|A nearly-finished Dark Angels Dread|
that was sitting on my desk.
BigRed just posted an editorial on BOLS which makes interesting reading - you can get to it here:
It makes interesting reading, and the message seems to be 'lets all just get along' which I heartily endorse, but I do feel the analysis is somewhat lacking. Interestingly, I was in the middle of writing a piece for this blog about the same subject, so I've folded that material into my response which I'm posting here for your perusal.
I'd be interested to hear what people think on the matter...
I strongly agree with the sentiment, but strongly disagree with the analysis. I would guess Kahoolin is a 'strategist' from reading this, since he doesn't really adequately represent the thought processes of the 're-enactor' (terrible name), at least not as I understand it.
Firstly, calling fluffy gamers 're-enactors' only serves to make them seem more stupid. How can you 're-enact' in a science fiction wargame? Or a fantasy wargame for that matter?
A better term would be 'storytellers' - as it's the story of the game that is more important to fluffy gamers. This doesn't mean they are any more or less strategically adept in their playing than a 'strategist', it just means that telling a good story is more important to them than winning.
|My 1st Edition hardback Rogue Trader.|
I played Rogue Trader when it first came out and loved it, but not because of any percieved RPG elements, but rather because it was a wacky skirmish game with good battle-simulation rules. The detail was impressive, and allowed for a style of cinematic storytelling through wargaming that was reminiscent of playing with star wars figures, only with RULES and DICE (bear in mind I was 11 at the time).
As 40k has matured, it's scale has grown and with it the rules have streamlined. It's now a fully fleged wargame rather than a skirmish game, and with that some of the detail has eroded, but it has still retained its 'cinematic' feel for me, and when I play some part of me that is still 11 years old rejoices.
|The Realm of Chaos books owed a lot to|
RPGs (and John Blanche's odd mind)
Contrast this with what seems to be the norm on the American wargaming scene where you see a very different sort of play-style. Lots of in-store gaming with frankly pretty basic terrain and a focus on 'net-list' driven min-max style gaming that takes its cue from games such as Magic the Gathering. The focus is on beating the other player rather than enjoying the ride, and who can argue with that since the ride is nowhere near as pretty, at least when compared with the gaming tables of the Perry Twins where Jervis gets to play most of his games.
|The 40k Compendium. Arguably the first step|
on the road to codex books, army lists and
'game balance' - such as it is.
Contrast this with the introduction to the hobby of most American gamers, the bulk of whom seem to have got into the games in adulthood, and have transferred from other games (such as Magic-the-Gathering-type CCGs) As Kids growing up in the UK there was a strong element of 'playing with star wars figures' in how we shaped our battles, we just got to roll dice to decide who died. For US gamers coming to 40k fresh from CCGs, competition is everything, and finding a kickass combo of units that no-one else has spotted is the heart and soul of the game.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I can understand how these two very different styles of play have polarised, and why a highly competitive style of play is more dominant 'across the pond', or why a more fluffy style is more dominant in the UK (particularly amongst GW designers) but I don't think you can break down the difference in play-styles to the lone factor of 'some wargamers like to RPG it a bit' - there are many factors that have influenced the way the game is played, and I think the trans-atlantic divide has created a disproportionate focus in the states (and consequently online) on the competitive side of the game, which has led many US-based critics to lambast the GW designers for not playing (and designing) the game 'their way'.
Personally, I hope the GW designers never change. If you want a well-balanced, tightly written competitive wargame then go for warmachine or hordes, but if your inner 11 year-old wants to play at star-wars figures again, then the privateer games just won't cut the mustard. You'll need to go to good ole' 40k.