Propaganda Data Slate: Salthammer, or How To Recognise Tilting

Avatar Tabletop Tactics April 25, 201910  32 10 Likes

Hello and welcome back to The Kitchen, with me The Chef, and today we’re looking at the first of the Community Topics, the ideas and topics that you bosses have asked me to rant about, and this article is raised by Kev Bates (Thanks Kev!)

It’s something that comes up often on social media, forums and even comments here on TT – Salt, or to use the alternate “professional” term, tilt. Specifically we’ll look at some of the ways these can happen, some of the psychology behind it, and possible ways to get over it. But first I want to talk about the terms themselves. For the purposes of the article I’ll use salt and tilt interchangeably, but it’s good to know the distinctions between the two, and I will also give an explanation for why I am trying to lean towards referring to it as tilt, rather than salt.

But surely it’s just good seasoning?

Getting salty, or tilted, essentially means when someone becomes agitated, frustrated, angry or otherwise short, be it in or out of game. This often leads to a more hostile game, poor strategy and decision making, or even just outright giving up on the game. One person getting salty can sour the experience for both players, as it can no longer become enjoyable to continue playing in such a game, especially if those feelings overshadow or dominate the rest of the game, or your memories of it.

And when someone gets salty, people are quick to notice. Amongst friends, you might casually take someone aside or whisper in their ear about their rising blood pressure, and try to help them calm down. Or depending on your friends they might goad you on even more, as it’s not malicious but rather fun and banter. Conversely they might even be a bit surprised by the reaction, as even the calmest of person can be liable to an outburst of salty behaviour. Strangers can equally have the same reactions, though the reaction is more likely to poke and exacerbate the situation, be it for their own benefit or amusement, and often far removed from the situation themselves, especially if it is in an online conversation or a conversation about an online game.

All these flavours and you choose salty

Now you’ll notice I used “professional” at the beginning when I first referred to tilt, so let me explain what I mean by this. By this, I refer to gaming and sports (particularly esports) which have a far greater audience and scope than Warhammer and wargaming in general – Tilt is a common phrase used in poker (where it originated from), up to the professional level, and is discussed at length within esports. However with the rapid advancement and presence that Warhammer is making in streaming, live events and other internet based resources (ourselves included), there is a certain expectation and desire to see Warhammer reach these same vaunted levels of other streamed and live events. Sell out arenas, global championships watched by tens of thousands round the world, sponsorships of professional players and teams, not to mention cash prizes that go into the 5 or even 6 figures! Some of these are happening already in Warhammer and massive headway is being made, which is testament to the amazing work put in by event organisers and attendees across the world. But to see Warhammer really elevated to where a lot of people want to see it, there’s still a long way to go.

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There’s definitely a lot of people who want to see the above, this huge professional stage. And yet we still see the phrase ‘salt’ used in a negative and frankly, ​un​professional sense. This is reasonably fair of course, it is generally negative, and it does tend to elicit an equally negative reaction from other players or observers. However I would argue that if competitive Warhammer wants to take it to the next level, even within casual play in order to enhance everyone’s gaming experience, we should look at the other trendsetters of the genre for how they refer to it and deal with it.

So why do I make note of the distinction between salt and tilt? Well, in my opinion it boils down to salt being a more pejorative term – it’s overwhelmingly negative and used as a put down, or to belittle or otherwise make the person experiencing it seem immature. Tilt is also still mainly negative, however it is considered more as a psychological facet of the game that can be both utilised and overcome. It could be considered that doing so is an important part of the game, especially at a professional level. Rather than it being glossed over or laughed at, it is used to improve one’s own game and enhance your play. No one likes getting salty, playing someone salty, or watching people get salty. And whilst it is something that is bound to happen to pretty much anyone, by having the negative connotations attached to it, the terms become even further scorned and shunned. I am not advocating we accept salt, especially extreme saltiness. Rather that we turn our attentions to how it ​is​ part of the game in some capacity and how to overcome it, just as other professional events and games do.

Well that’s just great…

Now getting tilted can happen for any number of reasons, be it poor luck, losing badly, receiving unwanted or unwarranted advice, contrary opinions, or even it being done deliberately in order to elicit a reaction. Occasionally you also see ​positive ​tilt, where the game is going so far your way that similar effects happen and mistakes occur that you don’t care about, but in the long run may cost you the game.

Regardless of the cause, the outcome is usually similar – a poor game experience that can be a slippery slope to get out of. However it happens, be it a key unit dies a turn earlier than expected, or an enemy list is just a hard counter to yours, a double 1 rolled for that charge and then it happened ​again ​with your reroll – whatever it was, this lynchpin, tactic, or list failed, and that’s it.

Overcoming this thought process and how it can impact your game is of course incredibly tough. You can mitigate it by having more than one strategy with an army, not relying on a single combo, or having a backup plan, but it still doesn’t fully ease the sting of an atrocious turn of luck. Understanding it is a dice game and luck is inherent to it is of course key as well, and is one of the best ways to get out of this mindset – such statistically unlikely outcomes are the result of variance, not necessarily bad play or strategy on your part. Another way that can go toward getting out of the mindset, although it is admittedly easier said than done depending on your situation, is to take a break from the game. Even just a 30 second step away from the table can help bring things into perspective and some calm back. Staring at a problem doesn’t make it go away after all.

An important thing to consider as well is how a reaction may be interpreted and the impact this may also have on your fellow players, which ties in nicely considering we touched on Fair Play and Codes of Conduct​ only last week. If you receive a bout of a bad luck, as frustrating as that is, is it your opponents fault? Should they be made to feel bad about their good fortune, or should you take it out on them? I myself am guilty of this – I was playing a friend in AoS a few months ago and it was just “one of those games”. I couldn’t dispel any spells, virtually every save I made failed, he was rolling hot and obliterating my key support units, and on top of that he double turned me. So he had some good luck, I had misplayed by not anticipating the double turn, and despite knowing what his army’s capabilities were, I deployed poorly and he capitalised on that with good play. But then coupled with the string of poor luck, it made me sullen, agitated, and actually very unpleasant – there was probably a months worth of your recommended allowance of sodium in that room.

No harm or maliciousness was meant by it all, and I of course apologised afterwards. But it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own head, that you become ignorant to how you’re behaving and thus how you might be affecting someone else’s enjoyment – which is just as bad as trying to bend or break the rules to your advantage: you are depriving someone of their fun in a game. Hindsight is of course 20/20, so recognising when you are perhaps getting tilted is an important aspect of the game, not only so you can overcome it and get back into something that may still be possible to win, but also to aim towards upholding the social contract of enjoyment that all players involved are entitled to.

You live or die by the…well, the die

Now controlling what ​causes​ tilt is a different matter, and not really something that can be accounted for in most instances. A string of Beard Luck can absolutely swing an otherwise, on paper, balanced match up. And we’ve all had those experiences where someone pulls a Lawrence and passes 19. Out of 20. Saves. And then casually rolls the 6 for their Inured to Suffering to boot.

page5image1774720Editors Note: #sorrynotsorry – Spider

The luck of the dice, ironically, are actually one of the easier things to manipulate in game, and yet also the thing you have the least control of. There’s a reason why rerolls are so massively importantly in Warhammer games now – they lend you the mathematical advantage and the safety net to avoid the poor luck that can scupper an otherwise perfect plan. Now of course you can’t account for the opponent rolling well on saves or like, or you rolling so poorly it goes completely at odds with the expected statistics. We’ve all “Math-hammered” stuff, and a difference to what “should happen” can so massively shake your perceptions and your focus on the game. The times when a unit overperforms are forgotten in favour of when your models fail you so abysmally you must have offended some great deity who has now taken a personal stake in your odds.

Math-hammering, whilst useful in list building and general unit comparisons, are actually not all that great to rely on once you hit the battlefield. Statistics and averages are just that, and need more than one or two outings to give you the curve that the theory promises. Leaving the averages away from the table is certainly easier said than done, but getting caught up on how a unit ​should ​have performed will only help to put dampener on your spirits as your plans unravel before you.

If you have your sights set on a lofty goal like placing top tables or even winning an entire event, a poor turn can cause this goal to fade away, even if the games not over yet, as things aren’t going according to your plan. Accounting for the fact that luck is involved, and that of course no plan survives contact with the enemy, can help out. Being flexible and able to adjust to the flow of the game will help you here, and is a sign of good generalship as well.

Don’t tell me what to do!

Aside from poor luck or a bad losing streak, the influence of your fellow players is also an important factor. Regardless of where or who I’m playing, I tend to play the game with take backs and advice on hand- if someone neglects a rule or action that I’m aware of, or has forgotten to do something earlier and wants to redo it, I’m fine with that*. Likewise I’m happy to let someone know of any potential stratagems or abilities that might affect their decision, this is not intended as a “psychological” thing, rather just ensuring that I’m fully open with my opponent. However there is a time and a place for this sort of thing.

In a friendly game, you’re more than likely good to go, especially if they’ve explicitly asked for advice before or during the game. If you are at a tournament, or if your opponent has become obviously annoyed or irritated by the unsolicited advice, consider toning it down. They may be interpreting it as you talking down to them, assuming they don’t know what they’re doing or what your units are capable of, or even trying to psych them out. And these are perfectly valid concerns, they should be respected if someone appears to be taking any talk or advice in a negative way, or if they ask you to stop. All you can do is understand it’s unwanted, and refrain from continuing to do so. However likewise if you are receiving such unsolicited advice, you should not explode or snap at your opponent – if it was genuine advice or talk, it might sour the game. If it was intentionally trying to get a reaction or psych you out, then you’ve done precisely what the opponent wanted you to do- begin to tilt, lose your focus, and come off your game, giving them an advantage.

In the interests of fair play, so that you aren’t unknowingly irritating your opponent, but likewise aren’t playing with omission of fair knowledge, or indeed just sitting in silence in what is meant to be a social game, I believe it’s always worth building that rapport with an opponent, in order to establish ground rules for how this should be played in game. Some people will want to learn from their mistakes and own them, so they improve for next time. Others may be having a rough day, or just weren’t aware of something, and their brain might be frazzled already, in which case a friendly reminder may swing their mood right around and lead to you both having a great game.

Better to dodge the hole than fall down it

So much of tilting is subjective, as only you know what will set it off, and it really depends on you as a person as well. There is no hard and fast way to avoid getting tilted, however what you can do is learn the signs of it, and ask yourself what will getting salty achieve? Again, certainly easier said than done – I’m here to start the conversation, not solve it all for you! But recognising saltiness in yourself and others can go towards making the change necessary to avoid it before you go down the slippery slope. And you will slip. It’s very likely to happen that something will tip you. It’s only through playing the games and having an open conversation with people that you can come to terms with it as well.

Of course we’ve all had games where it just seems everything is against you, to the point where it does feel like a case of throwing in the towel – this is afterall a game, and if a game isn’t fun, then why continue? Unfortunately, I can’t help you here (as I say I can’t solve all the issues!), as this is so specific to the individual on how they take losing, or what they can learn from it. All I can recommend here is that you consider what has made you tilt to this point, and consider is that style or encounter right for you, if this is what the outcome will be. What can you learn from it? What could have been done differently, or do differently next time? Are you able to hold your hands up and say “Actually I can feel myself getting down on this, are we able to just take a step back for a minute?”

Self-evaluation and improvement are incredibly difficult things and not something that will happen overnight. It is a slow and gradual process. But overcoming these feelings will not only help you in game by ensuring your focus and concentration, but also your enjoyment, as you’re no longer helping to defeat yourself. Take these negatives, and turn them to positives!

* Within reason here, but we’ll go into finer details and my opinion on etiquette when it comes to this sort of thing in a later article.

If you have a list with some unique tactics, a Tactica or hobby article that you feel would make an interesting read, or maybe you just want to give Chef a topic to rant about? Send it in to thepastrychef@tabletoptactics.tv and you might see your topic discussed in a future article!



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Nick LucasWarp5p1d3rAntonio DeciccoRebekka SteursBrandyn Johnson Recent comment authors
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Nick Lucas
Nick Lucas

I really appreciate you sharing a specific example of when you were tilted, creates a much more open tone to the whole article in my opinion.

I’ve been tilted hard a few games, it is difficult to look at yourself and realize you’ve been acting like a jerk, but as you said self reflection is crucial, not only in 40k but life in general.

No one wants to be around someone who is constantly tilted. Make the best of any situation! Great article to read after work today, I needed a bit of an attitude adjustment.

Antonio Decicco
Antonio Decicco

I’m loving the articles lately! really giving a good perspective on the game at large, thank you so much for this feature. Hopefully in the future we can get opinion pieces from more of the staff but right now chef is killing it! Thank you

Rebekka Steurs
Rebekka Steurs

A wonderful read! I’m prone to the positive tilt myself where I literally become saccharine and become blind to the fact that my enjoyment might come across as gloating to my opponent… but I recognise this and always keep it in the back of my mind when playing. And if I ever fall prey to the negative tilt, I have yet to bang fists on tables or use words that are not approved by the Holy Emperor 😉 I’m fairly new to the hobby (2 years and going now!) and have 3 armies (Salamanders, Mechanicum and Tyranids), 2 of which… Read more »

Brandyn Johnson
Brandyn Johnson

Great article chef. I had an experience of salt my last game I played. 2k battle between me and one of my buddies who’s pretty new I’ve been helping him with list building and tactics. We decided to have a fun game my space wolves who in our group of 8 have only lost to tau vs his death guard and new magnus model. I was super excited to finally get to throw down agaisnt magnus I tunnel visions on him and miss deployed (I deployed 2nd) left my forces open for a turn 1 smackdown from magnus and mortarion.… Read more »

Kev Bates
Kev Bates

A really great read and thanks for taking on the topic, always find it gets a good response and often hilarious stories of peoples experiences, a bit of introspection is always a good thing.

Joe Kerr-Delworth
Joe Kerr-Delworth

The best way I can describe this is with the following – “Getting Salty” is the physical manifestation of severe “Tilting”. However, it’s also important to note that whilst tightly linked, both can occur independently of one another. Tilting is generally all about the mind. It raises its ugly head in manners such as self-doubt and questioning, loss of focus ultimately building to a complete lack of motivation and desire to continue. From this, comes the physical or “outbursts” of emotion. Be it frustration, rudeness or a change in attitude and manner. Needless to say, lots of people tilt on… Read more »

Limbo365
Limbo365

I’m not gonna lie, I regularly get 2nd hand salt when watching Beards batreps (His most recent one was literally painful to watch)

I played at the 40k ToS recently and had one game where I’m not proud of myself, I don’t think I was overtly rude but I certainly wasn’t my usual self, being quite short and just not as friendly as I would have liked to have been. But like you said we all have that one game where we just get ALL the one’s…..

Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis

This is good advice! I have always found having a bottle of water by the side of the table helps me, gives you a chance to take a few seconds out to cool down. Not sure about others but i get a bit grumpy when i am thirsty so it usually helps there as well.

Jeremy Salgado
Jeremy Salgado

How do we make space wolves great again? I love playing against the meta and trying to pull out wins against tougher armies, however, space wolves just seem to be….meh. I would love to see Lawrence take the for a spin

Max Rayner
Max Rayner

So I’m a recovering alcoholic who got back into 40k at the start of 8th (after a long time away) as part of my recovery. One of the central philosophies of AA that I now live by, and I think applies very well here, is the serenity prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change The courage to change the things I can And the wisdom to know the difference” Adopting that mind set definitely helps avoid tilt! Although 40k has been such a positive force in my life this last 20 months that I rarely… Read more »

Ian Tomlinson
Ian Tomlinson

Again a brilliant read. I definitely have been super salty during games – one moment sticks with me and I am quite embarrassed about – The first was when I was playing FF’s Imperial Assault at my friends house, I was playing as the Imperial and had an incredibly stupid game, I just wasn’t thinking about the game and I was playing like an idiot, whilst my friends were having the best game ever, so when they killed my Boba Fett model (has the mature man that i am) I lost my temper and literally threw my books on the… Read more »

Sempai Micke
Sempai Micke

Great and important topic, it is crucial that we talk about our behaviors and that we also reflect upon them in order to improve the whole comunity, thanks Chef!

Thomas Gardiner
Thomas Gardiner

Great article. Glad you brought up the way that salt can actually be pretty funny and make the game better in moderation, my mates always love the actual mountain of salt I unleash when Eldrad kills half my bloody army in one psychic phase.

I hate Eldrad.

Bellchump
Bellchump

I know it might be a bit of a pain, but do you think you could get these on audio. A sort of podcast thing would be great. + get to hear Chef in full rant mode. Woooo

bergmanc
bergmanc

Great content Chef. You guys never fail to impress – keep up the good work. I’m going to try to be less salty when my Eldari friend comes over this weekend to Alaitoc/Iyanden/Ulthwe-combo my poor Ultramarines once again.

Xavier Corral
Xavier Corral

Excellent. I participated in a tournament recently that had a large amount of points awarded for sportsmanship. I was voted favorite player by 2 out of 3 of my opponents. That last one was my last game of the day. He brought Tau to bear against my Grey Knights in a 1500 point Highlander game. So I’m certain everyone here can guess how that went. I knew by turn 2 I was losing my cool. Despite this knowledge I still had a hard time not being snippy when my opponent asked questions. I wasn’t being unpleasant, but simply answering “yep”… Read more »