"Well... scr*w you too then." was my first reaction to reading that comment.
Now, I get what he was actually trying to say: that he likes the experience of playing, while the goal is not as important. For some there is more fun in the story of gaming then the competition, what is often defined as a preference for casual gameplay over competitive.
Only, something in the casual vs. competitive argument that has always bugged me, besides that the argument even exists, is the idea that there is a correct way to have fun.
For some of us the tention and challenge in trying to achieve the goal of victory is a heck of a thrill, while just moving plastic miniatures around in pretend story-lines; without interest in a victory, becomes little more than a complicated version of plastic green army men.
I notice that a lot of people argue that games like Apocalypse are meant to be played "not to win but have fun." Again, scre-I mean, fun for some, but not fun for those who don't like the lack of structure.
Here's the thing though, it's much easier to make chess into a drinking game, than it is to make a drinking game into chess.
Anyone at any time can strip or add rules to an existing template (every time you lose a hand you also lose an article of clothing for example.) So those looking for fun through wackiness lose nothing by having the game of 40k or Apocalypse start out structured.
Meanwhile those who are looking for structure are up a creek, forced to basically build the game themselves in order to play it. A feat easy to do when the outcome doesn't matter. Yet for those looking for a level playing field, where as many factors as humanly possible are balanced, leaving only the humans themselves as the variable; it's nearly impossible without weeks or months of labor.
You can't make the argument of "go play a different game" because 40k has no right to pretend that it was never about competition, and that structured play doesn't matter.
This is a game of measuring sticks, where fractions of an inch can decide your success, where even an army of 2000 points is unable to add a single point more once it's reached its allotted limit. Objective points, victory points, night fight rules, again and again factors meant to mathematically quantify the chaotic nature of warfare; turning it into a "table top strategy game".
When I came into 40k, I was sold on it being a "table top strategy game," not a L.A.R.P game, which even then tend to have rule sets; and it especially wasn't packaged as the dungeons and dragons' version of Calvinball.
Now, there are often secondary concerns that follow when the topic of competitive play or structure comes about:
Most common is the complaint of those who inflict their min-maxed armies on players just looking for a pick up game.
Only, that has nothing to do with the structure of 40k; it has everything to do with some jerk trying to compensate for a desperate life of impotence by deluding himself into equating bullying someone over a game of 40k, as an actual accomplishment in virility.
There's also the topic of armies looking the same after a while, but again this is a matter of who you chose to play with.
The thought is that the tendency to min-max armies means that you are only left with hand full of people who chose varied, fluffy, or diverse rosters; but no convolution of 40k into a casual game would ever have grown the ranks of varied armies.
Those people who chose a min-maxed competitive army only play games where that choice is possible, and if you make the game into something where competitive players like myself feel unwelcome, then we'll leave to play another game (warmahords); leaving you with the same handful of casual focused players you would of had to begin with.
As for the spirit of the game, the nagging feeling that hardcore nerd-sanity will reek havoc on what was once a lush and friendly community? Well I'll be honest, I think that has much more to do with GW as a company, than 40k as a game.
When I see rushed incompetence in what is suppose to be a thousand-times-poured over venture like a codex, that for me damages the spirit of the game much more than a complicated cover system.
When I hear of wave after wave of expensive air bubble racked miniatures, in what is suppose to be a redefinition of miniature design, that harms my loyalty to a franchise more than having do do an extra 2 minutes of math to ensure that my Hive Tyrant has all his upgrade choices.
When I see Xenos armies get passed over for entire editions, while imperial armies are re-packaged like clock work, that much more ruins my feeling of camaraderie amongst fellow players than whether or not Necrons have an equally lengthy backstory to other armies.
I see a more structured approach to 40k as a benefit, not a liability. This will NEVER be a game as casually played as poker or checkers, and anyone in GW's marketing department who thinks otherwise is a fool.
We are a niche, a specific and very well defined one.
Sure there's always room for some growth, I think this game need to learn to embrace female players more. I think we need to see a return to the more campy self deprecating style of story telling of the older editions, as the new fluff is wretchedly fan fiction-esque (I see no point in trying to add "grit", realism and depth, to a universe run by robot nazi super soldiers.)
If anything structure will add a aesthetic freedom to the game. If unit size is dependent on base width, and terrain based on a point system, then you can build your Flyrant to be a soaring monster of screaming death without making it into lascannon bait.
With Apocalypse rules made up to date, you can still have the absurd consequences of mass battle, but each unit can retain its sense of power and scale, instead of getting to the point where anything under the massive blast templates might as well be the same unit, whether it be Magnus or a scout.
Imagine being at a tournament, and destroying a building that the opponent stands in is just as pivotal to your strategy as harming the unit. Yet for the unit in the building, it's still worth the risk as there is a guaranteed befit to your unit that isn't lost just because you wanted to have one of your models posing with his battle axe held hight.
Structure is especially not the death of creativity, as with a template you can defy the template and know the value in doing so.
Suddenly you can have units assault after deepstrike, only to have their massive point cost force you into risking your victory on a single gimmick.
In the end, I ask that the expression "I play to have fun instead of play to-..." be put to bed. We all play to have fun, it's just how we have fun changes from person to person.
See, when we competitive players give advice on an army list in a forum, we can only give advice on what objectively will make the army stronger. We don't mention what'll be more fun or interesting because that will always be different from person to person.
Yet, for those with the Calvinball approach to gaming you'll always have your freedom of choice, no matter how confined the game becomes. So please stop preaching your style of play onto us competitive players, simply because we want to put structure into 40k.