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Torn between competitive and non-competitive without direction


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1 hour ago, wayniac said:

I think I'm attracted to Idoneth Deepkin, which honestly from what I see seem to be able to go more competitive or not depending on what you take (i.e. how many eels).  So I might be able to swing both if I get lucky... although there's still the issue of not really being able to do a roundede army, but that's been the case for years.

You can make semi viable lists with IDK by going MSU with Namartii and Reavers while adding sharks and the likes =}
So you might say that the whole army is somewhat playable 

 

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Why not both? Seriously? It will take you longer to get there, so you gotta love your hobby. But why not both? That's how I do it. I had my dwarves which I loved back in the day. But against cert

Then you ignore the whole history of wargaming. Early wargames were more like RPGs - e.g. WFB 3E, especially Realm of Chaos expansion with character creation and development tables. With so much rando

I've decided to use my downtime from gaming to take a step back and really decide what I want out of this game because I haven't ever really been able to pinpoint what my goal is.  I've been involved

For what little it will help your situation I can tell you there are genuine narrative gamers out there. I play in a great group that is heavily narrative focused. We play games several times a month and always try to do something different. We have regular truly story-driven narrative campaigns, where people don’t try to just bring super powered lists but play to a story they’ve helped create and love.

My only advice from this for anyone who wants to get into narrative gaming is to be a champion for it but also be collaborative. If the stories created mean something to everyone involved then that drives their involvement. The best stories evolve - take a simple small concept for your first game and let it take you where it takes you.

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3 hours ago, wayniac said:

I mean they aren't mutually exclusive at the high level,  but I wish I could not care about the lore/reality.  I mean if you ignore that, then what keeps you to an army?  Wouldn't you just swap armies to whatever is the "best" at a given time, if the army background/aesthetics are meaningless?  

Well yes.  Thats exactly what we do here.  Its a game.  We want to make sure we have the best team possible.  

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1 minute ago, Dead Scribe said:

Well yes.  Thats exactly what we do here.  Its a game.  We want to make sure we have the best team possible.  

See, this is what I struggle so hard to get.  Like.. you would pick an army with models you don't care for, with even the most basic fluff blurb about who they are not being appealing, just because it's the "best" army?  The "churn and burn" approach where you aren't invested in your army beyond how it currently performs just.. seems so foreign.

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3 minutes ago, wayniac said:

See, this is what I struggle so hard to get.  Like.. you would pick an army with models you don't care for, with even the most basic fluff blurb about who they are not being appealing, just because it's the "best" army?  The "churn and burn" approach where you aren't invested in your army beyond how it currently performs just.. seems so foreign.

Same. Also games aren‘t by default competetive. Games usually fulfill a central task: Leisure, teaching, fun and there are games you play to win. AoS encompasses leisure, creativity, fun, narrative even an element of teaching (maths, stochastic, understanding of color etc.) and you can play it to win. Yet treating the whole game as a „winning is all“ game is only one way of many to see it. Especially since GW‘s games are mostly do called „beer and Bretzel“ games which means: fun and narrative.

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8 minutes ago, wayniac said:

See, this is what I struggle so hard to get.  Like.. you would pick an army with models you don't care for, with even the most basic fluff blurb about who they are not being appealing, just because it's the "best" army?  The "churn and burn" approach where you aren't invested in your army beyond how it currently performs just.. seems so foreign.

At the same time players like Deadscribe often pay extra for commission work on armies or even buy full secondhand armies. So often they don't have the hours invested in building and painting their own force. Or if they do then that's one army they "keep" rather than dump and replace with a fresh power-army. 

 

They simply take a different path to the game; its neither right nor wrong it simply is another way to hobby. 

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For me, it has taken a little while to find an army that I like.  I started off with a collection of high elves from 5th edition, and trying to use them in AoS lead to very poor gameplay experiences.  So I went and build a stormcast army, because I decided to get the soul wars box and go from there.  However, while that army worked ok, and was able to win me games, I wasn't really attached to that army.  So I went for Order Draconis, because that let me use my old high elf models and let me get a few more... and then they were discontinued while I was in the middle of building them.  So then I grabbed cities of sigmar just to continue using those models, but couldn't decide where to go with the army.  Then I decided to grab Slaves to Darkness, because I liked the looks of the models, but was once again disappointed with the gameplay.  Now I'm grabbing a Kharadron army as a hobby project that might end up making the table.

But I keep coming back to the cities.  I have a small Order Serpentis force (the leftovers of my Order Draconis list).  I have a small Phoenix Temple force.  I can bring in my stormcast as part of my army.  I can bring in KO as part of my army.  I am getting enthusiastic about my cities army, and what models I want to add to it next.  The best part - I can totally run my army as a narrative force, or as a competitive list.  However, it does mean that I need more models.  Instead of stopping with a 2k list, I instead need something like 5k points of the army to be able to switch things around between the two types of play - and that isn't even counting the stormcast or KO units.

I think that is what it all comes down to.  If you aren't a dedicated "competitive only" player, but you still don't want to get stomped every game, you need to find an army that you like and collect more than just 2k points for it.  If you don't find a force that you like, one that doesn't speak to you, you aren't going to want to collect more than the bare minimum for that army.  However, if you don't collect more than the bare minimum, you will either have a competitive force, or a non-competitive force, and you won't be able to change that up.  Additionally, when that army gets a new book, then your previous force will change, and then you will have to gather more units to maintain a competitive force, or sell it off and find a new army.

But if you do find that army that speaks to you, and you are willing to collect more of it, then you can have your various fluffy portions that you pull out when you want beer and pretzels gameplay.  And you have enough pieces you can put together an actually competitive army when the only people who want to play at the moment are running tournament lists.

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46 minutes ago, wayniac said:

See, this is what I struggle so hard to get.  Like.. you would pick an army with models you don't care for, with even the most basic fluff blurb about who they are not being appealing, just because it's the "best" army?  The "churn and burn" approach where you aren't invested in your army beyond how it currently performs just.. seems so foreign.

Because I'm invested in competition and winning and doing as well as I can.  You can't do those things very well if you are worried about some arbitrary piece of fiction that says you shouldn't do that.

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1 hour ago, Dead Scribe said:

Because I'm invested in competition and winning and doing as well as I can.  You can't do those things very well if you are worried about some arbitrary piece of fiction that says you shouldn't do that.

I get that part, but I don't get playing an army you don't like the models/whatever just because its better. 

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1 hour ago, wayniac said:

I get that part, but I don't get playing an army you don't like the models/whatever just because its better. 

Doesn’t that answer your dilemma? 

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What about conversions? 

 

Conversions can help with fluff while also helping with building a strong army if its something your interested in. My current army is skaven and I'm loving it there's a loose eshin/skryre theme without playing eshin only, I could quite easily add a stronger unit like stormvermin (not the best unit but works for an example) by converting them a bit into "eshin triads" which in fluff are their version of elite but there's no model for them, PLaguemonks painted in black robes and maybe slight changes wouldn't look out of place at all, grey seer? Eshin sorcerer. 

 

I'm no expert on most aos armies but surely there's room in alot to do fluffy conversions to blend in units that wouldn't fit in with lore etc

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Just some random musings:

I do feel the same problem of not being exactly sure about wether I´m a competetive player or a narrative player. In fact I smashed multiple gaming groups by beeing that guy. I´m not a bad sportsman, I´m just a player who is seeking for cool combos.

Then I started to think about what I want from GW games. Back in 4th ed. 40k when I started playing 40k we had a pretty nice group of gamers with really cool games. But no one ever thought about spamming the good stuff or tried hard to win games at all costs. We all just bought, painted and played the models we liked. We all had diverse armies, some vehicles, some infantry, some cool HQ, some special units. No list tailoring dependant on the opponents force. It was real fun!

After thinking about this golden time last year I started to restrict myself when it comes down to list building:

1.) No army list entry is used more than twice!

2.) Choose the cool stuff first. Then build the rest around this stuff trying to achieve the level of competetiveness you need in that certain game.

3.) If it is the first game against an unknown opponent, don´t use your most competetive stuff. Rather loose and develop from there than being that guy.

4.) If your army is way superior, beat your opponent as fast as possible. Don´t stretch a game that isn´t a game. Rather start a new one. It makes no sense to be friendly or kind in the wrong way. Your opponent will notice if you don´t give your best. If that happens he will feel like a mouse in front of a cat.

 

Now my games are more balanced and bring more fun to both players. I more heavily enjoy all aspects of this hobby now and my collection doesn´t fall apart with rules changes, because I avoid concentrating on that 2 or 3 must haves. What now is bad might become better and vice versa. It doesn´t really matter, because I build my collection with No Spam Whatsoever in mind, meaning there is no suddenly wasted 60 models anymore.

 

Do note that playing with a somewhat underwhelming force is also kind of a competetive game, because now you have to try to give your best, you have to battle uphill! That way competetiveness  and rather casual don´t have to be two sides of the same coin.

 

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While I mostly play warcry these days, I feel compelled to give my two cents, as often when narrative gaming is discussed.

Regarding your dilemna, it seems like the best option, as others said, is to just have a bigger army that you can select from, and maybe have a couple of prewritten lists depending on your opponent.

The opponent is the key here. Don’t let deadscribe’s point of view sway you too much; he is only interested in something that is actually a small part of the community, the tsport approach as you call it. I can assure you that there are tons of gamers that do not care about the meta, placing in tournaments or any of that. Of course these people are less vocal, especially on the internet, as they don’t spend as much energy talking about list building or analyzing game data.

These are the people you need to find! People that like competition, but only as one part of the hobby. People that you enjoy playing against, wether you win or not. They are harder to find, but it’s really worth it. Even if you have to collect 2 armies and get some friends into it.

This is a social game after all, in my opinion the most important aspect is having good opponents.

And a lot of people will appreciate a cool looking, fluffy army more than a powerful netlist. The idea that narrative has no place in wargaming or AoS is laughable considering the enormous part that art and story have in it’s identity. Most people don’t start painting dozens of highly detailed miniatures just because they want to smash faces.

I’ll stop rambling now 😅

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7 hours ago, wayniac said:

I get that part, but I don't get playing an army you don't like the models/whatever just because its better. 

Because I don't really care about the models.  I get someone to paint them for me.  I'd be just as happy playing with cardboard pogs if that were allowed.  My main draw to AOS is the large competitive community, not the models or the art or lore or anything like that.

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19 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

Because I don't really care about the models.  I get someone to paint them for me.  I'd be just as happy playing with cardboard pogs if that were allowed.  My main draw to AOS is the large competitive community, not the models or the art or lore or anything like that.

So would I be right in assuming that if AOS wasn't popular but another game was and had a large competitive community you would play that game?  That is, you play a game that offers you a large pool of competitive players without any vested interest in that game?

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To echo what some other posters have said you could always go with one of two routes:

·         Pick one force which is large enough that you have the ability to throw together a more narrative fluffy list, or a more competitive list.

·         Build two armies, one with a narrative theme in mind and the other competitive or at least semi-competitive. For example I have a 2k list of Fimir and now oop Forgeworld monsters that I play occasionally because I love the sculpts and have created my own lore for them, but I fully realize that they’ll most likely get stomped and sent back to their marsh with their tails between their legs. When I feel like playing a list that has a better chance of winning I’ll bring my Ogors to the shop instead.

Another important thing to consider is the community you play in. If they mostly play more competitively minded, then you might want to either build a somewhat capable force, or be at peace with the idea your lovingly crafted army might struggle to win. On the other hand if your community is more laid back and open to fun lists or trying new things out, a narrative list might fit nicely. Also if you’re craving a more narrative experience, it might behoove you to take the lead, talk to others about running a fluffy campaign.

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3 hours ago, Dead Scribe said:

Because I don't really care about the models.  I get someone to paint them for me.  I'd be just as happy playing with cardboard pogs if that were allowed.  My main draw to AOS is the large competitive community, not the models or the art or lore or anything like that.

Just curious, what draws you to wargaming specifically and not other more mainstream competitive activities like chess or competitive video games or the like? After all, even with their best efforts most wargames are pretty awful at balance, aside from the rare occurrence like Warmachine was for a time. It's just that one similarity I've seen among all people I've played against at my flgs is a love for miniatures, even if they play super competitively. 

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I always found thinking of warhammer, or magic the gathering, or any tabletop game as truly competitive to be somewhat counter to the spirit of things. Its something I want to do with my friends or people I know at the hobby store, I want to be able to put together something interesting, that while it might not win every time will at least create interesting play. Now I understand that's not how everyone sees the game, so with warhammer, i play smaller formats mostly the skirmish rules, and with magic i never play constructed decks, because i get steamrolled by people who take it seriously as a competitive thing. I play either sealed or draft because everyone is on a levelish playing field given we're all only there and then choosing cards rather than me having looked at what i have out of my previous draft decks and trying to make something fighty, where someone else will have specially constructed theirs to mirror whatever the top playing deck of that moment is.

I think if you want a fluffy game, campaigns and smaller format games are the way to go, or ask around at your game store, if anyone else wants to use fluffy armies rather than uber competitive ones. Either that or accept you're going to be running nothing but screamers of tzeentch for the foreseeable future.

Competitive gaming isn't for me, If i want to do something competitively i just get punched in the face

 

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@Dead Scribe perhaps Chess is more suited for you. The balance is pretty good so actual skill matters a lot more and the community is rather big as well (globally speaking).

Edit: „Go“ seems to be the ultimative comp. game.

Edited by JackStreicher
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6 hours ago, Dead Scribe said:

Because I don't really care about the models.  I get someone to paint them for me.  I'd be just as happy playing with cardboard pogs if that were allowed.  My main draw to AOS is the large competitive community, not the models or the art or lore or anything like that.

That‘s the true competitive approach, totally valid and I guess you can have a lot of fun. 


But it comes with a big drawback, that GDubs is incapable of writing balanced rules even at gunpoint. There will always be the new hotness and your old cheese might get FAQed into mediocrity... and you‘ll have to throw money at them to stay ahead of the game.

they need to sell their stuff to pay their bills and employees. Me reactivating my skellis from the 90s, well at least I bought the mandatory GHB 😅

to recommend chess or GO to hardcore players is beside the point, first is true chess mastery tough work for years and a lot of studying (I‘m watching Ben finegold on youtube while painting) and the hunt for the new edition cheese and the list with broken synergys might even be a fulfillment in itself. I remember talks of a broken assassin character 40k list that kinda shocked the meta or ??Ben Szousa?! bringing FEC back to top tier.

in my meta I loose a lot, because I cannot be bothered to write top tier lists and even when I get things right, I certainly choose the heroic stupid approach before the victory points.


what types of game are possible in your local community? use the open war cards, where you might just get screwed over by the cards. But of course a high tier broken list will adapt to those things far better than some flower power fluffy list (Mannfred von Carstein is supposed to be one of the mightiest undead lords, instead of overpriced rubbish)

To balance out the meta you might do some „path to glory“ randomized lists things...

enough rambling, focus on what brings the most fun and joy and of course happy wife happy life

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8 hours ago, wayniac said:

So would I be right in assuming that if AOS wasn't popular but another game was and had a large competitive community you would play that game?  That is, you play a game that offers you a large pool of competitive players without any vested interest in that game?

The size of the community and the tournaments are my primary draw yes.  The reality is in the fantasy genre there are no other games anywhere in the world that remotely come close to AOS.  I'd have to drive 100 miles to play Kings of War with a group that had more than four people in it and I know no other group within driving distance of any other game, so I'd have to just be ok with never playing except for like Adepticon if I played a different game.

So yeah no thanks.  Thats why I play AOS.  I'd say even if that wasn't my primary interest, if who wins or loses is something you care about, then playing "narrative style" is going to be a big disappointment to you because you're going to find you HAVE to tune your list because once just ONE person does, your whole group will begin following suit since no one likes getting beaten as badly as you will get beaten if you dont have a tuned list against someone that does.

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2 hours ago, JackStreicher said:

@Dead Scribe perhaps Chess is more suited for you. The balance is pretty good so actual skill matters a lot more and the community is rather big as well (globally speaking).

Edit: „Go“ seems to be the ultimative comp. game.

I don't know why you are trying to tell me that AOS is not suited for me.  Its been suitable for me for a few years now.  There is actual skill in AOS.  Its how well you can craft your list and then how you use it.  

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6 hours ago, Pariah said:

Just curious, what draws you to wargaming specifically and not other more mainstream competitive activities like chess or competitive video games or the like? After all, even with their best efforts most wargames are pretty awful at balance, aside from the rare occurrence like Warmachine was for a time. It's just that one similarity I've seen among all people I've played against at my flgs is a love for miniatures, even if they play super competitively. 

I can counter that by saying at my flgs most of us don't give a fig about the models, we are there because we enjoy miniature wargaming as a whole and the fantasy genre specifically and require a large player base to enjoy tournaments with.  

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But it comes with a big drawback, that GDubs is incapable of writing balanced rules even at gunpoint.

Badly balanced rules don't hurt competitive players.  We take advantage of that.  Badly balanced players hurt narrative and casual players.

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21 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

  I'd say even if that wasn't my primary interest, if who wins or loses is something you care about, then playing "narrative style" is going to be a big disappointment to you because you're going to find you HAVE to tune your list because once just ONE person does, your whole group will begin following suit since no one likes getting beaten as badly as you will get beaten if you dont have a tuned list against someone that does.

Oh this I know.  In my years I've seen this happen to a previously laid back and casual group.  One person started bringing a power list and over time casual play essentially became extinct as more and more people got tired of being crushed by the power lists and brought power lists of their own. It was pretty much mutually assured destruction but in a gaming context. Now admittedly when I tell this story it never paints the competitive aspect in a positive light, but sadly I think this is the inevitable result of anything outside of maybe a very small and close-knit group.  Anything involving pick up games at a store or club will inevitably go this route in some capacity because there will always be someone who, knowingly or not, decides to play a FOTM list or army and all it usually takes is curbstomping someone in full view of everybody else to get the escalation war going.

It sounds like overall my best approach is going to be to choose an army that's higher tier but then have a varied collection so, for instance, I can bring out the big guns against someone who wants to play competitively or who I know plays competitive lists while swapping some of those powerful choices out for less powerful ones against the people playing more casually to not become TFG.

Thankfully though I think Deepkin fit that perfectly. 

Edited by wayniac
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