Deathbridge Warhammer

Deathbridge Warhammer

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What this game is really about.

People tend to lose track of what this game is actually about.  They worry about number crunching, W/L, min/max, which unit is under/overcosted.   We just aren't seeing the real game anymore.  Perhaps it's about time we did.

I will keep it quick, but check out these two particular subjects.  The first, a blog from a former playtester for GW and then a video from Jervis Johnson.  Especially listen to him.  It's basically his game after all.  Odds are he has a better idea of what the game is then we do.


Lothaire said...

I disagree. These items show what the game is to the GW HQ staff. What the game is to each individual gamer is just that... individual.

- I tend to be a tournament player, so I would like tight rules and balanced lists to minimize the dick-ish behaviour and maximize the fun.
- Beer 'n' pretzels gamers probably want to throw dice and have a good time doing cool stuff

To me, the indication of a successful game design is determined by its ability to be what ANY gamer wants it to be.

At the moment, 40K is a fun beer 'n' pretzels game, but rife with problems as a tournament game. The GW HQ staff apparently don't see this as a problem at all as the game is this way by design. I see it as a design failing, and something that could (and should, IMHO) be addressed. After all, tight rules and balanced lists would probably improve playability and fun for beer 'n' pretzels players as well.

Wallshammer said...

I disagree with that. If you want tight tournament rules go do MtG or Warmachine. They're made for nothing BUT competitive play. GW was developed from RPG's... so thus has more RPG elements to it. Besides, what's wrong with beer and pretzel gaming? Who says THIS game has to be super competitive?

And if it WASN'T able to be played in tournies, why is the tourney scene so gigantic? Obviously there is no failing if they can keep a quite large audience of competitive power gamers.

And the success of a game is not inherent on the fact that any sort of gamer can play. Otherwise every game ever made is a failure. I can't make my king move more then 1 space in chess but I wish he did. I can't invest into RRSP's in Monopoly to make sure I don't go bankrupt. Though wildly exaggerated responses, it goes to show that no game is really for everyone.

If you find this game isn't right for tournament and power gaming, there are lots of games that are.

Green Feevah! said...

This is the worst game ever for competition. Fantasy worse than 40k, but both of them should never have made competitive in the first place. There is ZERO balance in this game. Everything relies on the rule of cool. Which is fine, if you are playing this game casually.

But as the game stands right now, and the way you can build auto-winning army lists (*cough* Leafblower *cough* Daemons *cough*) it's the equivalent of a grown man entering a kid's martial arts tournament. Or bringing a bazooka to a knife fight.

I have nothing worng with tournaments in Warhammer. But they should be a 'for fun' tournament, since that's how these rules are designed. People who play Warhammer games just to win, in my opinion, are just the people who can't win in a fair fight, or in a game system where it was meant for competition (the previously mentioned Warmachine or Magic). Which means this is just about stroking their ego.

Of course you can bring the beardiest list possible to a tournament and smash face with it. But if it's nothing but un-killable units that can single-handedly wipe out an entire opposing army, then not only is this not fun for the guy on the other side of the table, but this is NO indication of skill at all.

If you want to walk around saying that you're 'pro' at Warhammer, then take a list that no one wins with instead of an internet auto-win list. And if winning Warhammer means that much to you (so much that you don't care if they other guy is having fun, you take the most offensive list possible, then spend hours on the internet defending it, and throw a big fit when you lose)... seriously, give your head a shake and re-examine your life.

AbusePuppy said...

Why is enjoying the rules and competitive play part of the game somehow less valid than enjoying the story aspect or the painting? Isn't that like a jerk tourney player sneering at the guy who painted up 2000 pts of Necrons and saying "If you want a fancy artistic pursuit, go take some college classes."

No one has the right to dictate how anyone else should or shouldn't enjoy the hobby. If you believe the rules are designed "for fun" and aren't properly balanced for tourney play... well, you're allowed to have that opinion. Others, myself included, will disagree- since the release of 5th Edition, the game has been extremely well-balanced across the new codices. (Yes, even Tyranids. Even Guard. The internet whines about everything.)

A tournament is, practically by definition, a contest of skill and list-building; why is it somehow a violation of the spirit of the event to bring your strongest list and try your best to win? If a player demonstrates poor sportsmanship (cheating, abusive behavior towards opponents, etc) that is one thing, but someone who comes with the expectation that they are playing to win would seem to be MORE in line with the spirit of the event than someone who comes expecting it to be a relaxed and casual series of games for fun.

Warhammer is a hobby. It is inherently pointless. Is spending hundreds of ours learning to paint and base models somehow less a waste of time than analyzing codices and comparing relative unit strengths? I certainly don't see a difference. Most competitive players are fully aware that they are playing with plastic manbarbies, just as hobby gamers realize that the history they have written for their custom chapter is utterly imaginary and meaningless. Neither type of gamer is superior to the other, they are simply different ways to enjoy the game- and 99% of players like them both, in varying degrees. Everybody likes to win games. Everybody likes having fancy-looking models and cool stories to tell. The fact that the balance between the two is not exactly the same as it is for that guy over at another table is no reason to try and adopt the moral high ground and accuse him of somehow being a bad person or of ruining the hobby.

Wallshammer said...

We aren't really saying "screw tournaments and all you competitive players and get out of our hobby!" We're rallying against the "players" who bitch about GW being such a bad tourney game, it's rules so bad, etc etc. AGAIN, GW will even say that the game is _NOT_ designed for competitive tournament play but rather casual, as our friend called it "beer and pretzel" play.

The other reader calls this a design flaw. It's intentional. I call it "pick a new game if that is ALL you want"

Wallshammer said...

And to add... I think the designers DO ONE HUNDRED PERCENT have the right to decide how THEIR game is made and played.

Green Feevah! said...

I have to agree with Wallshammer, the designers absolutely get the say on how the game is played. It's their game. We're just playing it.

And for the record, I never decried tournament competition. I decried WARHAMMER tournament competition. the rules are not, and never will, be designed around tournaments.

Warmachine/Hordes, Magic the Gathering, THOSE are games where it is designed around competition. And I love Warmachine, just read my past articles. But I love it for what it is. A competitive game. A game where you are supposed to bring your A-game, because the expectation is that the other guy will too.

Warhammer, on the other hand, is nothing like that. It's supposed to be the game you play for fun, to just sit back and relax. Both players are supposed to enjoy the game.

And I have a very long history now of playing Power-gamers, rules-lawyers, and other mouth-breathers who only play this game for their own self-satisfaction. They care nothing for the other player, they care nothing for the history of the game, the care nothing for theme. They are horrible painters terrible gamers. Yet they are the ones who claim to have all this 'skill' at playing Warhammer. It's like saying you're skilled at the Special Olympics when you're not handicapped.

The only people who should be offended by my opinion are the very people I'm talking about. The majority of players will likely agree with what I say. Only the beardy players should be offended. However, it's the beardy players who are the loudest. They have 10000 posts on Warseer, they play the game so hard that they ruin it for every one else in the club. People like me rail against these people because they shove it in our faces that their way is he only way to play the game. And yet can't seem to take it when someone shoves back. Typical.

AbusePuppy said...

The game designers do have the right to make whatever game they want, but economics dictates that they will generally make the game that the players want. The people saying "Why not tighten up the rules and make this game a little more evenly balanced?" are just as much part of the player base as anyone else.

Whether a game is fun or not has nothing to do with whether it is being played competitively. Magic: the Gathering has a strong tournament scene and untold legions of casual players as well. The two facets are not exclusive; indeed, they complement each other, as many players drift back and forth between the two ends of the spectrum as their tastes changes or as they grow bored with one or the other type of play.

It really feels to me like you have some sort of strong dislike for competitive wargamers, which seems unjustified. Are some of them jerks? Of course; I have known some colossal assholes in the tournament scene. I have also known some grade-A asshats who only play casually and b**** and moan about every bad thing that happens to them and oh I roll so many ones and your codex (Tau :| ) is overpowered on and on to eternity. Being a bad player and poor human being has nothing to do with whether one plays competitively or casually.

>They care nothing for the other player, they care nothing for the history of the game, the care nothing for theme. They are horrible painters terrible gamers.

Again: so what? They don't enjoy the same aspects of the game as you. Why does this make them so inferior? I don't care what Jervis says; I will enjoy the game however I want to, and I simply can't see why this is such a bad thing. You are perfectly within your rights to consider tournaments a terrible waste of time, but to presume that your view of how everyone should enjoy the hobby is the One True Truth strikes me as awfully arrogant.

Green Feevah! said...

The big point you're missing here is that it is VERY easy to play a competitive game casually, it is almost impossible to play a casual game competitively without the whole thing being a sham.

And the competitive players in Warhammer are a VERY small minority, they are just the loudest players. In fact, the majority of GW's sales (going by your statement that the market drives what they make) are bored kids in a mall. Their Mom drops them off in a Games Workshop and goes about shopping, then returns from having them babysat and buys them a bunch of stuff to shut them up.

And if you don't think that the guy on the other side of the table matters, then you're a dick. And you're going to run out of people to play eventually. If you don't like the other aspects of the hobby (like painting), then why are you even in this hobby? There a half-dozen other miniature games out there that offer pre-painted minis. That's like saying 'I love collecting old cars, but I don't like fixing them up and making them look nice'... what's the point?

And lastly, I have to argue the 'casuals can be dick's too'. The only time I've seen anything close to what you are saying is when a casual comes out for a fun game and ends up against a beardy WAAC mouth-breather. Of course he's going to complain, He's not having any fun, and that was the whole reason he came out to play. The beardy man-child is wrecking his fun time so that he can feel important because he won at a game of toy soldiers.

Seriously, if you enjoy competitive play, go play Warmachine. It offers everything Warhammer does... except for the ability to build beardy, super-powered army lists that automatically win the game for you. Which is why I lay into Warhammer 'competitive' gamers. If they actually had a sack, they'd go play a game where there is actual competition.

AbusePuppy said...

A well-designed game can be played both casually and competitively- yes, competitive play requires a robust ruleset and game design, but both of these things benefit casual players as well.

You seem very insistent that competitive players are a tiny, fractional minority in the game- on what basis are you making this judgement? Personally, when playing against people I've found that nearly everyone is at least moderately interested in winning and improving their army. Isn't that competitive play right there?

When did I ever say that the guy on the other side of the table doesn't matter? In fact, I specifically mentioned that good sportsmanship should be a goal of competitive players. It's none of my business _how_ the other player enjoys the game, so long as they do. It gets his kicks from playing a strong game? That's fine. If he wants to have a crazy narrative scenario? I've got no problem with that. If he's just showcasing his beautifully-painted army? It's all good.

>>That's like saying 'I love collecting old cars, but I don't like fixing them up and making them look nice'... what's the point?
Well heck, let's turn this around: if you don't like winning, why are you even playing? Why not just concede the game and go home right now? Why not run around the room with our toys shouting "BANG I SHOT YOU NO YOU DIDN'T YOU'RE DEAD!!"?

Casuals can be dicks in plenty of other ways, despite your insistence that it is always somehow a competitive gamer's fault that things are going wrong. When the guy across the table spends the whole game sneering at you because "Ultramarines would NEVER run five Land Speeders in the Eighth Company! Everyone KNOWS they only have TWO Land Speeders and their Captain's name isn't Burglemeister and your shade of blue is wrong and blah blah blah." That guy is being a jerk. Likewise the guy who says he likes to play casual games and then when he doesn't win screams and moans and cries about it because your army was unfair- even though the army seemed just fine to him at the beginning of the game. Also likewise the guy who corners you in the store and insists on explaining at great length the boring and poorly-written history for his custom chapter of Space Marines and how awesome they are and how they once beat up 1000000 demon princes. Every aspect of the hobby has its jerks and awful people.

It really sounds to me like you have some sort of deep-seated hatred for the competitive side of gaming. You keep insisting that competitive gamers should go play some other game and stop ruining yours: I say if you don't like the way a game is being played, the problem is on your end and it is you who should find something else. I am perfectly happy to coexist with casual gamers in this hobby, and many of them are my good friends. I can play games with them without either of us throwing a fit and we both manage to have fun. If the presence of people whose objectives are different from yours sends you into apoplectic fits, perhaps the problem lies not in other people but in yourself. You've layered fault upon fault and stereotype on stereotype on competitive gamers without even the slightest concession that they might also just be trying to have fun as well. Is that really what you think? Are we really boogeymen who live solely to ruin the game for you? Because that's certainly what you seem to be saying: that we have no right to enjoy "your" hobby. That no competitive gamer can ever play for fun. That we are all horrible people with bad hygiene and social skills.

AbusePuppy said...

(As for your implication that 40K is unbalanced: how would you even know unless you yourself are a competitive player? It is often the conceit of casual players to assume that because the army they have played for years and refuse to change is unable to beat something, that army is "broken" and ruins the game. Myself, I find that with a few rare exceptions for Necrons and Daemonhunters, every codex in the game can at least field a pretty decent playable army and that all the 5E codices are pretty even, despite what the internet thinks. There are no "beardy super-powered lists that automatically win the game for you." Lash, Nob Bikers, and Leafblower are all pretty poor lists with gaping weaknesses that can easily be exploited.)

(Stupid character limit. :| )

Wallshammer said...

While GreenFeevah may be more emotional about his feelings then I, the point remains that you are missing a key element.

Our argument, well...mine, is that the players endlessly bitching about the game not working right, not having good rules, not being written well for competitive play, etc are basically wasting their time. Games Workshop has time and time and time again said that 40k and Fantasy are _NOT_ (imagine that word 1 million times the size and emphasis) made for competitive play.

What you are also missing is that casual play does not mean we are fluff monsters. That's as narrow minded a view as you are taking defense against in some people's views about competitive players. There is a great amount of casual players who like playing, painting, assembling, gathering with friends, reading about the history, etc while not becoming engrossed.

I think in some ways that is what Jervis is talking about. Have your view of which part of the game you like most: playing, painting, hobby, etc... but don't think for a moment it was soley designed for strict balanced competitiveness. They frankly don't care. They don't care if one unit is super powerful and game breaking. It sounds cool to them, fits in the story they are telling and that's good enough for them.

I don't give a hoot or holler anymore about leafblower lists, nob biker taking advantage of wound allocation units, giant horde units with 40 characters in fantasy... what bothers me is the player behind them. These players aren't playing the fluff, aren't telling a story and aren't out for fun. When you are playing the game WITH someone (too many people confuse with and against) the fun is mutual. The players playing the huge killer lists aren't going for mutual fun. They want a prize.

So, remember...

You play this game WITH someone, not against them.

spookymancer said...

I tend to agree with walls. The game truly does depend on who you are playing with, casual or tournament.

I had the pleasure of entering my first fantasy tournament last October and I was expecting the worst.Broken lists, rules lawyering and jerks for opponents. I am very proud to say I was wrong. Every opponent I played was very fun, personable and in general just a good sport. Some even took pretty rough lists from a star dragon highelf list to a double stegadon list and even vampires.

I am the first to admit that I am not a very competitive person so that does help in that situation. However I did find that even in a tournament setting some people still just want to have a fun friendly game. A person can still be competitive and a fun person to play, it just takes the right attitude.

Green Feevah! said...

I am not emotional about this at all. I may flower up the wording, but I've always taken the stance that if you're a dick, you play me once, then never again. Getting your panties twisted about what someone said ON THE INTERNET is just asking to give yourself early heart failure.

Puppy (or do you prefer Abuse?), I did the tournament scene. I got to see the absolute ugliest side of this game. That's where my opinion comes from. But I don't hate competition, far from it. As I have said before in this thread, and as I have posted many times on the blog, I LOVE WARMACHINE. As far as I'm concerned, GW would do well to aspire to that game. I love it because it is competitive, because you have to play like you have a pair.

But when you contrast that game with either Warhammer game, it's obvious that the game clearly lacks any sort of tournament focus (which was the original intent of the article, not presuming I hate tournament players). Warhammer has TERRIBLE rules for competitive play. True, they have gotten better, but they are no where near what could be considered good.

And here's where the sticking point is: If you love competition, you should be playing Warmachine, it's a better game for competition, by a mile. If you are competing in Warhammer, then you aren't competing. Any idiot can take a broken list and win games. That's not competiton. That's poor game design. All the tournament players, the ones I'm talking about, took Damons of Chaos to every tournament. you'd never see those players caught dead at a tournament with Orcs and Goblins. Which means they are not there to have fun. They are there to win.

When I want to compete, I play Warmachine, a game that is competitive, where I actually have a chance of losing. On the other hand, I play Warhammer when I want to see friends and have a good time killing an afternoon. Sure, I could show up with a tricked-out Daemons list and wipe the guy off the table in 2 turns, but that's no fun for the other guy, and it's boring as Hell for me. And if blowing the guy off the table with zero chance of losing sounds like a good time to you, then seek help. Emotional scars can run deep.

Green Feevah! said...

Oh, and if your casual players are really dicks like that... I am really glad I don't play in your neck of the woods. I can honestly say I've NEVER had that happen to me. And I'm willing to bet there isn't a single person in my gaming groups that could say that either. They could however do a very long list of cheaters and power gamers that made their games less fun.

AbusePuppy said...

I largely agree with you; most casual players are not obsessed with the game, just as I think most competitive players aren't either. It is generally the extreme outliers that provide the poor examples of both groups' bad behaviors. Never the less, the point remains that _both_ sides can and do behave poorly towards other members of the hobby.

GW is slowly changing its stance on competitive gaming, whatever they may say. Economics dictates the market, and WM and other games are stripping away GW's bottom line, and they are responding by making the game more friendly to competitive play.

I don't think 40K was designed with competitive play first in mind, not even for a second, but I think that GW could learn a lot by applying the lessons that other games have learned about appealing to multiple groups of player. GW does some beautiful kits and they used to strongly support the hobby; not quite so much anymore, as White Dwarf has become a trash rag and their online presence is laughable at best. But making the game competitively playable hurts no one and helps everyone, casuals included- losing to a poorly balanced unit is generally not fun, whether you are playing in a tournament or in your friend's living room.

I am 100% in favor of making the game enjoyable for both players, even when playing competitively. If I am playing against a casual opponent, I usually handicap my army by running a sub-par version; when playing against a competitive opponent, I give it my best game and discuss how things went and what the mistakes, turning points, etc, were after the game. Competitive is not synonymous with "the other guy can go to hell."

(Con't because of charlimit.)

AbusePuppy said...

(Either Abuse or Puppy is fine, I'm not picky about my nick.)

If you think WM is a good game and plays competitively well, why don't you feel that 40K should be the same? It may not be quite on the same level as some other games, but that, to me, isn't a reason to declare it a lost cause. As I said, changes are being made, and I really do believe that the 5E version of the rules and codices are a big step towards making the game interesting, balanced, and fun for everybody.

I simply don't buy the "you should be playing XXX" argument. What if I like the fluff for 40K more, but still want to be able to play competitively? What if I feel likewise about the models? Money speaks, and in supporting the changes 40K has made- and in NOT supporting some of the steps back they've taken, like Throne of Skulls, which is a f***ing disaster- the players can tell GW what they are interested in. You seem to think that most 40K players are not interested in competitive play, and perhaps you're right, but I think there are enough people that are- or potentially are- that it's worth trying. Look at all the forums dedicated to tacticas, improving your game, etc, etc; surely these aren't a fractional minority of players. Yes, the internet is not a good way to measure the real world, but it strikes me as unlikely that the huge numbers of posters and discussions I see online have only a tiny representation IRL.

And yes, I have met all of those "casual jerks" before. I won't say they're the majority- in fact, they're more of a rarity. But, by the same token, I haven't had the poor experiences at tournaments you apparently had- and this comes having attended up through the semifinals of 'Ard Boyz before. The vast majority of my opponents have been friendly, courteous, and interesting, usually chatting with me after the match and commenting on army builds, paint jobs, conversions, things from the internet, etc.

If you know a lot of cheaters and munchkins, I'm sad to hear that, but not all competitive gamers are like that. Real competition is an exercise in self-improvement, not nerd-bullying someone over how your plastic spacemen defeated theirs. I have no tolerance for the sort of person who does the latter.

Court said...

I see discusions like this all the time and it's abit sad and frustrating, at least you lot have been able to keep things somewhat civil and keep it a disscusion.

As with most debates there is no clear winner hear becuase of the base premise. Everyone involved is using two very differant types of personal experiences as basis for their arguments.

1 - you have your real life players whom you've met and played and maybe play on a regular basis. As well as folks you've met and played maybe once or twice.

2 - Than there's that small % of net trolls that fuel these types of debates with their own existance hehe.

They key is there is nothing wrong with the game as a system, no game system is perfect but most of them on the markets are always solid. The same can be said of the players, on the whole their are a great bunch of folks. But un-fortunately it's the small percentage of shit players that people talk about and the talk and ideas about 'that type of gamer' spreads like cancer.

So when we as a community get together and talk shop we talk about the bad players, the bad internet gamers whom we've never met and the folks who pull crap in our own clubs. But no one ever talks about the other large percentage of great players and great experiences both competitavely and casually.

The worst part is when the the radicals come out of the woodwork and start championing their side and how the others must be wrong because they are right.

"People who don't spend 10 hours a mini shouldn't play."

"If your army list isn't a perfect representation of the Battle of Deluge on the 6th planet on in the Tacheon Cluster they should play something else."

"If you don't play every game as hard as you can and strive to win at all costs you shouldn't be playing any game"

It's these radical notions that ruin not just our beloved hobby but pretty much anything in our world. It is perfectly acceptable to averagley play games with table top qualtiy simple paint schemes, with a list that is well thought out with both fluff and tactics in mind, play hard and still have fun.

Problem is it just will never happen.

Court said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Green Feevah! said...

Actually I have to agree with most of what Abuse just said (and you too Court!). It is the extremists that ruin the game for everyone else. Sadly, the extremists are very polarizing. I have seen it multiple times now, where the beardiest jerk at the club pounds on other players, and instead of just shutting him out and forcing him to tone down, player's try to out-beard him (beat him at his own game) and an arms race ensues, that inevitably destroys the sense of community the club had. I've lost 2 clubs this way.

As to why I say play Warmachine for competition and Warhammer for fun, it's simple: In Warmachine, I can make a dead-hard list full of no-brainer combos, but so can the other guy. And those two lists are on more or less equal footing, so it comes down to who plays better. In Warhammer, if I make a dead-hard list, and the other guy does too, it depends on what armies we are playing to see who wins. My hardest Orc list will NEVER win against a hard Daemon list. My hardest Eldar list will never beat a hard Guard list.

There are clearly superior armies in both 40k and Fantasy. Look at the tournament scene. When almost half the players at a certain major tournament are bringing the same army, and half of them again the SAME LIST, there is clearly a game balance problem.

Which means that 40k and Fantasy 'competitions' aren't a test of skill. It's a shin-kicking contest, where the guy with the best boots wins.

Wallshammer said...

I COMPLETELY disagree with the statement that an army wins a game. If so, then one army would win every single tournament ever. It doesn't happen. Hell, an Eldar player wins all the ones up here. And a Chaos Daemons player won the 40k 'Ard Boyz (well, one of the three winners... lame)

There ARE clearly superior lists, but the player still makes those lists. A bad player won't win with a good guard list. He won't have a clue what to do.

Green Feevah! said...

Wow. Way to put words in my mouth. I said that there are superior army lists out there, and power-gamers will gravitate towards them.

Using your example, if you give a bad player a Guard list he won't auto-win, but he'll stand a hell of a better chance than giving him a Necron list.

Guard have every tool for every situation. Necrons do not. They have almost no tools for any situation. This, by definition, makes Guard better.

THAT is what I said.

Wallshammer said...

What I was disagreeing with was your statement that your hard Eldar list will never beat a hard Guard list. Put a guy who doesn't know the army or is a shitty player behind the table and it won't win.