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Devon Harmon
25-02-2010, 21:02
Did you ever read something that caused you to question your held beliefs? I recently have, in several places, and I’m still trying to sort out the cognitive dissonance created by my reading of a thread here on warseer coupled with my reading of a series of articles written primarily about video gaming.

Yesterday I came across this thread: http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=246029

The thread is about cardboard cutout armies, and whether or not people would play against them. Despite the fact that I refuse to play against unpainted armies, I found myself thinking that I would actually play against the cardboard cutout army, despite it not being up to my self-imposed standards.

This morning, one of my video gaming friends directed me to a series of articles written by David Sirlin, wherein he discusses gaming, primarily playing to win. In the articles, he talks about how people frequently handicap themselves by self-imposed rules that the game knows nothing about. While the articles primarily focus on video games, he does frequently reference Magic the Gathering, and his concepts are applicable to any game played in competition. The articles are available here: http://www.sirlin.net/ptw-book/intermediates-guide.html

I guess the first question raised, is whether or not Warhammer is suitable for higher-level tournament play. When I say Warhammer, I am referring to both Fantasy and 40K. I believe that when both are compared to “games” in general , they have far more in common than different, so for the purpose of this discussion, I feel safe lumping them together (although I would be interested to hear from those who think that just one of the two is better suited to competitive play). It might be slightly problematic that tournament play for Warhammer is not standardized. That is to say some tournaments factor in painting, composition, and/or sportsmanship ( subjective areas), while others do not. I do not think that subjectivity in and of itself is a bar to competitive play. Just take a look at all of the events in the Olympics where the winner is determined by subjective scores. But the underpinnings of the game are themselves based on subjective values. Is a Bloodletter really worth 12 points? I personally do not feel that these subjective points values create a solid foundation for balanced competitive play, but I am aware that the players themselves can straighten out any perceived imbalance by choosing what they are going to field.

The combination of all of these things has really got me thinking, and I was hoping to generate some discussion on these varied, esoteric, but tangentially related concepts. I think I might be a “scrub” as defined by Sirlin, that is, when it comes to Warhammer, I handicap myself by self-imposed rules the game knows nothing about. My decision not to play unpainted armies is an example of one of my self-imposed rules. Some other ways that I limit myself are through my frowning upon min/maxing and use of special characters. I think it could be argued, at least depending on the particular tournament, that painting is a factor in competition, as is composition. But what about when we remove those two things and just look at the game based solely on the rules in the abstract. This is where we must dismiss the concept of “cheese” or “beardiness,“ something I personally have a difficult time doing.

Free of these self-imposed ideas of “fair” army construction, I’d be free to run about with a Bloodthirster, the Masque, some horrors as core, 3 units of hounds, and 2 units of flamers. If anyone who lost to me cried foul, I could just point them to Sirlin’s article and refer to them as a scrub. I personally have a hard time dismissing my self-imposed concepts of fairness as it relates to army composition, and I’m not quite sure why that is. Perhaps it is my need to be viewed as a fair player myself, or a fear that others will not like to play against me if I am always fielding this type of force. But I am also judgmental of the army composition of others too.

I don’t think it is as simple as saying “find a new group of people to play with.” For some that might be the case, but for no small number of us, we play against the people we play against because they are there. Is there some unwritten “gamer social contract” that some of us adhere to, knowingly or unknowingly, spoken or unspoken?

I know I am rambling here, and for that I apologize. I’ll try and sum up with perhaps only a few more rhetorical questions:

Is Warhammer really suitable to competitive play?

Are there any constraints outside of the rules that need to be put in place either to make it suitable for competitive play if it isn’t, or to insure its continued suitability?

Am I a “scrub”? (It is okay to say yes).

Lord Malorne
25-02-2010, 21:06
Warhammer is suitable for competitive, also I myself would not play a cut out army unless the person using it was just playtesting a future army, that said, that has never happened in my life to date.

Ultimate Life Form
25-02-2010, 21:17
Yes, you are a Deku Scrub. Everybody is. We are all bound by certain social oblications and limits, like it or not. They are in us and cannot be shut down. Humans are social beings, we are defined by the view others have on us. Only few people would ignore that and just live by their own rules, for we are dependent on the social network and if the others have no interest in supporting us, we're in dire straits.

The same is true for gaming. You can be a WaaC player if you want, nothing's stopping you, but the number of people who want to play against you may shrink down quite a bit, and in the end all you accomplished is having won a few games (congratulations) and having lost all friends. I wonder if it's truly woth it...

Razakel
25-02-2010, 21:19
When I design my Dwarf army I have the option of taking a Thorek gunline, now if I do that, I will have a hugely increased chance of success compared to my ordinary army, however you can be full sure that my enjoyment of the game will go down in proportion to my victories. So am I a scrub? Yes. According to David Sirlin, most people are scrubs, and I couldn't care less.

Warhammer is suitable to competitive play, the people who banish the self-limitations from their armies will always float to the top, in any major tournament.

sliganian
25-02-2010, 21:19
I am proudly a 'scrub'. To be non-scrub sounds incrediably boring to me in the context of minuatures gaming. One List Uber Alles? No thanks.

CrystalSphere
25-02-2010, 21:31
I play mainly for fun, so yes i guess i would be a scrub as well. I think that playing games for anything else is wasting your time, games are designed for having fun while playing them, if you don´t have fun then the game has failed, and you have effectively wasted a few hours of your life doing something you thought was going to be fun.

Desert Rain
25-02-2010, 21:40
I play warhammer for fun, and my idea of a fun game is when I use tactics and skill to win with troops that I like. Not by using troops that I don't like and/or using a "better" list simply to win.
Guess I'm a scrub then, but atleast I have fun and that's all that matters.

Master Jeridian
25-02-2010, 21:43
Aye, it's an old argument. I don't think Warhammer or 40k can stand up to competitive play, to follow the video game analogy they have far too many glitches, too many imbalances, bugs and the ability for the player to manipulate the 'code' of the video game to change the gameplay.

It works for a video game because the computer AI will never stop returning your calls, will never decide to stop playing you, etc.
Tabletop wargaming requires at least two people, and in this case, they both have to agree to a game.

Sure, there are people who WAAC, and of course, when they meet they make disgusting tabletop love of the cheesiest kind, but I think they are greatly outnumbered by the people who want to use more than one netlist, use more than the tournament set army/model lists, want to compete with their opponent during the game, rather than in the 'wallet gouging' army list writing phase.

I can't help but feel sorry for someone who has to WAAC at toy soldiers, so unfortunately I'm a scrub apparently.

Gork or Possibly Mork
25-02-2010, 22:21
So Mr. Sirlin's defintion of a scrub is "A person that doesn't play to win"

First off nobody plays a game to lose unless there is another motive such as bringing a noob in easy then turning it up a notch as they learn. The whole premise of his concept is Rubbish. The only difference is some of us don't make a big deal of it if we don't win. He tries to make that sound like a negative thing as if you will never reach a higher level of skill if you don't bring a WAAC attitude. He tries to justify having a WAAC attitude for something that is not life or death as the Holy Grail of mindsets to have.
If it were life or death I'd actually agree.

He's basically saying you'll never be the best player you can be if your not playing with a WAAC mindset. Just because your not a WAAC player doesn't mean you can't be competitive against someone who is. Just because you deem a trick or tactic dirty doesn't mean your not aware of it's merits and downfalls. Even if some of his points were true in part excellence is measured in other ways besides WAAC. If it's life or death then and only then is the only time it matters when the only goal is survival.


Something he also fails to mention is mutual respect which is a huge aspect in gaming and beyond and a point his article totally ignores.

I think Mr.Sirlin could learn alot from Mr.Malorian's 7 habits of effective gamers.

Malorian
25-02-2010, 22:29
I think Mr.Sirlin could learn alot from Mr.Malorian's 7 habits of effective gamers.

Hurray! I'm famous! :p


I can't say any more than what's contained in the link of my sig.

MasterSparks
25-02-2010, 22:36
I prefer to keep my Warhammer hobby on a casual and laid-back level - there are other venues that will better reward a real effort 'to win'. :)

Devon Harmon
25-02-2010, 22:38
I've gathered that Mr. Sirlin is more than a little full of himself, and quite possibly trying to justify his own attitudes with his writings, but they did cause me to think, which I am appreciative of.

Gork (or possibly Mork), thanks for mentioning Malorian's article. I had missed it. It can be found here: http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232493

Only a few people have commented on the suitability of Warhammer for competitive play, and most of those responses have been that the game is fine for competition, and no one has mentioned any constraints that need to be put in place. I did not want to color my initial post with my opinion, but I do not feel that the game(s) are really suitable for competitive play for the reasons that Master Jeridan states, among others. I think that in order to make it more suited for tournament play, some constraints need to be put in place. But yet there seems to be an outcry from the players when a tournament makes their own FAQ, or comes up with a composition scoring system.

As far as tounament play goes, how is the game best handled?
Leave it as it, anything goes as long as it is within the rules?
Score composition? Score painting? Score sportsmanship?
More drastic measures like limiting armies to no more than 1 of the same rare choice, two of the same special choice?

Malorian
25-02-2010, 22:43
As far as tounament play goes, how is the game best handled?
Leave it as it, anything goes as long as it is within the rules?
Score composition? Score painting? Score sportsmanship?
More drastic measures like limiting armies to no more than 1 of the same rare choice, two of the same special choice?

Something interesting that they have started in a tournament in Calgary is to have a dual tournament.

When you sign up it is either for the competitive tournament or the fluff tournament.

The competitive tournament is for the people wanting to use strong lists for the win, and is marked purely on what kind of victory/loss you have, and the fluff tournament if scored purely on things like sportsmenship, comp, and painting.

A new and interesting idea and we'll have to see how well it works out.

Gammalfarmor
25-02-2010, 22:43
A true wargammer knows what it's all about.
He aint in it for the wins, the best list, the fame, the money, the girls.
A true wargammer wants to have a fun and friendly game.

WinglessVT2
25-02-2010, 23:06
"A true wargammer knows what it's all about.
He aint in it for the wins, the best list, the fame, the money, the girls.
A true wargammer wants to have a fun and friendly game. "

A true wargamer plays to win, because winning is fun.
A hobbyist will make excuses, because he doesn't have an A-game to bring, so can't win against true wargamers.

Master Jeridian
25-02-2010, 23:15
I think that in order to make it more suited for tournament play, some constraints need to be put in place. But yet there seems to be an outcry from the players when a tournament makes their own FAQ, or comes up with a composition scoring system.


You can't please all of the people all of the time.

If you make Warhammer/40k more loose, more like a guide-lines- then the tournament and competitive players will tear their hair out as imbalance and power creep dominates.

If you bring in serious restrictions, clarity and rulesets- the casual gamer and non-tournamenter will cry that they don't have the freedom to personalise their army or to tweak the rules/armies as they want.

Warhammer/40k is torn apart trying to satisfy these opposed viewpoints.

The middle is a ruleset that tournament players find full of holes, whilst casual gamers have their freedoms restricted in half-hearted balance attempts.

Over the years I've fallen on the side that wants the restrictions, clarity and rulesets- I can't understand the mentality that things 'poor rules = fun', but I can't understand the mentality that 'more random dice rolls = fun' either and that proves popular.

I think 40k Apocalypse sums up my personal 'hell' in a wargame, one where the writers have frankly given up trying to balance a game and instead just sell you a big book explaining how to buy their most expensive toys- because cramming your paycheck onto a 6' x 4' table is 'fun'.

Condottiere
25-02-2010, 23:17
Character and motivation tends to shape your definition of victory in a game. I remember not playing too hard against my hosts, especially with the barbecue being prepared outside.

KillbotFactory
25-02-2010, 23:52
I see nothing rhetorical about the questions you asked, they are questions asked quite often.


Is Warhammer really suitable to competitive play?

Absolutely not. There is so much imbalance between the different army books and ambiguous rules that this game is really not fit above a beer and pretzel level of competition.

This is so obvious that almost every tournament imposes some sort of composition rules or scoring in an effort to bring some credibility that the event is winnable by anything other than cookie cutter army xyz. The few events that don't have such restrictions(ardboyz/UKGT to name a few) are infamous for their ridiculousness in spam armies and skewed placings.



Are there any constraints outside of the rules that need to be put in place either to make it suitable for competitive play if it isn’t, or to insure its continued suitability?

As I mentioned tournaments often impose rules to undo the imbalance, but with how bad the base rules are, no system really brings it to a level of what I consider a balanced competitive game. It is also important to note that basically every tournament is a competition to find the best hobbyist, and many times the best general will not win best overall.



Am I a “scrub”? (It is okay to say yes).

I have read sirlins articles long time ago and I think he would probably say that if you have to ask...

Idle Scholar
25-02-2010, 23:58
That guy sounds like a bit of a douche :(

w3rm
26-02-2010, 01:33
A true wargammer knows what it's all about.
He aint in it for the wins, the best list, the fame, the money, the girls.
A true wargammer wants to have a fun and friendly game.

That is going in my sig if ya dont mind.

EDIT: Although I disagree about the girls :p

Alathir
26-02-2010, 04:07
I couldn't disagree more with Mr. Sirlin. Multiplayer games are social activities, I refuse to go out of my way to ruin another player's experience just to rack up a few wins/kills.

Lord Solar Plexus
26-02-2010, 05:06
Devon, don't get too defensive just because one Mr Sirlin writes an article. Why would your standards be worse than his? The game is what one makes of it.

Perhaps it eases your worries a bit when you think about Michael Schumacher - he wouldn't drive an unpainted car either.

Stegadeth
26-02-2010, 05:09
The game is what one makes of it.

This, to me, says all that needs saying. I've said it time and again, no one plays this game wrong, as long as they are enjoying it.

Sygerrik
26-02-2010, 05:40
Oh boy, another Sirlin thread.

A "scrub" is someone who wants to be a WAAC player and can't be. Someone who doesn't want to be WAAC is never disappointed by inability to attain that status. "Scrub" is an internal thing, and if you don't think you're a scrub, you never are.

Olja
26-02-2010, 05:57
I must be a scrub. Last night, I played to lose. But no matter what I did, I couldn't help but win. The guy I was playing had his doom diver self destructed, his fanatics ran back through his own ranks, and his shaman killed himself in a miscast. I even rolled an insane courage! I tell ya, sometimes the dice are just with you. :p

In all seriousness, while I play to win, I play more to have fun. Idle Scholar is right, the guy is a douche. He just wrote the article to defend his douche status. Which is a total douche move.

hill9969
26-02-2010, 06:17
This is weird. Am I the only person who gets mad if my opponent doesn't play to win? (testing out army ideas/builds is different) I get mad and feel as if the person is playing down to me. Its degrading. I believe that you can have fun and be a good sport and still do your best every game. I prefer that people bring their best. If I lose I feel that its because I have something to learn about the game. I don't blame my opponents army build. If it comes down to a dice roll I may be disappointed but I realize I could have put myself in a better position before that.

To me trying to figure how to beat VC with Ogres is a fun challenge. People on here would say its impossible or against specific builds I could never win, buts that's just not true. The game has an almost infinite combination of possibilities and it can take a long time to figure out how one army can beat another. Or how one build can beat another.
I think it depends on your attitude. You can get mad and annoyed and want comp lists to make it easier or you can take the time to think and force yourself to use your mind and expand the way you think.

Is warhammer acceptable for competitive play? YES! I think it depends on your mentality about the game. If you accept each defeat as a challenge to get better and not a chance to declare another army over powered.

My attitude seems different from most people that post on these forums. The game decreases in fun as your excuses for loosing increases. If I win against someone that wasn't really trying its not a victory and it is hallow. But if I beat that VC player that for the last month has been destroying me I feel that I have accomplished something substantial. The people who cry foul don't really want to be the best player that they can be. Playing with those people isn't fun at any level because in their mind you can never really be better than them. They always have an excuse of why or how they lost. That to me is not being sporting. If you don't do your best you are not being a good opponent because at that point I can't accurately gauge how I am doing with the game.

Anyway this is my semi-relevant ramble after reading the article and the previous posts.

The Red Scourge
26-02-2010, 06:20
Is Warhammer really suitable to competitive play?

No it is not.

A) The game has shoddy rules. Even basic rules like terrain and movement are lacking in clarity, and best example must be the common house rule that magic weapons and spells give magical attacks.

B) The balance is poor. This might not be a competitive problem, as sportsmen are always looking for equipment and drugs to make them lighter, faster and better sponsored. Though if this was the intention of GW, the average DoC army would cost around €10.000 ;)

C) The game is ruled by dice. And competitive play isn't about luck, but about skill. (Yes, I know that there is a great deal about a good general stacking the odds, and if you're like me and is great at stacking those odds AND having lucky rolls, then you're a horror to play against) :)

D) Competition brings out the worst in people thats why the term WAAC has been coined, and I personally would prefer a fun game of 'hammer (and sip a beer), than debating crooked wordings, doublechecking for fidgety movement and funky dice :)

-

And regarding Sirlin, he is referencing games that are more based on skill and with better rules (mainly computers and to a lesser degree M:TG), so you can't really compare the stuff.

I play to win, but I also play to get challenged - and I even field models, just because they're cool even though the unit is subpar or even a handicap. If I just played to win, I'd play the DoC steamroller, but the game has a lot more to offer, when you try out other stuff and becomes much more rewarding :)

Lord Solar Plexus
26-02-2010, 07:18
The people who cry foul don't really want to be the best player that they can be.

That tells us just about nothing. It's just as much a non sequitur as saying that the people who do not cry foul really want to be the best players - so what? People are motivated by different things.

Enfid
26-02-2010, 07:47
No it is not.

A) The game has shoddy rules. Even basic rules like terrain and movement are lacking in clarity, and best example must be the common house rule that magic weapons and spells give magical attacks.

B) The balance is poor. This might not be a competitive problem, as sportsmen are always looking for equipment and drugs to make them lighter, faster and better sponsored. Though if this was the intention of GW, the average DoC army would cost around €10.000 ;)

C) The game is ruled by dice. And competitive play isn't about luck, but about skill. (Yes, I know that there is a great deal about a good general stacking the odds, and if you're like me and is great at stacking those odds AND having lucky rolls, then you're a horror to play against) :)

D) Competition brings out the worst in people thats why the term WAAC has been coined, and I personally would prefer a fun game of 'hammer (and sip a beer), than debating crooked wordings, doublechecking for fidgety movement and funky dice :)

-

And regarding Sirlin, he is referencing games that are more based on skill and with better rules (mainly computers and to a lesser degree M:TG), so you can't really compare the stuff.

I play to win, but I also play to get challenged - and I even field models, just because they're cool even though the unit is subpar or even a handicap. If I just played to win, I'd play the DoC steamroller, but the game has a lot more to offer, when you try out other stuff and becomes much more rewarding :)

I truly agree with all of the above statements, especially D.

If anyone here have played in a very serious M:TG tournament, you'll know that's no place for a casual gamer. My friend said he witnessed someone crying foul of the opponent because the opponent forgot to untap his lands, and was asking him for it or forgot he didn't have enough mana for a spell and the "non-scrub" calls him for cheating. The guy didn't even do it repeatedly, just ONCE.

If being a non-scrub means I have to be a *********, then no thanks, I'll rather enjoy my time with my friends.

Balance: If the game is actually extensively playtested and actually have banned list like Magic: the Gathering to ensure it's as balanced as it can get, then I'll be a little happier to play in a competitive environment. However, see statement D.

H33D
26-02-2010, 08:09
I would like to start my personal rant by saying that I do not only play to win. If I did I would only bring a Thorek gunline, as I am a Dwarf player. The main reason I started playing Warhammer is my fascination with strategy.

I was asked to start a chess club in high school (which I declined). I have played numerous RTS and turn-based strategy games incluidng but not limited to Age of Empires I-III, Starcraft, Warcraft, Command & Conquer, Lord of the Rings : Battle for Middle Earth, Dawn of War, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Halo Wars. Strategy games are by far my favorite.

I don't ever try to find a single game-winning strategy. If I play a certain way and I am victorious by a slight margin, I try to improve on my existing strategy until victory comes with ease. When I finally do win with surpassing numbers, I then experiment with different strategies and attempt the same thing.

It isn't about winning for me, it is about being successful at the particular strategy I am trying. If a player plays me and wants me to play an army that I think would be very difficult to defeat, I would bring Thorek and a gunline, despite the fact that it would be very boring for me.

At this point, I bring a Daemon Slayer with a runic weapon as my Lord choice and see how much damage I can deal with him before he dies :)
I don't try this in extremely competetive conditions, as I don't want to upset the players who are trying to playtest their army.

At lower point-level games, I bring Bugman as my General. I have had some extremely fun games with him!

Neither of these strategies are extremely effective, but are very fun for me, especially the part where I try to sneak them into a part of combat where they will truly shine. This is harder than bringing an uber geared Dwarf Lord who will shine no matter what combat he gets involved in. *yawn*

To sum it all up, all games for me are about having fun. I always have to try something new and different and see how unique units can get along togehter. It is more fun than just power-gaming and I recommend everyone try fun and unique army list compositions rather than a list they 'know' will dominate.

Gammalfarmor
26-02-2010, 08:13
That is going in my sig if ya dont mind.

EDIT: Although I disagree about the girls :p

go ahead mate :)

hill9969
26-02-2010, 09:08
That tells us just about nothing. It's just as much a non sequitur as saying that the people who do not cry foul really want to be the best players - so what? People are motivated by different things.

Sure if you take the quote out of context it doesn't tell you anything. (it was in a paragraph and part of the idea not the whole idea) Best player can and does mean more than just the best at playing the game. Being a poor sport and deflecting the loss onto something else other then yourself is not being the best player you can be. The best games I have had, in a win or loss, is when both players are gracious and willing to talk about the events of the game without out excuses such as I would have kicked your butt if your hadn't taken that unit of flamers. (its irrelevant because the whole game changes at the point and the events of the game would have been completly different)

Regardless of your motivations for playing the game, regardless of your thoughts on the balance of the game, warhammer is a competitive game. It puts player vs player. My point is that a truly gracious loser or winner is one who doesn't make up excuses because when someone starts to do that they are taking the win away and not giving their opponent the credit they deserve.

Grey Mage
26-02-2010, 09:31
I suppose Im an odd one- I have two playstyles, tournament and non tournament.

In a tourney? I come to win, and I come to win by a good margin because anything else leads me to having lost money I probly shouldnt spend anyways lol. That being said, I do my best to be a gentleman, and I dont rules-lawyer unless I feel the other person is trying to pull something very odd.

In normal games I dont care as much- Im in it for the fun, the strategy, and the social interaction. Thus, I wont play with the same units in the same combinations, Ill try out new things and just have some fun.

But one thing I note- you talk about subjective point values in the first post, but also state that MtG is a good system for competitive play: this is incongrous.

Magic Casting Values are entirely subjective, there is no real method of determining their value objectively, and many cards casting values are in fact altered by the rarity of the card- wich has no real bearing on its ability to play in the game once you have that card, or the number you can include in your deck if you have them *or the money to buy them*.

With warhammer you can atleast "mathhammer" the unit to hell and back against similar units to get an rough point value, playtest a bit... its still a bit subjective, but easier to balance than cardboard crack.

Im not a "scrub" but I dont consider myself a WaaC player either- there is a time for each style, and a blending of the two is often required.

Gromdal
26-02-2010, 10:17
To win in warhammer means nothing, and the fact that people seem so obsessed with winning is why the hobby suffers.

You need to win in life (at your job, family) but when it comes to your hobbies you really should just relax.

Maybe the problem with warhammer is that to many of its gamers are either to young (thus have no "wins" in life and try and make up for it in a game) or the players have "no life" and must compensate their egos in the hobby.

My gaming group is extremly competetive, but all of us are succesful in life and thus if someone makes a great list that works as scissors vs paper (when brets was a new book i had a full KE army that was extremly hard, this was fixed first by a joint effort to make lists designed vs it, when that failed we simply filded larger armies (pts wise) vs my knights. It was good fun. Today we have a DoC that is absolute powergaming, and we often team 2v1 vs the list.

So none of us cares about winning but we all like to exploit the system.

I respect someone with the worst powergaming list ever that says: Hey i could care less about winning, but i made a broken list, so we can switch, you play my DoC and ill play your OK.

Then someone who says and thinks he has won (and is good) with his standard list vs another standard list. Our obsession with lists is however deep, probably because many of us are interested in systems and how to exploit them (several investors, but the payoff for such exploits mean nothing unlike in the real world)

Winning in warhammer is like winning in monopoly (means nothing at all) I just wanna have a few laughs and kick back.
The idea that people becomes even alittle sad when they lose in this game sucks, and has made me and my gaming group have a small influx of new players.

So the answer to your question, are you a scrub? Well since you asked after reading Sirlin, I can safely say that pretty much everyone in this thread are scrubs.

Dark_Knight
26-02-2010, 10:20
Play for fun, its a game. If a friend doesn't have the money for an army and I want to play then I'll let him use cardboard. Heck I might buy him some models as an early B-day present.

You won't play unpainted armies. LAME. I'm sorry but it takes years for people with a life to paint an army. I think that most people who hide behind this rule are afraid to lose against a noob like myself. My army will be painted at some point but until then I am going to hang out and play with my friends who don't care either way because they know how to have fun.

Does anyone who refuses to play unpainted armies really ever think about how retarded their reasoning is? Seriously people. Are you going to give some 12 year old a hard time about this when he doesn't have a job to buy paint etc.? If I had people like you lot pulling nonsense like that on me when I was young and just getting into other hobbies I would have never gotten into Warhammer or encouraged over 10 other people to buy GW products thus helping GW to finance a possible 8th edition. This scrub business is silly.

Angry Lawyer
26-02-2010, 10:46
This is weird. Am I the only person who gets mad if my opponent doesn't play to win?

Nobody plays to lose - there's a difference between throwing a game and choosing not to stack your deck by picking only the "optimal" builds.

-Angry Lawyer

Gromdal
26-02-2010, 10:56
Nobody plays to lose - there's a difference between throwing a game and choosing not to stack your deck by picking only the "optimal" builds.

-Angry Lawyer

I do not play to win nor to lose, it is simple not a motivation for playing (winning or losing).

I play for fun, not to 99% but to 100%. I would rather have 100% fun and lose than 99% fun and win.

Winning means absolutely nothing in warhammer.

Losing means absolutely nothing in warhammer.

Lord 0
26-02-2010, 12:49
As I understand it GW themselves have admitted that Warhammer is not supposed to be properly competitive - only 'beer-and-pretzels' sort of competitive.

This is most clearly seen in the balance issue. If Warhammer *was* a properly competitive game then you would *not* see the same builds every time that are just plain better than any other build. If the game were more robust then there would be many builds viable each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Sadly, this is not the case.

For perspective, I am an unrepentant power-gamer. For me the fun in this game comes from making the most powerful army I can and running it up against the most powerful list my opponent can come up with and seeing what happens. I get only slightly less fun from a game where I am beaten by clever tactics and interesting army choices as I do beating someone with clever tactics and interesting army choices.

Sadly, in Warhammer, that is just not possible. It very quickly becomes apparent that there is generally only a few builds per army (sometimes only one) that is at all competitive and if you don't take it you are effectively nerfing yourself.

However, I am a power-gamer *not* a WAAC gamer and there is a significant difference and I must admit I do find it annoying that many people (particularly scrubs, but noone cares about them) will not differentiate. Will I take the most powerful options? Yes. Will I try and use Psychology, magic items, maneuvering, etc to kill as many of yours while losing a few of mine? Yes. And, admittedly, so will a WAAC gamer. However, I would not fudge any of my movements nor dice rolls. I wouldn't argue a point of rules even knowing I am wrong in order to force a dice-off etc. Just because you play to win doesn't mean you have to be a poor sport about it - nor does it mean that your fun has to mean the reduction in fun of your opponent.

Deathjester
26-02-2010, 12:59
Winning will always make you feel better.

Everyone plays to win, however it's peoples definition of "winning" in a game like warhammer that differs.

I am at heart a true competetive gamer, i do not play primarily for fun:
I paint & model for fun, i play to win!

If i think Daemons of Chaos steamroller is the best army for a tournament you bet your ass i'll be playing with it. But the TRUE definition of someone who only plays to win is someone who will still play this army week in and week out down the club, wherever he is, in order to win.

Composition scoring is necessary in areas and Sirlin actually includes this to an extent, as these are not "self imposed" rules, these are the rules of the tournament you have chosen to enter.

If you're entering a "Fluff" tournament, you're still entering with a view of winning all be it with a different set of rules to everyone else, but you're still in it to win.

I have also been playing magic the gathering for several years now, and i do agree that the level of randomness between the 2 games is higher, however you CANNOT say that Warhammer is based on luck alone otherwise you would not see the likes of Ben Curry, Andrew Chesney and the likes doing well tournament after tournament, they would be on a par with the rest of us. If you play warhammer by minimizing the number of dice rolls taken on each side and increasing static win conditions, you can quite easily increase your chances of winning each game because you're not giving your opponent that chance to be lucky.

This is part of the reason i own so many different armies:
Generic Marines
Space Wolves
Chaos Space Marines
Eldar
Tau
Necrons
Orks
And looking quite hard at Imperial Guard

Wood Elves
Emipre
Dark Elves
High Elves
Lizardmen
Skaven
Vampire Counts
Beastmen
Daemons of Chaos
Tomb Kings

I will spend litereally HOURS working out the best lists, interactions, perfecting lists for tournaments adjusting in the wake of loses, working out why i lost, etc.

I will not stand idle while my army loses just because "It's Fluffy".

Do I care that I have Kairos, Blue Scribes, Masque and Skulltaker on a juggernaut in my 2000pts Daemons of Chaos list? No.
Do I care that people won't play me when i tell them what my list is? Not really, it's their problem they have inflicted these rules upon themselves.

I'm very impressed with the way the tournament scene has grown in the last 2/3 years while i've been on a self imposed hitus from the game, while it catches up with my competetive side.

Magic gave me an outlet to this, no-one cares if you play the best deck. Everyone accepts that it's the best and gets on with it.

However you tell someone you're playing with daemons of chaos and the world over people cry.

Just as an example:


Mmmmk well i've done a lot of deliberating about what army i should show up with, and i've basically got it down to 4 choices which i can't decide between:

1. Daemons of Chaos
Now i know you only get 1400pts of Daemons, but i'm still tempted to bring them down and see how they do...

2. Lizardmen
Everyone loves Stegadons, and i'm looking at bringing 4.... but cannons suck!!

3. Dark Elves
I love Dark Elves, they were my 1st Warhammer army, Shades are one of my favourite units, and Dark Riders are awesome!! And i will admit i do love the fact that my favourite army is now so much better than it used to be!

4.
Skaven, you have to love the little rodents, they're so cute! lol, except when they're ripping your heads off, or blowing the hell out of you with their experimental weapons.

So does anyone have any advice on what i should take?

I've got lists for all 4 armies, however i'm not totally settled on any of them just yet!


This was the response i got:



Daemons are filth, 4 stegs is filth, dark elves are bent, tbh all 3 of them sound like they play themselves (without seein exact daemon list/dark elf list), but id say mate tbh take what you enjoy most, however it is uncomped i fully expect a hardass fest, therefore if youd enjoy using them, take daemons.

oh, no reply to that, i guess its gonna be deamons or 4 stegadons then :mad:


And i totally disagree on the front that they play themselves....
DoC models don't walk (as much as it would be cool for them to do so!).

Please be aware that no list were posted for any of these army lists... other than as hinted. I ended up in 4th without dropping a game, drawing only against another Daemons of Chaos army (and had it not been for sportsmanship i would have placed 2nd).

Please be aware that dispite sportsmanship awards in many of the events i've attended i've gotten 1 vote in all my time playing.

But i've never been in a war when the best sporting won.

Maybe you think my attitude is wrong? But am I? I play within the rules at all times, i don't cheat, i don't make up rules, i don't play with loaded dice, i don't fudge movement or dice rolls, and i won't argue against a rule if i know i am wrong. The only place i have been unsporting is in my choice of army.

You didn't see the Spartans at the battle of Thermopolyae complaining to the Persians that it wasn't very sporting of them to bring many more times the numbers of warriors? Well since it was 2500 years ago i'm not suprised you didn't see it, however you get my meaning.

Although it wasn't deamed as "Fair" they got on with it regardless. So long as you work within the defined rules of the event i see no problem with anything you're playing with or doing, i won't complain as long as you don't complain that i'm doing the same thing.

And if you read this through to the end... thanks for listening.

skullkandy
26-02-2010, 15:45
Another proud scrub here. I am just now starting up a fantasy army and haven't played but when it comes to the other GW games I've always played as a "scrub."

I think some of this may be a generational thing. I've noticed the more mature players who grew up in the age of video games that were challenging instead of walk through movies, if you failed you got an F instead of an E, and losing was a learning experience instead of something to cry about; these players play like the described "scubs" mostly.

The difference is scrubs enjoy the challenge and only feel good about a win if they had to work for it, munchkins enjoy only the win (which translates to enjoying lack of challenge more since it leads to more wins)


As for competative play. the only thing GW needs to be truly built for both casual and competative play is patches. Every single game for competative play has to patch because there will inevitably be rule holes and abused vagueness. Also when you write one book and then 3 years later write another book that is supposed to be balanced against it there are bound to be things in that first book that need to be changed due to the evolution of the game as the books get released. This is the main problem i see with GW games. Any time a book comes out and it's found to have OP units, unbalanced costs, loopholes that weren't noticed they do absolutely nothing to correct it and the next book suffers more by them either underpowering it as a knee jerk reflex or overpowering it to try and compete with the last book.

Devon Harmon
26-02-2010, 16:02
Oh boy, another Sirlin thread.


I'm sorry if Sirlin threads are cliche on the internet. I had never seen his writings before yesterday. Reading them made me think quite a bit about this hobby. I wanted to discuss my thoughts with someone, and my wife and kid's eyes glazed over when I mentioned the subject, so I thought I would post here and see if I could generate some discourse. (edit-upon reread, the sterility of internet forums for commnication might make the previous comment come off a bit snarky, that was not my intent. More than one thread contributor alluded to Sirlin being a bit of a tired topic. I didn't mean to single you out Sygerrik).




But one thing I note- you talk about subjective point values in the first post, but also state that MtG is a good system for competitive play: this is incongrous.


Quite true that MtG casting values are subjective, however I never stated that MtG was a good system for competitive play, merely that Sirlin had mentioned it in his article, implying that the concepts therein had wider application than the field of video games.



You won't play unpainted armies. LAME.
Does anyone who refuses to play unpainted armies really ever think about how retarded their reasoning is? .

I don't believe that I ever gave my reasoning. I mentioned this in passing, while also mentioning that I was reconsidering the notion. Your post has hardly swayed me to change my mind.

Anyway, to get back on topic and contribute to ther thread,I have had some thoughts about ways to make the game riper for competitive play, however both are fairly impractical. One idea I call "Cream of the Crap." In this format you design a really crappy, but legal list to bring to the tournament. Then when you play, you give your opponent your crappy list and army, while you take their crappy list and army. Then you try to beat the army list that you designed. Obviously in this format you wouldn't need to worry about composition. You could still judge painting. You would get to see who is the bestr general, as they would be playing with random crappy armies all day. However, I don't know how many people would be comfortable letting others use their army, even when they are at the same table, so it would probably only work amongst friends.

My other idea is to have standardized tournament lists for each army, with standardized terrain on every table. It would take some work for some bright individuals to come up with these lists, but it could be done (though not practically given the rapidity that GW releases new core rules/army books). And then not everyone would possibly be able to field the standard list with the minis they own. I think this would be the more ideal route, although highly improbable to pull off. This idea is mostly just theorizing.

Thanks everyone for the discussion and presentation of differing viewpoints. I've really appreciated this.

CraftworldsRus
26-02-2010, 17:08
I think I see a great distinction in Warhammer. I play to win, no doubt. In a game, I use every tool I can to drag out that win kicking and screaming, provided, of course, that it is fair play, and not dodgy rules lawyering.

However, I write lists to have fun, and be fair. I still try to pick units that will do well together, but I take Skeleton Spearmen in my VC, Warriors of Chaos(gasp) in my Warriors of Chaos, and the like. I write a list, and ask myself if I would have fun playing against it if I was playing a balanced Empire list. If not, I try to figure out why.

Now, once the game starts, I will do everything I can as a general to get that win. If my opponent takes min-maxed deamons because he only has fun if he wins, that is fine. We play, I try my best, I lose, so be it.

Tournaments are another story. In a tournament, you best believe I'm running Ghouls, Invo-spam, and a Fury/Dreadlance lord. But I go to a tournament maybe once every two years, so it is fun to try to min-max once in a while.

Gammalfarmor
26-02-2010, 17:34
This is how I do it.
Of course I do not play to loose, but I don't get mad if I loose. When I make my list I try to make in my opponents eyes, would you like to play a game against the list you just made?
If not, why would anyone else want to? I play because it's fun.

Bac5665
26-02-2010, 18:02
Warhammer is totally fine for competitive play, if as a TO you are willing to actually put thought into running your event. All a good TO has to do is ban the worst offending lists and everyone can have fun.

A TO needs to get all lists ahead of time and then read them to make sure that people aren't dicks. 4 furnaces and 2 a-bombs? Nope, please submit a different list. Dreadlord on dragon with pendant, regen, 1+ and crimson death, protected by the ring? Nope, please try again. Slann and 2+ engines? Nope, try again.

This isn't hard. We all know what the abusive lists look like. So why do we pretend that a TO can't identify these lists and ban them, for the good of everyone else? The best tournaments I've ever been to have never been afraid of list-banning and they have been much more competitive and fun because of it.

As to the rules being shoddy, its true that the rules are often vague, but outside the skaven book, there are very few legitimate rules questions that FAQs and common sense don't answer. The main problem with the shoddy rules is the balance issue, but list-banning helps that dramatically.

Also, competition does not bring out the worst in people. People who cheat in warhammer are often dicks in real life too. If you make sure that abusive lists are chucked out and allow people to rate sportsmanship, very few problems remain.

tezdal
26-02-2010, 18:37
I dont play to win, I play to justify buying all these little toys and spending hour upon hour painting them, and softly caressing them envisioning them smashing orc hordes and winning the acclaim of fair damsels, erm thats why I play

Grey Mage
26-02-2010, 18:54
Warhammer is totally fine for competitive play, if as a TO you are willing to actually put thought into running your event. All a good TO has to do is ban the worst offending lists and everyone can have fun.

A TO needs to get all lists ahead of time and then read them to make sure that people aren't dicks. 4 furnaces and 2 a-bombs? Nope, please submit a different list. Dreadlord on dragon with pendant, regen, 1+ and crimson death, protected by the ring? Nope, please try again. Slann and 2+ engines? Nope, try again.

This isn't hard. We all know what the abusive lists look like. So why do we pretend that a TO can't identify these lists and ban them, for the good of everyone else? The best tournaments I've ever been to have never been afraid of list-banning and they have been much more competitive and fun because of it.
Because a TO who did this wouldnt last long with players who submitted entries like that- theyd want him out, for making them play his game instead of the standard game.

Theres enough complaints in many areas about composition scores being impossible to balance- this would just be plain biass, and a number of TOs wouldnt be impartial enough to say wich list was in wich category- just like many arent impartial enough to come up with a proper comp system.



Also, competition does not bring out the worst in people. People who cheat in warhammer are often dicks in real life too.

This though, this I agree with. Its an incredibly rare player who turns into an arsehat because hes at a tournament if he wasnt one before hand.

Malorian
26-02-2010, 18:58
I run two tournaments a year and when I'm setting up matches I keep in mind:

-the strength of the lists
-the skill level of the players
-how their lists will work with the mission

It takes some extra time but it makes for a much better tournament, and if people don't like it (I've had one person that REALLY didn't like it) then they don't take part and everyone else is still happy.

mike_a
26-02-2010, 20:21
I think its important to read the full book and not just the article that was linked to. This book is about giving people advice on how to be the best in the world at your chosen (seems largely applicable to all games). Theres a part later which also talks about the importance of engaging in non-competitive games to experiment and develop new strategies.

The thing to take away about scrubs is that he is completely right in saying that such people often lose because of self imposed 'extra' rules. Theres no real reason to get upset if someone beats you with a 'cheap' tactic, since if you didn't use said tactic you were not trying 100% to win so obviously you didn't win. Surprised about it?

Basically if you don't do everything you possibly can do to win, don't complain when you lose.

Also warhammer tournament are very different from video game tournaments as you are scored for painting, composition, and victory; and there is a top spot in all spheres. This means there is room for every type player. From scrub to #1. From unpainted to picaso. And from ******* to nice guy.

That all these different types of people can gather and have a fun time is what makes this hobby so truly different from so many others.

Thanks;
Mike

Bac5665
26-02-2010, 20:22
Because a TO who did this wouldnt last long with players who submitted entries like that- theyd want him out, for making them play his game instead of the standard game.

Theres enough complaints in many areas about composition scores being impossible to balance- this would just be plain biass, and a number of TOs wouldnt be impartial enough to say wich list was in wich category- just like many arent impartial enough to come up with a proper comp system.

All I know is that the tournament I'm talking about has grown every year so that we're looking at 100 people this year. Obviously players are very annoyed at the list-banning system.

To be fair, yes, I know of one player who isn't coming back because he submitted several VC lists and had them rejected before settling on a list that he was allowed to take. I played him round 1, all he did was whine, and he still had one of the cheesiest lists I've played against, he just had no army underneath the cheese, so I massacred him. Afterward he accused me of cheating, which of course was found by the judges to be untrue.

So what exactly is the problem with him not coming to the tournament? We'll still have around 90-100 people this year and I guarantee it will be the best tournament of the year. It has been every year we've run it.

H33D
26-02-2010, 21:15
I am the kind of guy that will play the same insanely hard level on a video game over and over for hours until I finally beat it. If I play you and you bring the biggest cheesiest nastiest army with nothing but immensely horrible special characters that are daemonic obviously... I would love to play you with my humble Dwarves! Because if no one else will fight, I believe a Dwarf should never turn down an opponent. I pray every day for the chance to sit back, drink a beer, and shoot a cannonball at anything that moves (not really, but you get my point). Regardless of whether I win or not (which against a power list I probably wouldn't) I would still have an immensely good time and I would learn about your characters, your army, your units, and eventually I will win if it takes me millenia. Come to think of it, Dwarves are like that too. I think I picked the right army :)

Grey Mage
26-02-2010, 21:52
All I know is that the tournament I'm talking about has grown every year so that we're looking at 100 people this year. Obviously players are very annoyed at the list-banning system.

To be fair, yes, I know of one player who isn't coming back because he submitted several VC lists and had them rejected before settling on a list that he was allowed to take. I played him round 1, all he did was whine, and he still had one of the cheesiest lists I've played against, he just had no army underneath the cheese, so I massacred him. Afterward he accused me of cheating, which of course was found by the judges to be untrue.

So what exactly is the problem with him not coming to the tournament? We'll still have around 90-100 people this year and I guarantee it will be the best tournament of the year. It has been every year we've run it.

Got a link to that tournament? I might be interested in going if its half as interesting as it sounds.

Most place Ive played though, the WFB community is at most 60 strong, and wether or not the guy was being fair thered be talk of it being otherwise... schisms occur, and I hear a year or two after the inevitable fallout that people finally were all playing at the same store again- though one town never did. Thats 7/7 times Ive seen it so far, if yours is included thats 7/8

Bac5665
26-02-2010, 22:22
Buckeyebattles.com

It's in Columbus Ohio, so its a little ways from Montana, but I know we'd love to have you.

Also, the website's not updated for 2010 yet, but we'll be going sometime in July again, we still need to pick a date and such.

Grey Mage
26-02-2010, 22:26
Thanks, I have friends out in michigan, so atleast its an option sometime :).

Gaargod
28-02-2010, 02:53
"A true wargammer knows what it's all about.
He aint in it for the wins, the best list, the fame, the money, the girls.
A true wargammer wants to have a fun and friendly game. "

A true wargamer plays to win, because winning is fun.
A hobbyist will make excuses, because he doesn't have an A-game to bring, so can't win against true wargamers.



Know the fun part?
Both those statements are entirely true.

It entirely depends on what your definition is. For me, i play with friends. Therefore, i'm going to deliberately limit myself (often this is for my personal army fluff). However, we also like to play extremely hard lists at times, going all out to win. We can do either. I play to win (unless playing with a noob, in which case i don't care, or playing a totally crazy game, in which case its just for fun), but that doesn't mean i can't limit myself in the stages beforehand.

I know players who will happily sit on the lower-rungs of the power scale (the stage at which ogres are a viable, powerful choice). Yet, if the meta changes and people start brining harder lists, so do they.

The main problem for Sirlin is that he's talking about, primarily, video games. If you lose a match of street fighter, its a matter of minutes. A game of warhammer is a matter of hours, with literally tens/hundreds of hours going into painting and building behind that - plus, there may be fluff behind the army, stopping you taking certain parts of the army. A deliberate but entirely reasonable block.
Magic the gathering by comparison is a more balanced game than warhammer, as evidenced by their strict tournament play.

Therefore, what he is saying barely applies to warhammer. It only applies if you are talking exclusively about competitive play AND have the money/time to buy whatever you need to boost your army AND have the time/place/opponents to play enough matches to really hone skills.

And frankly, i don't know many people who do have all that.

spevna
28-02-2010, 04:08
You can't always put yourself in one category or the other. A lot of the time it can come down to who you are playing against.

I play in a FUMBBL league and recently played two very different games. First game was my undead against a guys ogre team. I destroyed his team, absolute white wash. Did I enjoy it? No. The guy was a whiny douche. There was no chatting or having a dig at each other. It was boring. Winning doesnt always equal fun.

The other game, I got spanked. Did I enjoy it? Yes. The guy was chatty, we had a laugh. I tried lots of hail Mary passes and ballsy/stupid stuff to try and get the win.

I would rather lose to someone who is fun to play with than win against a whining douche-meister.

I get to game once a month because of family and work commitments so for me it is a way to relax, chill with mates, and get a few beers in.

If someone is very competitive then they should play in tourneys and vice versa. I would never enter a tourney, I wouldnt like it. On th other hand a tourney player probably wouldnt enjoy playing against me.

Different courses for different horses.

scarletsquig
28-02-2010, 16:30
If warhammer was a tightly balanced digital computer game, Sirlin would apply.

It's not though, the level of tactics involved in a fantasy game is laughable and at the highest level of tournament gameplay, the main factor that determines who wins is "who has the best army list?"... something which is also pretty random since a given list will do better against some armies than others. 6 turns is also insufficient to pan out proper long-term strategy. It's effectively an overcomplicated version of rock-paper-scissors.

Anyway, that's my reason for not playing warhammer competitively. It's not worthy of the effort.

Oguleth
28-02-2010, 19:03
First: I believe all games can be competitive. Most games aren't really *fair* (and neither is life, but people still "compete" at it); it's just as suitable as playing SC or SF or whatever. The biggest problem is that the GW game(s) spawns so many opinions on what is ok and what isn't, if everyone had the same ideas on what the game actually is, it wouldn't be so much of a problem with balance issues and so on.

When it comes to the "scrub" term, I thought that was what people coined people who tried to be good, but wasn't able? Not putting self-imposed regulations on their games. Someone might make a sub-par list and win a tourney, while someone else takes something superhard or makes a perfect list, and yet finishes rock bottom. The last one is the scrub, the first one is "good". But like most internet memes, I guess it has 500 meanings, and all of them makes your eyes roll. (By this definition, you could use me as an example of scrub in most games, actually)

When it comes to the whole "fun" debate, I prefer good army/expecation matchups (both players playing hard lists, both soft lists, playing a cinematic mission, or whatever) - the stard and the end means little, it's what comes between that is interesting. Often, the actual battle means less than fulfilling some moral victory (killing a pesky SC for the first time, managing to hit something after saying "missile launcher" or engaging the biggest mass melee ever in a game of tiny soldiers), so while I play to win, it might not be the way a lot of people seem to view "winning".

Lord Inquisitor
01-03-2010, 20:39
I'm a little late to this party, but I'll post my two cents anyway. :D

I found the original article most interesting, and I read most of it. There are a few things that I don't like about it, but it's a very good read and much of it applies to the WAAC mentality.

WAAC has negative connotations. For tournaments, however, I do consider myself a WAAC player to some degree (although I do have some scrubbish tendencies) and I don't think WAAC is necessarily derogatory. There's plenty of poor behaviours that are associtated with WAAC players but just playing to win isn't bad in and of itself - indeed, as has been mentioned, I find it rather frustrating if my opponent deliberately plays to lose!

Firstly, though, is Warhammer (or 40K) suitable for competitive play? Yes of course. It's a game, with players in direct competition and it is complex enough that a perfect game cannot be conceived of (like naughts and crosses/tic tac toe, which will always end in a draw between two good players). Too random? Rubbish, the same players will win tournaments and poor players with good lists don't not often do well. Unbalanced? Well, all players theoretically have access to all armies and all units so it's not unbalanced, only if you come to the table with the silly notion that two armies of equal points are equally matched. The fact that if the game were internally balanced enough for this to be true would make it a better and more enjoyable game is entirely beside the point. Even if everyone needed to take bloodthirster/masque/flamer lists to compete at all just makes it a thirster/masque/flamer game and the competition can continue from there (again, whether this is a good game is another matter!). Oddly enough, however, if everyone had the same daemon list, I bet someone could come up with a counter to that.

So, as the article suggests, if you really want to win, then you do everything that you can to win. However, this doesn't mean be a jerk, indeed one of the most interesting parts of that book is the section on sportsmanship and playing for fun. In terms of sportsmanship, it pays to be a good sport! You will find that it closes doors if you are a nob. For example, I know a chap that frequented our local small RTTs. He went up against another good player and at the end of the game knew that they both still had a shot at the top and therefore gave his opponent a zero for sportsmanship purely for that reason, ultimately costing the opponent the top spot. The first player honestly couldn't understand what was wrong with that (afterwards he was actually saying "where does it say in the rules I can't give someone a zero if I feel like it?"). However, it caused such a fuss and bad feeling afterwards that I don't think he's been to a local tournament in a year. So I don't think it worked out for him. I might add that I've heard of (let alone personally experienced) very few such incidents. Further to that, tournaments typically alot some (often a majority) of points to sportsmanship and painting, so if you're serious about winning then you're going to play nice and paint well.

The other thing I found interesting about that book is that later on he recommends playing for fun. Try out the less obviously optimal options! It's always a good idea, other options may work out well. I play Emperor's Children in 40K. To some, this may seem like the actions of a scrub, and to some degree they may be right. It's a purely-Slaanesh themed list, therefore I've denied myself many options in the codex. However, it has allowed me to really explore the possibilities that noise marines offer and I have surprised (and beaten) veteran tournament players with the list. Similarly, I find Lucius the Eternal suprisingly good despite the fact that he's generally maligned for his high points cost.

So I don't think there's anything wrong with playing WAAC if you're not going to be a jerk about it. I played in a 40K tournament yesterday (sorry, my examples are all 40K, not played in a Fantasy tournie for a while although I'm gearing up for a two-day Fantasy indy GT next weekend), and my favourite game of the day was the one I lost. It was fought desperately with few mistakes on each side and I'm sure I fought hardest of his opponents that day. Playing seriously to win on both sides is good fun!

It isn't even necessary to be any given type of player. I sometimes build armies that are based on fluff and then tune them up to be competitive (e.g. my Emperor's Children) or other times I just build a list from units that work well (my Vampire Counts). I have a themed WFB Slaanesh Daemon army, but I will change list depending on the opponent. I have a "friendly" daemon army (pure Slaanesh, no gifts or icons at all) and a "competetive" daemon army (full Ld bomb). I guess it could be more competitive with the addition of some flesh hounds or flamers (maybe) but it works well enough for me. I don't enjoy playing the competitive list in casual games and the handicapped list forces me to learn to play to the strengths of the troops without the crutches of gifts and icons.

So. Nothing wrong with competitive gaming, so long as it's fun.

Wintersdark
02-03-2010, 01:07
I've read that article a few times. I agree with him in many ways, but like many articles on that subject he's looking at the issue from the inside, and is blinded by his own opinions.

The reality is that there are fundamentally different play styles for virtually any game. Some games favor one style over the other to varying degrees, but both styles are applicable to any game.

The vast majority of players fit firmly into one side or the other, and have a very hard time understanding players who follow the opposite style. The reason for this is that these styles are so basic, so fundamental, that they alter how a player looks at/approaches play in any game.

A "Type A" player tends to look at games as competitive excersizes, a machinery of a sort to manipulate to success. Motivations are irrelevant - Traditionally, these players are labeled as being morally deficient, but that's rarely the case. It's just how they approach games. To one of these players, the rules, the mechanics, the construct of the game itself is the most important point. They will seek to fully understand the underlying structure to best utilize it to succeed. The setting is of only minor importance. They may prefer certain settings, and enjoy a fluffy overtone, but when all is said and done, it's the contest they are playing for.

Type B players, on the other hand, are much more interested in the setting, the story, the dressing over the mechanics of the game. They will, of course, learn how to play but are typically more interested in creating stories (or whatever applies in the game) as opposed to raw competition. They are generally much less interested in the underlying structure of the game. Of course, they still prefer to win as a rule - almost everyone does, after all, but they are far more likely to create those "scrub like" self-imposed rules to help the mechanics of the game fit better with the setting.

Neither is right, neither is wrong. Both work fine, and their players have tons of fun. The problem comes when they collide, as the results are very frustrating for the Type B player. Unfortunately, that's just the way things are. The type B player looks at the Type A player and assumes he's not having fun at all: How could he, carefully manipulating the rules without any thought to how ridiculous the results ended up being?! The Type A player, of course, looks at the Type B player in utter incomprehension: He could win, he even knows how, why does he deliberately handicap himself like that then complain because he lost?

You see it in EVERY kind of game, and it's always the same. It's simply a very basic, fundamental difference in how people approach games. The best people can do is stop, and try to understand their opponents and do their best to get along. Because it's such a deep seated issue, you can never change a player from one type to another, you can't convince them they're "wrong".

Just how it is.

Skyth
02-03-2010, 07:06
The defining element of the 'Scrub' in my mind is the expectation that everyone else plays thier way, and the resultant bullying if they don't.

Condottiere
02-03-2010, 08:29
It depends on who your opponent is and what level of difficulty you're playing at. An AI at maximum difficulty deserves no mercy, your friend fielding a themed army is another consideration.

archie-d
02-03-2010, 09:04
i play magic reasonably competitevely, i enjoy it for what it is, i play several constructed formats and limited and my objective in playing is to win, id say its a game that is generally very balanced for competitive play. i think its aided in this by the fact that you know that even if youve got a bad matchup or youre playing a douche its only 1 round out of several and its not going to last more than an hour at the very most.

i play both warhammers to have fun, that doesnt mean i play to lose, but im not interested and building as strong a list i can to completely crush an opponents force in 2 turns. a good friend of mine works in a GW store and has a similar view, we were discussing a very similar topic recently and he was telling me about how often he sees it in his store on games nights where the regulars like to build a list to win big and play their hardest regardless of their opposition. they base their enjoyment around their being victorious without giving any regard to their opponent who is obviously not enjoying it in the slightest.

so im a big hypocrite. how is this different from giving someone a red ass beat down in magic? it might not be, but personally i guess (i dont wanna sound gay or nothin, but...)i have more emotional attachment to my armies than my magic decks and i can usually only get 1 game of warhammer in at a time so id like to enjoy it more.

i think the important thing is to be aware of what you both want out of the game going in, if theres no leeway its probably worth waiting around a bit more to play someone else.

does that make me a scrub? i refuse to field TH&SS termies. so...probably.

Grey Mage
02-03-2010, 11:51
TH+SS suck against anything with alot of shots... and most feel you need a LR to field them- I wouldnt say it makes you a scrub, Id say it makes you smart.

As for people going with the hardest lists they can think up and cutting each others throats- if theyre both in it for that kind of experiance, theyll enjoy themselves and its all good.

Gaming is alot like sex - if both people are after the same flavor of fun its a great experiance, if theyre not things can go downhill fast.

Brother Loki
02-03-2010, 16:30
Wintersdark articulates it well. The GW studio is largely populated by Type B players, and naturally they write games for people like themselves. They're not really interested in Type A players as a customer.

L1qw1d
02-03-2010, 19:39
Everyone is a scrub in their own way. Everyone also likes to challenge themselves more than others "well I know I stomp him a lot... but what if I JUST used this instead?"

if you don't compete you don't learn and grow- but to be By Any Means Necessary gives you the crown of scrubbery- it's shiny so don't mind others calling it an "A**ehat" lol

R.Astley
02-03-2010, 20:52
yes, you are a deku scrub. Everybody is. We are all bound by certain social oblications and limits, like it or not. They are in us and cannot be shut down. Humans are social beings, we are defined by the view others have on us. Only few people would ignore that and just live by their own rules, for we are dependent on the social network and if the others have no interest in supporting us, we're in dire straits.

The same is true for gaming. You can be a waac player if you want, nothing's stopping you, but the number of people who want to play against you may shrink down quite a bit, and in the end all you accomplished is having won a few games (congratulations) and having lost all friends. I wonder if it's truly woth it...

totally agree!

fluffstalker
02-03-2010, 21:48
If warhammer was a tightly balanced digital computer game, Sirlin would apply.

It's not though, the level of tactics involved in a fantasy game is laughable and at the highest level of tournament gameplay, the main factor that determines who wins is "who has the best army list?"... something which is also pretty random since a given list will do better against some armies than others. 6 turns is also insufficient to pan out proper long-term strategy. It's effectively an overcomplicated version of rock-paper-scissors.

Anyway, that's my reason for not playing warhammer competitively. It's not worthy of the effort.

Agreed totally with this. Sirlins article is actually pretty good, if you consider it in the context of video games. In video games you dont go for "theme" armies. You min max the hell out of your game, force the other person to counter it. You can also change your "army list" on the fly. If you were using one gun for example and the situation turned against you, switch it out for a new one. Building one type of unit , and turns out the enemy is building its counter, quickly switch production. Playing beastmen against daemons? Lay down and take it in the you know what, cause your not gonna win unless your playing an idiot. This is not to say video games don't have imbalance, certain factions in RTSes can indeed be op/up, but its nowhere near as bad as GW wargames.

Roguebaron
02-03-2010, 21:58
Funny, I was thinking what an interesting tournament you could play without counting kill points, wins/losses excetera, or had that as a minimal portion, with the majority of points coming from sportsmanship, painting and themeing and all those subjective areas. I'm sure I'm a scrub for many reasons as well, but to be honest I really don't care, if it's not fun, it ceases to be a hobby. I'd love to see a tournament focused more on the fun aspect than winning.

Entweasel
03-03-2010, 11:12
I guess I'm generally a scrub - I try to write a balanced list that will give me a decent chance against most armies without relying on one or two combos or nasty tricks. But I always play to win AND to have fun - the two aren't mutually exclusive :)

What rips me is the guy who takes the massively overpowered list and then raves about how he's the best player. Sirlin talks about playing to counter your opponents strength and countering their counter etc., but unless your opponent takes the same list all the time it's impossible to do - Warhammer is full of nasty possibilities. Sure, if I know the guy I'm playing against always takes High Elves with a dragon then i will take my 2+ hit, extra strength bolt thrower or my Chaos Lord on Dragon. The rock,paper scissors dynamic is easy to see if you look hard enough. I think the test of a player is to swap armies with your opponent and refight the battle - that is always entertaining!

Scrub out!

Col. Frost
03-03-2010, 11:42
The second a person formulates the basic outline/composition/fluff of thier army they are a scrub.