Friday, January 21, 2011

What Is the Perfect Game of 40k? Also - Sisters of Battle to Buy!

So I was chatting over on 3++ Is the New Black earlier, and shared in conversation what I saw as the perfect game (at a tournament, or anywhere) ...

Bottom of turn 7, game about to be decided by a single dice roll on a single dude on a single objective.

Two players started the game not really knowing each other, and are now talking to each other like old friends.

Lists are strong, but instead of "cookie cutter" are custom tailored to each player's strengths and preferences.

Both players are using ALL components of their rules affably, but to the max ... movement shenanigans, perfect model placement, ANY LOS = LOS, even interleaving models for cover before that was changed.  No avoiding rules of the game, but no belaboring them either, with no antagonistic view of them from either direction - simply playing the game.

Both armies are fully painted to the best of their operator's ability (if he's a crappy painter, they look crappy, but they're still fully painted).

The majority of the game is the two players speaking together, laughing, joking, talking, etc. ... not silent-pants angrypants "super serious" pants 40k.

This is my perfect 40k.  What's more, if it's a tournament, the VERY NARROWEST of victories does nothing to harm the winner's chances of advancing, and the loser isn't all upset or pissed off about it.

In my opinion, tournaments that encourage and reward mismatches, massacring people, etc., DISCOURAGE the above game from occurring (they don't prevent it from happening, mind you, they simply discourage it).  Same can be said for checklist sportsmanship, where players are simply trying to "game" the system to guarantee the checkboxes are filled out instead of actually trying to be good, affable, memorable human beings.

A lot of the NOVA, at present and in the future, is designed toward achieving games like the above ... not achieving seal-beating massacre-oriented activities ... not checking boxes and moving along ... but encouraging close, tactically deep games where even when it's not "super" close players are able to force ties down to tiebreakers and have "closer" results ... and where friendship and camaraderie and experiencing all of the hobby takes precedence over sullenly pursuing one component.

Hobbyists who only want to game, and don't even try to paint their models?  This is a hobby, not just a game.  Don't play 40k, play a computer game or Risk or Magic.  that said, it's your right to consider the painting/modeling not a mandatory part of the hobby ... just respect and appreciate that NOBODY has to agree with you.

Hobbyists who only want to paint, and like to belabor people that bring strong lists?  This is a hobby, not just artistic expression.  Don't participate in 40k, just paint 40k miniatures if you really like them. That said, it's your right to consider the gaming not a mandatory part of the hobby ... just respect and appreciate that NOBODY has to agree with you.

Hobbyists who are incapable of appreciating and respecting those who enjoy the hobby in different ways, who can't treat their opponents with respect and the consideration you would show a peer ... you don't belong in the hobby at all.  Seek a social life that will teach you the skills you require to properly interact with others.

Everybody gets into the hobby in their own way ... but seek to advance your skills and love of the hobby to an embracing of ALL of it ... that's what 40k is ... it's not JUST a game; it's not JUST a painting/modeling activity, and it's above all a SOCIAL experience.  You can play computer games facelessly over the internet.  You can paint in the privacy of your own home not talking to anyone.  You can't really participate fully in 40k if you only participate in tiny components of it, or if you eschew the social component.

Food for thought, I suppose.

In other news, my buddy John who also is my floor boss for the Open (and one loud, big dude) is selling his large Sisters of Battle army.  It's a fair bit off the going rate for this much pewter; take a gander, if you're of a mind or happen to be looking:


  1. I'll say what I said on 3++, I completely agree Mike, the hobby is about playing to the very best of your ability, treating your opponent with respect and above all ensuring that you both have a good time.

    Amen bro, amen.

  2. I like this. There's room in the community for buy-to-paint and buy-to-play types, just as there's room for the complete hobbyist who is GW's nominal target audience; there isn't room for wankers who perceive sportsmanship as something to score points for (or, more accurately perhaps, avoid losing points for) and not a basic prerequisite for participation.

  3. good stuff.

    I outlined my ideas yesterday. You need to update your blogroll, btw. or just add theBack40K.

  4. there are a ton of aspects to the hobby and most people zero in on one or two that they like, or that they think they have talent for. People who paint really badly often just give up rather than put all the time and effort into learning better ways to paint. It doesn't mean they don't like seeing well-painted minis. Golden Daemon is always the biggest line at Games Day (next to the Forgeworld line, anyway).

    The same goes for fluff. Lots of people have no fluff content in their armies, but Black Library still does a brisk trade selling to those unfluffy players, who love the backstories.

    This is why I like the idea of painting and terrain and conversion competitions to go with the gaming competition. If we're going to embrace this hobby we should make room for all the ways people embrace it. That goes for our personal games and the games we invite our fellows to attend.

  5. perfect 40k?

    Painted armies, no arguments, conversation, a few laughs, and a handshake at the end.

  6. It's not MY job to make sure my opponent has a good time... however it is my job to make sure they do not have a bad time because of me. If I'm the reason they're pissed, then I fail.

    Sometimes, some people... you just can't make happy. Luckily you'll never have to play them again (most likely) and will shortly erase most of them from your memory. The other games, where both people had fun playing eachother, you'll remember for quite a long while, if not forever.

  7. That ideal game up there sounds EXACTLY like how my second game at NOVA '10 went. Bottom of turn 7, it literally came down to a single die roll. Even though said roll didn't go in my favor, was I pissed? Nope. A little disappointed, sure, but the game was still an absolute blast. And that's the one I remember over dozens of others I played over the course of the year.

    I got into this hobby for the lore, then the painting, and now I enjoy both of those and the competition. So I guess I'm one of those ideal hobbyists. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects, even if I know I'll never win a Golden Demon, or I'm not quite to that level to win GTs yet. I just did an RTT this weekend, took first by a huge margin with a strong list, but still got 28/30 sportsman points too. And, other than one of my HQ choices, my list was 100% fluffy to boot. I like being able to strike that balance.

    I think a lot of the angst comes from people regularly forgetting that this is a game involving pushing little plastic men around a table, and the main objective is to have fun. I'd be highly surprised if anyone goes to a tournament looking to give themselves a stroke from frustration, but there definitely seems to be a lack of empathy/understanding between the different groups that focus on only one aspect and disparage those who focus on another.

  8. My ideal game of 40k is one that is remembered, and yet the outcome is not.

  9. I like the sentiment you expressed and I remember a number of great times like that, but your post sounds a bit shill.

    Just remember that when you claim that it isn't about just gaming or just painting or just whatever, but it is some kind of complete, holistic, New Age sounding "social experience"...just respect and appreciate that NOBODY has to agree with you.

    OTOH, note that unless one can paint well enough (or doesn't want to waste the man hours) or afford a painter to work for them, then they cannot compete at the tournament level of gaming in this "social experience". Of course, if they cannot play, that will show up on the boards.

    Consider, it is 100% possible to do an entire proxy army of the correct dimensions with simple markings to distinguish models without any need to spend a penny on GW official models. Of course, they aren't WYSIWYG and therefore not allowable to play at your tournament. So, how is it that interfering with this "social experience"?

    Does it interfere with this "social experience" when an official kit has no, zero, nada, zilch options for one of the more commonly used weapon on lists? Which means you cannot even trade for it. Oh, you can buy it, at about 1/3 of the cost of the original kit, from Forge World. Oh darn it, that means one not only has to modify the weapons in the kit for magnet swapping (to stay WYSIWYG) they also have to modify the weapon mount for magnets. Double the work! Man, tough "social experience".

    Consider that I know of a player who is playing in your event, who after spending man-days beautifully painting over $100 in models for your event, suddenly had GW change the rules for his army. So, to be competitive (since some of the units got nerfed) he now has to give yet more money to GW and spend yet further man-days of effort to encounter your "social experience". Kind of a special "social experience" when it involves giving the company who makes your game money to enjoy it, don't you think?

  10. Kamatu:

    Warhammer costs money. Modeling and painting take time. I would think that most of us in the hobby are beyond these issues by now, and are able to enjoy the "social experience".

    Kind of like arguing that stock-car racing can't possibly give you an adrenaline rush, because the cars cost money, and practice takes time.

    I must be misunderstanding you; what are you actually saying?