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Does competitiveness ruin AoS?


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I love skaven for having some of the coolest models and being the most range-focused chaos army (despite desperately needing some repacked kits and a comprehensive battletome). I kinda just wish that people weren't so obsessed with competitiveness. And this applies across the board, not just to skaven. Some people actively look to find exploitable loop holes and build broken lists just to win. 

It means people overlook some super cool models with really fun rules. I for example love lots of artillery and weapon teams (love those poisoned wind mortars) but I highly doubt my planned list would be even remotely competitive. Yet it would be fun to play against people with a similar non-competitive mindset.

Stormfiends are a good example. I haven't glued mine together yet but I can clearly see that 3 warpfire projectors is clearly the best competitive option. But it just seems boring to me to use that cheesy spam option which will likely get nerfed soon anyway. Let alone the lack of modelling variety! You would also have 3 identically posed models. Nope. I'm going to have a mixture of one of those with a rattling canon (even though statistically they kind of suck) and melee option because it's more fun and looks vastly better. 

It's just a shame when AoS has some particularly beautiful models begging to be used. There are even whole factions that aren't very popular based purely on their lack of competitive power. It's almost worrying how cheap I just bought the blades of khorne battletome for on ebay and yet the models and fluff are amazing for them. I am also getting super into the fluff, books and lore. They all add a far more exciting potential of how the game could be played. 

I dunno i guess I'm just gonna build my list the way I wish I could field it. I will take "variety, fluff and fun" over "competitive and boring" any day. And then I can dream of my skaven laying siege to a heavily fortified castle ?. Maybe doing heavy ranged damage to pave the way for a heavily armored khorne army to come knocking. 

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Competitiveness above all else ruins any game, period.
The important thing is that both players get the experience they want.

If you're the sort of person that will buy an army, white-spray and 3-wash it in a week just to win a tournament, then that's great. Go nuts.

Most people (I think) tend toward a bit of a balance - the army and models they like, but tuned and refined over a series of games into a reasonable tournament force.

If your desire to win exceeds your desire to have a good game, then that's not a good place to be.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

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Excellent opinion BaldoBeardo. I just don't get it. I don't get this need to "break" lists. I spoke to someone the other day who boasted that he can break any list! I just like the idea of what you said: a balanced and fun list that is refined through experience. 

As for what you said about painting I couldn't agree more too. I just spent 5 hours painting a single figure ?

20170520_173629.jpg

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Everything has trade offs, so if someone makes a trade off to be competitive that ends up costing them more than they would like, then and only then, could it be said that it ruined AoS.  If that means missing out on cool models or poses, or driving away certain other opponents who don't want the same thing, or whatever else, it'll depend on what they get out of it in return.  It gets complicated when the trade offs selected by one person impacts the fun of others though.  No gaming can indeed be better than bad gaming (which could also mean the competitive player won't enjoy playing against a non-competitive list that would give them a game in easy mode).

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3 minutes ago, Nin Win said:

Everything has trade offs, so if someone makes a trade off to be competitive that ends up costing them more than they would like, then and only then, could it be said that it ruined AoS.  If that means missing out on cool models or poses, or driving away certain other opponents who don't want the same thing, or whatever else, it'll depend on what they get out of it in return.  It gets complicated when the trade offs selected by one person impacts the fun of others though.  No gaming can indeed be better than bad gaming (which could also mean the competitive player won't enjoy playing against a non-competitive list that would give them a game in easy mode).

That's it though isn't it. This happens all to often. People get driven away because there is no point them playing a "competitive" list because they will either lose every time or because they get destroyed so quickly they can't even get a benefit out of using their favourite models. And as for missing out on cool models and poses and even armies..... most tournaments at the moment are dominated by the same factions. People get bored of tournaments because they have to face endless stormcast armies. I just don't know why the focus can't be "let's have fun" with a "I would be cool to win" added on rather than a focus of "I need to win above all else"

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I totally agree.  

My least favorite thing about competitive list building are the options that get passed over.  So much game design work done and then no one plays them.  They might have really cool rules and are super fun, but nope, they sit on the shelf.

AoS is a social hobby and if people don't match up on how competitive they want their game it makes the local area much less likely to hit a critical mass of interested players.  A group of 20 Age of Sigmar players can get a lot of stuff done, but if 5 or 6 of them want to do tournaments, another 5 or 6 want to do narrative events and another 5 or 6 do the hybrid thing where they play matched play but make sub-optimal list building decisions, then no event really gets off the ground and the community sort of stagnates.  Or worst case scenario, becomes fractured and segregated.  If the approaches are different enough then it's like they're not even playing the same game.

I'm pretty anti-tournament in a city dominated by tournament thinking.  I recently sold off my X-Wing collection because a game store started a map campaign league night and it ended up becoming tournament practice night for people who travel to big events.  Same thing as what happened with Warmachine/Hordes.  Fortunately it seems Age of Sigmar is where all the people who don't rank winning as their top priority ended up.  Played a skirmish game the other day against someone I had never played a game with before and we did things like not have to take a hero and use non-standard scenarios and have unequal renown value and we had a great time.

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1 hour ago, BloodTithe said:

I will take "variety, fluff and fun" over "competitive and boring" any day.

Good for you. I will take competitive and boring over variety and fluff, because your competitive and boring is fun to me.

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I think SCGT and GH and move towards Competitive saved AoS or maybe enabled AoS to flourish. 

I get both sides of argument but if AoS was home game to enjoy with friends it may stay that way and from my experience it's always quite easy to find other people and play with them that way. 

 

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38 minutes ago, Cookiez said:

Good for you. I will take competitive and boring over variety and fluff, because your competitive and boring is fun to me.

So you like the idea of intentionally trying to break a list purely for the sake of winning? And you like the idea of 80% of players only using stormcast in tournaments? And having lots of models having identical poses because people buy multiples of just one? (If these don't apply to you then you missed my point).

Don't get me wrong. I like competition. I love the matched play system and wouldn't play any other way. I love the idea of having tactics and list-building strategy into my gameplay. But there is more to the game than winning and how far do you take the competitiveness? It's fine to have your opinion. But I wouldn't enjoy playing you if you tick all of the boxes above.  

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I think games where you play against each other are by nature competitive. Its possible to play AoS in ways that are co-operative instead but its very rarely done. However what really makes AoS great is the variety of different way to play. I really like narrative games, but I also occasionally enjoy going to tournaments and playing some more competitive games. I don't expect to win the tournament, but I have fun playing a different style of game.

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9 minutes ago, DantePQ said:

I think SCGT and GH and move towards Competitive saved AoS or maybe enabled AoS to flourish. 

I get both sides of argument but if AoS was home game to enjoy with friends it may stay that way and from my experience it's always quite easy to find other people and play with them that way. 

 

I love the generals handbook and competitive play. I'm more complaining about how far we take this competitiveness. I would only ever play using matched play to gauge how many points per side and the army structure etc. But I wouldn't go out of my way to break lists to win. It's not all about the winning for me. I love list building and planning strategies and sure I like the idea of winning. But the meta has a way of ruining things and sucking the fun out of the game. And massively reducing variety 

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1 minute ago, KnightFire said:

I think games where you play against each other are by nature competitive. Its possible to play AoS in ways that are co-operative instead but its very rarely done. However what really makes AoS great is the variety of different way to play. I really like narrative games, but I also occasionally enjoy going to tournaments and playing some more competitive games. I don't expect to win the tournament, but I have fun playing a different style of game.

Very true. And I completely agree. I'm glad it isn't all about winning for you. I'm not against competing in principle by any means.

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1 minute ago, BloodTithe said:

I love the generals handbook and competitive play. I'm more complaining about how far we take this competitiveness. I would only ever play using matched play to gauge how many points per side and the army structure etc. But I wouldn't go out of my way to break lists to win. It's not all about the winning for me. I love list building and planning strategies and sure I like the idea of winning. But the meta has a way of ruining things and sucking the fun out of the game. And massively reducing variety 

I don't do that either, but nor does everyone who goes to a tournament or plays at a club (and many of those that try to don't manage it). One of the best things about large tournaments is that there are enough players that after a few games, your usually playing against other people of a similar ability and attitude. 

There are some players that do that, but even among the ones that do, a lot of them will tailor their play if they are facing a weaker list

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Competitiviness does not ruin anything. It is always the people.

I think players should simply be aware of different kinds if players and embrace all the aspects. Even if you are not the competitive person, but playing against one, bring something what is exciting to play and give your opponent your best shot. And in opposite, competitive player can despite having maybe strong list offer great match to someone who is less so.

I may have had the pleasure to see such a healthy Warmachine/Hordes communities despite competitive focus.  Even back in 8th Edition Warhammer times, all we had all sort of players are still everyone were having good time with whatever focus they could have had.

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1 hour ago, Nin Win said:

I totally agree.  

My least favorite thing about competitive list building are the options that get passed over.  So much game design work done and then no one plays them.  They might have really cool rules and are super fun, but nope, they sit on the shelf.

AoS is a social hobby and if people don't match up on how competitive they want their game it makes the local area much less likely to hit a critical mass of interested players.  A group of 20 Age of Sigmar players can get a lot of stuff done, but if 5 or 6 of them want to do tournaments, another 5 or 6 want to do narrative events and another 5 or 6 do the hybrid thing where they play matched play but make sub-optimal list building decisions, then no event really gets off the ground and the community sort of stagnates.  Or worst case scenario, becomes fractured and segregated.  If the approaches are different enough then it's like they're not even playing the same game.

I'm pretty anti-tournament in a city dominated by tournament thinking.  I recently sold off my X-Wing collection because a game store started a map campaign league night and it ended up becoming tournament practice night for people who travel to big events.  Same thing as what happened with Warmachine/Hordes.  Fortunately it seems Age of Sigmar is where all the people who don't rank winning as their top priority ended up.  Played a skirmish game the other day against someone I had never played a game with before and we did things like not have to take a hero and use non-standard scenarios and have unequal renown value and we had a great time.

I think that "matching up your level of competitiveness" is exactly the right thing to do. And cool I like the idea of no hero's and stuff like no behemoths or maybe even  "let's limit kurnoth hunters and other cheese units." 

The thing that's kinda boring to me is how easy it is to make a super competitive list. Particularly ones that spam certain units. It doesn't really take much skill to build a list like this and sure I'd win against 90% of people but I wouldn't enjoy it and those I might play sure as hell wouldn't.

 

Glad u have found a good community though 

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Competitiveness doesn't ruin AoS, but winning at all costs could.

One aspect of why competitiveness seems to be the default is that it's easier to talk about than how cool or varied the unit. Plus the ones with the most passion for the game are often the ones frequenting tournaments, so they will talk about it more vocally.

Another aspect is the availability of tournaments, which by default, is a Matched Play style event. These are so popular and get people playing the game, so they have to be celebrated & talked about, so the competitive aspect will undoubtedly be discussed.

Now, what I've noticed with threads discussing this topic have often been written in a negative way, which doesn't help the cause (this isn't a direct target to the OP, just a generalisation). It's not like the competitive players come over to the Narrative & Open play subforum to bash the lore or house rules for narrative games.

Instead, one should try to promote the less competitive aspect of play with positive examples, eg stories of how you enjoyed it, discussions on your favourite piece of lore, that sort of thing.

As for events on the scene, if you love the casual, laid back game, or a storyline driven one, there are a few events or non-typical tournaments out there. If there aren't any near you, why not start one? As long as it's made clear in the event pack that it's not about being uber competitive, like-minded players will follow. It's all about adding variety to the scene & catering to players like yourself.

Just my thoughts on this topic.



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4 minutes ago, Thornshield said:

Competitiveness doesn't ruin AoS, but winning at all costs could.

One aspect of why competitiveness seems to be the default is that it's easier to talk about than how cool or varied the unit. Plus the ones with the most passion for the game are often the ones frequenting tournaments, so they will talk about it more vocally.

Another aspect is the availability of tournaments, which by default, is a Matched Play style event. These are so popular and get people playing the game, so they have to be celebrated & talked about, so the competitive aspect will undoubtedly be discussed.

Now, what I've noticed with threads discussing this topic have often been written in a negative way, which doesn't help the cause (this isn't a direct target to the OP, just a generalisation). It's not like the competitive players come over to the Narrative & Open play subforum to bash the lore or house rules for narrative games.

Instead, one should try to promote the less competitive aspect of play with positive examples, eg stories of how you enjoyed it, discussions on your favourite piece of lore, that sort of thing.

As for events on the scene, if you love the casual, laid back game, or a storyline driven one, there are a few events or non-typical tournaments out there. If there aren't any near you, why not start one? As long as it's made clear in the event pack that it's not about being uber competitive, like-minded players will follow. It's all about adding variety to the scene & catering to players like yourself.

Just my thoughts on this topic.


 

I agree with every word you've said. Maybe my initial post is worded slightly wrong. Because I love competitiveness and am complaining at the "win at all costs" mindset you mentioned. 

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10 minutes ago, KnightFire said:

I don't do that either, but nor does everyone who goes to a tournament or plays at a club (and many of those that try to don't manage it). One of the best things about large tournaments is that there are enough players that after a few games, your usually playing against other people of a similar ability and attitude. 

There are some players that do that, but even among the ones that do, a lot of them will tailor their play if they are facing a weaker list

Hyperthetically: What would you do if you bought a box of figures and it had 1 figure (out of the unit of 3) that was really over powered but only the option to make one of them? But the other 2 figures are much weaker but look amazing. Would you buy three boxes / the bits to make all three into that 1 powerful model, all with the same pose? Or would you just build the three that come in the box with the variety of poses that look better and have less cheese/spam going on?

And what would you do if you wanted to make a 1000pts of sylvaneth and knew that it would only win tournament games including kurnoth hunters, but you hated the whole concept behind that unit? 

Just a couple of ponderings 

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I agree with every word you've said. Maybe my initial post is worded slightly wrong. Because I love competitiveness and am complaining at the "win at all costs" mindset you mentioned. 

I figured, as I thought your post was actually tame & not written bitterly in comparison to the other ones I've seen on the same topic [emoji1]

Winning at all costs is always going to be a problem. Though I'm not sure what constitutes that in AoS as it's part ruleset & part mindset that sets the boundary. The former has some areas that can be broken easily & the latter may have attracted WAAC players since the GHB.
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39 minutes ago, BloodTithe said:

So you like the idea of intentionally trying to break a list purely for the sake of winning? And you like the idea of 80% of players only using stormcast in tournaments? And having lots of models having identical poses because people buy multiples of just one? (If these don't apply to you then you missed my point).

Don't get me wrong. I like competition. I love the matched play system and wouldn't play any other way. I love the idea of having tactics and list-building strategy into my gameplay. But there is more to the game than winning and how far do you take the competitiveness? It's fine to have your opinion. But I wouldn't enjoy playing you if you tick all of the boxes above.  

I like games, where I know I won't roll over the other guy, I like to think what to do next than just move random models, fun to me is outsmarting my opponent. And winning is also fun and I don't see anything bad in admitting it, just as doing your best to win - it shows you respect your opponent, as I see playing like you don't give a **** disrespectful. And yes, I will always look for the best possibilities for my list.

From where did you get the idea that 80% of the players use the same faction?

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We are human, some humans enjoy winning and will build the silly lists in order to win as often as possible. If people want to do that, then thats there own choice. I don't think this happens to often in honesty and if you have the misfortune to end up facing one in the first round of a tornament then you might be unlucky, but the way they choose opponents means you will probably not face one again (unless the person plays bad or faces hard counters).

I tend to find that the people in my area do like to play 'competitatively', but this isn't in a broken way (if that makes sense) and its just units that perform well whilst bringing a variety.

I personally like to pick a theme and stick to it, so I have a nice generic Stormcast list with a bit of everything in it, I have a wanderer force that is all Elves, I have a Craftworld Eldar force that is all Iyanden (so mostly Wraiths) and a Blood Angels army that has things like Sanguinary Guard and Death Company in (GOD WHY).

You will never get rid of try hards with any ruleset I am afraid, because rules are there to be pushed to the limits and always will be.

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2 hours ago, Nin Win said:

AoS is a social hobby and if people don't match up on how competitive they want their game it makes the local area much less likely to hit a critical mass of interested players.  

But this is the point here. I am a fluffy guy, but I will play the odd tournament and do my best to make a competitive list with what I have, knowing that I will be up against guys that have finely examined all the options and determined the best combinations that will kill things the most efficiently, quickly, and, from a psychological perspective, demoralising as well. This is all part of being an actual general, finding any way to take your enemy out of the fight.

Now, if you go into an event or a local club knowing this is how they play, then you have to either adjust your mindset to match or find a different group. There are of course other options, such as discussing ways of having less hardcore nights or setting up a narrative campaign that might get the hardcore players looking at different ways to play (possibly not but you can try). There are countless way to play Sigmar and there will be people around that will play like you, but it can be difficult at times when your idea of fun is dissonant from someone else's. Those that like competitive play will always look for the best option, as this is what makes them happy (yes, some people really like winning, so will do whatever it takes to legally do this, being and/or beating the best). Others like to build an army of 200 marauders and Wulfrik and a custom longboat as they love the story and want to re-tell it, and that makes them happy. These two people are not going to have a lot in common outside a mutual enjoyment of the game, but in their own ways. 

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35 minutes ago, Cookiez said:

I like games, where I know I won't roll over the other guy, I like to think what to do next than just move random models, fun to me is outsmarting my opponent. And winning is also fun and I don't see anything bad in admitting it, just as doing your best to win - it shows you respect your opponent, as I see playing like you don't give a **** disrespectful. And yes, I will always look for the best possibilities for my list.

From where did you get the idea that 80% of the players use the same faction?

I think we have our wires crossed buddy. From everything you have just said, you are the exact kind of competitive player I respect. I enjoy the same level of competitiveness. You are not a "win at all costs not matter what" kind of player. I also enjoy winning ? that isn't what my rant was about. I think I just worded it badly. 

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I wouldn't say competitiveness is ruining AoS, as has been alluded to it's definitely the player you're facing who determines whether or not you have a good game. If they've built a list that is very strong, get it out and stick it on the table literally inhaling the cheddar as they line up their 15 Kurnoth Hunters with a big sh*t-eating grin on their face, you know you're about to have a game where he or she is going to argue with every decision, and do things in such a way that you're questioning if they're outright cheating when they roll dice quicker than you can really keep track of what is attacking what.

Other times, someone will pull out a strong list, they'll be wanting to put it to the test against the full might of their opponent, and they'll be the kind of guy or gal who will let you roll that attack you missed in the last combat, or use the ability you forgot in your hero phase, and you'll have a good laugh even if your army is absolutely spanked.

That said, the most fun I've had has definitely been in narrative games, or 'friendly' matched play games that were pick up and play with whatever army we had.

I've also found if you like competitive games but don't like too much cheese, 1,000pts is a good place to look.

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