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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Community Discussion: Am I playing like a 'jerk'?

This is another email from a reader I think is better for discussion for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I've never really had this issue. If someone doesn't like the way I play (even if it's with friendly lists) I explain playing poorly doesn't take away from the game, etc. and they generally understand and in the end their tactics and gameplay are improved. If they don't, I just don't play against them and since I have my regular gaming buddies where ever I've lived, not being able to play against a couple of people doesn't phase me. Secondly, I imagine this happens to a lot of people and what might work for some, may not work for others so having a lot of opinions on the matter could be good.

Anyway, here's the email:

"Hi Kirby,

I am going to leave this bit blank so that you can fill in the appropriate comments on how great your blog is :)

Right now onto my dilemma. Recently I have been have been having difficulty getting people to play against me. I am being accused of playing like a "Jerk" and bending the rules to allow for things that weren't intended. Now I freely admit that with the help of your blog and others I have learnt a few sneaky tricks that I use. Yet it isn't those that are the problem as I let others know about them - even if they refuse to use them. No, it is the fact that I move away from my enemy and pick fights on my terms.

I play Space Wolves with what I think what you would call a Hybrid list (Rhino's/Lasplas/Hunters/Long Fangs/Thunderwolves). I mostly come up against Orks, Eldar, Blood Angels and recently Dark Eldar. They are all fast moving (Orks are a trukk list) and my favoured strategy is to try and get at least 3 shooting with my Long Fangs/Lasplas at the advancing army. If this means I run away with my Grey Hunters and Thunderwolves and use empty vehicles to block their movement then so be it... and recently this has resulted in my opponents, quitting after 2 turns when most of their force lie in ruins and my Grey Hunters are still out of reach of them. They argue that I am not playing in the spirit of the game, by avoiding fights, and that merely I have reduced the game to an exercise in them placing models on the table and then taking them off. For them it is no fun and therefore I am a "jerk". I suppose as these are friendly games I could resolve to play differently, but I use most of these games to practice for tournaments, as I don't get to play very often. So great Kirby help me - do I stop playing avoidancehammer or do I assault forces that are greater than me?

PS: my main opponent is my wife's Ork Trukk list which has been having huge problems with the volume of missile fire the Space Wolves can put out. Battlewagons didn't solve the issue as they are open topped and in the few games she played with them I got some *really* lucky dice rolls and she failed most of her KFF saves. Orks vs SW, seems a really bad matchup?

PPS: Straight up choice - Wolf Scouts with attached Wolf Guard or Rune Priest with JOWW/LL and chooser(Current choice is Tempest/Hurricane)?"

1) Have her mass buggies/Kanz like Mike/fester's list. Up to 30 vehicles will tax your missiles and lascannons.
2) Priest can't go with scouts so Wolf Guard for the extra melta shot and combat prowess.

So first of all, you're using a good list and this is going to compound the problems with the 'jerk' image. I'd make your list a lot more 'fun' by going for less MSU/min-maxing (i.e. max out the GH squads) so the army isn't as top-notch as it could be. Don't go buy new models for this but rather condense what you have into a 'weaker' force. This shouldn't drastically change your tactics but it can help with how people perceive you, particularly if they browse online and see how OP/cheesy/WAAC/etc the Internet generally sees Wolves. I'd also point out quite explicitly you are not bending the rules or breaking the rules (unless you are; and if you are stop! lol) by using good tactics, etc. There is nothing in the rulebook saying you have to move forward or at all, etc.

Then, don't modify your tactics and explain them to your opponent. This is delicate as you don't want to sound condescending but show them how retreating your Grey Hunters so your fire support gets more time to shoot offers you more tactical flexibility which is generated by your list and good tactics. I'm going to assume a lot of their lists are just assault based armies which floor it across the field and try and get into combat. If you can guide them through how your list and their list are different they should hopefully come to two realisations. 1) their list needs to be changed and 2) blindly doing anything in a tactical game isn't too bright.

This is what I've generally done/seen done and the response is generally positive and people adapt and change. Some people or groups won't because they like their paradigm too much and trying to shake it up is next to impossible. So here's where the community comes in. Do you see this type of approach working as well? Anything else that you feel might work better or well in conjunction? Let's help out a fellow gamer improve the competition around him!

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