Playing Competitively... Casually. - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
General 40k This is the place to talk about everything related to Warhammer 40k.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-12, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Sethis's Avatar
Sethis's Flag is: United Kingdom
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Alston, Cumbria
Posts: 4,190
Reputation: 58
Default Playing Competitively... Casually.

This is an article I recently emailed in to a blog I visit every day (3++ is the new black - you should visit it too, it's a great site! http://www.3plusplus.net/ ) and was rather surprised when it actually got posted about 2 days later!

Thought I would post it here too in order to see what my fellow heretics think. I do welcome all opinions and any constructive criticism - so fear not the flaming.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am, at heart, a competitive gamer. I wince when I see people fielding Tri-Las Predators or five Tactical terminators in a Godhammer Land Raider. I die a little bit inside every time someone puts Tau down on the other side of the table to me (joking! Mostly...), I enjoy tweaking my lists to get the most out of them, checking the net for new builds and adding/removing units to make them fit my collection while still following the ideas they are based upon. I have a fair interest in math-hammer and enjoy working out optimal units based on it, which seems to work reasonably well for me. I have great fun at tournaments even if I don’t place particularly well because that’s when I play against other top-end gamers.

You might now be asking “Why are you talking about casual gaming at all?” and the answer is simple – the club I go to every week is incredibly casual. A few of my friends and I have been trying to filter competitive lists into it by process of osmosis for the last few years, but it is still very slow going. To illustrate, one of the better lists has 30 Sternguard in it, all with Combi-Meltas. Ultramarines are common (and not played by children either) and even the most cutting edge codices are generally played with units that “look cool”. There is no unit spam, no 8-Razorback/6-Hydra/9 Venom lists. Even outdated tourney lists like Lash and Nob Bikers don’t get played. Consequently, my tourney Mechdar are still undefeated (although there have been draws) in the last three years against anyone but my friends. There are a handful of players with decent armies, but there are also masses of people with bad ones, and playing the same four people gets boring fast.

This leads me into the main body of my post: How to play casually, competitively. Wait, what? Yep. There have been quite a few arguments over the old internet about casual versus competitive, the pros and cons of nerfing your army deliberately, taking bad units, letting people win, teaching new players how to improve and so on. Everyone has their own view on the best way to play with our toy soldiers, and that’s fair enough. This is my personal opinion.

1. Bad players learn nothing from being massacred. Even if you explain step by step why it happened, someone you tabled by turn 3 is not going to be receptive to criticism, explanations or a lecture on army composition. Human nature just doesn’t work that way. However someone who only lost narrowly (by 1 objective to 0, 1 kill point, whatever) will be much more likely to listen if you mention something like “You know, Long Fangs are better with 4 missile launchers rather than 1 of every weapon”.

2. People will not alter their collections overnight, or because you tell them to. It is their army, and their money. Likewise, people will absorb lessons much more easily if it is delivered in small doses. Telling someone to go out and buy 6 Razorbacks accomplishes nothing. Suggesting that “Your 10 man Grey Hunter squad could use a Rhino, and hey, since you’re getting a Rhino you may as well get the Razorback kit for the extra weapons...” might actually make them buy one the next time they consider adding something to their army. A week later you might see the new Rhino and mention “You know Las/Plas is actually pretty good, and really easy to convert...”

3. The casual player does not have an exclusive responsibility to “catch up” to the competitive player by buying more/better models. The competitive player also has an equal responsibility to “drop down” their army a bit. Instead of thinking “Damn, got to nerf my list with some crappy unit” then you might be better served by thinking “Hey, I’ve never used Guardians before, how can I fit them into my list, and how do I think I can use them well?” You can pick up a squad on ebay (where non-competitive units tend to be cheaper and more available) or something and see how well you can make them perform. See it as an excellent opportunity to try out a unit you’ve never used, give it an interesting paint job or convert it somehow, and then roll it out on the table. Minimal investment is a plus, because you’re hardly going to be using them in every single game.

4. No-one has fun if one player whitewashes the other, unless you’re the kind of person who enjoys clubbing seals and who should therefore be safely removed from the gene pool and shot behind the barn for the good of the species. By having the casual player “play up” and the competitive player “play down” a more balanced result can be achieved, and more fun can be had (which is why we play games, right? For fun?). By adding a squadron of War Walkers to my Mechdar, removing a Fire Dragon unit plus Serpent, adding some Guardians on foot and removing a Falcon (basically making the list slightly worse) then my opponent gets to build a kill pile that is more than one or two Wave Serpent turrets and the odd unit of Fire Dragons. Likewise, his dead pile isn’t 7/8ths of his army by turn five.

What I need to make clear now is that I am not recommending that you play badly, or let the other guy win, or write a 100% terrible list. What I am suggesting is that you take the time to place yourself in deliberately more challenging situations, which you must then play competently to get out of. This sharpens your own skills outside of the tournament scene – you learn to use units in different roles than you might normally, or play in a style you don’t often do (mech, hybrid, foot, whatever). Pick a unit that is “bad” but you always loved the fluff/miniatures for and try to make it work to the best of its ability. Take three different heavy support choices instead of the same one three times. Here’s the important bit: All the time you are doing this, keep helping other players develop their skills, their army list, and their tactics. A bit at a time, every week.

Claiming that you have no responsibility to approximate the level of your opponent is openly admitting that you are an elitist dick, regardless of how much “advice” you try to unload on them during the game where you win by 17 KPs to 1. Your games will be closer, more challenging, and more fun for both of you, and eventually, you will both be better players than you were. I’ll reiterate: This is just my opinion.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to painting my new Daemon army...

90% of people think they are above average.

Statistically Improbable. Psychologically Inevitable.
Sethis is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-12, 07:33 PM
Senior Member
 
Iron Angel's Avatar
Iron Angel's Flag is: USA
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,271
Reputation: 14
Default

Very well written and very accurate. Tabling people of lower skill is a dick move.

Iron Angel is offline  
post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-12, 09:29 PM
Senior Member
 
DecrepitDragon's Avatar
DecrepitDragon's Flag is: Scotland
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,056
Reputation: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sethis View Post
Claiming that you have no responsibility to approximate the level of your opponent is openly admitting that you are an elitist dick, regardless of how much “advice” you try to unload on them during the game where you win by 17 KPs to 1. Your games will be closer, more challenging, and more fun for both of you, and eventually, you will both be better players than you were. I’ll reiterate: This is just my opinion.
An interesting read. It did surprise me slightly by being very unbiased, and at the very least, a fair interpretation of how I imagine "good" or "sporting" competitive players treat the game. When I reached this paragraph, above, I was nodding in a sage and wise manner - like I'd been playing touneys, all my life.

I've competed in only one. Which ended in a middle of the table result. Good enough for me.

The guys that I game with, are all good players, but none have played "Competitively" (the capital letter is deliberate). I think we see the game from a slightly different point of view, in that we like to test each other from a more gamesmanship and tactical style, rather than using tried and tested competitive lists, with tested tactics.

Now, to be clear, I mean no disrespect to anyone of the tournament mentality - I merely mention preferences, not absolutes that must be adhered to.

We still vary our lists, change our tactics, and try to improve our game, but I dont think that being "Competitive" is as much of a driving force for us. We all, if we're absolutely honest, want to win. It is a game of two sides after all. But that never becomes the sole reason, which from my, admittedly limited experience, is what tourneys are all about.

Again, by this I am not being definitive - there are always exceptions. I just mean to say that one can assume with a fair degree of confidence, that if you enter a competition, then you will be attemting to win it (even if you dont think you can, you'll still try).

To the point of my long winded story though. Its all much of a muchness. We're all different. We all play differently. We all have different priorities when gaming. . .

But we all still play.

Or at least enjoy the hobby our own way. Reading this blog article you wrote has opened my eyes a little more to the attitudes and ideas of "Competitive" gamers, and I find it a refreshing look with some ideas that had never crossed my mind till now. This goes some way to rubbishing that stereotype that "Competative" equals "POWER!".

That can only be a good thing. Nicely written friend.

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.


Visit my Tower Terrain Plog here.
DecrepitDragon is offline  
 
post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-17-12, 11:59 PM
Senior Member
 
ohiocat110's Avatar
ohiocat110's Flag is: USA
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 383
Reputation: 1
Default

One other thing to keep in mind. Bad players will sometimes surprise you by making an unexpected move that you're unprepared for because a better player wouldn't make it.

Like a Devastator unit leaving cover to get a lascannon shot at a Landraider with a cover save, and blowing it up anyways. Or charging your deathstar with an inferior unit that somehow survives the first turn and keeps you from getting to where you wanted to go.

It helps to keep you honest, by thinking about what the enemy both should do, and what they can do.
ohiocat110 is offline  
post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-12, 12:37 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 703
Reputation: 2
Default

Just as in real war, a desperate move can indeed sometimes turn the tides of war. Still it helps if you have a properly worked out army if you're gonna stand on equal footing before things get dire.

Hive Fleet Tarasque/The Black Legion of Khemri
Battles: 13/3
Wins: 8/2
Minor Wins: 0/0
Minor Losses: 1/0
Losses: 4/1


Quote:
Originally Posted by D-A-C View Post
Tzeentch runs GW.
Lord Azune is offline  
post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-12, 03:55 AM
Critique for da CriticGod
 
Kreuger's Avatar
Kreuger's Flag is: USA
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA USA
Posts: 3,351
Reputation: 43
Default

Very well said.

My best friend and I exactly replicate this scenario. When the two of us where playing each other and others every week (in 2nd ed) at a local game shop, we approached the game from both directions. He was always serious math-hammer min/max, often at the expense of fluff. 90% of his game was played with the army book and a calculator, maximizing his army's efficiency and capability on paper, and then going to the store and usually playing it better than is enemies.

I was the opposite. I wrote what I felt was a fair and balanced army, often forgoing more powerful min/max options in favor of flexibility and army balance. Mind you not taking anything bad or handicapping myself, but not taking anything I felt was cheese*. I wrote a good army and then took it in and played the board. My goal was always to outplay my enemy; to use each part of my force to do whatever it was intended to do as appropriately as it could. Sometimes I ran into a min/max army that I didn't have the oomph to deal with, but most of the time I out generaled them.

And the only times my friend lost was playing me. He won a bit more than half the time against me, and even then only moderate victories. And this was almost as true in fantasy battle as well, only reversed. I was ever better at out generaling him with blocks of troops when movement needs to be much more precise. Though when I lost to him in fantasy it was usually a tabling and my victories while more consistent weren't tablings.

I find your article striking because it describes the dichotomy of our styles. I came at the game as a casual gamer with a competent list. And my friend approached the game in a completely competitive way. And we always pushed each other to become better players.

Cheers,
Kreuger


* - And by 'cheese' I mean anything from my army book I'd think was abusive if somebody set it down across the table from me. I approach it from a very do-unto-others perspective.

Chaos Army Showcase with photos (Updated 2013/12/02)
"To endure one's self is perhaps the hardest task in the universe." Frank Herbert, 'Dune Messiah'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dethklokk
"CHEESE!" is the battlecry of the ill-prepared.

Originally Posted by Deathscythe4722
Could someone please call the police on this guy? I can hear the English Language screaming in pain. This has to be illegal somewhere.
Kreuger is offline  
post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-12, 07:18 PM
Senior Member
 
DecrepitDragon's Avatar
DecrepitDragon's Flag is: Scotland
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,056
Reputation: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kreuger View Post
* - And by 'cheese' I mean anything from my army book I'd think was abusive if somebody set it down across the table from me. I approach it from a very do-unto-others perspective.
Precisely why the Doom of Blue Stilton . . . er . . sorry, Malantai, is banned, by all of us in a majority vote, within my gaming group.

Mutual respect can be achieved from both sides of the coin, either casual or competitive, without sacrificing the game.

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.


Visit my Tower Terrain Plog here.
DecrepitDragon is offline  
post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-12, 08:41 PM
Rattlehead
 
MidnightSun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: New Sheoth
Posts: 6,741
Reputation: 83
Default

Doom isn't overpowered, it's T4, no EW, and can't hurt vehicles or, more importantly, units in vehicles. Not trolling here, but if you have to ban a certain unit then it's just your poor sportsmanship.

Midnight

Creator of Utilitarian Ultramarines Memes - join the XIII on Facebook (no XVII allowed).

Last edited by MidnightSun; 03-24-12 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Edited to be less insulting - apologies
MidnightSun is offline  
post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-12, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Sethis's Avatar
Sethis's Flag is: United Kingdom
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Alston, Cumbria
Posts: 4,190
Reputation: 58
Default

It's not poor generalship, it's personal preference. If the entire gaming group agrees, then why not? You could have a blanket ban on Pyrovores instead if you liked.

90% of people think they are above average.

Statistically Improbable. Psychologically Inevitable.
Sethis is offline  
post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-18-12, 10:37 PM
Senior Member
 
DecrepitDragon's Avatar
DecrepitDragon's Flag is: Scotland
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,056
Reputation: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightSun View Post
. . . if you have to ban a certain unit then it's just your poor generalship.

Midnight
Such is your opinion, and you're welcome to it friend. Its worth mentioning though, that without knowing anything about me, you have made a very sweeping generalisation that has absolutely no basis in fact.

And you missed the point entirely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sethis View Post
It's not poor generalship, it's personal preference. If the entire gaming group agrees, then why not? You could have a blanket ban on Pyrovores instead if you liked.
Thanks Sethis. Perceptive again.

This, Midnight, was my point. That as long as all parties within a gaming group agree, then the mutual respect those decisions generate, can only lead to better gaming for all involved.

Poor generalship? I think not.

Good sportsmanship. I like to think so.

No hard feelings though mate. As I said, its your opinion, and you're welcome to it.

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.


Visit my Tower Terrain Plog here.
DecrepitDragon is offline  
Reply

  Lower Navigation
Go Back   Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums > Warhammer 40K > General 40k

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome