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Kamose

Matched Play vs. Narrative/Open Play posts on TGA

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I'd just like put out the thought that "competitive" and narrative are not mutually exclusive, map campaigns often have a winner (just like the Right of Conquest in the GHB) and it can get pretty serious I've played in some that have become tournaments played over weeks and months. Crikey I'd say that ladder campaigns and Swis style tournaments have a number of similarities ( of course winning games in ladder campaigns means your next is usually a little easier rather than harder in the case of the Swiss system)  

 

Edited by Ollie Grimwood
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1 hour ago, Hotdropmartin said:

As for Open play I think it's very different to both Matched and narrative as it's just simple.

Bang some models on the board pick a scenario and play.

Although I agree with the rest of your argument I did want to highlight this sentence. Because I think open play adds a lot more depth than matched. With Matched: just take units to the point limit, smack them on the board and play, simple. But with open play you need to discuss and experiment to see what makes the most exciting games. 
And now we have two absolute statements that are dead-set against each other with very little wiggle room. Either you are right or i'm right. And I think this kind of discussion is what the OP tried to bring to light. 

Because if I had said: Personally I have more trouble with making open play work because I have trouble getting the balance right. What do you discuss before starting a game of open play to make sure it's a fun game?
That would be a different conversation and probably more constructive. But again this is just for the sake of argument, so let me know what you think . 

Edited by Kramer
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1 minute ago, Ollie Grimwood said:

( of course winning games in ladder campaigns means your next is usually a little easier rather than harder in the case of the Swiss system) 

What's a Swiss system?

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7 minutes ago, Kramer said:

What's a Swiss system?

The tournament style where the match ups after the first are seeded on the results of the preceeding games. With the higher seeds playing each other. So the people playing on the top table have the best results and the people on the bottom table have the worst. It means that the person who wins tournament  has played against the best of the other players to win. 

Not sure I've described that the best way but I hope I've done a reasonable job. 

Edited by Ollie Grimwood

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1 minute ago, Ollie Grimwood said:

The tournament style where the match ups after the first are seeded on the results of the preceeding games. With the higher seeds playing each other. So the people playing on the top table have the best results and the people on the bottom table have the worst. It means that the person who wins tournament  has played against the best of the other players to win. 

Got it! Never knew thats called a swiss system. Thanks

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11 minutes ago, Kramer said:

Although I agree with the rest of your argument I did want to highlight this sentence. Because I think open play adds a lot more depth than matched. With Matched: just take units to the point limit, smack them on the board and play, simple. But with open play you need to discuss and experiment to see what makes the most exciting games. 
And now we have two absolute statements that are dead-set against each other with very little wiggle room. Either you are right or i'm right. And I think this kind of discussion is what the OP tried to bring to light. 

Because if I had said: Personally I have more trouble with making open play work because I have trouble getting the balance right. What do you discuss before starting a game of open play to make sure it's a fun game?
That would be a different conversation and probably more constructive. But again this is just for the sake of argument, so let me know what you think . 

I meant from a structure and rules perspective it requires less content from Gw. I agree that it certainly requires more communication.

I think it's a style of play everyone should start with, as the less structure encourages the social aspect and teamwork to make a game better?

Not very clear in my first post,  I got distracted by a Christmas cheeseboard.

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My main problem is within the  focus on matched play: it's all about the 'ultra' competitive style. Max your list here, max there and don't forget sayl! I mean it should also be a thing to use the matched play points/rules for cool lists with some theme (monofactions/storys).

it's not narrative nor open play, because I like the guidance of the points/extra rules to built lists and have a quick game, but if everybody tends to max every list, it is kind of boring to loose always (at least with style ?) and many lists are looking similar due to the few very powerful combos.

 

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Asking GW for a narrative framework is a bit like turkeys asking for Christmas.
I'm all for a book of ideas - different ways of managing / generating campaigns, ways of incorporating the ideas for seasons, resources and what not - but you *don't* want an 'official' narrative system - because it immediately undermines itself, and you're in the same situation of needing a book to act as intermediary with another human being.
You just want ideas / pointers for your own thing.
I've always said, wargaming was something cool my friends and I did have o pass the time.
I never, never understood the stereotype until I started working at a GW. Ye gods.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

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10 minutes ago, BaldoBeardo said:

Asking GW for a narrative framework is a bit like turkeys asking for Christmas.
I'm all for a book of ideas - different ways of managing / generating campaigns, ways of incorporating the ideas for seasons, resources and what not - but you *don't* want an 'official' narrative system - because it immediately undermines itself, and you're in the same situation of needing a book to act as intermediary with another human being.
You just want ideas / pointers for your own thing.
I've always said, wargaming was something cool my friends and I did have o pass the time.
I never, never understood the stereotype until I started working at a GW. Ye gods.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

I agree with this.  Look for ideas, but not official guidelines or we'll see like we just saw:  All those fan-made comps for AOS (some of which were really good) were obsoleted immediately because there's now "official" points from GW themselves.  The same thing would happen with an "official" campaign guide.  Either it would be pretty lame (like 40k's Crusade of Fire) or be complete and then anything else gets invalidated because it's not the "official" way of doing it.

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2 hours ago, Craptrain said:

Part of the situation is that matched play conversations are universal.  The points for skeleton warriors are the same in the US as they are in the UK as they are in NZ (sorry if I left out your country, I still love you).  

Australia! ;)

Awesome post. Every time I see "Summoning is useless" on the Facebook group it is clear that something has gone wrong. On here is better at least, but you're right in that the forum tends to default to matched play discussion / language / evaluation.

+1 to having a narrative section on here (and an open section). I'm a fairly new player (6 months or so) and have been slowly building towards a competitive army to play at a tournament here in Australia. I have a lot more time to think than play though, and now that the list is done all I can think about is the narrative slow-grow campaign we are trying to set up next year. It would be great to have a subforum where everyone shares their campaigns, their maps, their stories from their games, their backstories and etc and it would be a boost to giving narrative play that recognition / presence, especially for new players.

In terms of defining narrative play, I agree that it seems like GW has done a lot there, though it is up to the player maybe to decide on the final 10%. When I talk to my fiance (which is often when I have to think hardest about the essence of the game or what I'm saying) I boiled Match play down to trying to be as balanced as possible so that victories (the aim of both players) mean as much as possible. This is great for tournaments, and good for people who always want to be proud of their victories and not sour about their losses. On facebook particularly, you see claims of unbalance always when people are sour about a loss, the other people quietly blame themselves, the general. For narrative play I said both the game design and player action should be directed at driving the story forwards.

From there though I see a split. Perhaps in some games you lose the "battle" in any competitive sense of the word, but you held that bridge for 3 turns so that something could happen off the board. To me this is a narrative victory and what I like most is that both players can win a narrative victory in the same game. However, some times (and players might prefer) narrative games might be set up so that there should be a clear winner and loser, like in many great stories.

 

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I wonder if it's partly because narrative doesn't always translate well outside of the group of immmediate people involved in the actual game. 

I do think it also requires some mental effort to think about it in a different way. Not more than a 'competitive' matched play game, but it's different. 

I find I have to actively concentrate on seeing the game from the models perspective, not just crouching down for a models eye view (although that always helps) but thinking about my commanders and heroes. Why are they here on this battlefield? What if they lose? What do they know and how is this forming part of their ongoing story? 

Computer games are a good analogy up to a point. The game engine handles all the bangs, flashes and environmental effects, or what happens when you shoot someone. Let's say the ground is breaking apart - you don't need to commit any imagination to navigating the battlefield as it fractures and breaks because it's happening in front of you.

In a game of warhammer, you and your opponents brains, plus the rules are that in-game engine. And not only do you have to concentrate processing power on the basic mechanics, you need it for the explosions and whatnot, plus immersing yourself in what the models are experiencing, naming them, coming up with background, histories etc.

I guess for a lot of people though that just doesn't appeal, possibly because it seems quite childlike, possibly because it detracts from the tactical challenge of pushing a set of logical rules to get the best outcome. Personally it's what got me into the game 20odd years ago and what will keep me in it for another 20+!

The 3rd biggest thing that helps, is terrain. Good terrain will pay dividends in creating epic, memorable moments. Its what sets the game apart from a really complicated  erosion of chess, or glorified D&D . And yet people spend a fraction of their time on the actual worlds their models fight in.

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2 hours ago, Hotdropmartin said:

I meant from a structure and rules perspective it requires less content from Gw. I agree that it certainly requires more communication.

I think it's a style of play everyone should start with, as the less structure encourages the social aspect and teamwork to make a game better?

Not very clear in my first post,  I got distracted by a Christmas cheeseboard.

Ooh that comment got me running for the kitchen ;) But agreed! That being said, I agree it does require less content and they do encourage it quite a lot. Although I can imagine, if you are just starting out that much freedom can be frightining and then the ruleset for matched offer much more tools to start. But you're right, its a great place to start. 

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The idea behind narrative play is exactly how I imagined playing Warhammer when I was a lad in the mid 90s, but had neither the focus, money or skill to actually do. I'd love Narrative and Open sections in TGA as reading about other groups pulling off high level narrative games would be inspirational and aspirational.

Match play is always going to shout the loudest as it appeals to that obsessive competitive part of wargaming (not that it wasn't needed for AoS). It's a given and expected part of comparable systems and the history with WFB will remain with AoS for a long time.

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3 hours ago, MidasKiss said:

Awesome post. Every time I see "Summoning is useless" on the Facebook group it is clear that something has gone wrong.
 

Agreed!

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Please create a separate narrative play section on the forum.

I personally don't  care about list building or rage about death rings dying, in comparison to role play and a cool story.

And I would love to have a place to talk about it with others who are the same. Seems like there are quite a few. 

In my book, yes, matched play could be like a ranked multiplayer video game. But narrative/open is the place where such game was created because of the different unexpected paths imagination takes you on.

Imagining is hard and takes effort but it's worth it and in time makes for a much grander, balanced and interesting games. 

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It does seem like any questions of "What are your thoughts on <unit name>?" immediately get replies of "Not worth it for the points, you're better off with..." and nothing else.

 

I hadn't played since 1996 (when I was 16). Me and my mates used to regularly grab whatever models and play, not worrying about points (we used to play points as well). Was loads of fun... how long can this handful of Guardsmen last against a Tyranid/Genestealer horde... can some Space Wolves hold off a full Eldar army if they have a bastion... etc...

 

Necromunda was my favourite game due to the ongoing narrative. My gang got ahead of everyone and much more powerful so we used to do multiplayer battles where I'd always get teamed up on... exactly what you'd expect and awesome for a narrative  (the enemy of my enemy is my friend).

 

I think wargames are the wrong place to look for a proper competitive experience.

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Yeah Necromunda/Bloodbowl/Gorkamork/mordhiem all managed to fit a narrative system in very well (much smaller miniature count though).  That said even in my very early days they had things like chaos warband rules in the Realm of Chaos books. 

I don't think Wargaming can't be competitive in some way, but I do think one can't expect all thing to be balanced in all circumstances. Especially as there are 3 different "official" ways to play AoS it reasonable to think that certain things are only for one type of play rather than the others. 

Edited by Ollie Grimwood

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Ok let's try some alternative approaches to list building in a narrative sense.

what are people's favourite types of list? I've been meaning to try a 'hunt' list in one of my armies, a mixture of fast beasts (the hounds) and cavalry. Something like Blood Knights and Black Knights with a swarm of Dire Wolves feels like it would work

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I quit 40k when i found out the generals hand book was coming out. I Bought and Age of sigmar model when i knew matched play was a thing. To me that's simply the only way to play. So now that you know my bias here is my statement that iahve made about 3 or 4 times now:

Simply put matched play just has alot to talk about. It has more to talk about that other play styles. before match play if you go back in time. You still ahd the same talk you had clash comp and all the other comp systems that folks were tlaking about. People wondering wound counts vs clash comp/ People talking about rules for auto hitting. These talks were just as numorous as the matched play talks are now.  For instance you can compare the front page of TGA to the Last page of TGA and you'll see the topics on the front page about 4 or so are about matched play/points/balance and the rest are about general hobby stuff. Go the the last page and the ratios remain the same.

It's quite obvious that simply put people just like talking about this subject.

There are plenty of none matched play topics. The difference is they don't pick up as much steam simply because people aren't as interested in talking about that stuff. They never have been that interested in talking about that stuff. There are definitly a few folks on this form who like to talk about other stuff, but it is the minority. It's not because we are forcefull concrepting people to join our church of matched play. 

Basically for me, i have yet to see a thread (mind you i don't read all of them) and seen people saying "why not just play matched play?? its better??" But i do see people going into clearly matched play threads like the FAQ thread on the front page that's quite popular and saying stuff like "these aren't problems if you just play narrative or open play." Why is this a thing?? Clearly people talking in an FAQ thread for the general's hand book simply have no interest in open/narrative or that top has no barring on the current talk.

So why go in trying to pick a fight?? Just seems really silly, and that kind of talk is the real Dakka dakka BoLS type of talk i have no interest in being apart of. The kind of talk where you throw yous hands up in the faces of people playing or talking about the game in the way they want to. 

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1 hour ago, JontyGoesGaming said:

Ok let's try some alternative approaches to list building in a narrative sense.

what are people's favourite types of list? I've been meaning to try a 'hunt' list in one of my armies, a mixture of fast beasts (the hounds) and cavalry. Something like Blood Knights and Black Knights with a swarm of Dire Wolves feels like it would work

 

A small defensive force, left behind as the main army moves out, gets attacked by a full army. Defender takes some minor heroes, maybe one elite non-cavalry unit and some ranged units. They also get good terrain set up with all units provided with cover. Attacker takes a stronger hero, maybe a minor one too, fast units and plenty of infantry. Can the defender hold their lines or can the attacker break through or wipe them out?

Or an infiltrating/scout force trying to damage a full army as much as possible, attacking them while they rest. Full army deploys across the entire battlefield and takes a large number of units including heroes. Infiltrators take a couple of heroes and some elite/fast units... they come on all together from any table edge they want during first round.

A large force is travelling home with a powerful artifact when they get ambushed by a much smaller but mobile force trying to destroy it. One side trying to move the artifact off the table, the other trying to destroy it... maybe only a hero can destroy it... or regular unit on a 5+.

Easy to make up narrative battles imo :)

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