Saturday, May 09, 2015

Loves and Hates in Gaming - it's a Meme thing!

Fellow blogger Steve has been looking at his hates and loves in gaming, inspired by another blog; I liked the idea enough to have a go at it myself.  No more preamble, here's where I stand on the good and bad in gaming:


Competition Gamers.  Not necessarily competitive gamers, you'r entitled to want to win, the distinction for me is when your only motivation for playing is to win.  I've had the misfortune to encounter and come to verbal blows too with many gamers who've somehow mentally converted the hobby of pushing toy soldiers around into a sport, on which bears many parallels to football:

  • It's obsessed with leagues cups and tournaments, whilst the casual game is considered irrelevant
  • Money is everything, he who spends the most on his team expects to win
  • Talking trash of your opponent when their not around is mandatory, even if you have to pretend to be polite to their face
  • being a c**t on twitter is seemingly mandatory
  • wearing your team shirts when you hang out with your competitive friends
You get the idea.  I've concluded every game I've played against a player looking to test their 1500 point 'Clash-of-Champions-Elf-Death-tournament' list of utter filth has been two hours of my life I'll never get back, during which I could've been doing something more worthwhile, like gnawing the corns off a homeless person's feet.  The competition gamer and his ilk enjoy the game they play, but not merely don't see how anyone could enjoy other aspects of the game, but in some cases actually appear to resent that you would not appreciate only their style of play.  They have taken me out of certain genres of wargame entirely.  I don't miss it.

[By the way, if you are a competition gamer, and are offended by any of this, all I can say is you must be new to my blog, and kinda missed the point of it so far.  Thanks for visiting though!]

Storage: Most men's hobbies (as opposed to sport) revolve, it seems to me, around filling all the available space in a house they criticise their partners for filling with shoes, clothes and makeup, with man crap instead.  In our case toys, boxes of toys, boxes of unbuilt toys, book and magazines to help us paint or understand said toys, paints, glues, bits of wood, plastic, metal....  This may be less of a pet hate for those with space and stability, but after twenty house moves in twenty years, space is the one thing other than twatty gamers (see above) that's really got me close to getting out the hobby.

People gaming ongoing conflicts: Not for me.  You're entitled to your choices but can you not see it's at least insensitive to those still involved. Oh so you want to play games with 'ISIS' models, as it's contemporary?  Well it's also disgusting, just so you know.

Uniform militants:  'Uh, their nice but that's not the shade of blue used by the French imperial army in 1808'.  Firstly, No, just No.  This sort of opinion presupposes so many things, not least uniformity of colours and usually a complete absence of wear and tear.  Secondly, are you criticising someone for taking the trouble to paint their models?  I'd rather play against a French Napoleonic army painted Orange, because that's the only colour the owner had for their coats, than unpainted models.  Self appointed experts, not needed.  It's even more laughable when they try the same stunt with fantasy games, 40K has its own surreal group of uniform militants who'll happily declare people have modelled the wrong shoulder pads on that mk.6 terminator marine, or that they cannot accept an Ork with red skin.  Yeah, because it's so clearly factually incorrect; in a world of the imagination!

Unpainted/unbuilt army users:  Acceptable if you've literally just started gaming, but week after week, year after year?  Pull your finger out, or get someone else to do it for you.  Stop buying so many models and pay a painter instead.  What, you want to try the army before you invest the time and effort, borrow a painted army or suck it up; once is forgivable, maybe twice, but three strikes and yer out!  On a side note, using unit sized bases for regiments in games with no casualty removal and then putting half as many models on it - cheating; filler models? better be a effectively one for one exchange and no scenery cobblers, otherwise - cheating.

Also why go 10mm, 6mm, 3mm because it allows you to put more models in a unit and then not do so?  just say it's because you've only the space for a 3 foot table and be honest, a regiment of 24 6mm figures looks no more like a regiment than one of 24 28mm figures, just so you know.

Deep breath, the bad things can go away now.


History: Yup, I'm a history buff, most historical gamers who don't fall into the competition gamer criteria discussed above presumably are to some degree, outside of wargaming I'm keenly interested in social and cultural history, I read Roman and Greek classics for pleasure, I did a History (and Literature) degree, studied archaeology, and watch every historical documentary that comes my way. I enjoy a historical refight and the opportunity to try and reflect or overturn history, and I love doing my research to get an army accurate.  I may not worry about the number of buttons on a shirt or the shade of blue, but it's nice to know what you've done is reasonably reflective of the past.

Imagination: Conversely, wargaming is a fertile ground for creativity.  Obviously fantasy and science fiction games offer boundless space to invent your own worlds or explore the creations of others.  Creating fictional narratives within a historical context is certainly one of the aspects of gaming I enjoy most.  Then of course there is the related aspects of painting and modelling and all the opportunities to create something unique for yourself there.  It doesn't matter how well or badly it is done, the fact that yo can design build and paint your own army then lead it to the table and be a part of its' triumphs and tragedies is one of the great draws for me.  Buying pre painted and so on doesn't exclude you from this club, so long as your imagination is sparked along the line, it's all good.

Spectacle: Naturally, and I've talked about this before, there is an enormous appeal - contacting the inner child in all of us most immediately I think - in seeing a table of great terrain with two painted armies arrayed upon it, what happens thereafter is only a bonus in some ways.  Whilst I play skirmish games aplenty too, for me an army (at least pre 1900) is not an army until it's got at least 200 painted models in it.  Scale helps too and although I play in most popular figure sizes I am at heart most attached to the visual appeal of 25-30mm scale.  Bung a few hundred of those on a table and my inner child is ecstatic!

Exercising the Grey Matter: Obviously I'm hugely enamoured of the Charles Grant/CS Grant school of gaming and the idea of coming to the table to solve a tactical problem.  Similarly trying to refight historical actions and replicate or change (depending which side you're on) the results.  I also play lots of board games to grapple with different challenges and mechanics.  I'm much less of a fan of the equally pointed line em up & knock em down approach, and I have reached a stage where the point of the game should not be to spend the evening reading the rulebook, but the ability of wargaming to make you think and take challenging decisions in the context of having fun is why I do this rather than go fishing, say.

Socialising: And at the end of the day, many a good friend have I made through gaming, and even if you only meet up across a gaming table, you have at least that one strong bond in common.  One reason why I've never really got on with PC & online gaming, is the lack of a human being as an opponent; sure you may be playing people, you may hear their voice down the line, but they are not actually there; and you certainly may not want to consider them friends!  Yeah, I play computer games too, but only against computer opponents, and few strategy games anyway.  Besides it's nice sometimes to put the toy soldiers to one side and just chew the fat too.  Kinda hard to do online without it becoming antisocial instead.  I can't recall going to a pub with a wargamer I wouldn't be happy to play a game against, even if the opposite is not true!

So there you go.  That's my picks, my motivations and my bugbears.  What about you [points through the screen at the reader]...


  1. You've echoed much of my sentiments regarding the hobby (if I dare call it such). I only know of one "competition" gamer in the local community - he fits the description fairly well. I too like the historical side - blended with some imagination (as befits the hobby). For instance, why can't I include my painted Dutch Lancers in Peninsular scenarios! I provide both sides in my games anyway. :)

  2. Well said indeed... and damn, I forgot competition games/ers... !