Monday, May 12, 2014

Game Wardens, 7th Edition, and Power Gamers

So I stumbled upon Games Workshops new video featuring Jervis Johnson talking about 7th edition new force organization chart and unbound special rule and I for one am excited. Already the net is a buzz with the usual moaning and groaning of "change" or lack there of.  First here's the video:

What I'm here to say is stand up and stop this abuse! No not the abuse against GW's YouTube videos but the abuse which certain players take to corrupt our beloved game. Now I am mildly sympathetic to those screaming against the lack of so called "balance" in the game and the apparent ways power gamers are more than likely going to exploit these new rules in an effort to willfully build list that are ultra competitive and hard to beat. Now, I said mildly because I believe it is our responsibility as loyal 40k players to make a stand and simply say "no, I will not play your seer councils, your flying circuses, your screamer stars, etc.". Now before you get irate with me know this, I am all for tournament play as well as fluff play, seeing as how I do both. I used to be hot and heavy in the tournament scene but have transformed into a more relaxed "fluffy" player enjoying everything from the random throw downs at the FLGS to the months long campaigns to the immense apocalypse duels. I do however plan on attending some tournaments later in the year, after a couple years away from the scene,  in order to get in touch with that side of the hobby again because I believe there are many positive facets to it. Now I'm getting side track but I merely wanted you, the reader, to understand that I am unbiased and fully support the concept of "to each his own."  
I however do not condone the whining and complaining coming from part of the community, who to me seems like they're ready to be hand fed "a balance game". Look ladies and gentlemen I am not a games designer nor do I have any such experience but, offering my opinion as a player and avid hobbyists it seems to me that games workshop:

1) Gives as much fuck about our tournament scene as a Tyranid does about a baby kitten he just ate in light of it's pretty little fur coat and it's googly kitten eyes. If they do care it's only for the apparent sales that tournaments can drive. 

2) Is developing there game with a story driven them to it and model collection supporting system. 

Granted this is all my own theory and just me looking from the outside in but come on, it's obvious. Read any Jervis Johnson or opening shot article in a White Dwarf within the past couple of years and you will see that this way of thinking is rampant within the games studio. Yes I know some will scream "they're just trying to sell minis". Yep, you are correct, they're a business, sales are good. Plus who doesn't love the loads of beautiful models we've been getting from them? 

Now back to my original point, we as 40k players and hobbyists should take it upon ourselves and say "enough". If you are a MathHammer elitist ok fine, if that's what you enjoy doing then please unlock all of the potent combos and opponent destroying list you want but you better be ready to find a game with someone of like mind because I'm not playing you with your spam casserole or your uber beatstick salad.  Granted sometimes spam or super units innocently get rolled into list due to a number of reasons but we all know the guys or gals at the shop who's sole purpose for playing the game is to:

1) lay the beat stick down because it somehow boost their nerd ego

2) practice for their next tournament where the only real reason they're winning or placing is because they've loaded their list so heavily with unbeatable options that any small amount of strategy is not really needed, unlike their opponent who brought a solid composition list and is relying on his skill as a tactician and not the fact that he has 500+ points loaded into a near unbreakable unit that requires a brain dead paraplegic to run across the board and mop shop with. 

Can we as a community fix the ever apparent plague of power gamers? We can sure try and after a short conversation with a buddy on the phone yesterday about how his local 40k scene was dying out due too the ultra competitive following making the gaming ultra "not fun".  I believe it's possible to put a dent in it even with a new edition that so far seems like it is definitely not focused on balancing the game. 

Now me, a weekend warrior, I'm going to have the easiest time with this. I simply can refuse to play anyone, anytime. That being said I've practiced this idea for a long time by simply avoiding those "power gamers" and sticking to the guys who are there to "forge a narrative" with me and enjoy 40k the way I believe GW has intended. 

It's the tournament and event organizers who are going to have the toughest go with it and I for one am no expert on manipulating the rules to provide for a more level playing field in a tournament. I think time will tell with the new edition coming and luckily we have some leaders in the community like the Frontline Gaming crew and Adepticon organizers (just a couple of prime examples) who have already experienced much success in manipulating the rule set to provide for a better gaming environment at there tourneys. Also I hear plenty of podcast and read plenty of talk in the forum communities about how to weed out the list perversion in effort to benefit us all. 

The 40k community needs to realize (and some have) that it is not Games Workshops responsibility to monitor and police these power gamers because they leave that job up to us as "game wardens" to do on an day to day basis.  They've provided us with an illustrious means of taking all or any of our models from our collection in order to make a fun themed game or for you to put all your favorite pretty models on the board. We as responsible and proactive gamers shouldn't allow ourselves to become a lazy and rather bitchy segment of the community that sits back and clogs YouTube videos or the hobby forums with negative comments because this breeds the type of people that want to be handed a "balanced" game.  Remember the power gamers could care less for your balanced game instead feeding off of GW's new way of developing the game because it allows them to build unbreakable list faster than a Ford factory production line. Although if we, who would like to influence the game positively, start saying NO to power lists, spam, deathstars, etc. on a mass scale, then that following will surely diminish or at worst stick to there own kind. Now initially I feel it wrong and don't want to push anyone out of a hobby but I think power gamers are a disease, a virus if you may, that only takes away from the fun of the game as it is intended and promotes negativity, as is apparent with the unhappiness of "balance in the game.  

A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure. -Agent Smith
If you don't have the cojones to say no or if you get stuck into a game with a power gamer at an event a polite gesture of "sorry I just really don't enjoy playing list like yours" or "I hope you had fun cus I sure didn't" could get the message across or at least spark something in there mind that says, "whoa, was that guy calling me a douchebag".

 Regardless you will always have the power gamers and we can't get rid of all of them, they're like mosquitoes, you can swat them, spray them, or put up a little light that zaps their annoying asses on contact BUT more will always come back.  However we all can do our part...

Let's get back to enjoying the game we love, however we like to play it and stop the complaining. And if you don't enjoy playing power gamers, which I feel most of the community does not, say something. Don't rely on GW to fix your problems. 




  1. Very nice post. I really like the direction the game is going. If GW were trying to keep power gamers from their power gaming, then things would be so restricted that there would be no room for imagination. And if that happens, then we aren't doing anything but moving plastic around a board according to a set of rules. The unbound armies could be terrible to play against if the opponent is a jury, but if you play against reasonable people, it will help mix things up and give us some challenges that we haven't had to face before. Nothing in the real world is balanced, including war. So I don't see a great reason why war games should be.

  2. Chris, hey brother I agree I'm enthusiastic about the direction the game is headed and I can't wait to see what turns up in 7th edition!

    I see your points and agree that if GW started trying to push out power gamers then we'd lose much of the essence of what goes into the game. Imagination is key to our enjoyment of 40k. And yes, I believe the unbound armies could provide us with very awesome potential for fluffy games and story driven armies yet I laugh when I think about walking in the store to see the 9 Riptide army with a buff commander. Haha! I'll just roll my eyes and shake my head.
    Now to your last point.... I agree it will give us challenges we haven't seen yet and I like your positive attitude about facing theses new armies that may present themselves. I am a practicing Taoist and appreciate things that are balanced but the realist in me agrees with you that I should find the fun in trying to figure out how to defeat these new threats on the tabletop. Very good point sir, I may quote your last two sentences in one of my future post if you don't mind. Thanks brother!