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The Tiger Roars 

What’s Wrong With Winning – Revisited  by Patrick Eibel
Five years ago, we featured an article in the Jungle in which Kenton discussed how army selection and playing to win are not necessarily a bad thing.  The topics of cheesiness and competitiveness continue to generate miles of web column inches, and players get very defensive about how they play.  The idea of cheesiness – a player’s belief that his opponent has taken some particular combination of troops/wargear/whatever to create an unfair advantage – is usually just sour grapes.  To paraphrase the NRA, “competitive armies don’t kill the game, competitive people kill the game.” 

So, let’s get to the heart of the matter.  There are basically two kinds of 40K players: “competitive” players and “social” players.  Competitive players numbercrunch the entries in their codex to determine their statistical efficiency.  Competitive players create armies with the sole purpose of annihilating their opponent.  Competitive players apply the rules to create advantages for themselves and disadvantages for their opponents.  Social players like to play 40K with other people, and if they happen to win that’s great, but it is more important to have fun.

At this point, some of the competitive players reading this will click away from this article as just another rant against their style of play.  This is part of the problem.  Some competitive players see no fault with how they play, and will go so far as to complain that it is the social players who are killing the game with their weak, “fluffy” army lists and amateur tactics.  They will even write diatribes about how those who don’t play competitively need to just man up because they, the competitive players, are getting bored with beating everybody.

Really?  I mean really?  Maybe these people played too many video games in which the idea is to create the nastiest character to defeat the game.  Maybe they graduated from the school of Magic the Gathering, where creativity is subjugated to creating killer decks, and everybody seems to play the same ones.

And this is what is killing the game (not, by the way, true line of sight, as has been suggested).  Competitive players used to be found only at tournaments or in their own gaming clubs, but the magic of the Internet has given them a forum that has led to “competitive” lists being the standard by which all lists are judged.  The general culture of 40K has become one in which there are only certain ways to play certain armies, and there is no point in playing anything else.  In fact, some armies are currently not worth playing at all: Necrons, Daemonhunters, Dark Eldar, even (according to some) Orks.  Some armies have only one way to play – Eldar must take lots of Wave Serpents; Witch Hunters must have Immolaters, more Immolaters, and the bare amount of Sisters; Tyranids really should have Tervigons, Hive Guard, Tyrannofexes and not much else.  The other armies may have more variety, but there are certain units (Pedro Cantor anyone?) that seem always to be taken.  This cookie-cutter mentality means that everybody is playing the same army lists.

Whatever happened to creativity?  Whatever happened to having fun?  Whatever happened to trying out different things in your army’s codex?  We have traded all of that for a culture of winning at all costs to stay competitive.  Is that really an improvement?

So what is the point of this article?  The point is that we at the Jungle will continue to stand against the forces of uber-competitiveness.  We will continue to provide lists that are chock-full of inadequate units, and we will continue to play the game just for the fun of it.  We encourage fans of the site to do the same: take units that are not statistically optimized, field something in your codex just because you like the models, worry more about having a good time than winning.  Together, we can start to change the culture of the game, and maybe, just maybe, you will see fewer articles on the web complaining about overly-competitive players because there will be fewer overly-competitive players.

Comments? Send them here.

Related Pages
More On What's Wrong With Winning
 

Posted September 2010
 
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle