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The 40k Table top and the "Bigger Picture"


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#1
Damo1701

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Ever since Lords of War were introduced, and with the changes to Forge World units in Chapter Approved, I've seen people claiming "X would only be used under Y circumstances! Not in a small skirmish!"

This idea has always bothered me slightly.

When we play a game, we choose our armies according to, what? Effectiveness? Coolness? Fluff? Headcanon? Other reasons?

Have any of us stopped and thought about that snapshot we see over a couple of hours on the table? Why are 2 Primarchs present on that field? Why are there so many named characters around? You want to use relics and ancient war machines here?

What if what we are playing out on the table is part of a larger combat? Wouldn't opposing Primarchs seek each other out? Wouldn't heroes be close by the ancient war machines they pulled out of storage?

2 of the same Primarchs facing each other? Lazy writing I know, but warp imposters.

Why do so many people try to limit themselves or other gamers based on a snapshot of what could be a global battle? Just because we aren't seeing the whole thing.

Has anybody else had thoughts about things like this?

Do you bother with writing any headcanon for the game you are about to play?
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#2
Wargamer

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Okay, you seem to be talking about mutual overkill, so my initial point isn't that valid.

I think what we need to consider is what people get out of the experience. I'm the sort of person who hates seeing Primarchs, or even named characters in my games because I want to write my own story. Some people want to see Guilliman and Mortarion beat each other senseless. I would much rather see Commander John McVities square off against Lord Bigjob the Unsnappable.

Edited by Wargamer, 05 December 2017 - 08:49 PM.

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#3
Bryan Blaire

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That’s usually the majority of what I do. I’ve never assumed that what is being played on the table top is the only battle going on, or even the whole of a battle. The tabletop may only be one small corner of what is going on.

My friends and I used to (when everyone still had time and all played) play campaigns and linked skirmishes that determined how the story went for the world we were fighting over.
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#4
Marshal Rohr

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This is literally mentioned in older rule books and described in mission descriptions. They even explicitly delineated between narrative games, free for all, and WAAC with the new ‘take everything, power levels, or points’ systems in the newest edition. If you’re playing a narrative game, there’s other stuff going on. If you’re playing a pick up game with points, your playing a ‘multiplayer match’.
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#5
Bulwyf

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Most of the people in my local meta care more about fluff than competitive cheeseball lists so yes, we have a good amount of time coming up with reasons for a fight.


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#6
Shockmaster

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I have always played with the idea our game is but a small part of a much larger battle going on around us, so don't have a narrative problem with SC & LoW appearing.

 

I still prefer for LoW to stay out of anything under two thousand points personally but that is not for narrative reasons, purely because I just don't enjoy their involvement in smaller games other then for specific custom scenarios. 


Edited by Shockmaster, 05 December 2017 - 09:15 PM.

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#7
Claws and Effect

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I'm okay with pretty much anything as long as it doesn't break things too much.

Baneblade chassis tank in a 1250 point game? Sure. Could be played as that tank and its escort heading to a specific location in a larger battle, and the opposing army is the task force sent to destroy it.

Rob in a 1,000 point game? Stretching it a bit more, but sometimes heroic characters have to do gruntwork simply because no one else is available. Opponent? Trying to assassinate him.

You can think up a plausible enough reason why anything is anywhere if you put a little effort into it.

Magnus and Mortarion on the same side in a 2,000 point game? They met up to discuss something and were ambushed by the opposing army.
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#8
Warhead01

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My games are the battle. Big or small. If we want a large cinematic we dump 20,000 points on the board. Usually very themed. And for myself if some of my large assets are destroyed, I don't bring them back for a few games, resupply and repairs take time. An after a very large battle we will probably scale down for the next one or two. just depends on what kind of time we have. But that was the last few editions and I haven played a game larger than 2000 points so far this edition.  
I also prefer not to use special characters but my opponent for big games is free to bring his to lead his force. (I don't like feeling I have to bring one to compete fairly with my opponent, which is a reason I have enjoyed this new edition so far. ) 


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#9
the jeske

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It is a cost thing. It is one thing to play the losing side or an unequal scenario in a game that cost you 0-150$. Heck the game could be build to lose, and the only way to "win" in it would be to check how long you can last. It is a way different thing, when to play you and your opponent require 700$+ of stuff[and I think we all know how stale the game becomes if you play vs the same person over and over again, no matter if you win or lose]. when the cost of a game becomes 2-3k $ [cost of table, the armies of 2-3 people], even if the cost is shared it  still a lot. The threshold for being ok with losing over and over again is for most people put a lot lower then the avarge cost of a w40k army and again this are not all costs, there can also  bepainting, tables and terrain for it etc

 

This means people do try to optimise their armies. the problem with this is that an optimise army [not a tournament army, but you know an assault army that may actually pull of an assault, a shoty army that doesn't always get outshot/run over in melee etc] for faction A, maybe better then a "WAAC" list for faction B. And as the community is not that large people playing both kinds of armies/factions/lists do play against each other. This generates a ton of dislike for each other. Because it is hard to explain to one self why my 700$ work better then my opponents 700$[and heave forbid his army is cheap and good like Draigowing]. And even if you can it is always easier to say that the other dude doesn't know how to play and is salty now[army A player] or the other dude is a WAAC  douchbag that hates his army, his life and is a prime example what counts as not being a human.

 

On psychological level we also encounter two aspects that buff the dislike even more. In general two different groups can be antagonistic to each other and often are, but bloodiest and biggest conflicts you always get within the same group. You will never hate an infinity or warmahorde player[as a group, without personally knowing them] as you hate a WAAC player or a fluffhead.

The second aspect is the aspect of space. When w40k grew there were a ton of player coming and going. It was possible for a local store community to have two sub groups one playing the game the type A way and the other the type B way. Sadly as sells went down, and both the lnflux of new players went down, there just wasn't enough people to support both such playstyles in local communities[GW sending mixed messages by their codex design also didn't help, it was mind blowing to see codex like orcs/nids and eldar/marines come out from the same DT in the same edition].

 

To make it short for those who do not want to read the whole thing. W40k costs too much and is too much of a time investment to play it without having fun. Something has to be there even if it is just a social thing, and the game is more an excuse to met friends[you know the way our fathers went to fish aka be out of home for a weekend, specially pre big holidays]. The community is split and it will always be split, what I would like to happen though is for people to understand that there is only one way to play the game type A for life.


"Felix wondered how Calgar might feel about the primach's unilateral altering of the Codex Astartes. The captain could not help but feel that, in his drive for victory and efficiency, Guilliman had been careless with the feelings of his existing sons. Increasingly, Guilliman looked to the Primaris Space Marines as his first solution. He made no attempt to hide the fact that the days of the older space marines were numbered."


#10
Marshal Rohr

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It is a cost thing. It is one thing to play the losing side or an unequal scenario in a game that cost you 0-150$. Heck the game could be build to lose, and the only way to "win" in it would be to check how long you can last. It is a way different thing, when to play you and your opponent require 700$+ of stuff[and I think we all know how stale the game becomes if you play vs the same person over and over again, no matter if you win or lose]. when the cost of a game becomes 2-3k $ [cost of table, the armies of 2-3 people], even if the cost is shared it  still a lot. The threshold for being ok with losing over and over again is for most people put a lot lower then the avarge cost of a w40k army and again this are not all costs, there can also  bepainting, tables and terrain for it etc

 

This means people do try to optimise their armies. the problem with this is that an optimise army [not a tournament army, but you know an assault army that may actually pull of an assault, a shoty army that doesn't always get outshot/run over in melee etc] for faction A, maybe better then a "WAAC" list for faction B. And as the community is not that large people playing both kinds of armies/factions/lists do play against each other. This generates a ton of dislike for each other. Because it is hard to explain to one self why my 700$ work better then my opponents 700$[and heave forbid his army is cheap and good like Draigowing]. And even if you can it is always easier to say that the other dude doesn't know how to play and is salty now[army A player] or the other dude is a WAAC  douchbag that hates his army, his life and is a prime example what counts as not being a human.

 

On psychological level we also encounter two aspects that buff the dislike even more. In general two different groups can be antagonistic to each other and often are, but bloodiest and biggest conflicts you always get within the same group. You will never hate an infinity or warmahorde player[as a group, without personally knowing them] as you hate a WAAC player or a fluffhead.

The second aspect is the aspect of space. When w40k grew there were a ton of player coming and going. It was possible for a local store community to have two sub groups one playing the game the type A way and the other the type B way. Sadly as sells went down, and both the lnflux of new players went down, there just wasn't enough people to support both such playstyles in local communities[GW sending mixed messages by their codex design also didn't help, it was mind blowing to see codex like orcs/nids and eldar/marines come out from the same DT in the same edition].

 

To make it short for those who do not want to read the whole thing. W40k costs too much and is too much of a time investment to play it without having fun. Something has to be there even if it is just a social thing, and the game is more an excuse to met friends[you know the way our fathers went to fish aka be out of home for a weekend, specially pre big holidays]. The community is split and it will always be split, what I would like to happen though is for people to understand that there is only one way to play the game type A for life.

 

I buy models and build terrain with no intention of ever using it in a game. I buy models with the sole intention of seeing if I can cut them up and I have at least 400 dollars worth of unassembled models. Your experiences are not universal and heavily shaped by where you live. In fact, I'd say your experiences are incredibly specific. So specific, they are outliers in mainstream 40k experience. 


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#11
Wargamer

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His experiences don't sound at all like outliers to me. Having been involved with numerous clubs and stores I repeatedly saw the same thing - the WAAC group, often younger people with more time and disposable income, and the "casuals" who were often older and brought armies based on lore or the look of the models over their raw killing power.
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#12
Marshal Rohr

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His experiences don't sound at all like outliers to me. Having been involved with numerous clubs and stores I repeatedly saw the same thing - the WAAC group, often younger people with more time and disposable income, and the "casuals" who were often older and brought armies based on lore or the look of the models over their raw killing power.

 

Is his experience universal enough to consistently say 'this is the way it is' or 'actually, its about X'?



#13
Shockmaster

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The divide between hardcore minded players and casual does exist but I don't think it is as vast a gulf as some on the internet claim, as in my experience most hardcore players are more then willing to play casual in the right setting, as they are collectors of models like we all are and enjoy getting to field models that they never would in a serious tournament.

 

The players who seem literally incapable of playing anything but the strongest netlist in every single game are a small minority in the overall GW customer base but have a loud voice online which can give the impression the divide is much bigger then it actually is.

 

That is just my experience though, maybe I have just got lucky and never encountered these groups half dominated by serial netlisters. 


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#14
Claws and Effect

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The divide between hardcore minded players and casual does exist but I don't think it is as vast a gulf as some on the internet claim, as in my experience most hardcore players are more then willing to play casual in the right setting, as they are collectors of models like we all are and enjoy getting to field models that they never would in a serious tournament.

 

The players who seem literally incapable of playing anything but the strongest netlist in every single game are a small minority in the overall GW customer base but have a loud voice online which can give the impression the divide is much bigger then it actually is.

 

That is just my experience though, maybe I have just got lucky and never encountered these groups half dominated by serial netlisters. 

 

This. 

 

My mindset going into a game depends entirely on the setting and my opponent. 

 

If I'm playing against my wife on the dining room table, it's incredibly casual. If I'm playing at a tournament somewhere I go into "take no prisoners" mode and do my best to crush whoever I'm playing. If I'm playing against an especially obnoxious tool I will play every rule RAW just to screw with them. 

 

I don't particularly mind losing over and over, mostly because I learn a little more about tactics every time I do. I spent the money on the models I bought because I also enjoy the modeling aspect of the hobby (I will never bring gray plastic models to a game). I dislike netlisting for the simple fact that what works for the person who originally built the list may not (and probably won't) work for me. 



#15
Marshal Rohr

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The divide between hardcore minded players and casual does exist but I don't think it is as vast a gulf as some on the internet claim, as in my experience most hardcore players are more then willing to play casual in the right setting, as they are collectors of models like we all are and enjoy getting to field models that they never would in a serious tournament.

 

The players who seem literally incapable of playing anything but the strongest netlist in every single game are a small minority in the overall GW customer base but have a loud voice online which can give the impression the divide is much bigger then it actually is.

 

That is just my experience though, maybe I have just got lucky and never encountered these groups half dominated by serial netlisters. 

 

It's because the internet is the only place they get the feedback they want. When local netlisters try and explain the nuances of mathhammer to people, eyes glaze over. 



#16
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The idea of a bigger battle is one I find helpful when it comes to the end of the game. Imagine a scenario where my heavily out-numbered and out-gunned force has clung on to a victory point lead till the end of turn five, but are about to be swept away...

And then the games ends, and I win. The thought that night has fallen and everyone gives up has never worked for me. The idea that a reserve force of storm ravens has finally located my survivors and clear the battle field with overwhelming firepower seems much better. (And also fits with random game length - I know the back-up is coming, but I don’t know exactly when...)

Or even the thought that my lot have been wiped out seconds after the game ends, but win because they’ve delayed the other side from getting to where they needed to be for just long enough to swing the tide in my imaginary favour elsewhere.
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#17
Wulf Vengis

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The bigger picture is what 40k is about. One should never assume that the 2000pt battle they're partaking in is the only battle for a planet. That would be a tiny a planet.
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