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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Follow Up Post: Discussing Gaming and Personalities



This post is a rather long copy/paste from the 2d6D Facebook page comments. Thanks to Jeremy, Scott and Justin for the engaging and thoughtful discussion. If you're keen, have a look and like the Facebook page to join in. The link is in the right hand frame.

Jeremy:
     I think it depends on the army. Some armies, like Dark Eldar for example, have to be aggressive to function. The opposite it true with say Tau. Craftworld Eldar have the luxury of being somewhat in the middle, but should still be played more aggressively than say, Space Marine (ie Codex) which are more defense.
     Mind you a persons personality has something to do with it in that it affects the way people pick armies.

Scott:
so i play Guard and did play as space wolf gun lines, i also play dark eldar and deamons. so where do i fall into this scheme. As a player i play towards the strength of what ever dex i happen to be using.

Me:
     Scott, same here. I talked about that briefly at the end of the post. From 4th until 75% through fifth you played more passive armies. I know you're not a passive person, so maybe this post could be refined to reflect preferred play styles more than the type of person a player is. But those armies might have appealed to you because a passive play style was your cup of tea at the time.
     Jeremy, I agree. That's why I consider Vanguard Vets a very aggressive unit despite being Space Marines. Descent of Angels lists in general have to be played to the strengths of their aggressive deployment style.
     Your second point reflects the complexity and scope of what I was trying to discuss originally. Scott is right that he plays a way that works with his units, simply put. But I remember that his movement was hella sloppy when he first started with DE skimmers. He made moves that didn't need made and put himself in range where he didn't have to be. Now he plays much more carefully and confidently. I don't think his personality has changed, but maybe because he's not naturally inclined to that kind of play he had to adjust to it? I'm not sure but there might be something to that.

Scott:
     I find the alot players may only have one army so they play the strength of the rules being D or O but does not define their personalities. and if i was only to play the first two armys i got then i would be considered a defensive player. And if you take this story and look to 4th ED than most players would be define as offensive players. people play toward the strength of the game or are tied up with a dex that limits their play.
      that was growing pains

Me:
     Yeah I know. And I had growing pains getting used to the more static Eldar infantry. I always play fast characters in games. Star Fox in Smash Melee, for example. Being slow just doesn't feel right. I have a Nurgle army but it's more the flavor, fluff and modeling that does it for me. I don't like playing them that much because I can't pressure the enemy in the movement phase.
     I disagree about everyone playing aggressively in 4th, Scott. This is why I made sure to point out that Im not talking about throwing units at the enemy. Or about gravitating toward assault units. Im talking about what results you're aiming at with actions that you take. 
     In movement that means playing armies that take objectives instead of hold them. In shooting it means moving in the extra few inches that put you in danger, risking return fire to potentially wipe the target. In assault it means taking units that kill hard despite being a liability. For some, probably more among causal players who look less at the statistically objective value of units, taking an assault unit that is also sturdy is probably very reassuring. For powergamers, you don't take Harlequins because you feel comfortable with their cover, you take them because if the enemy can't ignore cover they're nigh unstoppable.
   Like I said, on second thought this is more complicated than I'd originally thought.

Jeremy
     I agree, but something has to be said that I actually started with Eldar. I have a very good Space Marine force, but it's dominated but drop pods and flyers. I also like Sisters of Battle and Chaos Demons.
     I think this brings up something different. I like mobile and flexible, hence Eldar, Drop Pods, Rhino Rush Sisters. Maybe I am more aggressive but I also like maneuverability which gives me options as to whether I play aggressive or defensive. A vs D is a little Black and White because armies that can maneuver can do both, Tau actually included. 
     I like armies that can be aggressive. For the simple reason that if you are being the active player, you call the shots. Doesn't mean you'll win but you can control what happens if you force your opponent into quick thinking. Marines are a good starter army because they can put up with that kind of coordinated beating better than most. But a skilled player will still pick them apart.

Jeremy
     "In movement that means playing armies that take objectives instead of hold them. In shooting it means moving in the extra few inches that put you in danger, risking return fire to potentially wipe the target. In assault it means taking units that kill hard despite being a liability. For some, probably more among causal players who look less at the statistically objective value of units, taking an assault unit that is also sturdy is probably very reassuring. For powergamers, you don't take Harlequins because you feel comfortable with their cover, you take them because if the enemy can't ignore cover they're nigh unstoppable."
     IMO 6th Edition is the best run at the rules yet. Simply because it forces people to think of objectives rather than just killing. This means powergamers are now a bit evened out because 5 out of 6 missions don't rely on kills alone. 
     I think this is the thing. Ultra competitive gamers don't like this because just taking a dirty list with death star units no longer works as well as it did in 4th and 5th. The problem with 40k in the competitive scene for a long time was players who just made a insane list that did one thing well and just steamrolled everyone. Now you actually have to think about what you have to do and having a balanced list with enough troops to capture objectives is key.
     Personally when I game this is more of an issue. Am I playing someone who's aggressive but wise enough to bend to meet the mission  objectives. Or is it the same old player that seeks to beat you into submission with is block of Chedder Cheese. The latter doesn't do as well anymore and for that I'm glad.

Justin
     Firstly, thank you Dan for the very educational and very well put together response. As not having much experience in the war torn world of  40k on the battlefield perhaps, but from the monocles of a War Scribe, I wanted to address how one would actually face off their opponent by understanding there different play style. You pick an army because you like the fluff, you like how they look, and what they can ultimately do on the terrain. I have never heard anyone state, “That they love an army for the things they cannot do”. You pick a codex and are tied to its strengths already, but you play to refine and provide a foundation for their weaknesses. This is when the personal human factor applies itself as I have seen. Do you add Assault Marines without jump packs, place them in a drop pod for free, land them deep behind an enemies Aegis defense line, knowing that they can only flamer/Special weapon and shoot bolt pistols, to have them wait till your next Assault phase to charge, because you are an aggressive player? Because you believe that psychological warfare is a very huge aspect on the battlefield (because it is in real life war) and want attention drawn from your other units, and possibly confuse your opponent in their T.P.C. (Threat Priority Control) to change his/her focus on something that is not as deadly? The fact remains that regardless of whatever you pick real tacticians know ars militaris and how to use them effectively and by doing so you place your personality and play style into the army, There are those who don’t even have a clue of what they are doing, but have won 90% of their games because of copycat list, lacking the brain power to actually come up with a list of their own, only because they want to win……well who doesn’t, but there are some like myself who would just love to see how people play and have a great time, I am currently not in a serious mode where I am driven by this impulse to win, not unless I am playing an army I dislike, mostly due to fluff reasons, I am looking at you Orks and Tyrainds…Any how this leads into my big question and I hope the tag team duo jumps on this one and spills their beans. BOYS OVER TOYS OR TOYS OVER BOYS???? What does this mean to you players out there and how have you applied this in your own armies???
-Finecast-

Me:
     Yeah actually in Justin's original comment he was describing more than just aggressive and passive. He also described people who are simply inexperienced and others who are falling back on what they know works. Maybe it's possible to attribute a great variety of descriptive personalities to the ways people people. I almost typed "to the shades of grey in between," but stopped myself because there isn't a scale with aggressive on one end and passive on the other. And "cautious" doesn't fall in between. Neither does "deceptive."
     On your second post, Jeremy, I find myself torn. I think the game benefits from a great variety of strategies and units being functional. Deathstars are one of many fun ways to play to me. They suit the player in me that likes to think of each model as a character. They have been toned down, but even in fifth they weren't the end-all-be-all of competitive units. Hammer lists like that tend to get slaughtered in the wrong match up. Draigowing collapses against IG with tons of Lascannons and against DE with tons of darklight weaponry. Either under 5th or 6th edition rules. But they also slaughter the enemy when the match up is in their favor. The lack of close games is what does turn me off about them. This issue is really more about the overall balance of the game than the way people play or pick armies/units. One last thought on the topic though, is that having to use only troops to capture objectives has been a downer for me as an Eldar player. I hate most of our troops right now and can't wait to see them revamped.
     As far as aggressively taking objectives goes, I want to go back to my original point that this isn't about blindly charging forward. I'm talking about risk taking and rewards. In your example it would be more of a question of whether you're aggressive enough to get in there turn five without the guarantee that you'll be able to kill the target (maybe the rolls required lie on the higher end of your bell curve) and without the guarantee that the game will even end. I call that aggressive because you might get your unit killed by taking the chance. But being more conservative might lose you the game, even though it is statistically the better option if the game goes to 6 or 7 turns.
     Justin, sure thing man. Thanks for the awesome comment. You're right that very few people choose armies based on their limitations. I feel proud to play Eldar which has a community with lots of players who have been limiting themselves for fluff as far back as the Craftworld Codex. Eldar is all about specialty and each craftworld has its own limitations, like few aspect warriors with Ulthwe or a low population for Iyanden and thus few militiamen. You make good points about being tied to the army you play and what it is capable of. Harassment and TPC disruption are tactics that are very familiar to me from playing Warp Spiders and Shining Spears.