Kirb your enthusiasm!


"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, August 23, 2011


I know, I'm doing it on purpose!

Ruining the game? Seriously? Unless someone is sneaking into your room and smashing your models or rewriting your codex to suck (sorry, SoB), they aren't "ruining the game" for you, you're ruining it for yourself. Other people are doing what's fun for them; if you can't deal with that, it is your problem, not theirs.

"You're just playing the latest, strongest army!"
Well, for one Kirb has already laid some pretty good evidence on the table that newest does not equal best. But I find this particularly hilarious when it refers to something like a player picking up BA or SW these days. Erm, "newest"? The codex is more than two years old. Get over your damn self and let people play counts-as if they want to.

"Your list isn't fluffy at all!"
How do you know that? Games Workshop specifically leaves the fluff very wide-open so that players can field whatever army they wish. 5th edition even moved further towards this, removing explicit codex limitations (like "You cannnot field Daemonhosts in an army with Grey Knights") and 0-1/1+ restrictions on armies in an effort to allow players the maximum choice when bringing their force to the table. If your Grey Knights have found a safe way to bind and control Daemonhosts- great, bring 'em along. If you hate the idea and think it's stupid to even consider it- works for me, take something else instead.

Fluff can be anything you want it to be. It's almost infinitely malleable. There is absolutely no army list that you can present that can't have a fluff justification, one way or another. Now, not everyone does take the effort to make up fluff for their army, but that's because many people just don't enjoy that aspect of the game, which is fine. (We'll talk about the "fluffy or die" mentality more in a second here.)
"Playing the same lists over and over again is boring and stupid!"

Well, it's good that your perceptions of what is allowed to be fun are the sole arbiter of what can be in the game. But really now, are you actually playing "the same list" over and over again? Seriously? How many people go to tournaments where you live, four? Or maybe you're counting mechanized Space Wolves, Grey Knights, and Dark Eldar as "the same list," which is to say "a list with vehicles in it"? 'Cause that's some real perceptual bias there, champ. Even if we are talking about a fairly narrow general brand of list- say, "Razorspam"- there are major differences between how Space Marines, Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Black Templars, and Grey Knights will run it.

Maybe those differences don't matter to you. Okay, fair enough, but they aren't the same list any more than Dark Angels Green and Scorpy Green are the same color. You don't have to care, but you should at least admit that they ARE different.

And I don't know about you all, but I really don't see the same lists again over and over- well, I mean, I sorta do because we only have about a dozen people for most tourneys at our local shop, but virtually none of them run internet-popular lists. Even at the bigger tournaments ('Ard Boyz, TSHFT, various conventions, and the tournaments I've attended at Borderlands) I simply don't see this overwhelming prevalence of internet lists that everyone is always furious about. Maybe over on the east coast or in Texas or where the fuck ever this sort of thing happens constantly and is a plague upon the region, but I simply don't see it.
"It's so unrealistic to just see the same unit repeated over and over again!"
Ever looked at an army? Ever noticed the defining feature of that army is "standardization"? Which means, for the slower students in the class, that the same thing is repeated over and over. Everyone wears the same uniform. Every squad is the same size. Everyone gets the same gun, except for the specialists, who are issued the same gun/equipment as the other specialists of their type. Most units contain pretty much the same selection of specialists, when you get down to it. So you end up with a bunch of more-or-less-identical groups of men acting at the command of their officers.

Yeah, sorry, the real world is spammy as hell for many of the same reasons that 40K is. You pick a thing that's good at a job and you take a couple because one might not work or be where you need it and maybe is dead. Then you take some other things to do different jobs. You do not allow every soldier to make a whimsical selection at random from the surprising Variety Locker that magically dispenses a different weapon each time because "it's more interesting that way." I don't know why one Flamer and one Meltagun is more interesting to you than two Flamers, maybe you should have a psychologist look into that for you. Kirby's right over there and everything.

And those 6x Meltavets in Chimeras lists? They aren't actually good. Neither are 6x Grey Hunters in Rhinos, or a lot of the 3x/6x/3x/3x lists you see get tossed around as "broken." Good lists have multiple ways to deal with threats. Good lists are flexible and can adapt to multiple types of enemies and play to their army's strengths. Most lists that are pure spam are not good lists. (Some are, but not most.)
"Taking a squad just to get a transport is lame! You're abusing the system!"
Protip: the squad inside the transport is important, too. Less so with some units (like the five Tacticals holding a Combi-Flamer), but they still make that tank scoring, which is why they're worth the points.

As for "abusing the system"... who gets to pick what's "fine" and what's "abuse"? Why isn't splitting your Tactical squad up to put a heavy weapon in the backfield "abusing the system"? Shit, you rolled a 2 for your armor save on that Terminator, he would've died if he had Power Armor on. You're just abusing the system to keep him alive.

The game has rules, brah. We play the game according to those rules. So long as you are behaving within those rules and are not being personally reprehensible, you are not "abusing" them. Part of the social contract of the game is agreeing that the rules are the final arbiter of how everything works unless we can mutually agree otherwise. You do not get to throw a tantrum when I multicharge something "because that wouldn't have worked in the real world!" It's a game, an abstraction. The Force Organization Chart and point values and squad sizes and all that stuff are abstractions, too. There is no magical limiter that prevents the Hive Mind from breeding more than 180 Hormagaunts at a time, but you still can't do it in the game. We all agreed to abide by the rules and accusing other players of being jerks because they used the rules legitimately (as opposed to taking an actual corner case) to their advantage is just you being a big, whiney babby.
"Competitive players force everyone else to play the strongest list possible! They force their mentality on others!"
This one is pure absurdity in action; if anything, it's a projection of the fluff Nazi's own behaviors onto others a la white supremacists' "Black people will rape all our women" arguments. (Standard disclaimer: yes, there are competitive players who are jerks. Jerks come in all flavors, no group is immune.)

I have never, not once, seen someone force another player to play any particular way other than "according to the rules." Never, to the best of my knowledge, has a person told someone else "You can't take that unit you like, you have to use the more efficient choice." I simply cannot believe that is even a real thing ANYWHERE, because seriously, what? What the hell even is that?

Wait, are we talking about recommendations here? Because yeah, if someone asks me "Hey I want to make my list better what can I do?" then I will tell them what they can do to make it better. And if they say "But I want to leave units X and Y in," I will do my best to work with that. But that's a world of difference away from "forcing" my competitive point of view on other players. Even in person, if someone doesn't want list advice, I don't give it to them. I generally won't suggest anything unless explicitly asked- I might give my opinion on various units ("I find Vindicators to be too fragile and unreliable," etc), but if you can't shrug off someone voicing their opinion, you've got a lot deeper problems than your plastic toy soldiers.

The vast majority of competitive players recognize that there are many different ways to enjoy the game and are fine with that. I spend quite a lot of time converting units myself; I may not be the best painter in the world, but I do at least try, and I always take the time to admire painted models. Kirby has several painted (or nearly painted) armies to his name, which is hardly the stereotypical grey plastic of a competitive player. Hobby may not be the focus of this blog, but we have more than our fair share of hobby players who post, chat, or read here. 3++ is happy to admit players of all stripes- competitive players, casual/social players, painters, modelers, narrative players, fluff writers, whatever. All of these are valid ways to enjoy the game and I don't think you'll find anyone who will argue otherwise (except myself and VT2, since we're knee-jerk contrarians.) When it comes to competitive blogs, 3++ is near (though not at) the very tip-top of the pile in terms of focus, and yet you'll find a pretty wide acceptance of playstyles here because we think that everyone has the right to enjoy the game however they wish to. Would that more non-competitive sites and players believed the same.

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