Wargaming Tactics: How To Cheat With Dice

I’m writing this blog post in response to a question I was asked: Just how rampant is dice cheating in the Warhammer 40,000 tournament scene?

The poster was entering their first tournament and was concerned.

An EXCELLENT question.

My experience in the wargaming (Warhammer 40K & X-Wing Miniatures) tournament scene is that cheating is quite rare. The gaming community is VERY small and dudes that get caught get remembered and perma-banned from events. One is more likely to face cheating in a local gaming store setup where there are always a few people that try to get away with anything and everything they can.


Let’s look at two examples, not for endorsement reasons, but so that one can be aware.

Consider classifying cheating as hard cheating and soft cheating.

Hard cheating is using stuff like loaded dice, or paired dice- it works without any effort or skill, and if the offender gets caught there is no denying it.

Soft cheating involved manual skill, sleight of hand, and good misdirection. It is MUCH harder to detect, and if the offender gets caught they can dismiss it easier as a misunderstanding.

Most cheaters use the hard methods since they are not worth the time and effort to perfect a craft.

Another example of hard cheating- and one that is harder to detect?

Cooking the dice.

Chessex dice are notorious for this since they are low grade plastic and often have many imperfections anyway. Place a half a dozen dice in the microwave with the “6” at the top and zap them for thirty seconds or so. Wait a minute and zap them again, rinse and repeat a few times. This melts the inside core of the dice and pulls the weight down to the “1”.

Mix them back in with the regular dice and 1/3 of your dice will always roll a “6”, which in Warhammer 40K is always good or what you need. One could even cook a bunch of “5”s.

Mix them in with a pool of dice and they are VERY hard to detect.

Soft cheating…

…at least there is some skill here, and if the dude is going to cheat at least they are investing some time and effort into it. Code of thieves and all that.

The most often used soft cheating example is to load your dice pool with more dice…

We are playing Warhammer 40K and I’m shooting my huge unit of models into your unit. Over to my right I have a pile of dice, and as I pick up the dice to shoot, I sleight of hand a few more dice to add to the pool. So if I’m pulling up twenty dice to shoot, and I add three more- when I roll the results and quickly pick up the misses and add them back to the dice pile on the right, it is very hard to detect that an extra three dice were rolled in. Add in some misdirection by talking and the player will never know…

My take is that if you are going to cheat me, do it with flair, style, and skill. I’ve also performed and continue to perform as a stage magician so I can at least respect a good con.


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2 Replies to “Wargaming Tactics: How To Cheat With Dice”

  1. I watched the video you did regarding cheating, kind of got me think, although I wouldn’t cheat, i dont see the point of it, winning via cheating seems unforfilling,
    However, I was thinking about the reason why someone would,
    Maybe there’s an age thing to it, or length of hobby time,
    Example, a new young player might be tempted to get noticed, to fit in with the group, to try and get acceptance, albeit the wrong way,
    But an older gamer, or someone who’s been playing a long time, might do it, to try and justify the amount of money he’s spent on the hobby, having such a huge army, with so much choice, but being terrible with his strategy might tent him to cheat, for fear of being mocked,
    But obviously they’ll be the one douche who wants the false accolade of think he’s better than everyone else, knows it all, has it all, and just simply only there to Lord it over the rest, the hobby elitist,
    Thinking back when I was a child, I may have cheated from time to time in various games, but hey that’s kids, as an adult I’m just not interested , is rather loose every game, and have a great time, with a great bunch of people,

  2. I said hobby elitists, I bet you have a tale or two about that type of person, I’ve come across one the other day in my local GW,
    Only asked advice about painting haha,
    So how do you feel with them,

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