View Full Version : Is Warhammer serious?

15-11-2005, 12:20
Ok, I have never been to a 40k or WHFB tournament.

I did, until recently, have a sort of pre-conceived idea of what they're about... based on many years of immersion in the world of geekdom, and on the reports and write ups I've read here.

I sort of imagined lots of geeks from all over coming together to have a laugh and play the game(s) they spend so much time on. Obviously, people playing would do their best and want to win, but I always thought they would be played in the spirit as suggested in the books (ie: this is a game played for fun), and not take themselves too seriously.

I've been reading a fair few threads about this year's GT heats (if I've got that right?) and I'm frankly amazed by the attitude I've found expressed in a lot of threads. Some people seem to be treating Warhammer as a serious game, worthy of Olympian levels of dedication and a no holes barred attitude. I'm baffled by this, as 40k and WFB seem to me to be glorified board games (don't get me wrong, I love playing them), and don't really seem to merit this level of intensity. I mean, would you get that worked up about Monopoly or Risk?

Now, I'm absolutely NOT trying to start another tournament min/max cheese armies thread here; I'm more wondering on people' opinions about the depth of GW games, and if they merit the level of seriousness that seems to be afforded them in things like this GT. I can certianly understand competitions based on painting and modelling, I just don't get the way Warhammer seems to be taken out its context of being a fun game of toy soldiers and into some kind of pseudo-professional circuit of dedicated wargaming. I mean, it's not that serious, is it???

edit: (I've put this here, rather than "Other GW discussion" because is pertains especially to Tournaments. Apologies if it's in the wrong place.)

15-11-2005, 12:43
I started the game in order to relax and take a break from everyday stresses...So...playing it as intensly as others would be pointless and just make my day more stressful. The people who treat this like a life or death situation take it way too seriously, but if that's how they choose to play then I'll choose not to play with them.

15-11-2005, 12:44
No, it's not that serious at all. But neither is seeing how far one can toss a metal disc, or which team of eleven men can kick a leather ball in a goal best.

I don't take sports as serious as others do. It's a means of excersise (sp?), with a competition element attached. The step from sports to games is a relatively small one IMO. Basically, it's all 'fun and games'. ;)

15-11-2005, 13:14
No, it's not that serious at all. But neither is seeing how far one can toss a metal disc, or which team of eleven men can kick a leather ball in a goal best.

Heresy! Football is life or death! ;)

Is Warhammer really comparable with sport and/or "proper" competetive games like chess, though? I really don't think it warrants that level of seriousness.

15-11-2005, 13:18
Chess: certainly. Only difference I see is that with chess, there are no debates about the rules and some big corporation isn't making money off it...

Come to think of it, it's the GW monopoly that makes a rather large difference too.

15-11-2005, 14:08
Really? You really think there could build up a century of literature on Warhammer tactics, strategy, openings and the like? You think Warhammer Grandmasters would need the same required skill, intellect and dedication as Kasparov & co? I certainly don't.

15-11-2005, 18:24
Well acctualy...yes.

In high competing level we acctually see geniusses, these people tend to finish in the top ten in big tournaments. With nothing realy more than a standard list.

A few years back there was a 40k player who won yhe GT with 2 shinning spears squads. units that are found by 95% of the people an overpriced and usseless units. A tactical geniuss if you ask me.

But fun is no.1

15-11-2005, 18:45
I look at it this way:

The degree to which people take 40K/WFB* seriously is directly correlated to the number of *truly* serious activities in their life. :rolleyes: Kids who don't have lives tend to be more obsessive about 40K/WFB* than your average adult gamer, because they simply don't have much going on in their lives to compare it to.

Most adults (generalisation here, I know) have things which rank slightly higher on the list, like job, house, family. Whether or not the Land Raider gets painted is seldom as important as whether or not the kids eat.

Adults who take 40K/WFB* *too* seriously are generally (there's that word again) kids who never grew up and still have few responsibilities beyond paying their rent and buying gaming related stuff.

Sadly I was Staffing the first Conflict in Toronto and the *worst* sportsmen in the entire event were a father/son pair who epitomised the essence of bad players. Sadly the father was perpetuating his bad attitudes in his son, who was even worse!

Simply put, the less you have in your life, the more likely you are to take 40K/WFB* seriously, because *it's all you have* and it's likely the most contact you have with the outside world. Sad, but all to true.

*(or any hobby/sport for that matter)

15-11-2005, 20:46
*(or any hobby/sport for that matter)

But still, chess is held in higher regard than 40K/WFB. Why?

15-11-2005, 20:59
Completely separate from my point, I believe.

However: Chess has a very long history with (literally) millions of players over centuries. It has become a part of western society. It requires the same 16 pieces and board no matter where you play. It is simple to learn, yet difficult to master. The rules don't endure a major revision every four (or so) years with updates every month (or so). Chess has also separated itself from the bloody conflict that it simulates.

Warhammer 40K or Fanatasy (on the other hand) revels in the images of blood and destruction, appeals to little kids tantrum tendancies and is generally everything that is opposed to a civilised way to spend an hour or so. I'll leave the rest of the comparisons to the masses.;)

Simply put 40K/WFB require significant amounts of time and money as well as opponents who are willing to invest the same.

Maybe in 50 years 40K/WFB will be held in the same regard, but I seriously doubt it. GW wants to focus on the kids, so that is where the focus (and image) will stay.

15-11-2005, 22:05
But still, chess is held in higher regard than 40K/WFB. Why?

I'd agree with most of starlight's answer, but I'd also say simply because chess (and go) is about the epitome of a mental game, with both beatufil simplicity and abstraction as well as infinite depth and complexity. Warhammer is a glorified board game, albeit a great one.

A few years back there was a 40k player who won the GT with 2 shining spears squads

Ok, respect is due for that!

Is/was it the intention of the designers of 40k & WFB for the games to be used and played in such a competative environment? Suppose so, if they're organising tournaments that treat the hobby as seriously as this. Guess it's all just a bit of a shock to a casual gamer like me.

15-11-2005, 23:35
Actually, no. The designers are quite vocal that GW makes games which are intended to be played beteween friends over beers (pop for the youngsters among us). This is how they were created and this is how they were intended to be played.

The original designers never intended to have anal-retentive rules lawyers bickering in tournaments and marking down people on sportsmanship because they lost.:eek: The original games weren't even intended to have *rules*, just guidelines and fun.

Try buying some of the *original* designers (Andy, Jervis, etc) a pint and talking to them about the way they play in *their* gaming rooms. Hell half the time they (and some of us) don't even *use* army lists. Points? What the heck are those? If you brung it, run it!

The tournaments developed out of the popularity of the games and the gamers desire to have an enviroment where people could get together and play that they couldn't have at home. It was never the primary intent of the games.

15-11-2005, 23:42
I agree with Starlight. Warhammer and 40K were never designed to be played in tournaments. All you have to do is look at any codex to pick that up. Its a game that has to be played between two people united by the hobby not set against one another. Competertiveness does not encorage the spirit of the game it just supresses it with the desire to win above everything else. This, of course, my own views on the subject.


15-11-2005, 23:43
Which just happen to agree with the people who designed the game....:D

16-11-2005, 07:39
Well, that's what I always thought... until I started reading descriptions and posts by people who regularly attend big GW organised tournaments.

16-11-2005, 11:08
Well like any hobby the GW games have fans who are casual (some people just like to collect and paint and don't play at all!), through to regular gamers, and then avid fans who attend all the tourneys etc. Any major hobby (including sports etc) is the same. Dip in your toe or wade in up to your neck, whatever you prefer.:p

But none of the GW games are in any way comparable to chess in terms of the levels of skill you can get to. The fact that so much is down to luck precludes the possibility of super-deep tactical analysis like you get in chess. Imagine if Kasparov had to roll a 4+ to move his knight!

That doesn't stop the GW games being tactical in themselves. Some tacticas are still relevant and useful (although a lot of them are exercises in effective minmaxing). You still need intelligence and wits to play the game well - they just don't give you as much advantage as in chess.

16-11-2005, 17:14
Agreed, which is why GW games are more of a beer and pizza with friends activity than an adversarial competitive activity. The competitions are used by GW as a marketing tool and (within GW) it is recognised that there are several types of hobbyists, Tournament Gamers being one.

The other types are generally people who:

only collect and paint, but never play.
only collect and paint the minimum required to get gaming.
collect and paint to a fair standard, but game regularly.
build army lists, which is secondary to actually finishing the army.

GW wants to cater to all of them, but since they are also in it to make money, the priority goes to the customers who: spend the most and those who provide the best publicity.

Tiberius Frost
17-11-2005, 03:45
I don't own the latest 40k rulebook, but in the 6th ed WHF book Tuomas Pirinen had this to say:

"Warhammer was never meant to be a game where the rules become more important than the enjoyment of the players."

With the general attitude toward the game, though, I've had a hard time finding other players who are happy to just play the game however you want. I'd love to rewrite some rules, and am just plain sick of 'waiting for the next codex to come out' but everybody wants to play tournament games, which annoys me.

I'd much rather make up campaign settings for my games and have proper objectives.

25-11-2005, 11:12
I'd much rather make up campaign settings for my games and have proper objectives.

One of the coolest things released for 40k were the "rules of engagement" -objective based scenario generator (can be found from GW site). It takes the game a bit away from the tournament-setting by allowing players to have different objectives, thus making the game more unevenly-matched... which I think is great!

It is so nice to be sometimes the underdog, with really small chances to win, yet trying to use those troops to gain that objective... if you succeed, great, if you dont, you had a great time trying and hopefully seeing some cinematic things being desperate.

It is so sad when people play to win and maximise the effectiviness of their army at the cost of innovativiness and the cool-factor.. that is why I quit the tournament playing, I so much prefer playing the campaign at our club.

By the way, a good thread!

25-11-2005, 13:51
Agreed, which is why GW games are more of a beer and pizza with friends activity than an adversarial competitive activity.

Actually, pizza gets grease all over the models and the books. Not cool at all.

Pies go well, as do chips, but fish/chicken and chips are as bad as pizza.

Pretzels are good, but can only last you so far through a gaming session.

25-11-2005, 15:09
Im a competitive person most of the time. But when it comes to whfb or 40k i cant bring myself to be competitive with a game that revolves around the roll of a dice as much as it does the perfect army list (which doesnt exist!)

25-11-2005, 16:29
Nikolai 7 is quite right. One thing that occured to me reading the posts about the comparison between WH and chess is that chess does not contain the element of chance, the closest thing to chance is actually opponent error, unlike Warhammer in which random chance can determine a whole match.

25-11-2005, 21:59
Tournament play has never really interested me. I play for fun and many in the (very) few tournament games I've played in (not just GW games), I've disliked the majority of games from start to end. It's very refreshing to find a tournament opponent who is also playing for a laugh and not to smash you to bits in 3 turns without speaking to you. I don't mind losing. I'm very happy to lose so long as the game was fun.

The guys in my club want to try their luck at some GW events this year for the first time and I've said I'll join in. Only time will tell if I enjoy it or not. If I meet like minded people I will. If I only play cold-blooded-win-at-all-costs players, I will not.

We’ve also said we will try Carnage this year (assuming we can all get tickets!)

Grand Warlord
01-12-2005, 02:48
Personally I play the game to meet new people and to get away from my crappy home life lol...