Saturday, June 5, 2010

Competitive vs. Fluffy

I have been an author on Stelek's "Yes the Truth Hurts" for quite some time and the local gaming group that I play 40k with most often is at a local shop called Mind Games, and I find that all too often there is conflict between two groups of people.

First, the competitive gamer who wants a rule set that is well tuned and well supported and desires to play games that are well played tactically with good solid lists on either side.

Second, the fluffy gamer who is all about themed lists and painting and conversions and doing things the fluffy way. These gamers are much more story driven. They often see their game style as "friendly".

Now these descriptions are somewhat simplistic, but really I think this is what the two camps boil down to. For some reason each group sees the other as repulsive and even idiotic. For some reason in most places the two groups refuse to coexist. This to me is totally incomprehensible as I enjoy both ways of playing and feel that they are complimentary rather than conflicting.

To the fluffy gamers: does it hurt the way you like to play for the rules to be well written, frequently and thoroughly FAQed and balanced? Is it unreasonable for someone to enjoy playing the game with a really good well tooled list and be focused on winning rather than creating a cool narrative? Does it cause harm to you in any way for competitive gamers to pursue this course in a reasonable manner?

To the competitive gamers: Does it hurt your play style to have un-tuned armies that are based more on theme than on winning on the table? Does it hurt you to have well painted lovingly converted armies presented to for others to see and comment upon?

So we all agree that the opposing viewpoint is a reasonable pursuit so long as it doesn't impinge on our ability to do things our way right?

My solution to the whole deal is for everyone to simply grow up. You can love the way you do things, that doesn't make it the best, it just makes it yours. In fact I think everyone can appreciate the other way of doing things at least to some extent.

I for one love both competitive and fluffy gaming, I love to throw down with Stelek, and Kyle and others in a no holds barred style where everyone brings the best list they can and shows no mercy. I also love playing ridiculous themed lists that are simply based on what looks cool or seems fun at the moment. (Stupid Thunderfire Cannons)

What seems to me to be the real point of conflict is when one side or the other states as fact that theirs is the BEST (read: only) way to play, or when they give advice on something which they have relatively poor grasp.

So my advice to all including myself:
Take a step back, relax and remember it is a game. Let others enjoy what they enjoy. Don't pretend to be an expert when you aren't. Please admit when you are wrong. Remember there is room for everyone here, just because they don't like to do things your way doesn't mean they don't belong. Finally, you can be friendly and competitive simultaneously. In other words you can be kind, respectful, and have a good time while crushing face on the table top.