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Mephisto

@Competitive Players, Does Narrative or RP Ever Bleed Into Your Tournament Play?

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Long title and I still feel I need to explain it. 

I fancy myself in the competitive spectrum of play. A guy that talks about rules a lot, theorycrafts, list builds, and optimizes. It's my preference not to angle-shoot people because I also consider myself an Ambassador of the Game more interested in growing interest and maintaining the integrity of this fine hobby. I truly love the lore and flavor of AOS, that's why I play it over other things. Still, I want to beat you if you deploy across from me. I'll be nice about it. I'll defer to your rulings on things rather than a roll off (for the most part) but I know I have that inner demon of the competitive spirit lurking. 

There's also an inner Bruce Campbell though. He shows up even in tournaments against my wishes and quotes Army of Darkness toward my skeletons when I move them. Sometimes I think I'm an actual Lich at the end of a dungeon, begrudgingly forced to deal with the shiny men that just showed up in my gravesand desert. How dare they inconvenience me in my plans for world domination? I make the sub-optimal play because I'm at once lazy and petty and that one freakin' model right there had the audacity to attack me.

Recently and specifically at a tournament I pretty much refused to have Nagash run. "The Supreme Lord of the Undead doesn't run. Minions run to fulfill my bidding. My opponents run in terror." Amusingly enough it didn't cost me the game.

Let's have some lighthearted fun with this one. As a competitive player, what strange habits show up that you just can't help? Narrative and Open players, I know you have feedback too. Have at it.

Edited by Mephisto
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When playing Stormcast it's pretty hard not to do things heroically.  My support heroes always end up in combat and not because my opponent is trying to kill them.  I once had a Lord Relictor locked in combat with a...Grot Scraplauncher in the dead center of the battlefield for four turns.  It was silly and I could have teleported away but that rickety catapult needed taught a lesson.  

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For most tournaments, I will bring an army booklet to give my opponents. It is filled with lore and background on my Ironjawz or Dispossessed, whichever I use that day. The army list is in the back if they just want to rip it out, but some people in my community have enjoyed the nice lore touch. 

Here's an example of what I'm using for a 1k tournament on Long Island this weekend

DA BLOODBREAKA CLAN ARMY PACK - LI TP EXPO 1k.doc

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1 hour ago, Gorks Pokin' Finger said:

For most tournaments, I will bring an army booklet to give my opponents. It is filled with lore and background on my Ironjawz or Dispossessed, whichever I use that day. The army list is in the back if they just want to rip it out, but some people in my community have enjoyed the nice lore touch. 

Here's an example of what I'm using for a 1k tournament on Long Island this weekend

DA BLOODBREAKA CLAN ARMY PACK - LI TP EXPO 1k.doc

I love this. I expect a coloring book too by Adepticon.

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I think almost everyone has a little narrative trickle into their hobby.  

In the most simple for its just picking a colour scheme and making your whole army look that way rather that painting each unit individually.  Or basing your whole force the same.  

I like to think that i'm the Supreme Hellsmith masterminding all my little minions to go forth and wreak havoc with blood and ash. #Legion

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On 8/9/2018 at 12:57 AM, Ben said:

I think almost everyone has a little narrative trickle into their hobby. 

Oh, most definitely. I think too many people think that competition and narrative are at odds with each other. Sometimes I think it's fun to remind each other why we play this game over others - a sum of the whole. Little bits of the Mortal Realms and the World That Was, some RL bits and influences, colors you love or think look dynamic... it all adds up. 

D&D (and Rifts) were my gateway drugs into table top gaming. I began GMing in the 4th grade because my friend's older brother had been doing it but got too cool when he went to high school to keep running us and I became the defacto guy. That somehow got me buying minis (specifically WHFB) with lawnmower money. My "GM Persona" STILL comes out in AOS on the table a lot. Cold, detached... obsessed with Realm conquest. I set actual traps with my deployments. 

I actually don't always set out to win a game of AOS. I set up like I'm the boss fight and you have to deal with me. If you do, you win. Have XP and Loot. 

That's why I love this game. The breadth of competitive elements and story telling and hobbying (plus a touch of nostalgia) just can't be matched.

Edited by Mephisto
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I think the best thing about the game we play is the pure cinematic expereince we get and I don't think that escapes any player. Two 2000 point painted armies on the table will always trigger our nerd senses and make us think of what is going on the table. Regardless of what type of game I'm playing, I love to imagine a Lord of Change ripping a tear in reality and pouring our warpflame, or cackling pink horrors taunting my enemy etc. I think it's almost hard to get caught up in the visual expereince the game provides.

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Narrative-Competitive is definitely way more of a spectrum than people generally give it credit for, perhaps because as with many things in life it's the people at the far ends of the spectrum who make the most noise.

A lot of comp stuff definitely makes it into my narrative games, if for no other reason than I want my Big Bad Evil Guy to be as big and scary as possible. One of the most competitive player I know IRL played Blackpowder with us one time and now issues orders to all his units in character as he moves them.

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I would say no for my games it doesn't at all.  I don't really know the narrative and am not interested in it.  The color schemes in my army come from the guy that paints my army for me.

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I’ve played GW games on and off for nearly twenty years. However, ive never strayed beyond being a casual bedroom gamer with a limited range of opponents.  As such, everything i do is a variation of narrative play, even when we use points.  We do this to keep things fresh.  Im in the hobby because i love the citadel models, the gw lore, and the social aspect of gw gaming.  I have occasionally looked at other games systems, but ive never left the GW fold.

Meanwhile, Ive read posts in tga suggesting that AOS or 40k isnt particularly well balanced for the competitive scene.  So, im curious.  @Dead Scribe, if you aren’t interested in the models or the lore, in your experience what draws competition focused players such as yourself to AOS as opposed to systems such as warmahordes etc?

i hope this question doesnt have a negative tone.  Ive enjoyed reading a lot of your contributions regarding competitive play.  You seem to have a very different perspective from casual players such as myself. :) 

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When I play skaven, its hard not to call your opponent a filthy man thing.

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I don't get all that narrrative-ish or RPG-y.

I just drink too much and eventually hit "The F It Phase."

That's when the little voices overtake my good sense.

Edited by Sleboda
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if you aren’t interested in the models or the lore, in your experience what draws competition focused players such as yourself to AOS as opposed to systems such as warmahordes etc?

First and foremost it is all about the depth of players available.  A great tournament ruleset is useless if the only ones playing it are myself and a couple other guys.  AOS has the most people playing it right now in my area and has a very active majors scene with tournaments like Adepticon, LVO, etc having a large turnout and number of players.  

I play what the majority of my area plays on top of what has a good majors representation.

Winning a 50 player event is more impressive than winning a 5 player event.  Warmahordes has collapsed here and there are only a few people that bother with it anymore.  The only other big game is xwing and I did that for a couple years and all my friends moved to 40k and then AOS.  XWing has a huge player depth which is why I still play it.  

Edited by Dead Scribe
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It is a bit like being a fan of the Raiders. Yes, when one thinks about them they are wierdos, but it doesn't mean that to be a fan one has to look like a drag queen/king. There is a ton of tournament people, specially decade old veterans, that know a ton of lore and love the world of both WFB and AoS. But there is also people that go to have 6 back to back game, and care not for the lore. Both can be good, or bad people. The only real difference between both is that the people that love the lore, are better at luring people in and building communities, and that is "all".

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Sometimes they are better.  Sometimes they wreck communities though if they try to enforce that everyone follows the lore.  The guy that runs our group doesn't talk about lore at all.  He built our community by running great tournaments and attracting tournament players and by organizing commission painters to paint the majority of our stuff since most people in our group have no hobby interest.

One thing I'd love to see GW do is put out prepainted models like they do with xwing.  Would remove grey plastic armies and those that wanted to paint them better would do so just like they do in the xwing community.  

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Honestly I've never really understood the whole "Matched play Narrative play" thing GW has going on at present. Mostly because I also don't see how narrative changes the competitive. The "matched" or competitive play is just the mechanics of the game; its the machine that makes it all work and makes it fun beyond the level of lining up your miniatures and going "pew pew" at each other*. 

I think there are very few players who don't get into the theme, the lore, the aesthetic of their faction. Even if they drop and change pretty fast between factions to keep up at the competitive edge of things; there's still that fun inner child that comes out! It comes out even more when you get something unexpected happen - when that unit of rippers actually kills a superpowered character; when that last witch aelf just refuses to die no matter how many times the stormcast unit tries to cut her down; when that pair of zombie dragons clashes with the bellowing brawling might of an ork atop a wyvern! 

 

 

The only real "difference" is that some can't let the mechanical side go and build their armies around that; whilst others can't let the narrative go and build their armies around the story and looks than the mechanics. Those are, to my mind (and excluding the concepts of good and bad skill) the two extreme angles that both run on the same rules. 

I don't need narrative rules to say "lets to something silly" you can do that without the rules and heck that is great fun too. Pitching uneven odds; doing senarios that let you do odd things (running a siege and seeing how many waves you can throw at the defender before they break; putting a halfdozen or a dozen players on the same small table with small units and seeing who survives the "thunderdome" style battle! 

 

 

*Or lining them up and then rolling balls at each other to represent the fire - which is only suitable when you're playing with something like a big box of those green army men - not for Warhammer models  ;)

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16 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

 

One thing I'd love to see GW do is put out prepainted models like they do with xwing.  Would remove grey plastic armies and those that wanted to paint them better would do so just like they do in the xwing community.  

As someone who, for yersa, has never really learned to paint - I'd personally HATE that. 

I think part of the game is learning new skills; its appreciating that you can learn to assemble and to paint and putting your identity on the model. I think the hobby part - for all its pains - is still part of the game. You can bypass it by spending more on custom painters if you want; but you can't leave it out. I'd hate to see it go pre-painted, it would just take too much from the game itself and the hobby and the rich potential variety.

 

Personally if I were skilled at painting and saw that the club was running all grey armies I'd sit down and work out how I could change that. Run painting nights; teach others how to paint; help them paint up a few models to show how they can paint their own scheme - encourage them and be pro-active in getting them to paint up their stuff. A lto of the time unpainted armies speaks of a lack of skill, understanding, confidence and self-learning resources for people. Give them that and they can rise to paint! 

 

 

 

I also love that as a very geek heavy hobby with lots of science and geeky people in it - the painting and hobby aspect UTTERLY crushes that daft notion that "science people can't be creative and creative people can't be sciencey." It also, to my mind, shows how poor a lot of art teachers are when students who can't do art learn how to paint warhammer models to a good to high level! 

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If someone 100% only cares about competition and power gaming, it seems like such a weird choice to pick AoS

I love AoS, but... the rules are very poor at times and don't always hold up to competitive scrutiny and GW models are very expensive compared to other game companies. And GW always buffs new models and nerfs old ones eventually so they can ****** competitive player's wallets around. I'm very competitive, I get it, but for me I express that through things like playing a ton of poker and AoS is the relaxation so it seems foreign to me. 

 But hey you do you, if you have fun then what other people think doesn't matter

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8 hours ago, Gorks Pokin' Finger said:

For most tournaments, I will bring an army booklet to give my opponents. It is filled with lore and background on my Ironjawz or Dispossessed, whichever I use that day. The army list is in the back if they just want to rip it out, but some people in my community have enjoyed the nice lore touch. 

Here's an example of what I'm using for a 1k tournament on Long Island this weekend

DA BLOODBREAKA CLAN ARMY PACK - LI TP EXPO 1k.doc

Love your idea! Beats my idea of coughing on my opponent to get into the Clan Pestilens mindset :)

2 minutes ago, Overread said:

 I also love that as a very geek heavy hobby with lots of science and geeky people in it - the painting and hobby aspect UTTERLY crushes that daft notion that "science people can't be creative and creative people can't be sciencey." It also, to my mind, shows how poor a lot of art teachers are when students who can't do art learn how to paint warhammer models to a good to high level! 

Such a great point! It's cool to think of how many people that might have otherwise believed they have no artistic talent have grown into skilled painters through tabletop games 

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36 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

First and foremost it is all about the depth of players available.  

Thats a fair point.  I guess that in order to test yourself, you have to seek new blood.  Its great to see that AOS is popular enough to be the largest group in some areas.  However, id hate to be the last guy who genuinely likes AOS when your group  move on to their next system in years to come.

 

7 minutes ago, Overread said:

As someone who, for yersa, has never really learned to paint - I'd personally HATE that

 I think part of the game is learning new skills; its appreciating that you can learn to assemble and to paint and putting your identity on the model. I think the hobby part - for all its pains - is still part of the game

Agreed!  Im a rubbish painter.  But i do feel a strange satisfaction when my ugly little fellas hit the table.  The “pains” of getting everything assembled and based aren’t insignificant, but it makes me appreciate each model individually.

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I play the same army and most of the same minies since the launch of the game, so my opponents tend to face my lord celestants, relictors, castellants etc ton of time. Naturally, stories form themselves, since my models seems determined to make VERY different results depending of my opponent.

I have a knight venator who failed all his star fated arrow against one of my ironjaw opponent, but who killed his mega boss in melee... twice ! So the megaboss mortal ennemy is the bird of the knight venator, and he is determined to at least kill him during the battle. One day he will have his revenge

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I count myself as 100% competitive (whatever that means) but I wouldn't play an army I don't like the models of and the fluff for. In fact the reason I didn't play AoS properly until LoN was released was because I didn't really dig any of the armies at all.

If I had the time to play narrative games and the plethora of cool battleplans that exist in various books, I would absolutely love to do so, but I have two kids and two jobs so I have no chance!

So yeah, it 100% bleeds over. I don't see how it can not (to a greater or lesser extent) for most people. Otherwise we'd all be playing poker, or chess, or Magic, or some other "real" game rather than burdening ourselves with toy soldiers.

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1 hour ago, Dead Scribe said:

I would say no for my games it doesn't at all.  I don't really know the narrative and am not interested in it.  The color schemes in my army come from the guy that paints my army for me.

I read this and spit coffee. The honesty, maybe the nudge of tongue-in-cheek I infused it with as I read just cracked me up. It also flashed me back to the time my friend handed me an MTG deck to pilot near the tail end of my Competitive MTG "Career." RUG Delver or something. I actually crushed people and I just looked at him deadpan, "I hate Magic nerds." (I use nerd ironically these days. Dry humor. Self-deprecating. So on). 

I'd just like to take a moment to say I appreciate you too Dead Scribe. Others may wonder why you bothered going out of your way to answer the question but I think it importantly illustrates the spectrum @AGPO mentioned. I actually fall closer to you on the spectrum than may be evident through my cheerful demeanor.

1 hour ago, Sleboda said:

I don't get all that narrrative-ish or RPG-y.

I just drink to much and eventually hit "The F It Phase."

That's when the little voices overtake my good sense.

Oh, I know that voice. Back in the 90s, when I was just getting into WHFB, we had a friend named Edrick. He played Lizardmen (when they were still lizard men) and he said words that still inspire me to this day. We were playing a 4-man mosh thing and after all the pushing models around and posturing and rules talk he just looks at my other friend, "yeah, yeah, yeah... let's just get to the killing." His command and disregard for pedantry was inspiring. To this day I will be playing the game and at some point, maybe a few beers in, I hear Edrick's voice, "yeah, yeah, yeah, let's just get to the killing." 

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I think that one of the best tools forums give us is to give our perspective.  So long as we are polite and not verbally attacking individuals, letting others know what interests you in the hobby / game is important.  It lets us see the game through other players' eyes.  It also communicates to the developers of the game what trends may be important enough to look at.

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1 hour ago, Overread said:

I also love that as a very geek heavy hobby with lots of science and geeky people in it - the painting and hobby aspect UTTERLY crushes that daft notion that "science people can't be creative and creative people can't be sciencey." It also, to my mind, shows how poor a lot of art teachers are when students who can't do art learn how to paint warhammer models to a good to high level! 

This is a great point. (I ran out of reactions, sorry). 

As a guy that, like Ian and Dead Scribe, thinks of himself as competitor, I do think it's worth noting the community of a competitive event. You find some great competition, massive pools of people, and everything Dead Scribe actually mentioned earlier in MTG and even the various MOBAs. Pure competition and opportunity made me gravitate toward those early. I grew to hate the communities though. Not the competition of it. I mean I still keep three EDH decks on me at all times (of varying degrees of "difficulty" for my opponents) but I sold my Legacy cards for a down payment on a home to make sure I don't go back to that. I think one of the lesser stated aspects of winning and wanting to win is the gratification. The literal high on brain chemicals you can become. The need to chase that feeling that happens. Some people may think of it as strange or even pathetic but, as said and established, we all experience the game a bit differently. 

The way I experience this game is it's the competitive game that checks all the other boxes of my complicated personality. 

53 minutes ago, ianob said:

I count myself as 100% competitive (whatever that means) but I wouldn't play an army I don't like the models of and the fluff for. In fact the reason I didn't play AoS properly until LoN was released was because I didn't really dig any of the armies at all.

If I had the time to play narrative games and the plethora of cool battleplans that exist in various books, I would absolutely love to do so, but I have two kids and two jobs so I have no chance!

So yeah, it 100% bleeds over. I don't see how it can not (to a greater or lesser extent) for most people. Otherwise we'd all be playing poker, or chess, or Magic, or some other "real" game rather than burdening ourselves with toy soldiers.

Once again, Ian, you're just stealing mah brainwaves. 

LON is where I really committed to wanting to be successful. I had skin in the game. Something I cared about aesthetically (and a touch of a connection to my past when I liked WHFB but other things took up more of my time). If I show up to the LGS and someone there wants to do a narrative event or try out their malign portents deck, I won't turn them don't. I do just want to play. But I'll go into that game with a goal of personal betterment or research. "I know the dice say this but if I push Nagash straight forward at 30 Arkanaut Company with Skyhooks - how dead is he? Oh... not dead actually. Hmmmmmmm..." (<-- Actual playtest back around the LON Battletome Release). 

I made the thread as a curiosity because I know my competitive nature but I also know that I don't think that being competitive is mutually exclusive. You can have good rules and strong competition and also make me a sweet Orc coloring book like the one I demand from Gorks' above. There is a reason we choose this game over others. For me it's all of the above. Everything each of you has said even Dead Scribe ;).

Anyway, keep your stories coming, folks!  

Edited by Mephisto
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