Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cheating in Warmachine

Recently, cheating became a much talked about topic in Warhammer 40k after it showed its ugly face in some high profile matches. Cheating isn’t as rampant as it seems in that game system, but it does occasionally surface once in a while. Likewise, the same goes for Warmachine. Noone likes to play against a cheater.

So, how exactly do people cheat in Warmachine/Hordes? Due to a tight rule-set and the recognition of pre-measuring (i.e. measuring control area), surely there cannot be many ways to cheat? This article is not meant to teach players how to cheat, but it explores how players cheat in Warmachine/Hordes. The article hopefully guides us so we can catch people in the act in the future. After reading this article, it is very tempting to nit-pick and educate players who think what they are doing is right, are wrong. If you insist, then I suggest doing it in a subtle manner. The last thing you want is to be seen as a ++<censored by Menoth>++.

After some scouring over the interwebs, I managed to compile some of the most commonly known acts of cheating.

Tape Measure

Perhaps the most common form of cheating involves a tool we cannot live without: the tape measure. Although a certain form of pre-measuring is allowed in warmachine (i.e. measuring control area), the tape measure is still very abusable.

1)    Movement is measured from the base's edge, but when placed in its final location, the model is "centered". The model gained some inches with this trick.

2)      Tape is stretched to 10" for a 6" move and when the movement is measured, the tape is "inverted" (0" starting at the model's base edge). This gives the player a ‘foresight’ on how far 4” is from the end of the model’s movement.

3)  Tape is stretched at exactly 6". When measuring movement, tape's "body" is placed exactly on/above your model, hence not getting an accurate movement measurement. Some inches can be gained with this.

4)      When moving, measuring models from the front of base to back of base.

5)      Tape measure “travels” with the model as the model moves.

6)     Bending the tape measure while measuring movement. A player gains extra inches if he bends his tape measure to measure movement. There’s a good reason why some, if not most, tournaments ban this form of measurement.

7)    Extending the tape past the distance needed so the player can 'secretly' measure how far away he is from the enemy; while moving your models.

8)    Extend the tape measure and lay it at the side of the table sideways to ‘check’ LOS or charge lanes. Distances can be “sneak peaked” this way.

9)   Over-measuring a ranged weapon’s shot by extending his tape measure 12” long (for a RNG 12 gun) when the target model is clearly less than 12” (i.e. 6” far). If the target model is 10”-12” away, then the need to pull out a full 12” length is reasonable (it is difficult to judge distances nearing its limit). If the target model is < 5”, there is no need to pull out the full 12” to measure if your weapon is within range. A measure from attacker base edge to target model’s base edge is heaps appreciated.

While #1 is common (and also difficult to catch unless u keep your eyes on it), #3 is not as serious as it is open to lots of debates. However, I've seen this done by a player who quickly moved the tape measure away as he places his model's movement.


Any game that involves dice can be cheated by using the dice. Here are some examples of how one can do so in Warmachine.

1)      Roll dice and picks it up fast, claiming a hit has been rolled.

2)      Re-rolling cocked dice, only when it is a miss.

3)   Weighted dice used to give an unfair advantage. Weighted dice are dice that will have a certain value (i.e. 5 or 6) appear most of the time.

4)    D6 dice with wrong side markings (i.e. dice with 1, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6 as its markings instead of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

One would think that D6 dice with wrong side markings is a joke. How can anyone not realise the dice are wrongly marked? Well, when was the last time you checked your opponent’s dice before a tournament match?

Damage Marking on Cards

Marking damage on cards is important in Warmachine as it helps the player and his opponent keep track of damage dealt to a model. Some unscrupulous people have gone through great lengths in making sure they don’t get caught while they take advantage of this.

1)   Rubbing off damage dealt discretely. This can be done in many ways; i.e. by placing hands over the card so the opponent won’t see the act, by holding the damaged marking part and discretely rubbing it off, etc.

2)    Marking less damage than actually dealt. Your opponent would hardly notice 1 damage less on the damage grid box if he were to make a flurry of 5 attacks successively.

This is difficult to catch as most players would not notice 1 damage box being rubbed off from a warjack’s grid. This method of cheating can be reduced if players start keeping track of damage being dealt. As an example:-

Write the following on a piece of paper/behind cards-
5 to 6 (5 damage to column 6)
1 to 3
6 to 4


1)      Conveniently “forgetting” rules when it benefits the player.

2)   “Misunderstanding” rules as written. Most of the time the misunderstandings that occur are truthful, but there are cases where the misunderstandings are intentional.

3)     Using the “rough terrain trick”. As an example, only 4” movement is used when moving over a 2” rough terrain patch). In reality, more than 4” movement should be used because after moving 4” over the rough terrain, you still have a part of your base “caught” in the rough terrain. Your remaining movement before your base fully leaves the rough terrain is still halved.

The rough terrain trick is commonly seen although less apparent in Vassal (Warmachine on a 2D PC platform). Most new players tend to do this ‘trick’ unknowingly. It is up to the veterans to educate them that this way of moving is wrong.

Cheating in Warmachine comes in many forms. Most of the cheating relates to the tape measure, although other forms of cheating cannot be taken lightly. I will stress it again that no one likes playing against a cheat. It takes the fun and satisfaction out of the game that we all love. A judge can’t be there to monitor your whole game and catch cheats should it occur. It is our responsibility to voice out when something does not look right. Also, keep in mind to voice out in a subtle way. Being hostile will not help you achieve your goal in making things happen as it should be.

Disclaimer: I am not picking out on anyone. If you so happen to know me and do some of the above mentioned things without realising it is wrong, it is merely a coincidence!

What are your experiences against cheaters? How did they cheat?

1 comment:

  1. I've seen numbers 2 & 7, though I hadn't ever thought to check to see if they were cheat-measuring before. I've only ever used number 8 (and seen it used) after the shot had been called and then needed to check for LOS, but I never saw anyone at our FLGS use it to cheat. The Rough Terrain Trick/Cheat is definately one I'd never have thought of. Interesting article overall, though I'm surprised you didn't mention the number one cheat I run into and that's being one or two (though usually one) point over the agreed upon army point value (not including warcaster points) - for examply, having 37 points for a 35 point battle. You'd think it wouldn't be a huge issue, but that can be an extra solo or the differnce between having a heavy warjack and something else.