Old Stuff Day: Smells Like Team Spirit [2006]

In observance of Old Stuff Day, I thought I would repost this great 2006 Road to AdeptiCon article by Leslie Pratt discussing the finer details of team tournaments at AdeptiCon.

The team tournament concept takes our favorite game formats and makes them better by adding a key element – friends. What game doesn’t get better when you get to pair up with 1-3 of your closest friends to take on the world? In this article, we will explore the team tournament format and discuss ways to add "team spirit" to your team – to mold you into a single force rather than just adding more people to the game. And while it’s nice to know that there’s someone putting an army on the table who’s NOT trying to kill you, it makes the experience a lot more fun if you actually feel and act like a team.

The great thing about team spirit is that at AdeptiCon, it’s not only encouraged, but actually rewarded – there are several awards just based on team spirit and team theme. So get out there, act like a team, and let your freak flag fly!

Team Theme

Strategy aside, there’s more to army selection than finding four painted armies and showing up at the tournament. Find a reason for your forces to fight together, even if they’re not from the same army book. “We hate Elves” is a legitimate team theme for Undead pairing up with Orks. But the team theme extends farther than what army you’re playing – it defines the character of your team and many other elements that can give your team a strong team spirit. I’m talking about your team name, your display base, your accessories, everything. And while those things don’t necessarily have to spring from which army you’re playing, it’s the most obvious place to start looking for inspiration.

Team Name

What’s in a name? Your team name is probably the first thing about your team that your opponents will notice – most likely when game pairings are announced at the start of the round. Put some thought into your team name – come up with something your opponents will remember (so they can vote for you for best Sportsmanship later, maybe?). Try not to make it too long, or it will get abbreviated, although team Blessed Ladies of the Immaculate Deception (B.L.O.I.D.) has made their abbreviation into a trademark. Funny team names, and names with bad puns get cool points (from me, anyway). I think Tanks, But No Tanks has to be my all time favorite team name. If it identifies you, use it! Team Tall Guys With Glasses was fairly easy to pick out of a crowd last year. Your team name is how you identify yourselves to others – so put some thought into it. But please, whatever you choose, make it easy to spell...


Professional athletic teams, volunteer organizations, and even chess clubs have matching T-shirts or uniforms. It helps identify you as a member of a group. At a team tournament, this can be helpful in identifying your team to your opponents – especially if you put your names on your shirts. But it also makes you feel more like a team, which can make the game more fun. And it can’t hurt anything - even the Bad News Bears played better after they got team uniforms and started acting and playing like a team. Some things to keep in mind:
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a team uniform. The Oak Park Hitmen showed up with white shirts, black ties, and sunglasses – classy!
  • Be creative! The custom-crafted lizard headgear we wore as team Skinks Without Hats attracted a lot of attention last year in the Fantasy Team Tournament.
  • You don’t all have to dress alike: the members of Team TnA wore different colored shirts to match their individual armies.

Army Lists and Display Bases

If you put a lot of work into your team theme, why not carry that over to the other things that represent your army – namely, your army list and your display base. You hand your army list to all of your opponents – what better way to make a statement about your team? On team Fun With Chaos, we turned our army list into a coloring book and provided crayons to our opponents. Add your army list to your methods of team-expression and go wild.

Likewise, your display base (you should have one, if only because it makes things easier to carry) can express your team theme to your opponents. Make sure you work your team name in there somewhere so the judges know whose appearance score they’re scoring.


The use of accessories is where the real team creativity comes out. Several teams have toted hand-painted team banners and icons, such as team Casus Belli’s giant Khorne Icon in the 40K team tournament of 2004. They shook their dice at it in a pre-game ritual, which really got our game off to an interesting start! (Not to mention my dice were cursed for months after that….) But it got both sides into the team spirit, and we had a great time playing them. These team accessories show that your team has it all together, and since you’ve got it, you’re flaunting it.

The Whole Package

When it comes to team theme, there’s no better example than team Casus Belli – they won Best Imperial Team in the 40K Team Tournament at AdeptiCon 2005. Casus Belli had it all – a great name, cool uniforms, a great display base, a beautifully painted banner – they even had a POSSE!

Keep a look out at AdeptiCon this year for these and other teams – they display the team spirit that is one of the many things that make the team tournaments at AdeptiCon such a great experience.

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