Speaking as a ‘friendly’ player, having never been to a tournament, I’d say that my aim for a game is for both players to have fun and enjoy themselves, and as such, I don’t go in for the dirtiest combinations I can find, and I’ve never taken allies to cover up my army’s weaknesses. That being said however, I still aim to win my games and I do get annoyed with myself (my dice) when I lose. I think therefore that the first three games I mentioned earlier illustrate my approach. In the first game I was behind, and I really began to focus on where my firepower would be most effective in terms of getting me back into things, I played hard and it got me a draw. The second game, I felt I was so far ahead early on (my opponent even said he was happy to concede at the end of turn 2) that I took my foot off the gas, and in doing so, got distracted, forgot about jink saves and let him back in. The third game the balance was about right, with both of us playing hard and going for the win, and the relative strengths of the armies, the general’s decisions and the dice deciding the result (as it should be). The last game, I felt extremely guilty every time my opponent took a group of models from the table (especially his warp talons as that squad cost him a lot of points), and looking back I could probably have relaxed a little before the end. The Guard game was still fresh in my mind though, and I was painfully aware that with a small unit of warp talons, a full chaos marine squad, defiler, terminators and a heldrake, he had all the tools necessary to make my life difficult.
So in ‘answer’ to the question, if I’m playing a game against someone ‘competitively’ (I have played club campaigns where this was the case) there’s no let up, keep the foot on the neck and if at all possible, find something else to hurt with your other foot. In friendly games, I’m far more likely to let up and do less efficient things, like accept a challenge from a daemon prince with my captain. It makes for a more fun game for both players, more ‘cinematic’ moments to relay later and who knows, you’ll never find out if your captain really could kill that daemon if you say ‘no’!
Of course the exception to this is those guys you know so well that you could annihilate their entire army by turn two and they’d still enjoy the game simply because of how well you’d played (though let’s be fair, dice would have to play a part in that kind of result).
Till next time, keep fighting, and keep winning!