Of all the personal attributes I claim to have, fortitude is the one I am most thankful for. Why? Because fortitude is probably the single most important attribute you can have when approaching this hobby of ours.

Something like this.

Fortitude in Warhammer comes in three distinct flavours:

  1. Painting
  2. Sportsmanship
  3. Generalship

1. Painting

This is the most obvious one. A lot of people who take part in the hobby lack the fortitude to fully paint an army. Gods know I have started WAY more armies than I have finished. In my time in the hobby though, I have learned a few tricks on making sure my fortitude stands the test and sees me through to the end.

First, break up the task. I NEVER batch paint. Why? Because the tedium of the task kills me. After the 3rd straight hour of applying the same colour or technique to a marginally different model, I check out and go do something else. Then when trying to sit back down and start again at a later time, I remember those feelings and never bother.

For the last couple of years I have only painted individual models from start to finish. This has led to a higher level of detail on all my models (easier to spend 20 minutes each model doing super fine details and finishing touches than it is to spend 4 hours straight doing the same to a squad) and I have painted more models this past year then any other year I’ve been in the hobby. I think my count is in the 120ish range for models painted in 2010. An average of 1 every 3 days.

If you’re not wired for batch painting like Lange, give it a try. It just might help you finish your army.

Secondly, make yourself a carrot. Something to motivate you to finish the army. In most cases this ends up being an event you want to attend. Regardless of the source of motivation, keep looking to it when you start getting tired of your current painting endeavours. I personally like to think about my next army and get excited about those models. I know I won’t purchase the army until I’m done (took me 8 years to get THAT fortitude) but sometimes being excited for that other army will motivate me to paint with a renewed fury.

2. Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship does NOT only apply to tournaments. If you’re playing at your FLGS or a friend’s basement, don’t be a dick. Be magnanimous in victory and congratulatory in defeat. That last one has been the hardest for me to learn and I am still guilty of inadvertent pouting when my ass really gets handed to me.

This is where fortitude really has to come in to play. A friend of mine (who has won 2 Best Sport awards) once said that he has fun no matter what’s happening. How? By imagining that whatever is happening is part of a really awesome movie. This way, whether his Berzerkers are winning or losing, there is nothing to ever be upset about because the setting of the game is that fucking cool. Since hearing that, it’s what I try to do. So when I get fucked by a poorly written scenario and rolling a “6” for a Jaws of the World Wolf test (thanks a lot Paul) rather than being a miserable fuck like I was in that game (sorry about that Paul), I now try to imagine the ground opening up and devouring a Hive Tyrant. Epic, n’est ce pas?

3. Generalship

This is the big one. In over a decade in the hobby, I have probably played about 1K games of Warhammer spanning 6 editions (3 each for Fantasy and 40K). 40K definitely makes up about 90% of those games but the point applies to both. Whether you are winning or losing, never stop putting on the pressure.

I have lost games that were essentially a done deal (ask Lange about his Death Guard vs my Dark Eldar) because I look at the table, consider it won and stop trying. I lacked the fortitude to finish the job. On the other end of the spectrum, I have won games where I am being absolutely brutalized by my opponent but they pulled the above mistake and I doggedly kept pushing for the win. This is the most satisfying win as the look of shock on your opponent’s face is priceless (Game 2 Ard Boyz semi-finals, I had 11 models out of my 130 model Tyranid army left alive. I had killed a Dreadnought, 5 scouts and 10 marines. I won on objectives 3-2).

Have the fortitude to stick to your game plan and you will win WAY more than you lose (5-0-1 at Ard Boyz 2010. Looking to go 9-0 in 2011). Sure the dice can screw you but remember, it’s only a game.

Monopoly Money is more widely accepted than Discover Card!

Blood for the Blood God!

Just a reminder that the Blood for the Blood God! promotion is underway. The model has been ordered and to date we have raised:

2 pints of Blood and $50 for the Red Cross.

Keep it coming!

2 thoughts on “Fortitude

  1. about my approach to viewing everything cinematicly in games, i can’t imagine how anyone who paints and plays in this hobby would be totally incapable of mentally visualising how everything plays out in the overall narrative of each individual game. A friend of mine who often has issues with dice-rage whenever his army rolls poorly or loses a game asked me once how to avoid the worst of that particular mr. hyde of every wargamer.

    I’ll be the first to admit i’m not immune to this anymore than i’m immune to rolling ones. for instance when I was playing a fantastic game at nethan and teri’s last tourney angainst a black templar army. my opponent was (literally) foaming at the mouth to get to grips with my berserkers and I was having a blast indulging his templars’ righteous zeal. there were two turns where i fired 8 melta shots and Lorgar (a fucking primarch!!) attacking couldn’t even cause anything more than a crew stunned damage result on his land raider crusader. This got under my skin not only as it was highly improbable, but in failing to do anything i’d rolled nothing but 1’s and couple 2’s.

    its hard when probability combines with a loss to keep completely zen, but thats only the human response to a purely WTF situation. however, going back to my friend’s question about to curb the worst of these moods and even begin to laugh at them, is to indoctrinate yourself to see the fun of a glorious last stand or the valiant ranks of your space marines fighting bravely through battle so fierce all but two bolter marines survive while the rest of their battle company was wiped out to a man.

    the way to indoctrinate yourself i told him, was to watch movies like Starship Troopers 1 and Enemy at the Gates and just remember how you felt to see the brutality of the battle turn against the protaganists and even though they are ground down and defeated, they still fought tooth and nail for their lives and put on a good show when viewed cinematicly.

    Thats all it really takes to be a good sport (in my mind anyways).
    get into the fluff of your army. If you Math-hammered a list out looking only at how they should perform in-game, of course your going to get pissy about shitty luck as the only concept you’ve built your list on has been dashed on the rocks of probability. where as if you’ve built a list with a backstory in mind, the game comes alive with every unit imagined and animated in your mind’s eye as the pinacle of their race and kind. when you’ve fully realised your army in such a way, rolling a one doesn’t come as a intangible kiss-off from fate but becomes a small story in itself of heroic efforts gone horribly wrong.

    this is a very important notion i feel needs to be brought to the increasing masses of meta-gamers. and would think that you guys touching on this in a podcast would probably be a wake up call for people who forget the reason we all love our little soldier boyz.

  2. I’m pretty sure anyone that knows me can attest to my painting fortitude, and let me tell you it isn’t always easy. Most armies that I fully complete, display board and all, are with a specific purpose in mind. Generally it’s either an event I want to go to or an award I want to win.

    Fortitude for painting isn’t, however, something that needs to be draining. Here’s how I approach my projects. Single armies, models, doesn’t matter….

    First off, I want to improve. I’m looking for everything I paint to be better than my last paint job. Even if it’s models within the same army. This drives me to do my very best on every model or unit. Getting better at any skill set is addictive, and it gives you a sense of personal accomplishment.

    Second, I want to finish what I start. Even I get tempted with army ADD. At this very moment I’m building fantasy orcs but I also want to do Dark Eldar and possibly an ALL HENCHMEN grey knights army (if I want to be a douche). All it takes is some willpower to stick to your army. And here’s the best way to do it…… DO NOT buy your entire, playable army. Buy a unit… paint it, buy a unit… paint it. If you have a fully built 2500 pt army that you can reasonably play with you will never finish painting it. trust me.

    third, I’m motivated by competition. Although I’ve been taking home best presentation tournament after tournament the big prize still eludes me….. a Golden Demon. Then after that there’s the Slayer Sword I have to aspire to. No matter what level your painting is currently at, there’s always a plateau just out of your reach to aim for. The harder you try to reach it, the faster your painting will improve. And seeing a notable improvement in painting is one of the biggest motivators to keep going and going.

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