Playing to win?
Playing to win is a concept still widely interpreted to include bad sportsmanship, use of “cheap” assets and a whole lot more.
Personally I used to be a player who agreed beforehand with his opponents on a somewhat balanced power level of armies to have an even game. Most of the time it worked out pretty well. This was all before I ever participated in an actual competitive tournament, which occurred back in 2003.
I had the same illusions about tournament play that many do, but in fact I have never had a bad experience. That happens of course, as recently seen in a couple of big tournaments around the world, but perhaps it’s more prevalent in the top tables of those massive events. I believe it has a lot to do with ones self as well. My play isn’t absolutely die hard; if an opponent forgets something trivial that they had the right to do and the game hasn’t progressed too far, I let them do it. Usually (I don’t recall an instance where they wouldn’t have) the opponent returns the favor and in the end the game ends up being played “properly” with effects and actions taking place that should’ve, instead of a competition in Pairs.
For myself two “game modes” have developed over the years; the casual version where I alter my army-list to match the opponents collection/gaming experience in order to have an even match, and the tournament one which I consider a fun variation; do whatever, no matter how broken and see how it goes, play to win with a few of my self imposed scrub limitations, such as forgiving mistakes. In any case, I recommend everyone should give tournaments a try; I know many players who swore they never will, but who now play in tournaments actively and enjoy the social aspect and the thrill of improving as players.
There is a good article about playing to win as a concept that I noticed years ago from the forum signature of a finnish player who has been the acting ETC captain for our country a multitude of times. There are a few factually subjective bits stated as plain facts, but it’s still a good read. You can read it below: