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Thimblesage

Proxies, Conversions and Blurred Lines in Tournament play

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In a recent tournament there was a bit of upset feelings on a ruling where a player wanted to proxy in a model that hadn’t been released on the market. He inquired to the organizer ahead of time that he wanted to use an ‘alt ‘ of a different model and the request was politely denied because the organizer thought it might confuse opponents and compromise tournament integrity.
Thankfully, there weren’t any hurt feelings and the player placed top 3 in the tournament but I wanted to share my thoughts and see what the community thinks in case I am ever faced with the same hard decision.

Below I spew my thoughts in paragraphs. I based these opinions on the GG2017 organized play packet where they outline rules on Proxies and Conversions. I would love to hear your ideas and how you think you would go about the decision.

Converted:
To change (something) into a different form or properties; transmute; transform.

Proxy:
A person or thing that represents another or others.


So Wyrd explicitly disallows models substituting for other models or what they call, “proxies” Their foreseen issues are compromises to tournament integrity, specifically and most notably “opponents not being able to ‘read’ the table” Makes sense, any abstract or on-paper-only  representation without a visual to back it up would inevitably cause issues and a lack of fair play.
With that said, conversions are legal. This is predicated on sportsmanship and fair compromise. The possibility of compromised integrity still exists so conversions are only ever “acceptable to use Wyrd’s label.

 

Wyrd allows for conversions for two reasons they feel important:
1)    They encourage players to, “show off their modeling skills” 
2)    They wish to allow players an opportunity to play with models that have been published but not released on the market.

Wyrd lays out their stipulations in an attempt to accomplish the best of both worlds that allows players to create unique and personalized miniatures that still remain RECOGNIZABLE.
1)    66% of the model must be an original sculpt from Wyrd
2)    If the model isn’t out yet, a CONVERSION may be fielded per the organizers discretion.

 

My personal thoughts on conversions are that I like them. I like the idea of personalizing my models and making them unique from the rest as a way of- dare I say- affection towards my expensive pieces of plastic. I usually do this though means of basing and altering the pose. This allows for the original sculpt to be 100% the original plastic. 

 

My thoughts on the risk of and slippery slope of allowing proxy-like conversions. 

I think that by allowing proxy-like conversions has to be done with extreme discretion because it risks two detrimental scenarios. 
1)    The first is that if a conversion was made because a model wasn’t on the market than you run into the possibility of inconsistent or retroactive rulings when the model does hit the market. It might be discouraging to ban a player his or her previously allowed model because the model it was substituting is now on the market. It would cause feelings of discouragement or agitation because of the time and money invested.
2)    The second scenario is that if it opens up the avenue for “decoy’ conversions. I think we have a very good player base here and don’t foresee this issue but in competitive tournaments, the ill-intent strategy of decoy-like conversions becomes viable and it would be ambiguous and difficult to draw lines.  

TLDR: 
Proxies: 
1.    NO
Converted: (Stipulations)
1.    66% Original Wyrd sculpt if released on market
2.    66% Easily identifiable Wyrd model for unreleased models
3.    Organizers approval
 

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So what is the rule question?    I would have denied the request too. He asked to proxy a  existing model for a  unreleased  model.  If he took the TTB model set and made a model to look like the  unreleased model, I'm sure it would have been alllowed. 

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 As I understand it there is no restriction in GG that a conversiom must contain parts from the official model. Instead the 66% wyrd figure refers to if you use minis or parts from a minis company that at least 66% of them must be wyrd. It's legal in GG to create a model using a different model as a base regardless of whether that model has an official release.

The term "original sculpt" does not refer to the official wyrd model, but to a player's homemade sculpting efforts.

I think another point of confusion is that the document specifically calls out conversions as being okay for models with published rules but no mini released. It's understandable to read this as setting different rules for when there is and isn't an official mini out, but my reading is that they are saying that the release of the rules is when a model becomes legal to use in tournaments, as opposed to other systems where the release of thr physical model is the date the model becomes tournament legal, even if you want to use a conversion (I believe Guild Ball uses this system)

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I hope Dogmantra is correct because that is how I have understood the rules. Otherwise my 'exorcist' does not have any part of the exorcist's sculpt to it. Picture postponed while I figure out whether I can upload to a gallery here or somesuch.

 

There it goes. Added: crossbow, tall short-brimmed hat, subject of exorcism. Removed: coffin, wide-brimmed hat. Hopefully that's enough.

For casual games locally there are two standards for proxies:

1. Consistency: whoever proxies always uses the same model as the same character, e.g. Dreamer is always the scheme/strategy marker not a model.

2. Clarity via illegality: these people always proxy with a master or totem sculpt so it is very obvious that model cannot represent its original status. For example, 'Trixiebelle' is proxied by Ophelia, after the master was declared to be a different gremlin, or the 'mobile toolkit' is proxied for Hoffman with Ramos' totem the brass arachnid (my bases are faction color coded for another clue that this particular stompybot isn't actually his own totem, for those who don't know constructs well).

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As clear as proxies may be, they add an unnecessary layer of information in tournaments and further increase setup time. 

You have to discuss with the opponent what model you use and get his approval, maybe even duscuss the matter with the TO - all  at the beginning of the round which is short as it is at 2 hours including crew selection and setup. 

Proxies are bad for non-friendly games. 

Still, nothing wrong with say a completely different model (a 40k ork or a heroclix batman) used as a proxy in friendly games "to try out the new stuff", but only provided there's a printed card. Without a printed card it will be torture for both players. 

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I think it's silly that GG have harsh rules on proxies and conversions when Wyrd have released so many proxies. You have to explain what their proxies are so why are they allowed but not mine? I have no idea what the hare in the Tortoise and hare box is a proxy for, or the carnival for example. 

So either make the rules demand 100% regular miniatures and no Wyrd proxies or make them more open so people get to convert and use other companies miniatures. 

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24 minutes ago, Gargantuan said:

I think it's silly that GG have harsh rules on proxies and conversions when Wyrd have released so many proxies. You have to explain what their proxies are so why are they allowed but not mine? I have no idea what the hare in the Tortoise and hare box is a proxy for, or the carnival for example.

This. So much.

Never understood that either - apart from: 'giveusallyourmonyanddon'tspenditanywhereelse' ..

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44 minutes ago, Gargantuan said:

I think it's silly that GG have harsh rules on proxies and conversions when Wyrd have released so many proxies. You have to explain what their proxies are so why are they allowed but not mine? I have no idea what the hare in the Tortoise and hare box is a proxy for, or the carnival for example. 

So either make the rules demand 100% regular miniatures and no Wyrd proxies or make them more open so people get to convert and use other companies miniatures. 

Those aren't proxies in that they are universally accepted as substitutes. Moreover, each of the alernative models has its own stat card with a corresponding image, so you can treat it as a stand-alone model. Not like you know all of the models' stats anyway.

Having a "this Pikachu counts as a Cojo" jump up at a tournament game will make things worse, not better.

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They are universally accepted just because Wyrd said their extra special and expensive proxies are acceptable. 

Oh, so a painted Pikachu isn't acceptable (despite the existance of multible malifaux animals that wouldn't look out of place in Pokemon) but an easter bunny and tortoise is acceptable. 

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Well, yeah. If you want a discussion about how capitalism stifles creative industries I'll be the first in line, but the wyrd folks all have to eat (allegedly... I'm onto you Aaron) and gently encouraging people to buy official models is pretty fair imo, especially given how liberal the conversion rules are.

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2 hours ago, Gargantuan said:

They are universally accepted just because Wyrd said their extra special and expensive proxies are acceptable. 

Oh, so a painted Pikachu isn't acceptable (despite the existance of multible malifaux animals that wouldn't look out of place in Pokemon) but an easter bunny and tortoise is acceptable. 

It's acceptable if you have an official card that I can look at and not worry about two things:

1. Remembering what it stands for (I have other things to remember during the game, it's complicated enough)

2. Being able to read its stats beforehand in the book, so I look at the card and go "aha, this is that guy from Shifting Loyalties or whatever".

i.e. I want to be able to put an image to a model to a stat card, which is impossible even with a well-painted pikachu.

 

All that for tournament games. In a friendly game I'd let you run a crew of Daleks in cowboy hats instead of the Ortegas.

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8 hours ago, Gargantuan said:

They are universally accepted just because Wyrd said their extra special and expensive proxies are acceptable. 

Oh, so a painted Pikachu isn't acceptable (despite the existance of multible malifaux animals that wouldn't look out of place in Pokemon) but an easter bunny and tortoise is acceptable. 

What's the crucial difference between Miss Step and Pikachu?  There's exactly one thing that Miss Step could possibly be in the game, and it says so on the card.

To be frank about it, calling models like "Miss Step" a proxy model is misleading and unproductive.  The Miss Series and the things like the Nightmare Carnival models are just alternate sculpts for the models.  Attaching a name to the sculpt doesn't change the fact that the Miss Step model is a Howard Langston sculpt the same way that my metal Steamborg Assassin model and my plastic Howard Langston model are both "Howard Langston".

There are at least seven different sculpts for the Death Marshall model, although I think the current count is ten due to the Dead Justice boxed set but there might be sculpts I don't know about.  (It's at least 12 if you include the Puppet Wars puppet models as allowable figures...)  The metal Death Marshalls don't look quite like the plastic Death Marshalls, and the Dead Justice boxed set's Death Marshalls also look different.  So does the plastic lady Death Marshall. 

If I put Miss Step, Howard Langston, and the Steamborg Assassin down next to each other, it's common knowledge that I've placed three different versions of the same model next to each other.  That's just like if I put all seven of my Death Marshalls on the table, they're all Death Marshalls. 

If you put Pikachu down on the table, no one else could have any idea what it's supposed to be.  If I put the Hare on the table, there's an official answer to what it is. 

Player created alternate models, where the person put different parts together or sculpted parts of the model, are allowed in the interest of art.  This is a miniature game, sculpting and conversion is an important aspect of the hobby that Wyrd chooses to recognize and allow for.  But even that is subject to the limitation of getting approved, because confusion is an equally compelling interest.

Edit:  For the record, the reason why all of the different Wyrd produced sculpts of a model are allowed, even though that might be confusing, is the pragmatic one:  That's what the model was sold for, by the people establishing the rules.  At least partially because "No, you can't use the old version of that model" would be some sort of game company suicide plan.

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20 minutes ago, solkan said:

 If I put the Hare on the table, there's an official answer to what it is. 

Yes, but the point is: before our game you'd have to tell me, because I keep forgetting what those two are (I know one of them is Izamu, but wouldn't even know which one). Same with some of the alternate sculpts. You'd have to tell me.

And that is where the argument breaks down. If you can tell me what those are, and I remember throughout our game, you can tell me about your Pikachu, too.

 

Let's face it, there are tons of games where conversions and (sensible) proxies are allowed even in tournament games, and guess what? The world hasn't ended. It's just not such a big problem. And even though I'm sure evevry so often somebody would turn up with a lame Pikachu, there'd be countless awesome converted and proxied miniatures (maybe even a cool looking Pikachu) that would enrich the game.

This isn't about the money, you know?

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57 minutes ago, Mutter said:

Yes, but the point is: before our game you'd have to tell me, because I keep forgetting what those two are (I know one of them is Izamu, but wouldn't even know which one). Same with some of the alternate sculpts. You'd have to tell me.

And that is where the argument breaks down. If you can tell me what those are, and I remember throughout our game, you can tell me about your Pikachu, too.

 

Let's face it, there are tons of games where conversions and (sensible) proxies are allowed even in tournament games, and guess what? The world hasn't ended. It's just not such a big problem. And even though I'm sure evevry so often somebody would turn up with a lame Pikachu, there'd be countless awesome converted and proxied miniatures (maybe even a cool looking Pikachu) that would enrich the game.

This isn't about the money, you know?

Except you see the Hare once, you learn it's a Blessed of December. Next round, you see the Hare again, you know what it is. 

 

You see Pikachu one game, that's a Bishop. Then you see a Pikachu the next game, that's a Malifaux Rat. You still don't know what he represents and you can't learn. 

 

I also don't know a single skirmish game that has so many rules and abilities attached to a single model. Full conversions in 40k and Warmachine are okay because there are other indicators of what models do (like squad size and base size) and even squads generally don't do much besides move and shoot standart weapons.

 

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3 hours ago, Mutter said:

[...] 

Let's face it, there are tons of games where conversions and (sensible) proxies are allowed even in tournament games, and guess what? The world hasn't ended. It's just not such a big problem. And even though I'm sure evevry so often somebody would turn up with a lame Pikachu, there'd be countless awesome converted and proxied miniatures (maybe even a cool looking Pikachu) that would enrich the game.

This isn't about the money, you know?

Honest question: do you really know a game company that explicitly allows other companies' models as proxies for their own existing models in their official tournament rules? All of the tournament rules I've come into contact with (namely GW's and PP's) deal with this issue in roughly the same way as wyrd does. 

Having said that - it is perfectly fine for a person who organizes an event to adapt the official guidelines to their needs. If I was part of a small meta with a lot of new players I would think about allowing a sensible number of proxies in small local events. At the same time I wouldn't do that as the organizer of a huge championship or some other highly official event. 

TLDR: I don't know of a company who officially allows models made by other companies as proxies; official tournament guidelines always leave room for some leeway 

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14 minutes ago, Greebo said:

Honest question: do you really know a game company that explicitly allows other companies' models as proxies for their own existing models in their official tournament rules? All of the tournament rules I've come into contact with (namely GW's and PP's) deal with this issue in roughly the same way as wyrd does. 

 

Mantic.

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26 minutes ago, Mutter said:

Mantic.

Also the answer to "Which game company started a product line catering to people who were alienated or disaffected by Games  Workshop killing Warhammer Fantasy Battles?"

Thus the reason that that company make a different choice than Privateer Press, Wyrd Games, or Fantasy Flight Games in its promotional tournament rules.  

To address your comment from a few posts ago, yes, it is about the money.  Tournaments promote the game, and the official tournament system has associated with it requirements and costs, from the henchman system and prizes from Wyrd.

 

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4 hours ago, Mutter said:

Yes, but the point is: before our game you'd have to tell me, because I keep forgetting what those two are (I know one of them is Izamu, but wouldn't even know which one). Same with some of the alternate sculpts. You'd have to tell me.

And that is where the argument breaks down. If you can tell me what those are, and I remember throughout our game, you can tell me about your Pikachu, too.

Who are you trying to argue with?  More importantly, where's your card with Pikachu's name and picture on it and what effort have you taken to remove the confusion?

The Hare has a card.  If you get confused, I can give you the card or a copy of the card as a reminder.  Just like if you get confused between which model is the Rotten Belle and which one is the Dead Doxy.

Quote

Let's face it, there are tons of games where conversions and (sensible) proxies are allowed even in tournament games, and guess what? The world hasn't ended. It's just not such a big problem. And even though I'm sure evevry so often somebody would turn up with a lame Pikachu, there'd be countless awesome converted and proxied miniatures (maybe even a cool looking Pikachu) that would enrich the game.

This isn't about the money, you know?

"this isn't about the money" is where you're wrong.  Tournament like the Gaining Grounds system are a promotional system, containing decisions made by Wyrd to promote Wyrd's interests in the game.  That's one of the reasons why the proxy rules are what they are.

You could run a "100% proxy tournament" and you would not be able to promote it as an official Gaining Grounds tournament.

 

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4 hours ago, solkan said:

You could run a "100% proxy tournament" and you would not be able to promote it as an official Gaining Grounds tournament.

Even still, you could run a GG tournament and silently allow proxies. I don't know many TO's that strictly play by the book on proxies and conversions in small local tournaments. The usual line is 'is it going to be confusing? If no then it's okay', and have their own personal rules on it. If you're proxying, say, a Hungering Darkness with something that looks unique and hungry and darknessy, it's your only proxy, and so it's obviously not swapping units to represent between matches, most local TO's are likely going to allow it. If you're at something like the UK Nationals or Cancon (a very large Australian tournament), or if you're trying to proxy an entire crew, you can probably forget about it.

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large.frank.jpg

For the sake of argument, this is a Francisco conversion I built recently to fit into a guild McMourning crew. It has the head, sword, hand and arm of alternate Francisco but the body of Rafkin (from Ressers). I also try to bring my metal Francisco for if an opponent is confused or would prefer not to play against it. Before using it, I have checked with local event organisers.

What are your thoughts on using this model in tournaments? I'm genuinely curious.

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1 hour ago, RustAndTheCity said:

What are your thoughts on using this model in tournaments? I'm genuinely curious.

At first glance I thought was that it was a Rafkin conversion (the apron is more eye catching than the weapons). That said I wouldn't have a problem playing against it and remember what it was once told. In general I'm positive to conversions and proxies from other manufacturers as long as they convey the spirit of what they are replacing (I know, a very subjective measurement :P). Though if there are a lot of substantial conversions/proxies it can be hard to remember all of them, especially if they have a strong theme that threatens to overwhelm their individual distinguishing characteristics.

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At the UK nationals I played with one non-wyrd proxy (Big Jake was unreleased so a WWEx indian stood in), 4 heavily converted wyrd based proxies (Gunsmith from wendigo victim, Myranda from TTb kit and Hamelin's spunkcloud bits, Ice Dancer from acolyte, Howard from performer/arachnids, all kinds of stuff), 12 'official' proxies/alternate sculpts (3x monkeys, cooper, 2x mannequins, lola, mercury, lizzy, Luther, Johanna, 2x carnival coryphee), 3 heavy conversions of the original model (Raptor, Killjoy, firestarter) and just 3 models that were straight out of the box standard sculpts (2 Acolytes and the arcane effigy).

At the biggest Malifaux tournament in the world I used 3 models out of 23 that weren't converted or proxied. The organiser was good with this. All of my opponents were good with this. no one complained or asked me to swap out (though I took the models in case they did)  

Despite allowing these proxies the event was still a GG event.  It seems to me that the issue you really have here is with that specific organiser rather than the rules as a whole- it even says in the GG document: 

Quote

While the rules outlined in this document are how official
Wyrd-run tournaments will be executed, individual
Organizers may change the rules presented here to
meet local needs. For example, maybe your group just
started, so you want to be lax with the painting or time
requirements. Whatever the case, the Organizer may
choose to use these rules as a guideline to create their
own events. All deviations from these rules must be
announced ahead of time.

It really does come down to the TO's decision, and that's the way it should be. Wyrd want to sell product- that's their business, so they are going to want people to play with their stuff at the tournaments they support- no problem. But they also understand that every meta, every area and every social group have their own issues that need to be dealt with, so they allow TO's to change the document if they want to, it's all up to TO discretion. (that's why we get crazy single master or 100ss pool events for a non-proxy based example)

My next crew will be pretty much 100% converted in the characters and antagonists from 'journey to the west' there will probably be a couple of proxies in there (The turtle is in there to start with). before I attend a tourney I'll send a message to the TO as you describe, if he says no I'll play something else, that's how it works. I've yet to have it happen having never played a GG event where I didn't use some sort of proxy or other.  

TL:DR I kind of feel you're angry about something that isn't really happening? 

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