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Nin Win

Open Play? "Let's read" the General's Handbook

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I feel that points provide a pretty decent balance unless you make a list full of poorly-pointed units. Virtually every "matched play" game I've participated in has come down to a roll or two.

That said, the same was largely true of the games I played before matched play. Maybe I got really lucky with the players in my area?

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I think in general a lot of the issue is that matched play is 1/3 of the approaches, but encompasses the majority of it.  So everything, IMHO, has to be built around matched play just by virtue of it being the most commonly seen style.  So you have things like the FAQed Ring of Immortality, Phoenix or Skarr Bloodwrath that are basically useless in matched play because they cost points because if they didn't you would hear the cries of "but it's not faaaaair!".  And then the counter is well not everything is meant for matched play, but that means that too many things are "useless" because they aren't viable in the most commonly played style.

When we are talking about open or narrative, the argument I see invariably comes down to "but how do I know it will be fair/balanced" before anything else; the fear of playing someone who brings anything that could be construed as unfair or giving an advantage.  Even the argument that there's no rule of Ones in open/narrative (by default) so you could abuse spells or stack a 1+ save so you auto-pass saves without Rend or get a 1+ to hit so you auto hit, because nobody wants to ask "Hey let's use the rule of ones to make this less ripe for abuse" before a game.

So this goes back to the idea that for Open and Narrative, the most important rule is to talk to your opponent.  This solves most issues, yet for some reason there is such resistance to doing it, usually on grounds of "I have limited time so I want to get right down to playing" or, at least in the earlier days, the "I don't know how to gauge the units", but there's still the fear of trying or using common sense; if your opponent wants to field all monsters and you don't field any, there's a chance that it's not going to be a fun game.  If your opponent fields a ton of wizards and tries to chain summon daemons to flood the board, that's a good indicator.  You don't IMHO need to get down to the individual units/models strength, but people are seemingly so afraid of just playing the game and, if it turns out it's not fun, ending the game and starting over.

Edited by wayniac
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1 minute ago, wayniac said:

I think in general a lot of the issue is that matched play is 1/3 of the approaches, but encompasses the majority of it.  So everything, IMHO, has to be built around matched play just by virtue of it being the most commonly seen style.  So you have things like the FAQed Ring of Immortality, Phoenix or Skarr Bloodwrath that are basically useless in matched play because they cost points because if they didn't you would hear the cries of "but it's not faaaaair!".  And then the counter is well not everything is meant for matched play, but that means that too many things are "useless" because they aren't viable in the most commonly played style.

When we are talking about open or narrative, the argument I see invariably comes down to "but how do I know it will be fair/balanced" before anything else; the fear of playing someone who brings anything that could be construed as unfair or giving an advantage.  Even the argument that there's no rule of Ones in open/narrative (by default) so you could abuse spells or stack a 1+ save so you auto-pass saves without Rend or get a 1+ to hit so you auto hit, because nobody wants to ask "Hey let's use the rule of ones to make this less ripe for abuse" before a game.

While I agree that matched play (and the term matched play itself covers a number of styles of play, from competitive tournaments to a pick up club game for fun) makes the the majority of games, I don't think everything has to be built around it. It is perfectly acceptable for there to be rules that only make sense in open play or narrative play (and the matched play points for models take this into account). 

As someone that was a chearleader for AoS from launch, long before even community comps came along, I can say its quite possible to have a fair and balanced game without points. In fact I would say its easier to make a balanced/fair game without points, because you can take the players into account. The biggest tool we used to do this was just adding more models as reinforcements to one side or the other if it became one sided before we were ready to end the game. 

One of the big advantages of not having points was you can take the players into account, if someone is new to an army or less experienced (or just not such a good player), you just compensate for that by giving them a few more models (either at the start, or during the game). The idea that points create an even game where anyone can win is just not true, they didn't when I first played 2nd edition WHFB and they still don't now. They are a great tool in some circumstances, but sometimes you want to be able to play a game against someone much better/worse than you, yet still make a game of it. Open play provides a great way to do that.

 

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3 minutes ago, Auticus said:

 

 

What you say?  I had azyr published on BOLS during the 2nd week of AOS's launch ;)

 

So that's a good few days at least after my first 3 games - to be fair, I didn't look for community comps/points systems until about 9 months in, we just had no need to as we were able to balance our games pretty well on our own.

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8 minutes ago, KnightFire said:

As someone that was a chearleader for AoS from launch, long before even community comps came along, I can say its quite possible to have a fair and balanced game without points. In fact I would say its easier to make a balanced/fair game without points, because you can take the players into account. The biggest tool we used to do this was just adding more models as reinforcements to one side or the other if it became one sided before we were ready to end the game. 

This is brilliant and something i never even considered doing.

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9 minutes ago, Auticus said:

We all saw the results of AOS in the beginning and it was a good social experiment I think.

Unfortunately I think the social experiment as GW wanted it failed, and showed how reluctant gamers are to actually talking to their opponents in most cases to determine what would be an enjoyable game, and would prefer to be "told" what is enjoyable (typically meaning "even points and symmetrical battles with no imbalances whatsoever") and as a result we have essentially gone back to playing AOS like it was WHFB and not as GW actually intended it to be played.

It remains incredibly hard to get people who are willing to do Open Play, often as I have said over a fear of it being unbalanced; as I said in one of my earlier posts here, the "But what if" fear:

* What if my opponent fields 400 models to my 40?

* What if my opponent fields 10 wizards and chain summons models?

* What if my opponent has an easier chance of winning than I do because of the scenario?

And I find that A) most of these situations are hypothetical boogeymen that would never occur and B) Almost all of them can be handled by talking to your opponent before or even during the game; for example if your opponent fields a lot more models than you, come up with a scenario that gives you a chance at winning or even the ability to recycle units or bring in reinforcements which, along with a scenario that gives different victory conditions can make for an enjoyable game even in the face of a perceived "imbalance".  Instead, the fear of those things will keep people from trying and falling back to the same old "Matched Play, Pitched Battle" approach.

So let's have a positive spin on this since it's been mainly negative: What are some ways to encourage people to try Open Play and alleviate the fear that it will be unbalanced?  I have yet to find any solid way and I'm not sure a "Let's try Open Play with some modifications" (for instance keeping some of the Rule of Ones to prevent stacking 1+ saves and the like) will work because there's no "guarantee" to assuage the fear.  I've begun trying with the "Points Only" variant as a compromise, since it keeps some of the most abuses of Open at bay and still has the familiarity of points to fall back on.

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2 hours ago, wayniac said:

So let's have a positive spin on this since it's been mainly negative: What are some ways to encourage people to try Open Play and alleviate the fear that it will be unbalanced?  I have yet to find any solid way and I'm not sure a "Let's try Open Play with some modifications" (for instance keeping some of the Rule of Ones to prevent stacking 1+ saves and the like) will work because there's no "guarantee" to assuage the fear.  I've begun trying with the "Points Only" variant as a compromise, since it keeps some of the most abuses of Open at bay and still has the familiarity of points to fall back on.

I've found the best way (this is from my historical miniature gaming but I think it applies) is to tell someone you are looking for an attacker in a desperate last stand scenario.  If they start talking about points, just say "sure" to whatever number they come up with and then bring a smaller force.  Most of the fears about open play are one sided.  They are afraid their opponent will have a huge advantage but are often okay with being the one with the advantage (even if they won't admit it even to themselves).

That's step 1:  getting them to try a non-matched play game.  Being the one asking for an uphill battle will get them there far more likely than asking them to face their perceived fears.

Edited by Nin Win

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3 hours ago, wayniac said:

...

So this goes back to the idea that for Open and Narrative, the most important rule is to talk to your opponent.  This solves most issues, yet for some reason there is such resistance to doing it, usually on grounds of "I have limited time so I want to get right down to playing" or, at least in the earlier days, the "I don't know how to gauge the units", but there's still the fear of trying or using common sense; if your opponent wants to field all monsters and you don't field any, there's a chance that it's not going to be a fun game.  If your opponent fields a ton of wizards and tries to chain summon daemons to flood the board, that's a good indicator.  You don't IMHO need to get down to the individual units/models strength, but people are seemingly so afraid of just playing the game and, if it turns out it's not fun, ending the game and starting over.

Both of those situations you mentioned sound like fun in a narrative game, and if I knew it was going to be an Open of Narrative Game, I would probably play.  Heck, I would even use the Matched Play points values to determine how much of the summoned army I defeated before succumbing to the relentless tide of enemies, like in a "horde survival" mode on video games.  But to play it each week would lessen the impact of its fun and make the game a chore after a while.

To me, just having a metric for estimate unit strength is a good basis for determining balance or game time.  Have you seen the new way that GW is handling points for 40K?  There is a generic "Power Rating" stat for each unit, and then the Matched Play points values will get adjusted over the years to follow the meta and balance things out for the tournament scene.  Maybe we can get something like that to figure out a rough power level of each unit.

3 hours ago, KnightFire said:

While I agree that matched play (and the term matched play itself covers a number of styles of play, from competitive tournaments to a pick up club game for fun) makes the the majority of games, I don't think everything has to be built around it. It is perfectly acceptable for there to be rules that only make sense in open play or narrative play (and the matched play points for models take this into account). 

As someone that was a chearleader for AoS from launch, long before even community comps came along, I can say its quite possible to have a fair and balanced game without points. In fact I would say its easier to make a balanced/fair game without points, because you can take the players into account. The biggest tool we used to do this was just adding more models as reinforcements to one side or the other if it became one sided before we were ready to end the game. 

One of the big advantages of not having points was you can take the players into account, if someone is new to an army or less experienced (or just not such a good player), you just compensate for that by giving them a few more models (either at the start, or during the game). The idea that points create an even game where anyone can win is just not true, they didn't when I first played 2nd edition WHFB and they still don't now. They are a great tool in some circumstances, but sometimes you want to be able to play a game against someone much better/worse than you, yet still make a game of it. Open play provides a great way to do that.

I agree on that: Matched Play =/= Tournament or competitive play.

I use Matched Play points to organize my games, and that's about it.  We are very relaxed and are interested in pursing more Narrative gaming in our club.  I even wrote up some rough ideas for a Narrative Campaign that included small bonuses to army size based on scenarios or rewards for the players.  Points are just a mechanic that can be used or ignored, like many of the other modular rules presented in the General's Handbook.

Your idea for reinforcements is a neat one, but it is economically impossible for some of us.  I hit a recent spot where I am severely limited in my wargaming hobby budget, and don't have enough Age of Sigmar models built up bring in reinforcments (I'm capped out at 1600 points for Destruction, and about 700 points of Chaos and Order each after that).  This is why many of us were hesitant to join in the game, as many players (in my case, the WAAC tournament players) can spend seemingly endless cash on this hobby, getting exactly what they need to make the most "optimized" and "points efficient" list possible.

2 hours ago, wayniac said:

...

It remains incredibly hard to get people who are willing to do Open Play, often as I have said over a fear of it being unbalanced; as I said in one of my earlier posts here, the "But what if" fear:

* What if my opponent fields 400 models to my 40?

* What if my opponent fields 10 wizards and chain summons models?

* What if my opponent has an easier chance of winning than I do because of the scenario?

And I find that A) most of these situations are hypothetical boogeymen that would never occur and B) Almost all of them can be handled by talking to your opponent before or even during the game; for example if your opponent fields a lot more models than you, come up with a scenario that gives you a chance at winning or even the ability to recycle units or bring in reinforcements which, along with a scenario that gives different victory conditions can make for an enjoyable game even in the face of a perceived "imbalance".  Instead, the fear of those things will keep people from trying and falling back to the same old "Matched Play, Pitched Battle" approach.

...

Except in some cases they weren't hypothetical.  The "what if" for my area was only "if" the WAAC tournament, ultra-competitive players would start playing Age of Sigmar.  They WOULD use those tactics to win their games, because they do that EVERY month at their monthly 40K tournaments, EVERY time.  It's not a matter of points that is the issue, but of certain players who show little or no sign of wanting to play in a narrative or relaxed gaming environment.  They really enjoy playing the cheesiest of the cheese, and don't understand why others don't enjoy it.  If these WAAC players were to pick up Age of Sigmar now, I would bet the farm that they would pick up the Sayl Bloodletter Bomb, a Beastclaw Monster Mash, or the cheesiest Tzeentch Skyfire list possible, because that's how they like to play the game.  They drove me away from 40K in my local area, so I am glad that we managed to get out group to start the local Age of Sigmar group and emphasize more relaxed and Narrative games. 

2 hours ago, wayniac said:

...

So let's have a positive spin on this since it's been mainly negative: What are some ways to encourage people to try Open Play and alleviate the fear that it will be unbalanced?  I have yet to find any solid way and I'm not sure a "Let's try Open Play with some modifications" (for instance keeping some of the Rule of Ones to prevent stacking 1+ saves and the like) will work because there's no "guarantee" to assuage the fear.  I've begun trying with the "Points Only" variant as a compromise, since it keeps some of the most abuses of Open at bay and still has the familiarity of points to fall back on.

This is what I recommend, using the Matched Play rules in different capacities to level off the potential abuse of Open Play.  I bet there are a few wargamers out there who still don't know the General's Handbook fixed many of their fears.

I also think we need to get rid of the mindset that Matched Play is just for competitive play, because it isn't.  It can be used to have a system in place for your Narrative Campaigns, or it can be used to track a players score for an Open game.  It gives ideas and opportunities for custom artifacts and Allegiance Abilities, and it provides rough estimate of the power levels of the units in the game.  You can use Matched Play rules as the basis for a long-running narrative and pick and choose different aspects of it for your event (like Coalesence) just as easily as you can have an Open Play tournament.

Communication with your opponent is the quickest way to fix everything, and will fix any of the problems mentioned with any of the play types.

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I think one of the really interesting things about the open/narrative/matched play concepts (as mentioned by Jervis Johnson on his Warhammer TV interview) is that is has created a language around different ways to play. In 8th edition, you would arrange a game of warhammer with someone, agree a number of points, and then set up and play (people usually didn't even bother with scenarios, which was a shame). You could easily end up with two people with wildly different expectations of what they wanted to get out of the game, which lead to games not being as enjoyable. 

As others have mentioned, one of the key things about playing AoS is communicating with your opponent and agreeing the type of game you want to play and the parameters of this game. To me, the single best thing about the generals handbook is that it gave us a much better defined and more universal set of terms to have those conversations. We now talk with our opponents about whether we want to play matched, narrative or open, which scenario we want to play, whether we use house rules etc. Its a great start, so I don't think we can completely say that the GW "social experiment" has failed. Its actually not that big a leap from there to open play, when people are ready to try it.

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19 hours ago, rokapoke said:

I feel that points provide a pretty decent balance unless you make a list full of poorly-pointed units. Virtually every "matched play" game I've participated in has come down to a roll or two.

That said, the same was largely true of the games I played before matched play. Maybe I got really lucky with the players in my area?

I too found that most games were extremely close even before points were introduced.

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I do like the idea of a different "language" as far what is expected, the issue I think stems from the fact that people seem to immediately equate "Open" with "no points" which immediately brings up the aforementioned "but what if?" fears, and seem to equate "narrative" with "campaign/fluffy".  I have on at least one occasion heard the argument against narrative play as "We aren't playing a campaign though".  So it seems "matched" is the one with the most reasonable expectations because it's familiar.

I still plan to try and persuade at least one of my friends to do a narrative campaign (likely the Clash of Wills campaign in the General's Handbook, potentially with different battleplans as the default are all the "to the death" mission), and may even ask him to do it open with us just selecting a couple of scrolls and some heroes, with the implication that while I (as Flesh-Eater Courts) could abuse summoning I won't because it would not be fun.  It's my hope if we do this at a venue such as our local GW store, we could hopefully entice some people to give it a try if we are both having lots of fun.

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On 16.05.2017 at 8:16 PM, BunkhouseBuster said:

it provides rough estimate of the power levels of the units in the game. 

It does not by any means and never did. It's just random numbers without any system of how it was imagined, and they don't show anything. You want to know the estimation? 5 ogres against 15 goblins, 10 humans and elves and 1 giant, for example. Alas, thanks to GW for creating this mindset and now people seldom are able to think outside the box even in the slightest. And it's not even mentioning the hobby is social at its core but, as others have already said, few people realize that and can communicate with the ones they play with. Or against rather, yes, instead of with. Because the most people in this regard are nothing in life and just try to realize themselves at least through winning in imagined games. Pitiful really. 

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I'm not really a fan of points systems, but I also don't really want this thread to be about how good they do their job or not.  I think it's fair to say that they will provide some sort of guideline but history has shown us that those making the guidelines rarely get it right.  And there are things they simply can't account for.  So use them as a very general guideline when it comes to open play, if at all.   If you do use points, I think the best approach is to look at the list of things you might take as a menu of interesting dishes you might order rather than as an artificial environment where you play a separate solo game of list building to make the strongest force.

As well I also agree that there are loads of people out there who are trying to work something personal out on the table top.  I think the best approach is probably compassion and try to show them about enjoying the game for its own sake rather than how you feel when you win.  Or failing that, don't play with them.  Part of what makes Open Play work is people being at least somewhat like minded.  If someone has some emotional need to win at a game, that's probably something you can't and shouldn't have to deal with.

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2 minutes ago, Nin Win said:

Part of what makes Open Play work is people being at least somewhat like minded.  If someone has some emotional need to win at a game, that's probably something you can't and shouldn't have to deal with.

exactly so. Life is too short to play with those who will spoil your fun and play against you instead of with you. It's a pity how many people actually play because they can and have to rather than to play when they wish and have nice opponents. 

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Who needs points? Just get your models onto the table and play.

If I come across someone who wants to field 400 models to my 40 so be it. But after the game there will be some seriously "friendly" banter about how I know what William Wallace felt like and how my few little units took down half their army.  Anyone who would want to play that many against a small smattering of models is probably not confident of their own skill, anyways.

For those that are still bothered set the scene (realm gate battle, King of the Hill etc.) and then agree to something like: no more than 2 battleline units of 10 models and 2 character models, of which one is to be General. If a Monster is played then that counts as your 2 character models.

It's never that difficult to play an Open Play game. It's all about having a bloody good time, win or lose.

Edited by BloodReign
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Seconding on that - nothing really to add. The hobby (in comparison to the display modelism this one actually is very social) is about communicating with the fellows very much, and it's normal before the game to discuss it in order to ensure you both will have fun, and even in the process it's normal to talk to each other. Pity not all understand that.

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Another last minute work commitment and I forgot my GHB before heading out of town.  Ugh.

If I recall correctly the next part is about actually running multiplayer games.  How to roll dice to see who gets priority.

Basically the game is divided into battle rounds during which each person has their player turn.  Everyone rolls a dice and the highest choose who goes next.  Repeat until everyone has gone.  That's one "battle round."

I'm sure there's other stuff on the page, but that's all I got from memory.

This is actually a very, very common way to play the game.  It might actually be, contrary to our forum experiences, the most common way to play the game.

How can I make such an outlandish claim?  It's what GW store employees do for their group events.  And since GW stores are dedicated to recruiting new people, they tend to have loads of players with relatively small collections.  Combine that with limited table space and lots of GW stores run "bring and battle" type events even more than once a week.  Add in that they are multiplayer and there are hundreds of GW stores and it can easily be the most common way people play the game.

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23 hours ago, Nin Win said:

Add in that they are multiplayer and there are hundreds of GW stores and it can easily be the most common way people play the game.

A pure nightmare for all those who think any other ways of playing, especially without points, don't exist. But I agree that it's probable at least, and who knows?

With the multiplayer games the open play part of the book is complete and narrative part comes next. Since they are very similar and like different sides of a coin, I think we can continue with this.

"With cast of indomitable heroes and fearsome villains, plot of conquests, zealous loyalty and ruthless betrayals, and of course spectacular battle scenes, every Warhammer Age of Sigmar legend tells an epic story. Narrative play is all about enacting such tales on your own battlefield."

Pretty nails the essence of the chapter. Enacting a story. Telling a tale of epic deeds. In this regard I can't help but quote a game called "Age of Mythology" that I so love, because it fits right in! Here we go: "Age of Mythology is a game of heroes and monsters, mighty armies and epic deeds. Lead your culture through the ages, from humble beginnings in a small village to mighty citadels protected by the power of the gods. Tear down the walls of Troy. Battle giants in the frozen wastes near Midgard. And fight army of anubites in the shifting sands of Egypt. The gods, as a token of appreciation, may someday reward you with great earth-changing powers in Age of Mythology". Sounds familiar, does it not? It does, and this is all Age of Sigmar is all about - epic deeds and great quests for power and glory in a high fantasy setting where your "simple men" and "ordinary life" just don't matter anymore because the whole idea is about gods amongst men, demigods on a battlefield and mighty clashes across continents. So ready your quills, gentlemen, and start writing YOUR story to leave YOUR mark on the world.

"Throughout the Mortal Realms, relentless battles of conquest and survival are being fought between the forces of Order, Chaos, Death and Destruction. Just as you might expect, recreating these sprawling conflicts on the tabletop is hugely popular part of the Games Workshop hobby, allowing you to make the sagas truly your own."

As mentioned before. Recreating some conflicts or your own that you want to - this is a huge part of the hobby indeed, for it starts with models as the hobby themselves and goes all the way down to painting, conversions and playing. But it does require a bit of imagination, so no wonder many can't comprehend that and understand only a standard faceless pitched battle with "equal forces". They miss out on this a lot.

"Put simply, narrative play is gaming style that ties the battles you play on your tabletop to the stories of the Mortal Realms." 

Just that simple. You play battles which occurred in the fluff before (or will in the future) or as a part of them. Or even your own, with your boys, as a whole - why not? For example, you were inspired by the Beastclaw Raiders and their exploits in the Mortal Realms, so your own Alfrostun is on its path across the worlds doing what it does best - crushing enemies, gathering food and staying ahead of the cursed Everwinter. You decide to write a some coherent story of their deeds, so you play a couple of games where the ogres encounter different enemies and write it down as the path of this Alfrostun in its quest to be always ahead of the Everwinter. Why not?

"In this section you will find guidelines to help you build themed army, play battles based on historical tales, and structure campaigns of linked games to tell an even more epic story."

As before. Help for those who wants to do this but is unsure how to or unsure in their abilities to do it. What can be more exciting? A themed and beautiful army, battles with interesting scenarios and objectives, stories of your exploits within quite a good and rich setting which constantly evolves - that's the essence of the hobby, not some random numbers and pieces on the board, but this.

To be continued...

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I think that is, in many cases, the worst part.  Too many people are unwilling to do anything that isn't "as close to 100% balance" and will throw fits like children up to and including trying to boycott it, just so they don't have to think outside the box any.  It's very sad, that such a small group often essentially holds everything else hostage.

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1 hour ago, Auticus said:

Sadly today my campaign had to go back to matched play with no houserules.  The community willed it.  

Did any of them even read your campaign guide? :(

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55 minutes ago, Auticus said:

Today I was told in a fb group that narrative gaming belongs in garages and basements and out of stores or anywhere people might "learn how to play wrong" and that narrative gaming came down to "silly made up rules".

The "silly made up rules" was in response to narrative rules not restricting summoning.  

"So if I'm playing in your casual narrative campaign I'll just bring 10 wizards so I can summon 200 blood letters so I can win.  Thats silly nonsense houserules that break the game."

"Learn how to play wrong" reminds me of hearing some gamers a few years back in the roleplaying community talk about how D&D (which is "nominally" a narrative game system) is supposed to be played by serious gamers. ;)

I believe that for a narrative event to work well then it needs a good game master and notice up front to all players what to expect. Tell that player that wants to bring 10 wizards that there may be a tornado which randomly appears on a tabletop during the course of the event. Oh, surprise! That tornado happens to sweep across that one table and carries 9 wizards away into the celestial realm!

That's how GMs keep power gamers in check during RPG campaigns.... "Sure, you trick the rest of the party and manage to steal the 'magic' sword for yourself. But once you have the sword in hand you realize it's magically cursed and now you can't let go and it applies -1 to all your to-hit rolls and causes no damage other than to give any foe struck a mild case of hiccups!"

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Yeah, @Auticus seems to play with some of the worst people from everything he's said, just wannabe tryhard "srs bznsss" gamers.

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47 minutes ago, Auticus said:

The learn how to play wrong guy was in a facebook group (not local guy).  

The local group itself is mostly cool.  There are a couple very vocal serious business gamers inside of it that give the most hell.  They want the area to be only about competitive tournament play with no houserules.

Was it on the AOS fans?  I didn't notice it and I would have latched onto that sort of comment :D

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12 hours ago, Auticus said:

About 40% read it.  the others had no intentions of reading it and were going to just play normal AOS rules.  So I decided to bin it.  My area is starting to get more tournament happy.  It cycles.  The narrative stuff has been on a downtick the past year and a half.  With the new 40k coming out and being all about tournament play and gw focusing on tournament events in general, its made anything not matched play difficult to do here.  

Its also not really about balance.  Most people that have a basic understanding of sixth grade math understand the ghb is not balanced by any means.  Its that they read on the internet how the game should be played and want their games to match that so they can discuss the same game.  If they bought an army that takes advantage of undercosted ghb points, they want to be able to run that.  Because thats the game " out of the box".  

Today I was told in a fb group that narrative gaming belongs in garages and basements and out of stores or anywhere people might "learn how to play wrong" and that narrative gaming came down to "silly made up rules".

The "silly made up rules" was in response to narrative rules not restricting summoning.  

"So if I'm playing in your casual narrative campaign I'll just bring 10 wizards so I can summon 200 blood letters so I can win.  Thats silly nonsense houserules that break the game."

When I were a lad, and compuserve were a thing, I used to hang out in a roleplaying area that did "freeform roleplay" - which basically consisted of people typing what their character was doing into a basic chat interface. There were no dice, no rules, nothing, yet the games flowed perfectly well, because the people playing were all there to have fun, and everyone knew the one rule was DBAD. Open and open-narrative games can work perfectly well if the same principals are followed, but you have to be aware that its not for all types of players, some people don't see the point of a game if they cant "win it" (and asking who wins when I sit down with my wife to watch TV just draws blank stares) - but thats fine, and one of the best things about the generals handbook is that it gives us the language to discuss the type of game we want to play, and to therefore find opponents looking for the same thing.

 

Personally in your situation I would have kept the campaign rules, and suggested those that didn't read the pack run their own campaign, those that didn't would swiftly find that not following the pack meant that the gods intervened in their campaign progress whenever they strayed outside the intent of the campaign. 

 

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I don't think it's fracturing things to allow for all the ways to play to happen.  It's okay if on one table two people are doing matched play tournament practice and the next table has some narrative or open play scenario thing going?

Perhaps the easiest way to hybridize is to take a page from the SCGT Narrative Hijack project that Thornshield organized:

It's also possible that a narrative or open play package asks too much of someone who just wants to do matched play.  The thing to remember about matched play is that it front loads the thinking onto army construction and then makes a thought free approach to setting up a game.  By that I mean that none of the assumptions need to be thought about beyond points value and going through the (to them) normal (or even "only") procedure.  Narrative and Open asks people to put more thought into it outside of army building for advantage.  So I'd advocate for a single sentence of background info rather than a page.  As much structure as possible in terms of them arriving to them playing.  There have been quite a few Narrative events that look very much like modified matched play events.  This is because the NEOs have realized what's needed.

Basically Matched Play provides a lot of hand holding for players who either don't want to think for themselves (or worse, talk with an opponent about it) when it comes to setting up the game, so you'll need to replace all that in advance or they'll furrow their brows in a vain attempt to understand.  They really do believe that without all the structure matched play provides, the game will implode as they are forced to face infinite summoning and unwinnable games.

I know this sounds awful, but knowing how to set up a game is a skill and matched play players are simply not exercising those muscles on a regular basis.  So you basically have to approach their introduction into another way to play as if they were frightened children who are scared of all the possible negative play experiences ahead.  Keep it simple and give them structure.

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