Is exploiting an opponents lack of rules knowledge a form of cheating?

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  • Is exploiting an opponents lack of rules knowledge a form of cheating?

    Watched some fantastic ETC coverage videos from Chihammer and the last one got me thinking about something and whether or not it would qualify as a form of cheating?

    In the game, against a very experienced opponent, a unit has been flank charged and loses combat. Chihammer roles for the break test and fails and is about to roll for the flee distance but then the rest of Team Mexico all say “you’re stubborn”, meaning the unit has actually passed the break test. Now what Chihammer doesn’t say is whether his opponent also reminded him he was stubborn or not.

    Now stubborn is a rule that all ETC players should be aware of. If the opponent had let Chihammer make the flee roll and pursued, without correcting him on the stubborn rule, is that not cheating?

    I play fairly regularly and get rules wrong but I also correct and remind my opponents for things like making stomps etc. If I win a game, only for an opponent to later come back and say they had forgotten a critical rule, it takes away from the win for me, as I like to know that I’ve won on a level playing field. But knowing all your opponents army rules is very tricky.

    Also, is it right or wrong for someone watching a match to correct players on a rules mistake?

    The 9th Age is a game that has rules and rules are there to be followed. Surely, by keeping quiet about certain rules, you are therefore not playing by the rules and effectively cheating to win?

    And, once again, this is not aimed at Chihammer’s opponent in particular, as we are all not fully aware of all the specific circumstances but it is a good example that everyone can view that demonstrates the principle of what I am saying. Chihammer had something similar happen v the Beastman player who took a panic test, when he didn’t need to, causing a units to incorrectly run off the board. If Chihammer knew he didn’t have to take the test but kept quiet and allowed his opponent to remove the unit, for me, that would also be cheating.

    So, what does everyone think about this?
  • knowing that rules are being incorrectly applied and keeping quiet is cheating.

    Both players playing the rules wrong due to confusion, getting caught up in the game etc etc is fine and happens all the time.

    Onlookers reminding of correct rulings is fine and good, onlookers giving any kind of tactical advice is bad and wrong, unless both players have agreed that its a team game beforehand
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  • You will get every possible answer to these questions.
    They have been asked for decades and will be asked for decades to come.


    My personal philosophy:
    I do my best to remember everything, whether it is to my benefit or not.
    I regularly point out (even in tournaments) things like "don't forget you have a re-roll because X", "your unit has special rule Y" etc etc.
    This is because (A) I don't want to win for these reasons, and (B) winning for these reasons doesn't make me any better at the game.
    I personally welcome any input from onlookers that prevents an incorrect happening, indeed I have less objection to this when it is to my opponent's benefit than when it is to mine.


    But... I would say that the things you bring up aren't really "wrong" or "cheating", their status is probably best described as *undefined*.

    In the same way that shouting loudly at your opponent to intimidate them (or getting them very drunk the night before :P ) isn't wrong or cheating, it is just not legislated for by the game.
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  • Pellegrim wrote:

    opponents of things they might forget
    do a march check, do a march check, do a march check.... It's my most used in game phrase, never seen one failed yet but I live in hope!
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  • I’m not sure that they are the same thing. Getting an opponent drunk, distracting etc, for me, falls under the grey area of “gamesmanship” and is a moral decision... “Am I happy to win by getting my opponent drunk?” “I’ll get the dragon out of my army case, it’s not in my list but my opponent might think that it is and change the way he deploys”...

    But the rules are the rules. They’re in black and white and there is no moral decision. “My opponent is about to roll for a break test but he’s forgotten that he is stubborn. I’ll keep quiet about it.” That for me is cheating, plain and simple.

    But, things can be forgotten in the heat of a game, especially on the last day of a big tournament.
  • Munkey wrote:

    I’m not sure that they are the same thing. Getting an opponent drunk, distracting etc, for me, falls under the grey area of “gamesmanship” and is a moral decision... “Am I happy to win by getting my opponent drunk?” “I’ll get the dragon out of my army case, it’s not in my list but my opponent might think that it is and change the way he deploys”...

    But the rules are the rules. They’re in black and white and there is no moral decision. “My opponent is about to roll for a break test but he’s forgotten that he is stubborn. I’ll keep quiet about it.” That for me is cheating, plain and simple.

    But, things can be forgotten in the heat of a game, especially on the last day of a big tournament.
    Surely it is EXACTLY a moral decision whether to point it out?

    As I said above, I wouldn't do it.

    Regardless, players aren't coupled to a lie detector.
    So let me put it slightly differently: for all practical purposes it is the same.
    The game cannot legislate for it.
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  • Exploiting an opponents lack of rules knowledge is absolutely cheating and should not under any circumstances be tolerated.


    Munkey wrote:

    Now stubborn is a rule that all ETC players should be aware of. If the opponent had let Chihammer make the flee roll and pursued, without correcting him on the stubborn rule, is that not cheating?
    That would be cheating.

    Munkey wrote:

    Also, is it right or wrong for someone watching a match to correct players on a rules mistake?
    Rules mistakes (like the above) are fair game, nothing wrong with it at all.

    Tactical mistakes (anything where the player can choose to follow the rules in a number of different ways like exposing a flank, casting spell X instead of Y, etc) are down to the choice of the player and you're not supposed to say anything about those unless it's been agreed upon beforehand.
  • It's called Angle shooting, and it's a form of cheating IMO.

    Same as "forgetting" your own stats, or remembering them incorrectly.

    But, it's not your responsibility to remember all the rules in your opponents army, so it can be hard to prove that someone is cheating.

    I forget simple stuff during a tournament sometimes as well.
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  • Is exceeding the speed limit a violation? What if you honestly think the speed limit is higher and that is why you are driving that speed? Does ignorance excuse the offense? Lack of intent would certainly excuse you from a crime. But does an opponent have a duty to correct an opponent on a rules issue if they know the other guy is getting it wrong? From an absolute rules perspective, I would say no. From a decent human being perspective, I would say yes. This is just a game we do for fun / diversion, so I would not ever see a reason to seek to win by failing to notify my opponent of an incorrect application of a rule(s).
  • Let me add a follow up:

    What if you think your opponent is labouring under a misapprehension of the rules? But the situation hasn't happened yet?
    (Me personally: I clarify this before it happens, because I also don't want to win because my opponent misunderstood something. But this is above and beyond the letter of the rules).


    One can argue exactly how grey all of these things are... but I think arguing that any of them are not grey at all is difficult.
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  • I believe more and more in unit cards with icons clearly displaying Model rules. Project standardized special rules greatly reducing number of army specific cases. If three units are fighting, place 3 cards next to them, just to make sure all the rules are there visible for everyone.

    As for original question: imagine that the player that forgot about his stubborn rule is called cheater by his opponent after performing flee move. You know there are rare cases when fleeing a stubborn unit might be preferred... and there are quite common cases when your opponent knowledge of your army special rules is boosted when Flee Distance roll is higher than their Pursuit Distance roll.
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  • DanT wrote:

    You will get every possible answer to these questions.
    Isn't philosophy great?

    My oversimplified take: assuming that one knows a rule to be correct/incorrect, failing to stop your opponent from taking an incorrect action or not reminding them to make a compulsory action is cheating. Failing to prompt them to make an optional action is not cheating.


    Not stopping your opponent from rolling flee distance when they passed their break test is cheating. Not reminding them to shoot with their cannon is not cheating.

    Not reminding your opponent to reroll to wound if an item/spell says "must reroll to wound" is cheating. Not reminding them to reroll to wound if an item/spell says "may reroll to wound" is not cheating.

    Here's the big caveat: unless someone admits that they knew something, there's no way to know if they knew something. You can assume that Chihammer's opponent knew the unit was Stubborn because he was likely a very experienced player, however you'll never know for sure if they realized in the moment that the rule was being applied incorrectly. Sometimes people just space.

    Since cheating is all about intent, and in this case intent is effectively impossible to prove, would it be cheating? Sure. But only the cheater would ever know.
  • The case you put forward is not cheating.

    There is a difference between knowing the rules and remembering the rules. Someone once described WHFB as ‘the game of forgetting things’, so not remembering things is part of the game. Almost every game i forget a rule, and occasionally message my opponent to apologize. I might be particularly bad, but i doubt exceptional.

    To think through when is it cheating or not, i suggest 3 key dimensions:

    - is it a general rule, or a unit/army specific rule.
    - whose obligation is it to remember and apply
    - who gains an advantage

    So a player who a) is obliged to apply the rule, which b) a general rule, and c)gains an advantage, is closest to cheating. For example forgetting to roll your panics. But as lagerlof points out, intent is hard to prove.

    In the chihammer case, his opponent a)its not his rule, b)is not a general rule (im assuming stubborn not steadfast)
  • Lagerlof wrote:

    But, it's not your responsibility to remember all the rules in your opponents army, so it can be hard to prove that someone is cheating.
    From the rules pack of this years ETC reffs pack, p8: "In the same manner that judges are expected to act, players also themselves have a duty, to know their own rules as well as their opponents (although to a lesser extent is allowed!)."

    And on the situation mentioned by OP; the Iron Orcs are steadfast - not stubborn and while it's impossible for us to know what goes on in his opponents head at the time (did he know, did he not, would / wouldn't he have said).

    It is, however, very much against the rules for spectators to interfere / comment on ongoing games in this manner and the DE player could have asked for them to be penalized.
  • Rules against spectators pointing out rules mistakes are... IMO, terrible.

    I still remember one game (in MtG) where I saw a known "WAAC" player let my friend miss his triggers. I went quietly to a judge, pointed it out to them, they came over and applied the triggers correctly... and the "WAAC" player still asked to have me removed from the play area.

    That kind of abuse? Sickens me.


    Tactical advice is one thing. "Don't forget that rule" is another. You want something super unethical? THAT. Asking for penalties to people who stopped you from cheating.

    Because yeah, I'm pretty hardline: not pointing out their special rules when you do know them (and it matters)? Is cheating. And if you'd ask for penalties to someone for pointing those out, as far as I'm concerned that's proof positive that you were intentionally doing so.


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  • The way chihammer described it, his opponent appeared annoyed when his entire team reminded him he was steadfast, leading me to assume that he knew Chi was messing up and was willing to exploit it. Whether this is true or not may never be known, its a matter of perspective. He may have been annoyed by an entire team shooting in unison near him. It could just be entirely in James head.
    But yes, intentionally "forgetting" a rule when it would benefit you is definitely cheating. Doesn't matter who is using the rule at the time.