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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

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Incoming Rant: I apologise in advance

There are very few things that get me infuriated in the world of 40k. Several of my recent comments in threads here, here and here have been a little bit ranty and for that I apologise. Well, sort of anyway. What do all of the linked threads have in common? They're about 'count-as' armies. In reality, my infuriation has very little to do with 'count-as' armies specifically, but more about 'fun'. Hopefully I'll link the two through my ramblings.

*If you're not interested in my 'about me', skip to the next red bit down below*

I'll start with a little bit of an introduction as I don't have one here on 3++ yet. I'm in my mid-twenties and have been interested in 40k for over 15 years. I didn't play/paint/collect for a significant part of that (~10 years), but have always kept in touch with GW stuff.
When I first played I was a standard newbie that jumped from army to army. In 2 years I 'collected' Necromunda Goliath and Escher gangs, WFB Dwarves and Orcs n' Goblins, 40k Orks and some space marines. I never had a fully painted army, but had a blast every time I played. I'm not sure I ever actually won a game to be honest. I do know for a fact I never complained about how beardy, cheesy, WAAC a list I was beaten by was however.

Ten years down the line, I've played for at a semi-professional football club, completed a very competitive degree and am considered one of the more competitive individuals in my profession. Not in a way that I harm the opportunities of others, but in a way that I make the most of my own. All of my friends are or were serious football or rugby players and have all done well in their respective professions. In short, I'm a competitive person in a generally competitive world.

I initially started collecting Black Templars because of how cool they looked. I wanted to just play and was never bothered about playing. I found my way into the forums on Bolter and Chainsword to get some tips on how to paint and what to equip my marines with. I don't know why, because I genuinely wasn't interested in playing. Needless to say, a lot of the advice I was given was pretty bad. This really doesn't bother me, because I met some great individuals (Messanger of Death, Marshals Laeroth and Wilhelm to name a few) along the way. I still love the forum and plan to get back into it when my internet is finally sorted next week (horay!). MoD was probably the most important person in getting me to where I am now. He introduced me to YTTH. At first, I hated the blog and thought Stelek was an utter jerk. My opinion now is very much the opposite, and along with many others I think he's probably one of the most influential members in the 40k community. In a good way may I add.

What has this got to do with having fun you may ask. Hold on, hold on... we're getting there.

Two years ago, I moved away for a year and found myself in Brighton. If any of you find yourself there, you're a very lucky person. They have some great players and a very welcoming community. There are some utter tools, but we'll get onto why later. I started to play some games. I'd been reading YTTH quite a bit by this point and had a few tricks up my ceramite armour sleeve, but nothing compares to in-game experience. I got beaten. And again. And again. And many more times if I'm being honest. My opponents did however mention that I was a very challenging opponent for somebody that had just started out. I was playing a reasonbly fluffy list against some of the UKs top 10 players. In my first 10 games I eeked out a win or two and perhaps another 2 draws. I enjoyed the wins no more than I enjoyed the losses. That's what being competitive is all about, having fun learning and developing.

*Skip to here*

That's the key. I enjoyed playing the game. Nothing more, nothing less. If you only enjoy wins, then I feel very sorry for you.

I currently play very little sadly. My 'free' time is rarely free due to work/gym/girlfriend/booze etc. When I do get to play I tend to take whatever is available. This is more often than not teaching somebody else how to play or playing somebody's 'fluffy' army. I'm quite happy to do this. I'd be more happy playing a competitive game (roll on Vassal on my new i'webz), but I'm happy playing anything, as long as I know what I'm getting myself in for. I will note: You having fun is NOT my responsibility. I will communicate with you before a game how I'd like to play. If you or I aren't happy, then we won't play. So, I have a responsibilty to communicate with you in an adult manner, but after that, you having fun is your responsibility. I'm not going to go out of my way to stop you having fun, quite the opposite, if you're not a total asshat, I'm sure we'll have a blast together.

There are two things outside of this 'contract' as Mike Brandt would put it that infuriate me about 40k players. One is their constant whining. The other is their inability to understand rules. I don't mean getting rules wrong, we all do that, but understanding what rules mean.

Warhammer 40k is a game. It's fluff. It's models. It's fun. The first three can or cannot co-exist. As long as it's always fun, it shouldn't matter. I had fun when I used to use pieces of paper to represent blocks of infantry in my WFB playing days. If I can have fun with pieces of paper, why do people complain so much?

I'm not going to claim 40k is completely balanced. Some codices are a bit stronger than others. 90% of codices however (and I'm only really discounting Necrons - and probably a little unfairly) can produce a competitive list. This list may not win a super-competitive tournament like Nova, but will most certainly compete at local tournaments and tournaments like Centurion - see Billy's Orks. So why-o-why is there so much crying 'CODEX CREEP'? IG, SW and BA are strong codices, but are not the 3 most recent. Tyranids and DE are 2 of the 3 most recently released codices and get a lot of criticism for being sub-par. So where is this 'creep'? Seems a bit up/downy to me. If you cried 'LOYALIST CREEP', I may agree. If you whine about WH, Tau, BT, DA being crap, then one, learn to 40k and understand, these codices were designed for a DIFFERENT game, called 4th Edition. You want the game to evolve? Then some things you just have to suck up.

Then it comes to the cries of 'beardy', 'cheesy' and all of the other dumb terms that aforementioned jerks cry. Tournaments without independant/named characters. Tournaments with limitations on units. Tournaments with local (idiotic) players scoring lists and handi-capping you. What is this? It's certainly not Warhammer 40,000. I have never played a unit that I thought was beardy or cheesy. What does it mean? Covered in facial hair? A whiff of fromage? An over-powered unit? I know of none of these in 40k. None. Not one. Thunderwolf Cavalry are a strong unit, but I've dropped many in my time. Nob bikers are strong in combat, but they're reasonably fragile. Thunderhammer terminators... again, I've had very little trouble dispatching them. So where are these overpowered units? Mephiston? I've played against him 3-4 times and in 3 of those he was dropped with a total loss on my part of 160 points. Over 3 games. Go figure. So where the hell are these beardy/cheesy units? Please STFU as Kirby would say.

So codex creep doesn't exist and cheesy units are non-existent units in 5th Edition. What else can people cry about? WAAC. This bloody term... *shakes fist*. I don't get this term? Does a RL army not want to Win at all Costs? If you mean I'm cheating then, one, that's different, that's cheating and two, fuck you, I don't cheat (*puts 10p in the swear box*). Cheaters should be kicked in the balls. Competitive players should be commended. Winning is fluffy you bloody idiot. If you don't like my list that's your problem, I told you I was playing competitively before the game. Fluff is a bonus in competitive game. I can play competitively, fluffily and teach. I do them all having fun. That's right. Playing competitively is FUN. Just because you're unable to do it, doesn't mean it's not fun for the rest of us. That's the problem with Fluff nazis. They can't play competitively, so they don't like to see you doing so. Some fluffy players have been some of the biggest WAAC (read:cheats) I've ever played against, so don't give me that Compeitive vs Fun shit. They're not mutually exclusive. I play football competitively and have fun. Work is competitive and fun. Why can't 40k be both? Oh that's right... you can't compete so you want to make me feel bad about being able to do so.

So, people whining is my first point. If you find you whine about 40k as much as you play it... why don't you stop? There are plenty of other games out there, stop ruining 40k for us.

40k is a rule set. Nothing more. It is a set of guidelines of how to play out a game in an organised, fair manner. The codices printed by Games Workshop are supplements to this rule book. The book has fluff. The book has models (pics). The book has rules. Peoples' understanding and interpretation of these rules is the biggest problem. The rules give us a cost for a model/set of models that play a part within a collection of models from the same book. That's it. The rules associated with this book are representative of fluff, but nothing more. Such rules tend to be universal rules, that are paid for in the points cost of each unit. Hence why the same units in different codices are different costs.

Let's look at the example of Codex: Blood Angels. A unit of Assault Marines costs 100 points for 5 members. You want to add 5 more? 2 meltaguns and a powerfist? Go for it. That totals 235 points. That's 235 points for 10 men that are the same size as a space marine, have a ranged weapon and a combat weapon. These guys can re-roll reserve rolls if deep-striking and only roll 1d6 for scatter. There is a 1/6 that at the beginning of the game, the benefit from 2 extra USRs. They can be red, green, pink or even blue with lightning bolts. They can have jump packs, feathered wings or bat wings. If the model is of a similar size that's fine. A competition would state that a bolt pistol or whatever weapon should be present, but IMO if the weapon differences (BP vs Meltagun) are obvious, then I'm happy. The 1/6 roll may represent red thirst, black hunger, green urination. I genuinely couldn't care less. Rules are rules and nothing more.

Vince's Night Lords are WYSIWYG. They're modeled appropriately. Therefore they're within the rules and are therefore legal to play in ANY warhammer 40k game. If you disagree, then you deserve a kick in nuts my friend. I'm right. I am. At this point I should stop, they're within the rules. In this case the list is even more 'fluffy' than the 'correct' codex choice. "Night Lords with Red Thirst... ROFL" I hear you cry. What? This is a game of imagination and fantasy. You can't believe that some angry marines spurred on by the Gods of Chaos can't be a little angry in an assault or more resistant to injury through shear determination? Then shame on you. It seems that the 'for fun' players are ruining it for hobbyists that want to compete. So why are they deemed 'for fun' players? Doesn't seem very fun to me...

You want to stick kroot hands and heads on marine bodies with some supe'd-up Kroot rifles to represent bolters? go for it. Kudos to you, that sounds awesome. These 'fluff' nazis are the ones spoiling the game, not 'competitive' players. Most competitive players I know on the internet are actually massive hobby enthusiasts. The key theme is that they enjoy the game.

The complainers are the ones that whine that 'we're spoiling the fun in the game'. I say that 'We're having fun in every aspect of the hobby. You're the one not enjoying yourself. I wonder why.'

Sorry for the length of the rant. Bring on the tl:dr's. I now know how Taak feels.

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