Deathbridge Warhammer

Deathbridge Warhammer

Friday, September 10, 2010

Can GW games even be unbalanced?!

Let the arguments ensue!

This isn't going to be an essay but rather the start of an open ended conversation (argument).  Games Workshop likes to claim they aren't competitive, were never meant to be competitive or played in such an atmosphere.  However, their game has a clear winner/loser.  They actively promote tournaments INCLUDING 'ARD BOYZ!

Jervis Johnson says no comp is needed for tournaments.  That people should be able to bring what they want and the (fantasy at least) system is balanced enough to be able to do so.

GW games developed from roleplaying games originally, though that was 20 some years ago.  Should we really be holding them to that still?   Has it evolved from a roleplaying game to a wargame?

My opinion?  If GW wasn't supposed to be competitive there would be some sort of reward system like most RPG's have.  They also wouldn't promote tournaments of their own doing or ones they host in their stores, like the infamous 'Ard Boyz.   Perhaps at one time it wasn't meant to be, but that time seems to have long passed.  That's just my opinion, one's that has changed of late.  HOWEVER, because a game is competitively based, it doesn't have to be a shit show either.  Players need to be adult enough to have a good, friendly game when there are no stakes on the line.  You're in a tournament for big prizes?  Then yes, bring your big guns.  You're in the FLGS then play like an adult, bring a fun list that both you and your opponent can enjoy playing with and against.

HOWEVER... if you think GW is NOT a competitive game and is not intended to be, can the game even be broken?  How can a unit or character be broken when the win/loss don't matter at all?  Isn't that just the way it goes sometimes?  Balance gets thrown out for story.  Maybe (insert unit/character) is supposed to kick everyone's asses and GW doesn't care.  If it's a game based on fun and mutual respect, then OTT/OP stuff isn't actually OP.  There isn't power levels in something not competitive if you ask me.  If it's NOT a competitive game, then shouldn't it be more like D&D with players working together to fight the enemy and a DM to control it all?

So, lots of questions and discussion.

Is GW meant to be competitive?  Why or why not?  What are they doing/not doing to prove your point?

If they are NOT competitive, then can the game be truly overpowered and/or unbalanced?

Should there or shouldn't there be comp scores in tournaments?

Should there be tournaments at all?  If not, why?  If so, why?

These are just some thoughts going through my head as I work my nine to fiver based on a conversation I had this morning and with others of late.   Let's hear what you think.. and be adults!


Anonymous said...

Big subject. If you haven't already, you should take a look at some of the more wide-ranging comments under two recent articles at Bell of Lost Souls. The first is most relevant, but the second has some interesting discussions at the 50-100 mark.

Wallshammer said...

Oh yeah, she was meant to be substantial and get people talking.

The second topic I see both sides of as I humbly admit to sitting between narrative and competitive. I don't think the game can be 100% either way. I think it's designed to be a competitive game with a winner/loser but at the same time maintaining a story and background evocative of the millions we spend on the hobby. I think those spells CAN unbalance the game. The examples they give are drastic... but also completely overblown. They are the complete worst case scenario for everyone and actually incorrect by the rules for some. BoLS is the competitive side of the spectrum and far, far into it. I think the site does more harm then good to be honest. I also think the pure "PAINT! FLUFF! RAAWR!" only people do harm as much though.

I hope people continue responding here with some of their thoughts. Its interesting to hear both sides of the arguments and might, like it did me, help you honestly see where you are in the hobby.

sonsoftaurus said...

If the game is unbalanced, and X is overpowered, those who desire winning more than playing what they want are equally able to identify and use X. Thus, balance is restored.

If something is powerful and you want to win, use it or find a counter to it. Don't turn up your nose and complain when it beats you or your pet army build.

Wallshammer said...

Isn't that turning your own nose up though at those who don't like powerful builds for the sake of powerful builds? Isn't your argument against them the same as theirs against you and thusly nothing gets accomplished?

Court said...

It's not the system its the players.

Wallshammer said...

That argument blew me out of the water with how indepth it was!!


Wallshammer said...

Also good to finally see a clubbie respond.

Wallshammer said...

Ya know what I think?

I think there isn't a player on the planet who isn't competitive. I don't think there is even such thing as just a fluff/story player. Those guys? They paint and read and that's it.

EVERY PLAYER is competitive to some degree. Not one reader here that plays games can say they don't complain about something being broken, think about list building, think about pts worth and such. It's the degree of which you are.

I call bullshit on anyone who says otherwise!

Rancor709 said...

Balance, unbalanced, narrative competitive the truth lies firmly with the Squats. GW likes to have it both ways they believe they have a created a system that can be played in a tournament format but is not expressly designed for tournament play. I would say with the exception of the Guard, Wolves and Blood Angels the game has internal balance. Between Guard Wolves and Bloods there is a secondary level of balance but Guard, Wolves and Bloods are not as balanced compared to the field. So what is the solution, pg.2 of the Rule the must important Rule have fun. IF you like to beat people's brains in find people that want to beat your brain back. If you love fluffy narrative stories find players that want that. What is lost is the communication between players prior to a game, if you are facing Fluff machine, don't bring a Kill hammer. And Fluff bunny its okay to try a competitive build every once in a while. The beauty and downfall of GW is the game tries to be all things to all people which leaves all players somewhere in a no man's land arguing over who is broken and who is weak. Its a dice game accent on game it should be fun for both players. If its fun who cares if its balanced or not.

Court said...

Lets take a step back and look at the core and basics than.

Every single game that can be played, be it sports, board games, minis, console etc are meant to be competetive. There is one winner, and one loser. However it is possible for both the winner and loser to have fun. But this is based on the player.

Now on balance, ofcourse the game is balanced, most are. Same points aside, same starting money, same amount of players it's all there.

Do you take a deathstar unit or stubborn blob of troops? Do you build hotels or go for all 4 railways? Do you put a lefty against a righty? Thats all choice, made by the players.

Hence Wallie, its the players not the game lol.

Wallshammer said...

That depends how you look at it. From a gamers perspective is every point in the game balanced to the next? Is every model and unit matched point for point? We all know this isn't true.

The negatives though: the arguing, cheating, sportsmanship, painter snobs, tourney snobs... yeah, that's all people.

Court said...

Positives/negatives aside the current disscussion is about the competetiveness of the game and all games are designed to be competetive.