Playing Nice

That’s right Internet, I’m heading up a post today using a picture of a miniature that I myself have painted! It’s still not finished mind, I’ve been painting other stuff but as I want to spend some time talking about 40k today, I wanted to add a little touch of something personal.

In my last post I touched on the Internet and the impact it has on our gaming. It seems like you can’t hit up a forum without finding a veritable panoply of threads dealing with how to make a list capable of winning tournaments and your average fluff list is buried under all the WAAC-ness.

Now, if one were so inclined when it comes to picking up 40k they could choose their Codex and then just hit up the web for a list that can rock the proverbial kazbar. These lists do tend to be “point and click” but there are certain armies where this kind of list building can prove very effective even in the hands on a novice player. I would imagine that most players want to have fun in their games but there is also an inherent part of a player that wants to win.

I’m pretty positive that there will be people out there that will decry my opinion as heresy, no doubt trotting out some abhorrent fluff list composed of nothing but Gretchin or something. Now, obviously we want to have fun, if we’re not having fun then there is no real point in playing. However, what I am interested in is how groups of players balance what they take in their respective environments. I’ve already stated on this blog that I am not a tournament player. Nor and I ever likely to be, most of these events last over two days and Sunday is not a day I feel comfortable spending gaming, it being the Sabbath and all. There may be one day tournaments but we’re then into the territory of me actually having a fully painted army to attend!

So, I am more than happy to be playing with my buds over a cool glass of DPZ and some salt-encrusted snack products. With easy access to the Internet these days you;d be mad not to have an idea about your army list gathered from players far and wide. There is normally a general consensus of what is and is not viable from a particular Codex. While I am not a fan of list tailoring there are those who are proponents of this idea. While I don’t write a list to win a tournament I do write it so that it has a chance of winning.

What do you do then, when a player brings a tournament army into a casual play environment? I am not speaking from personal experience here, we do have some strong lists though and I see myself changing my lists so that I can compete (Dark Eldar and Grey Knights dripping with S7 weapons don’t mix well). We’ve been trying to encourage the “all-comers” list mentality on the newest player we have around these parts. I think it’s a valuable skill to learn and helps you when you are against such a broad range of opponents. It’s how I’ve always written my lists although they do adapt to my local meta.

I’ve recently changed a squad or two in my Dark Eldar, I’ve added more shooting to it and removed a few things that have been hit and miss for me. The new list might not work but then that’s half the fun for me, finding stuff that works for the way that I play the game. Sometimes I get hammered, sometimes I am the one doing the hammering, I hope that good times are had by all.

To be honest I find that this is where 40k can fall down a little. Someone can bring a tourney list and destroy all that come before it and no one has fun except for maybe the chap that brought the FOTM list. We had a game of Warmachine Mk2 in our regular Wednesday play session last week too. I took Siege, a Sentinel, Lancer and Defender in a 15pt game against nBreaker with Sorscha, a Destroyer and a Juggernaught. The Sentinel got his arms hacked off by the Destroyer and the Lancer was pounded into scrap by the Juggernaught. Things were looking good for nBreaker before I got a clear LOS to his Warcaster through dropping a Foxhole on the Juggernaught, a Ground Pounder and boosted Defender Heavy Barrel later and Sorscha was a pair of smoking boots. Things were not looking great for me but I pulled off the win. I like Warmachine for this reason, there are no really cheesy combos of stuff. The whole game is based around a threat vector and exploiting it. You’re guaranteed to get it off once but then your opponent will know what to look for. I know that the game is regarded as having a steep learning curve but it’s a fast paced game that plays ruthlessly. This appeals to me against rolling up and finding that you are almost certainly going to lose against what is deployed against you at the start of the game.

Do you have an internal balance meter? How do you judge what is competitive enough to take to challenge you and your opponents? Do you even care? Has the Internet written your lists for you? Are you happy with this?

Are these issues endemic of the games system themselves, poor rules or poor Codices? Should Mat Ward be allowed near an army book ever again?

I think these are the questions I’d like to see answers on.

2 thoughts on “Playing Nice”

  1. Mat Ward should either not be allowed near a codex ever again or should be made to write them all, at least that way they’ll all be cheesed out to the max.

  2. One of my oldest friends and I used to play Necromunda a lot, using nothing but the base models that came with it. We used to all end up arguing over the level of cover (25%, 50%, or 75%), naturally feeling our own models always had more cover whereas our targets had less. Despite the arguments I honestly think we must have had fun because my friend always stopped by when he was in town.

    We also used to play Bloodbowl and I know that it has a points system, too, but we just used the base teams, one star player, and an equal amount of reroll tokens. Of course those were just friendly games between mates.

    If I ever went to a games night at a GW store I think I’d be prepared to get my butt kicked by uber teams belonging to players who see nothing wrong with anihilating a novice player just starting out.

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