View Full Version : Being a Genuine Rules Lawyer

07-06-2006, 01:52
This thread was inspired by yet another Warhammer rules query about something that is poorly worded, but the intent it clear.

It's possible I'm going to be a genuine go-to guy at an upcoming tournament for rules. And let me tell you, if I'm ever called over to referee a situation where a vampire count player tries to insist his ethereals can't be harmed by magical shooting, a Giant tries to pick up and eat a Slann or someone insists their wounded model take individual saves for a "thump with club" attack, I'm really going to enjoy telling them not to be such a god-damned rules lawyer and get on with the game and follow the rules as they are meant to be taken, even if the rules might leave out one or two words that would make it that much clearer, if they understand such a concept. Oh how I'd love it if such people would argue with me...

Of course this is probably an immoral position to take, and the proper course of action would be to accept the "technicality" rule, but god, what a rubbish tournament that would be if people were really trying to play like that.

So, if you were to be a rules referee at a tournament, how would YOU deal with people trying to take advantage of some of GW's poorly-written rules clearly against their spirit and logic?

Yarick Zan
07-06-2006, 01:54
tell them to put some boxing gloves on and take it outside to who gets the rule their way. seriously you should have a clear idea of any situation that could come up and have read the rules that apply and even those that probably wont apply to you. read the rule book before playing the hobby.

07-06-2006, 02:00
Well the problem is these guys do read the rulebook, and go over it with a fine comb, and come up with the most outrageous, yet seemingly legal situations. It's horrible!

Yarick Zan
07-06-2006, 02:02
well in the end all i can say is use your best judgement. pray you dont know either so you can be as unbiased as possible. that being said make both agree that your final word is law and if it says that no you cannot do that then you cannot do that.

07-06-2006, 03:36
Hold on, there are people out there that think magical shooting WON'T harm their Wraiths?! What in the bloody ****?

07-06-2006, 06:48

Hold on, there are people out there that think magical shooting WON'T harm their Wraiths?! What in the bloody ****?
You don't happen to visit the *rules* forum that often, do you? ;)

EvC, I say: Go for it! You are ref, so you make the calls. And if you want to make the calls according to the intent and not the letter of the rules, more power to you.

I think that interpreting *technicalities* leads to loopholes having a greater effect, and we all know that the WHFB rules are anything but well and unambigously written.


07-06-2006, 07:09
Just make sure to use this phrase if someone argues his point:

"The rules states what you CAN do, not what you CAN'T do"

07-06-2006, 07:15
Actually, it's really simple....:evilgrin:

Before it starts have the head person stand up and introduce you as Da Judge.:D Announce that you will provide rulings on any disputes and that your rulings must stand - even if your ruling is that Grot Blastas are S7 AP2 Assault3:eek:. They are warned that the sillier the dispute, the worse your ruling will hurt their army.

Let them take their chances......:evilgrin:

07-06-2006, 18:55
I now actually put the following in the rules packages of the tournies I run:

Warhammer Fantasy Battles is sadly a game with occasionally very unclear rules which can be interpreted in many ways. The participants are requested to not make up any too silly interpretations of these, as the organiser does not wish to develop a stommach ulcer before he turns 30. This includes for example: "My Ogre Tyrant has the weapon Skullplucker, which gives him Killing Blow. It does not say anywhere that this does not apply to his Bull Charge impact hits, Sword Gnoblars or shots with his Brace of Handguns." (genuine example)
Do not come to me with this kind of nonsense, please!

Knowing the rules backwards and forwards by heart helps a lot, as quite often people haven't read them well enough and/or have made up things not covered in the rules. A "Don't be funny" when people (for example) try to wildly overguess and then claim they don't know better also often work.

Announce that you will provide rulings on any disputes and that your rulings must stand - even if your ruling is that Grot Blastas are S7 AP2 Assault3:eek:.
I would suggest that you do not make any such announcement if you want the participants to have respect for you. :rolleyes:

07-06-2006, 19:13
Different routes to the same end.:D

The small minority of gamers who act like ninnies and try to exploit the rules to gain an advantage in a game of toy soldiers should be treated like ninnies and have to accept the rulings of people with a modicum of common sense (refering to your example given). The degree of silliness of the question will be reflected in the degree of silliness of the answer. If you don't want to take the chance that the ruling will go against you, don't waste Da Judge's time.

Plainly put - Don't bother Da Judge with silly exploitive attempts to win a game of toy soldiers and Da Judge won't point out your behaviour on the big projector screen for all to see.:p It's a game people, play to have fun, winning is a by-product of sticking to your overall plan, not expoiting a loophole in the rules.

Crazy Harborc
08-06-2006, 02:06
After over 40 years of gaming at least 14 of it including WHFB rules too, it's not the rules it's the ways the " rules lawyers think about winning", that helps to cause problems.

Sadly there are also players who really can't think for themselves and or allow others to do so. They want all rules clear as glass with no more than one way to read the meanings.

I do know a couple of players who will actually claim they are right and ALL other opinions are wrong.......They are running out of willing opponents.

08-06-2006, 09:55
Just 'cause I'm the contrary type, I'd like to quickly point out that it's not uncommon for certain playgroups to have been playing a certain point of the rules incorrectly for years (or alternatively they've been using a house rule for so long that they've forgotten it's unofficial, or they've been playing since first edition and mix their rulesets up!).

Under those circumstances, it's not uncommon for people in this group to accuse someone with a legitimate correction of rules-lawyering and/or trying to get an unfair advantage.

People who've misread the rulebook also always appeal to the "spirit of the rules" defense... Including in circumstances where that "spirit" isn't exactly self-evident either! Let's not delude ourselves about how badly templated the rulebooks are in places. :p

08-06-2006, 14:21
I have to agree with Flypaper on this point.

I recently started playing WHFB, after playing 40K since 2nd ed. When I started I often misinterpreted the rules for FB based on my knowledge of 40K, not immediatly realising how different the two systems were.

Also, though this is probably not a problem in your case, there are also some serious problems with the translations of the rules. I play in a region where english and french copies of the rules are used. I personally made the mistake of buying the french rules.

The translations are truly horrible. One example that sticks out was the description of magic resistance. In the french ruleset the rules state that you may only use the dice provided by your MR to dispel. So my girlfriends Wild Riders would only ever have 1 dispel dice (per spell cast) to try and dispel magic aimed at them.