus
    I don´t understand why 9th Age should only be considered a game for competitive people. The main difference between WHFB 8th and 9th Age is that the latter does not have a sales driven ruleset. That´s all. As I have said before, people make and break the game.

    And I will give you now a taste of the latest bright idea GW had when trying to increase the sales of their products:
    A new CSM codex will soon hit the stores and the Havocs will get a revamped kit with a new weapon which sort of was exclusive to the Imperium of Man: A nice gatling gun. It´s the favoured heavy weapon of many hobbyists and GW knows this. It has eight shots and will outperform the heavy bolter by a wide margin as the Defiler did when compared with the Dreadnought upon release.
    And now comes the icing upon the cake: The new kit includes two heavy weapons of each kind but only ONE gatling gun! Meanwhile GW marketing taunts players with the notion that a Havoc squad with four gatling guns would look just awesome. Yeah, you will have to buy four bloody boxes to get this squad together. Customers are angry and are looking already for alternatives to get hold of gatling guns from other manufacturers.

    I am so glad that I don´t have to deal with this sort of stupid stuff anymore when I discovered 9th Age.
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    Anselmus wrote:

    As one who has completely stopped playing T9A, I can tell my reason is deeply connected with this topic.

    1) I agree the list problem does not really exist in T9A anymore. It is very balanced for a game of such complexity.

    2) T9A is a game of skill, and it's very hard to master. You start with 100 pages of basic rules plus all the army books. Just to play your own army, you have to master some 120 pages. To understand an opponent army, add 20 pages. To be ready in an all-comers set-up, add some 250 pages to your own army book. So it's blatantly clear that people who have read it all and practice a lot will be miles better than people who don't. Actually, I'd say people who really master the game play and think in a totally different universe compared to the rest.

    3) T9A around here is predominantly a competitive game played by a small group of dedicated and very skilled players - basically the local ETC team. They know how to build lists (yes, it still matters, of course). They know how to play the millimetre-game with totally infallible positioning, of course with laser markers and angle justifiers. They know the buff-circus. They know the odds. And they play for winning. They're also the guys who have a ranking list, and who of course top that list. Some of them are actually working for the T9A project, so are among the game developers (if not in the rules team).

    It goes without saying that I'm not within that competitive group. I don't have the time to invest to reach that level. No game is that interesting or important for me, really.

    4) But because the circles are so small, and the investment in the game so vast compred to any other new fantasy battles game (but some rpg's maybe), there really is no other T9A scene. Instead, the people who don't want to play competitive T9A play OTHER fantasy battles games less competitively. Usually, they are pre-8th editions of Warhammer. Also, there have been many new fantasy battles games published in the recent years.

    It's actually a very cool solution, because now everybody knows the gaming styles: play T9A, play very competitively. Play Oldhammer or any other fantasy game, play less competitively.

    I've felt and seen how the 'professional' competitive players beat beginner players mercilessly and repeatedly. It's their right to do, especially in a tournament. They do not hide their strategies, or the synenergies they go after in their lists, or the degree of pre-measurement and thinking forward that this game needs. They would like others to learn the game and join the joust for winning. The competitive players are all very nice guys, and I totally want them to have good time with their style of hobby. And I understand how, after reaching that level, it's very hard to step down to a more casual level and still enjoy the game. Beause you still see and understand the table as a compeitive millimetre-field. You just can't switch your brains off.

    My answer is never go play with them, never play T9A at all, just admire the painting of their armies during the set-up and cheer along in the web.
    Stink bro- thats a shame.

    Speaking to my own experience- my worst games are (in order) games that ive been smashed, from turn 1; games that ive smashed someone from turn 1; games that ive lost; games that ive won.

    In other words- winning a game from the beginning is worse than losing a fun game. I lost a game to one if those guys recently, but it was a fun game where the move and counter move was like a complex game of chess. At least with 9th youve a much better chance of not losing by deployment.

    The rules are long and complex, but at least they are locked in.

    Come back to the whanau bro!
  • New

    Anselmus wrote:


    .. I've felt and seen how the 'professional' competitive players beat beginner players mercilessly and repeatedly. It's their right to do, especially in a tournament. They do not hide their strategies, or the synenergies they go after in their lists, or the degree of pre-measurement and thinking forward that this game needs. ......... And I understand how, after reaching that level, it's very hard to step down to a more casual level and still enjoy the game. Beause you still see and understand the table as a compeitive millimetre-field. You just can't switch your brains off.
    Great post Anselmus, and hope you enjoy the game you are currently playing. But on the above I have a totally different opinion. Slaughtering newbies is bad form, plain and simple. If you can not shift between your A game and a fun game, and you feel its your duty or right to relentlessly slaughter unexperienced players, go ahead, but know that you are bad for this hobby. Fun players is what drives the hobby. A-game players a niche.
    Booooooaaaaaarsssss .... Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaarge !!!
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    There is a big difference between winning and being a pubstomper. A lot of it is just reading the room and knowing who you are playing with.

    If you are playing casually with a player who is less skilled than you are, see what it is they are looking to get out of the game. Some people like learning the Dark Souls way: throwing themselves at a challenge, getting crushed, learning from the experience, and taking that challenge on again. Other people like learning the directors commentary way: playing the game, but getting information about why certain moves are made on the fly. Both are perfectly legit, but they don't mix well. So long as you take this preference into consideration and are friendly, you can utterly crush new players and no one will feel bad.

    Pubstomping comes in to play when you don't consider your opponent and just play to crush them using every trick you know. It is great that you know how to play, but you are leaving a horrible taste in that new players mouth and they may never want to play again because of people like you.

    Personally, I am a directors commentary type learner. I don't care if I win or lose so long as the other player is friendly. I have played against pubstompers before, and they really do make it hard to be friends.
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    N3okorrales wrote:

    so in order to be fun you have to intentionally lose, intentionally make bad decisions , not cast magic and not shoot. Did i get it right?
    no- I would suggest a fluffier list (all goblin, dwarf airforce, empire zealot theme) and more forgiving play style- pointing out potential charges, let opponent take back moves or letting them pass a rally test which would lose them the game otherwise
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    Do you meant just taking a weaker optimized list or an antisynergizing list or an actively as bad created list? I am asking, because the skill gab normally should allow the Pro Player to beat the Newbie or seldome playing casual by a lot, too. Okay, the actively bad created list could even the odds more.

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  • New

    It's not only about fluffier lists in this context. If I play against beginners, I simply explain much more to my opponent. I tell him how my lists works, where it performs very well and where it could run into trouble. I tell him which spells I need to rely on the most, what units need to be how near to which else unit to make profit of their synergy. I simply give him an idea of what his winning condition is versus what is mine.

    If we have enough time I even analyze his previous round so he has got the chance to improve his game turn by turn.

    That being said, I'm not doing this because I'm the biggest socialist of mankind, but because I most of the time enjoy close games much more than stomp games (in any direction). And one of my long term targets is to help my opponents to improve their skill, so the next time we play, I have to explain even less.

    The best experience I've had was a game against a good friend of mine where I absolutely tabled his BH in round 4, tough telling him after each and every round which mistakes he made and what consequences now will follow. - The next game we had about one week later and he tabled me absolutely due to his knowledge his list was a very bad match up for me and he made all the guessed advantages of this situation. Both games were even played with the same lists! ;)

    Regarding the list building discussion I'm totally of @Just_Flo s opinion. The list of really crapy units is VERY short. The only difference I see in units is wether they are taken often or not so often in tournament lists. But to use this as an argument to call the less used units 'underpowered' is just the half of the truth. The other half is that they don't fit very well into the meta lists because of their design and so on.

    But meta is not what counts the most. I've had the experience whenever I field an unusual list in a tourney I even ended up on a higher placement than if I was just running a meta list. This is simply because many opponents don't know how to deal with it. They don't know what synergy effects are build in your list, what factors you might rely on and most of the time there is at least one unusual character setup that will bring your opponent an unforgetable surprise. ;)

    Furthermore meta is shifting all the time. So for me there has never been THE best list or something like that. Most of the time good players design off-meta lists and stomp 3-4 tourneys with it before the community really understands such concept. Afterwards such concept is often called 'overpowered' even if it is not and other players simply copy&paste the list. Then the circle begins again. That's it.

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    I would compile all of your wisdom thusly;

    If your building a list to play a newbie, simply take the george costanza approach- make the opposite decision to what you would normally do. Normally take a wizard master? Take 2 adepts of the other lore. Like your bsb in your core block? Put him in the cav. Prefer tribesmen over bruisers> and so forth...

    This isnt a bad list per se, but its a bad list for you. But it forces you to try new things and be a bit at sea like your opponent. And you might find new found respect for that knight commander you never take.
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    The newb will still have a terrible game if I behave bad while tabling him.

    But if I talk him through what I do and why or help him that might change.

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  • New

    Shukran wrote:

    Pellegrim wrote:

    Shukran wrote:

    if there were ZERO cheating there would be no refereers.
    No. Referees mostly help with rules questions. And thats a good thing.
    so refereers are just players who read better rulebook?read it as well and u would not need refereers.
    but . . .
    In Sweden yes. The refs are mostly for rules questions or disputes, not to hinder people from cheating.

    Compared to the ETC, were some countries take liberties that are just insane.
    Rules Questions?

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  • New

    Not sure if this is helpful or meaningful, but I'd like to answer to a couple of replies to my previus post.

    Shukran wrote:

    it is "sad" that while having such "wealthy" brain food (aka "pro-players") in your zone, u dont see the luck u got and use it to improve, just by watching them playing or asking for suggestions and help, rather doing like the "wolf and the grape". but it s up to you.

    i would like to understand what s behind the "uncompetitive scene" "you" are talking about. like it s a saint grail of fun and entertainment.
    i dont get it.

    but letting aside this. is ther any game you play? videogames?as long as they are multiplayer and in the detail "competitive pvp" there will be always the fact that more skilled wins.

    I think I answered this in my original posting: "I don't have the time to invest to reach that level. No game is that interesting or important for me, really."

    I should add that I would be doing a disservice for the competitive players if I would repeatedly enter the tournaments, get weary, play unfocused, not really appreciate their advice, maybe leave after two games, and re-enter without having learned much.

    A scene needs standards for everybody to have a good time. Being part of a scene requries accepting those standards. It's not only the competitive players' job to cater for the newbies or less competitive players' fun. It's also the less competitive players' job to understand what the game is if they enter a tournament, or a training evening for a tournament.

    Because I couldn't bother less, I'm totally the wrong guy to enter any tournament. I just cannot palate playing fast and playing several games in a row. At the 'peak' of my T9A 'career' people were phoning me and tempting me to join the next tournament. All I could say was that if I was interested, I would be there already. I just want to play one game, slowly, with great story and great terrain, and preferably return to that story in the following game. And have a relaxed dinner during the game and a beer afterwards. By all means let the more skilled player win!

    T9A as a game caters for this as well as any other game, and better than some badly unbalanced games. It's just that the T9A scene here is more focused on the tournament style gaming, and I can find more approachable games systems and other company for more relaxed gaming. And I didn't mean to criticize the T9A scene at all! Different gaming agendas need not be compared and should not be put on a scale. There is no good or bad, just preference. My preferred gaming style is no more a Holy Grail than anybody else's (although it is for me, for sure). Sorry if I came through as promoting such an attitude.

    Adam wrote:

    @Anselmus not sure how big is your local scene but I have met tons of casual players at tournaments. Sure I run into one or two pro players sometimes but I also run into lots super casual players who come to the events to meet people and roll dice with them.

    Also, at least in my experience, if you get stomped by someone good they are usually eager to point out some mistakes you made which help you play better.

    The visible scene has maybe three dozen or up to fifty players. There are casual players there. There are people in and people out. It might be that the scene is slowly growing and may one day be big enough to cater for many gaming styles. There surely are pockets of T9A players the others don't know about. There always are, with every game.

    Some casual players semi-regularly go to the tournaments and do well. But talking to them I've heard they would actually like to play more relaxed games and other systems. These are Warhammer Fantasy players who have the armies and like fantasy battles games. I've played T9A with these guys at home and at the club, but after some time no-one asked for more, not me, not they. Instead, we started to look to other games.

    I like to get better in games, but I cannot devote very much time to that process. I played T9A for a year and got better. I even helped a couple of newbies to learn the rules, or we learned them together. But in the end I just didn't find the fun in getting better in T9A, getting more games under my belt. So I went to look for other style of gaming, other scene.

    There are games with both simpler and more complicated rules that create as much fun for me. And the T9A players are in their right to call these games simpler or less balanced or both. We're after a different thing, so naturally we find pleasure in different things. My whole point was about the scenes.

    Based on this, a theory point:
    Pubstomping happens when two different mindsets, two different scenes collide without people understanding. So be honest, be self-reflective, talk talk talk, and understsand that agreeing to not play together is also a good solution at times.

    Haunted Forest wrote:

    @Anselmus
    I don´t understand why 9th Age should only be considered a game for competitive people.
    This is an issue that rouses a lot of hot blood on these forums: why is T9A seen as a game for competitive people?

    I want to loudly declare that T9A should not be considered a game for competitive people only. No game should, or then every game should. Because games are about competition, right? It is the definition of game that you can win it by playing it along the rules, and understanding the rules helps you to win. Even if a game of Monopoly is 50 % about luck, and all the interesting choices are made early in the game, it still contains aspects of game, and a better Monopoly-player will beat a poorer one more often, given they're equally lucky.

    T9A has depth and breadth, structure and balance that allows exploration of the game. Such a game is intersting as a game. This caters for gamey/competitive mindsets, and that probably leads invested gamers to choose such games over the other alternatives. And invested gamers who repeatedly try out the game and try to find the limits and combos and tricks in that game are, from a certain point of view, competitive players. So it's not about the game, but about the players and the scene they create.

    I want to repeat that all the competitive players I know are cool guys. I'm just witnessing a scene where T9A is mostly approached as a competitive game, and where some other games are not. By the way, Kings of War is also approached rather competitively over here, and 40K, and Warmachine. IIRC Warmachine has been celebrated as a balanced competitive game from the start on (I have no experience of it, so cannot say if it really is), and has had international tournaments for a long time, so this is definitely not a feature of T9A only.
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    It is possible that when the T9A background gets fleshed out and more fully written army books start to arrive people get interested in the setting and start to play more story-oriented. I can attest to the interest the 'fluffy' oriented Viking Chaos book created. At least one player started a whole new army just to combine the Viking looks into a T9A army. And another player arranged his Saga Vikings on a horde tray to play them in T9A. So there clearly is hope to abridge the competitive tournament-oriented T9A scene with a softer and more story-oriented gaming scene. :)