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Torn between competitive and non-competitive without direction


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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

45 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

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

Not necessarily. When I was playing my skaven army (before BT) I was losing constantly (except that one game against pre-BT Ironjawz - we were playing that battleplan where only generals and wizards could score and when I removed Maw-Krusha from the field, there was nothing my opponent could done as he didn't bring any wizards) but it was still fun. Mostly because of situations like almost (emphasis on "almost") killing a GUO with a packmaster and warpfire thrower. I would argue that if both player don't try to, as you said, "take advantage"  (one example of that - no spamming best units) then no bad balance can hurt them. Of course I don't talk about tournaments (at least those super-competitive) but about single friendly games or campaigns. Especially campaigns because their primary goal is not to win but to create a strong narrative.

I would also say that playing with sub-optimal armies (of course both players have to use them) can be more challenging - it's like playing "strictly worse" cube in MtG. You have to think how to get the most out of weak units/cards. Winning with that must a lot of satisfaction.

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As my handle suggests and as I’ve posted in other narrative threads I am primarily in AoS for the fun and for me that mainly means narrative.  I am very fortunate to have a local gaming group that is also very into narrative.  We’re working through a campaign (on hold for obvious reasons at moment) where Khorne Daemons and Khorne Mortals are competing to see who can provide more skulls for the skull throne.  It has been a lot of fun.

But as others have noted this can be compatible with more competitive play as well.  Narrative games are a great way to explore new units and try out new combos.  Three of us from the narrative group went to the local gaming tournament and we used what we’d learned from the narrative games to build our lists.  Our still relative lack of experience (and a few bad draws, e.g. I ran up against the White Dwarf Slaanesh list in my first game that puts a half dozen KoS on the table) meant we didn’t do great but we were all competitive enough that we had a great time.

We’ve taken what we learned and we’re seeing if we can find new armies or combinations NOT to go the power list route but to be in more games.  Sure any of us would love a top place but 3-2 would be fine for all of us in the end.  That said we all love playing against an @Dead Scribe style player at these events because we always learn something new.   I lost badly against Slaanesh but still learned more on a practical, as opposed to theoretical, basis about deployment, concentrating fire and the importance sniping key units.

That’s a great thing about AoS is that it has a really well rounded player base so in a large enough tournament you’re as likely to run into a power list as a pure fun list.  My hardest match At the tournament was actually against a really wonky old tome Seraphon list that teleported R1T1 and shot most of my Heroes out from under me.  Nicest guy you’d ever meet though and it was clear from the all metal models And the way he talked about his army that this was an army he’d been playing a long, long time.

All of which is a long way of confirming that depth is the best way to go about finding this balance.  Each active army in our in little group has 3K+ worth of units.  This mainly evolved organically out of narrative “needs” but it means we have a lot of flexibility when it comes to increasing the competitiveness of our lists when we leave or narrative bubble.  (Side benefit where it applies this also means we have a really good summoning selection to choose from.)

Can’t speak to IDK specifically on that note but will note that despite its similar minimal unit count we didn’t have a problem striking this balance with FEC.  Good luck and sincerely hope you find a way to experience the best of both worlds.

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I would also say that playing with sub-optimal armies (of course both players have to use them) can be more challenging 

I'm sure it can be more challenging.  The key to your statement is "of course both players have to use them".  Which is why it hurts casual and narrative players more to have bad balance.  It requires both players to be playing at the same level, when the points values of the game do not really indicate actual power level of the armies.  That is why I would never try to tone down, because you don't know really if its enough, or if it was too much.  Better instead to just tune up as much as possible.  In my opinion.

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19 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

I'm sure it can be more challenging.  The key to your statement is "of course both players have to use them".  Which is why it hurts casual and narrative players more to have bad balance.  It requires both players to be playing at the same level, when the points values of the game do not really indicate actual power level of the armies.  That is why I would never try to tone down, because you don't know really if its enough, or if it was too much.  Better instead to just tune up as much as possible.  In my opinion.

In such games points are not that important. It's more like choosing a theme and keeping to it. For example I would like to play an army made of Master Moulder, some Packmasters and nothing else than Rat Swarms. Is it bad? Yes. But the point of that army is to seeing what will happen - can your (also narratively build) army kill all of them? with 2000 pts I can field (with Master Moulder and Packmasters) 7 full and 1 small unit of Rat Swarms (58 bases). 

And that's only one example - some time ago there was a challenge to make an army made of 1 Hero, sufficient number of battlelines and then only Behemoths. Competitive? No. Fun? Sure. And there's also a Blanchitsu - style of painting and converting but also of playing. Using Necromunda, old Inquistor, Mordheim or Skirmish rules people make small warbands - there is  lot of improvisation here but it's the part of fun. Many Blanchitsu games even give make one player (or non-player) a *gasp* Game Master (see, wargames can be like RPGs). The most important thing in Blanchitsu is not the win - it's a good story. You can read about some of those ideas here https://28-mag.com/downloads/. In second volume is even a guide how to make a narrative campaign.

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I think thats great, except that it only takes one player blowing all that up by bringing a tuned list.  For me its not fun to lose a game because I took a handicapped list and my opponent didnt.  The game rules enforce tuning lists as being the easy path to winning and while the rules are in that format, thats how I will play.

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1 minute ago, Dead Scribe said:

I think thats great, except that it only takes one player blowing all that up by bringing a tuned list.  For me its not fun to lose a game because I took a handicapped list and my opponent didnt.  The game rules enforce tuning lists as being the easy path to winning and while the rules are in that format, thats how I will play.

This bears repeating because like I stated previously I've witnessed exactly this happen and it pretty much killed anything other than competitive play in that area because nobody wanted to play a "handicapped" list or, worse, feel they were just going to get clubbed by taking a fluffy list against someone else.

Granted, that can be solved by a discussion with your opponent but that's not always as frequent as it should be.

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1 minute ago, Dead Scribe said:

I think thats great, except that it only takes one player blowing all that up by bringing a tuned list.  For me its not fun to lose a game because I took a handicapped list and my opponent didnt.  The game rules enforce tuning lists as being the easy path to winning and while the rules are in that format, thats how I will play.

You're still missing the point. I'm talking about games where both players agreed to do something crazy like that. If your opponent agreed to that and then brings optimal list it's not a person worth playing against. You see that it's possible. Blanchitsu is all about that. I recommend you reading about Tor Megiddo campaign, it's a beautiful example of narrative casual game with no competitive approach. Players were creating characters with their own rules (only 1 or 2 of course) and one player created a character in his warband that with every passing round had more chance to betray them. That player give themself a handicap because it could enrich the story(and it did). Pinnacle of narrative approach.

@wayniac But that's a problem with people not the game. Talking with your opponents before friendly non-tournament games should be a given. And as I wrote - if your opponent agrees to the terms of army building and then ignores it, then you shouldn't play against them. They will have to either adapt or find different gaming group.

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Granted, that can be solved by a discussion with your opponent but that's not always as frequent as it should be.

What happens when you discuss with your opponent about toning down and they refuse?  Or what happens when you discuss toning down and their idea of toning down is not really toning down?

See thats a huge slippery slope to me.  

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You're still missing the point. I'm talking about games where both players agreed to do something crazy like that. If your opponent agreed to that and then brings optimal list it's not a person worth playing against.

Couple things.  I'm not missing the point.  If you have two people agreeing to do something like that then thats great.  The second part of your statement there is where all my issues  lie.  Because who are you to tell me what is and is not "toning down"?  You are saying if your opponent doesn't tone down to *how you want them to* then they are not people WORTH playing against.  Thats grossly unfair.  What if I want you to "tone up" and if you don't I should just consider you to be someone not worth playing against?

Thats where the rules imbalances cause hostility and why I always tune my list.  Because everyone understands what tune the list means.  Most everyone I have ever met has differing value system on what "tone down" means however.  

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They will have to either adapt or find different gaming group.

That will depend on your area.  In my area, you would be the person struggling to find a different gaming group because almost exclusively the entire region is competitive.  That works both ways.  They do some casual friendly funsies games too but no one complains about tuned lists because thats the default expectation.  The people that complain about tuned lists usually disappear after a short time and find a different game to play.

Which is why I will always say bad balance affects casuals and narrative players far more than competitive players, and competitive players seem to me to be the majority of players.  At least fortunately in my region.

Edited by Dead Scribe
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Like @Dead Scribe says, there is definitely skill on display at high levels of play in Age of Sigmar. I think it works well as a competitive game, albeit one with lots of randomness - which in itself is a skill to manage consistently. I'm friends with a circle of players who frequent many tournaments and it's inspiring to see them theorycrafting about ways to counter new strong elements as they come into the game. Instead of complaining about things being broken they instead search for solutions and try things out, sometimes starting new armies as they see fit. They show up to play with strong lists and no one's sulking about the results, it's only back to the drawing board and have another go. They're certainly very dedicated to the game and will run rings around you if you're not prepared. With the rate of GW's new releases it seems like there's always something new and exciting coming along, always another challenge over the horizon.

Where they lose me is when new armies become too strong for older ones to keep up with. I'm the kind of guy who finds something I like and try to stick with it, planning out conversions and making lots of personal touches. I like a good tactical challenge but eventually it starts to feel futile fighting the new strongest kid on the block. I identify myself as a (rather picky) collector as much as a gamer and I don't feel inspired to start a new collection just because I need it to play stronger lists. I'm quite lucky though as I've also got a group of players who like taking a more relaxed approach to building armies and I now spend more time gaming there.

So in my way of doing things, AoS is a terrible game for competition - if I play in a competitive environment I'll be spending my time and money building an army that will eventually become outdated and when I don't change along with the game it'll go sour. However, if I instead view the game as a changing scene where good armies come and go and I follow suit it'll be a constantly evolving journey to identify the strongest options and take advantage of them. In a group of people doing the same thing it'll definitely be a lot of good fun to do.

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38 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

You are saying if your opponent doesn't tone down to *how you want them to* then they are not people WORTH playing against. 

No. I was talking about "I'm bringing my crazy rat swarm army, you agreed to bring something similar and then you brought tournament Petrifex Elite army". 

38 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

Or what happens when you discuss toning down and their idea of toning down is not really toning down?

Listen, during the talk you compare ideas and bring something you both agreed to. Simple as that. I bring my Rat Swarms, you bring Nurgling army. Whose regeneration ability will run out faster? Doesn't it sound cool? 

I think the issue is that your group is not flexible. You seem so focused on competitive gaming that some might think you simply cannot believe that other ways to play exist. I assure you, they exist. And can be a good palate cleanser. 

Edited by michu
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Dead scribe won‘t get it, there‘s been about 15 pages in other threads in which people used well reasoned arguments but he still stuck to his believes though his arguments fell apart several times. This is not meant to insult DS, I simply dislike this always re-occurring circle discussion with him.

this thread was not supposed to be a discussion on how competetive the game is. So could we please return to the topic and stop discussing in circles?

Edited by JackStreicher
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1 minute ago, JackStreicher said:

Dead scribe won‘t get it, there‘s been about 15 pages in other threads in which people used well reasoned arguments but he still stuck to his believes though his argument fell apart.

this thread was not supposed to be a discussion on how competetive the game is. So could we please return to the topic and stop discussing in circles?

Ok, so to have some constructive feedback for @wayniac I will say that two advices are good:

- collecting a vast part of particular range so you can build both competitive and narrative forces

- having two armies: one competitve and one narrative.

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I think @Dead Scribe is right about tuned lists being the best default expectation to have if you're playing in an environment where you show up to a gaming club and just get on with playing. That way there won't be any mismatches. GW games are also broken enough that if you let a group evolve on its own the players will eventually find and gravitate to the stronger choices. To change that natural course requires a drive by the entire group.

Setting up good games with less powerful lists requires more effort and interaction between players, typically in a smaller and closer group. It takes time to find a common ground where everyone's happy but I think it's more fun in the end that way as I'll end up being able to play with everything in my collection as opposed to only 10% of it.

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though his arguments fell apart several times

Thats funny I don't recall really ARGUING or how my opinions fall apart lol.  I'm not ARGUING that other ways to play dont exist.  I'm ARGUING that the game isn't really built for those and that you need to go into the game knowing what the game is built around to avoid setting someone up to fail horribly after spending a lot of money on the game if their expectations were not met.

If wayniac's local area promotes the type of happy casual narrative games that you guys are saying is so common then he shouldn't have an issue.  However through his own words, he has acknowledged his area is probably a lot more similar to mine and he may not has as much fun trying the happy casual narrative game approach if everyone around him is bringing the adepticon approach.  

Its not like a video game that costs $20 where you can download it from steam, figure out its not for you, and then delete it with minimal loss.  If you're going to invest the fairly considerable amount of money, and most of you invest the hours painting, then I'd think you better make sure you know what you're walking into from day one before dropping that currency down.

Edited by Dead Scribe
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@Dead Scribe I don’t have a problem with your approach to the game, and you certainly have some good points. I think what irks a lot of people (me included) is when you repeatedly assert that the game is only made to be played like that when that’s patently not true; from every narrative and open play rules & scenarios written, promoted and sold by GW, to all the narrative events that you can find with a simple search, to everyone telling you that they don’t play like you do, there’s ample proof that a lot of people just like playing narrative games. 

Whether it’s a lesser proportion of the aos scene, or just a less vocal one, doesn’t matter. I don’t play a lot of games because I usually spend a lot of time building up a warband and a narrative before playing, sometimes even travelling to do so. Is that a less valid or enjoyable way? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t enjoy playing the type of game you like but I would never disparage you for liking them.

@wayniac I really hope you don’t lose hope. I seriously recommend doing what you can to find people you like playing with. Also sometimes I find the anxiety about making the right choices can make the problem feel bigger than it actually is when you get to playing. So start with a couple of battlelines and build that army :)

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Decide how you want to play, what things you enjoy, and then strive to find people who are like-minded.  If that is difficult to do and does not get you as many games as you would like then decide how much you are willing to compromise in order to play a game.  Then talk to your opponents and see if they are willing to compromise a bit and you can usually get a game that both of you should enjoy.  

Just talk to your opponents before a game.  The problem in the US is that playing miniature games, especially GW, has slowly moved to this sort of nationally shared "out of the box" game and people don't often discuss the parameters of the game they are playing very much aside from how many points it is.  We have gradually eroded the idea of two people spending time together who have a simple discussion to make sure they are aligned on how to spend that time.

I have rarely met people who are not willing to adjust how we play a game so that both people have a good time if you are willing to speak to them about it.  The few people who I have found that are unwilling to do that I find are often not very fun to play against in general and I don't mind skipping that game.

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@wayniac as mentioned: the open play cards (+ random armies) are really a joy and mix up the games pretty well.

I just finished playing a ~ 1k match that had totally randomized armies and units. I tabled my opponent and had way more victory points but in the last turn she drew the sudden death card that made her win automatically if her General killed mine, guess who had ripped by general apart with magic just a turn before 🤣. So she won and it was fun =}
 

the only drawback of random games might be that you need a big collection you can choose from.

 

if you‘d like to know more about the open war cards and the likes: feel free to pm me =}

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8 hours ago, Dead Scribe said:

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

Misunderstood me... and QFT 

a well balanced 2k game should be kinda equal whatever you field, but it is far from it. 
and to prevail at top level you‘re not able to stick to your beloved bloodknights or a banshee.

 

but open and honest discussion with your opponent should set the playground 

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 The problem in the US is that playing miniature games, especially GW, has slowly moved to this sort of nationally shared "out of the box" game and people don't often discuss the parameters of the game they are playing very much aside from how many points it is.

That and a lot of people I know only buy enough models to cover a 2000 point tournament legal army.  So trying to get us to change parameters doesn't work, because a lot of people don't have this extra model bag somewhere where they can gimp their list and play weaker 2000 point lists with.  We expect the rules of the game to cover what is legal and what is not legal and we buy whatever covers that.  

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@wayniac do both, it's very easy to do.

Last year, locally our AoS scene was definitely tilted on the competitive side, which wasn't great for new players, so I started a narrative night as a counter. It's been a great success at bringing in new players, many of whom now want to play more competitive games. And the previous players are also really enjoying the fluffy games. It's a perfect symbiotic relationship that helps grow the community. The game needs both. 

The trouble is that these changes to local scenes don't just happen, you've got to put the effort in to make it happen (and it takes a lot of time and effort to make 😂). So if you're feeling unsure about one or the other, look at what is more available locally and try to create something that it's opposite (eg. If fluffy is king locally, run some competitive events, and vice-a-versa.), you never know, the drive and pressure of organising could be your thing. 

But I wouldn't stress about armies and models, some are great, some will fall out of flavour. GW are a model company first, so selling models is the prime focus over coherent rules. And although their games are full of flaws, they are also fun and engaging to play, and above all, they are played using really nice models. So play with what you enjoy and have fun.

(Also, the best tables at events are the middle/bottom tables, as that's where the less serious players are found, so embrace the middling positions, it's where you'll make more friends and have a better social experience 😉🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🤪😂.) 

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3 hours ago, Overread said:

So @wayniac any further thoughts on your situation? Have we cracked any of the troubles or just sent you in even more spirals? ;)

Bit of column A, bit of column B :P

Right now I think the best thing is to pick an army that can reasonably do both, rather than an army that is "low tier" which would have a hard time doing well.  That way I can tailor up or down.  Right now that is Idoneth Deepkin (and I like the eel models anyway so I'm covered there).

 

  

1 hour ago, Dead Scribe said:

That and a lot of people I know only buy enough models to cover a 2000 point tournament legal army.  So trying to get us to change parameters doesn't work, because a lot of people don't have this extra model bag somewhere where they can gimp their list and play weaker 2000 point lists with.  We expect the rules of the game to cover what is legal and what is not legal and we buy whatever covers that.  

This is something I see a lot.  People just buy their "2k list" and then only play that.  They have no other models except the exact models in that 2k list, and often won't even play other than 2000 points because they only bought very specific models to fit that competitive list, so they'd be at a big disadvantage at anything else because whatever wombo-combo they specifically bought only works at 2k.  So you have not only a subset of players that only buy the minimum needed but also buy an extremely specific minimum and refuse to do anything where they can't use that very specific minimum, because they don't know anything else.

Edited by wayniac
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I have a suggestion I've been thinking about for a while that means you don't need a bunch of additional models for a competitive and a non-competitive or randomised list. How much you recoil in horror at this is probably a good indicator of how much of a competitive gamer you are.

All of the lore spells, command traits, and artifacts get randomised in front of your opponent at the beginning of the game. You nominate who your general is and who's getting the artifact(s), choose the relevant table, and then you roll the dice. Obviously either both players do this or neither do (unless one chooses), but I think this would work as a great litmus test for which players are allergic to toning it down.

Still plenty of room for competitive list-building, but the player would have to allow for the fact that their list can't hinge on a specific artifact, spell, or command trait, which I suspect would bring the hyper-competitiveness down quite a bit without any extra investment of time or money.

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On 4/8/2020 at 7:22 AM, wayniac said:

 if anyone has successfully dealt with this same dilemma that I have been struggling with for years now and how you handled it?  I feel like I'm going around in circles without ever deciding, and usually buying a few things only to change my mind later which is putting me in the doghouse with my wife because she feels I'm just spending money and never doing anything else.

I am absolutely familiar with this dilemma Wayniac! I have been a casual/garage gamer since the 90s. When 8th edition 40k hit, I went to tournaments for the first time and got into the competitive but struggled with my desire to have “combined arms” or “fluffy” additions to my army that undermined its competitiveness overall.

The biggest things I have done:

1) Evaluate why I am in the hobby. In my case, it’s to participate in a social game physically (as opposed to digitally) and to interact with the stories and settings that I enjoy.

2) Figure out why I was being competitive in the first place. Why did I care about winning? I like to challenge myself and improve at things, but I got tied up in the W/L being all that mattered. That was a mistake for me, personally, because I enjoy the lore and stories, and don’t have enough time to chase the meta, and practice enough to win consistently.

 

3) Pick a damn army, one that isn’t a “meta” army and that sparks the most interest in painting, converting, lore and playing . I have settled on Stormcast.

4) Set new goals, with a basic and achievable tournament perspective. For me: I want to have a chance of winning more than I lose, but not sacrificing “cool stuff I like” so that I can win even more. I’d rather go 3-2 than toss the cool Stardrake from my list, etc.

5) Accept that I’m going to lose because of my choices, but try to feel like a winner because these are MY choices.

hope that helps a bit. Happy to chat more on this as it relates to your situation.

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