Flame on … again

Captain America says "Flame on!" Wait, that's not right... ah well, who cares. Iron Man is way cooler anyway.

We haven’t had to put out enough fires yet around here (metaphorically speaking of course, it seems like half the damn province is on fire at the moment) so I’m gonna have to throw caution to the wind and start this whole thing up all over again.

So… those of us who follow Jaded Gamercast on the Bookface are probably all too familiar with the subject … The necessary evil that we all sweat over … Tournament season is upon us and with new composition scoring models comes a whole new discussion of what works (and doesn’t work) about composition. Instead of jumping straight into the nitty gritty of various systems, I want to steer us on some wild tangents for a while first. Tangents are fun! They remind me of math, from before math got all scary and I wasn’t allowed to use a calculator anymore. Calculus is the devil, at least when taught by a guy who doesn’t speak English…

Hold up. That’s not where I was trying to go with this. I was trying to talk about philosophy. See, I told you tangents were fun! You never can tell just where the hell I’m gonna go next.

Okay, Philosophy. Seriously.

When I was thinking about this whole composition debate, it occurred to me that I’ve heard a lot of these arguments before. Where, exactly? In university, most notably in regards to everybody’s favorite 19th century German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. Yes, kiddies, today I’m gonna make you read about ethics and transcendental realism and watch me somehow try to make this all relate to Warhammer. Aren’t you glad you clicked the link to this post?

When you’re talking ethics, you are often talking Deontology vs. Consequentialism. If you are already scared of where this post is going, you might want to check out the following video before continuing on.

Okay, cool. With the former (deontology), you have a very black and white world where it’s never (ever!) morally acceptable to lie, cheat, manipulate, or anything like that. Ever. Even when your wife/girlfriend asks you how she looks in a particular outfit. I consider the ETC and their mission to police the game by banning everything a good example of hardcore militant deontology. Obviously, this is to be avoided. With Consequentialism, you have a much more subjective “the ends justify the means” sort of philosophy. In theory, everything hopefully works out in the end … but this approach is purely subjective and can lead to some pretty atrocious stuff happening. If you don’t agree with the subjective interpretation of the outcome (ie. “Everything is just peachy”) then you’re likely not too happy with the methods that were employed.

As you can plainly see, these philosophies are in direct conflict with each other and thusly we end up bitching about composition on the Internets all day when we should be doing our jobs.

Kant’s form of deontology (and a number of other philosophical schools of ethics, aesthetics and even linguistics) all rely on the notion of transcendental realism. In other words, they believe that there is some innate mystical wisdom, knowledge, or whatever that we have the capacity to seek out and apply to the universe. Applied to Warhammer, this would mean that there is some specific universal law regarding “What makes someone a power gamer,” and as such, there would be a purely objective formula for how to deal with this. Good luck with that.

Thank God, he’s talking about Warhammer again.

I believe that, on some level, this is where many tournament organizers are coming from. This is why we often find ourselves trying to write a checklist or a system that can be applied equally and fairly to all army books to provide a level playing field on which to play our games of toy soldiers. As experience will tell us, this is rarely ever so simple.

John Locke on army composition: "DON'T TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO!"

As gamers, we simply don’t like being told what to do. We especially hate it when something we spent a ton of money on is banned entirely, but when there’s a composition system that discourages you from taking something you’d want to put in your army, you still get defensive. There’s going to be fireworks any time someone posts a purely objective composition system, because no two lists are exactly the same and the strengths of one book (ie. cheap transports for Marines and Imperial Guard) don’t line up with the strengths of another book (ridiculously expensive Devilfishes in Tau armies).

The Tau pay as much for their transports as Dave Ulliott pays for his jewel-encrusted knuckle dusters.

Okay, so while there might be some basic principles that we can agree on for composition, namely that being a complete and utter douchebag who ruins the day of his opponents simply by showing up is a bad thing, it’s tough to continue from there without delving into that mushy subjective crap like, “Is your opponent’s army list fun?”

Thesis? Antithesis? Meet Synthesis.

The happy middle ground usually lies somewhere in the realm of a hybrid system. It relies on some transcendental definitions on what makes an army list unfair/lame/whatever, but it’s tempered by an element of subjectivity to accomodate for context (ie. different army books, the rest of the army list, and the rest of the people taking the same army list to the event).

This is what the Out of the Basement tournaments have used for the past couple of years, and with almost universally positive results I might add. We managed to create an environment where (for the most part) people are on a level playing field and the army lists got a score that reflected the level of their optimization (commonly referred to as “cockbaggery” in the vernacular of today’s youth culture). OOTB used a simple system, where you received up to three points for following some basic rules of composition and your opponent could give you up to two points based on the army being overall fun and fair to play against. If you got 5/5, the opponent could give you a bonus point purely at their discretion.

Everybody was pretty happy. And then 8th edition Fantasy and some of the more recent 40k codices came out, and the old formulae went to shit. Back to the drawing boards…

This year, it was announced (here) that we would be using a system wherein everybody starts with the same score, and you run the army list through a long list of + and – modifiers to end up with a purely objective comp score. As you can expect, there was backlash. Some people were unhappy (some of them justified, Necrons and Tau don’t fare well under a system that favors creativity and variety) and some went so far as to abandon their plans to attend this year. And then I wrote a post about it and finally, just now, you finished reading it. Thanks, by the way, my rants aren’t always easy to follow. Hopefully they offer a little bit of enlightenment, or at least some entertainment value.

So. Anyway. Here we are at the end of my article. I challenge you to propose a simple, elegant system that covers some of the basic principles of army construction (special characters, min-maxing, etc.) while being flexible enough to accomodate all of the different army builds and strategies you can expect to find in a competitive environment. There must be a fairly clear distinction between “soft” armies with high scores, “competitive” armies in the middle and “fully optimized” lists towards the bottom.

I’m not trying to be confrontational or anything like that. If we do come up with a kickass system that works for this type of tournament then everybody wins.


18 comments on “Flame on … again

  1. Holy crap i cannot believe that let that go to print, it seems that the club and GW have the same editing department.

    So thinking about it since the last time we talked about comp, here is an idea (at least for fantasy as I play it more and as such have a greater understanding of it and its army design compared to 40K).

    +1:have you spent 25% more than the minimum amount you are allowed to spend on core (ie a further 156 pts).
    +1: if you dont have a special character, half a point if the special character allows for a specific army to be played (I.E skarsnik and a true all goblin army, herald of nurgle and an all plaguebearer army, etc)
    +1:no duplicate (or triplicate if possible) rare choices over 100 pts per choice
    +1:you do not have two of the same lord/character
    +1:No tripling of special choices.

    The thing about a tournament is that people will all come for different reasons, and ultimately you cannot tell people what to do (im looking at you ETC). To me a comp score should reflect a general thinking about not being a total hose-bag, and to build an army that is both competitive, but not clearly a one dimensional spam fest (min/max). Your not going to stop it, the best you can do is limit it.

    So I believe this comp system provides a fair and objective scoring system while not penalizing many people. And Ill explain each point and why its worded as such.

    25% more core than minimum: no one likes seeing a minimum core army, but saying you need to take the whole 50% allotted is stupid because lets be honest core are balls, they are at best placeholders and at worst fodder. But saying that you get a point for taking a further 156 pts over the minimum is easy, everyone can do it. BUt if you do so you might as well boost that unit a little further to make it effective. By doing this those people who do more than the 156 are finding a way to get that point and building an effective army in a way they didnt previously consider.

    special character: I hate it when an army is built around a special character, because most times its a min/max dick army. However I understand that some armies can only be played with a special character, so it would be unfair to penalize these people, so we give them half a point to reward them for creating a thematic army. The concept of theme is a tricky one and most people hate hearing it. But if you create an all goblin army with no orcs in sight, throw skarsnik in because he makes the army work better, and he himself isnt that big of a game changer. If I did an all bloodletter army and threw in skulltaker, I woudlnt get the point, because i dont need skulltaker to do so. This prevents people from throwing in a special character and calling it part of the theme.

    no dup/trip rare choices: I hated how in the old OOTB tourney scoring I was penalized for taking 2 eagles or bolt throwers in my highelves. Scoring like that in which you cant take any duplicate choices hurts armies that dont have monsters for their rare choicses, but i understand that it was meant to stop the armies that do from spamming it. But to get people who are innocent caught in the crossfire like that is just plain dumb. Hence the 100 pt limit, and dupes or trips (if possible of course) for 100 pts arent game changers, they arent hydras/abombs/stanks. Organ guns will be hit, but lets be honest as a dwarf player I would take 20 organ guns if I could.

    no tripling of specials: specials are the meat of the army in my opinion, they are beautiful models, usually well painted, and are where the real challenge in the game lies. I love squaring off with these units with my own, everytime I see a special unit I send one of mine in and I want to see who crafted the more resilient/flexbile unit. No one really should be tripling up that one special unit, and so really everyone should get this point.

    So thats it for now so far, it could use some polish but I feel that a purely objective scoring system that can be easily met while still respecting the concept of a tournament mentality is the way to go. If you dont like seeing peoples best at a tournament, remember that we all play to win, its just how we choose to do so that breaks the game.

  2. Congrats on learning about Photoshop! But you are not a jedi yet….

  3. Dan, I really hope you can appreciate my position on this. While I prefer a very competitive style of 40k, I understand what you are trying to achieve. It is clear to me, and I understand that your goal (to reward less competitive lists while penalizing good lists) is unwavering and non-negotiable.

    That being said, my issue at the moment is not now with the intangible concept of composition, but how your team has chosen to address it. You have created a system where the average player has taken a slight hit on their list for just randomly taking whatever they want. Meanwhile, your system allows quite a few very competitive armies to be submitted that fully skirt the checklist you made. Effectively, the OotB team has posted a system that actively awards competitive lists over the rest of the field, and refuses to back down from this. You can talk about the ends justifying the means all you want, but your means have resulted in a worse game for the casual players than before you started. All this was for what? To stop Razorback and Mechvets lists? How many of those did you see at Onslaught? How hard is it to play a game against an army type that you can actively prepare for a game against?

    If all you were looking for was submissions of a composition system that works, sorry, I can’t really think of one. Why not have a split tournament with one half heavily focused on hobby elements, and another on the gaming?

    The whole current checklist system reeks of a player getting beat by a certain list or two with his list, and rather than analyzing his own play or army for shortcomings, is lashing out at those lists instead.

    • I do understand where you’re coming from, and the fact that you own one of those armies (mech vets) definitely makes the system hit your preferred list pretty hard.

      There will need to be some more disclaimers on my posts in the future, because I don’t necessarily speak for OOTB.

      When we were proposing comp systems this spring, I suggested that we might back off on comp (based on previous OOTB and Onslaught events). Many 40k gamers are okay with no holds barred style optimized lists, and as you say, some army builds can dodge comp systems better than others.

      The counter to this argument was that good, well-rounded players are being forced out of 40k by some of the shenanigans that are seen in the repetitive/unoriginal highly competitive lists. Some of the best guys to play with/against were losing interest because it wasn’t fun anymore. I have a hard time ignoring this.

      The OOTB system isn’t intended to be universal. It’s intended to be a part of a Best Overall focussed event. We don’t want an Ardboyz style event where winning is all that matters. We want people to have fun and show off their creativity, in terms of the hobby and army list construction.

      That’s why the comp system is the way it is. Average armies should get 5-6 points, hardcore spammy lists will get lower and less repetitive lists will get higher.

      I might have done things a bit differently, but it’s not my event, it’s an event run by a group of people for the community at large. The system might not be perfect, but it will improve over time and hopefully it will always encourage a little fun and innovation so you don’t see the same lists ad nauseam.

      • Does that all make sense?

        Ever since 3rd edition, duplication of units has been the easiest way to be successful in 40k. Tag teams of identical units were increasingly common, followed by outright spam when things were cheap enough or good enough to allow it.

        I haven’t played much 5th edition, but I have never ran an army that had a sub .500 record in either friendly or competitive play. At the same time, I’d never run an army with more than 1 or any given unit, with the exception of Troops. My Marine armies had 1 Rhino/Razorback each. Partially because I didn’t like painting duplicates and partly because I thought it was more fun.

        The comp system doesn’t ban anything but it does reward thinking outside the box and making competitive lists that aren’t based on just cut and paste.

  4. Well, I can see right from your comments that this is something you have already made your mind up on, and are unable to discuss this objectively. ‘Spammy’, ‘Cut & Paste’ and ‘Unoriginal’ are sprinkled throughout every post you make. What the actual issue is behind all that is kind of what gets me thinking.

    You talk about players that have played forever thinking about quitting. Are you sure that is the reason? Is it possible they are still running the exact same army they have for the last decade and find it not on the same level of competition with the new editions? If one does not actively analyze how the rules have changed and meet those changes, they will be very disappointed in their choices. I mean, this is just one theory, but I could see a few players bringing along their last edition lists to Onslaught.

    I walked around the tables a lot during Onslaught to take a look at the kind of lists people were bringing. First, I did not see any that were the same. At all. One thing that stuck out at me though was actually the number of people that brought an army that had nearly one of every unit in their codex. ‘Wow,’ I thought, ‘what boring lists.’ They offer little to the opponent in a game (target the couple units that best counter yours, game is over), and start to all blend into each other very quickly. These are not a tabletop army at all, but a list without thought put behind the design whatsoever other than tabletop aesthetics (and even that is a matter of taste, I think a table filled with tanks looks really cool). You say you want to focus on overall, but maybe you need to rephrase that to wanting to focus on just painting?

    Me? When I look at a ‘vetspam’ list, I get intrigued and look closer. What choices did they take? What could they not bring based on those choices? Did they actually bring something that works together cohesively rather than simply picking what they thought was the ‘best’ unit in each slot? What did they pick to overcome the glaring weaknesses inherent to their list, or did they ignore them and focus on the strengths?

    All that being said, we are getting into the realm of composition as a concept rather than focusing on the actual matter at hand: a comp checklist that was so poorly play-tested that it actively hurts the more casual players, players you are seeking to appease. I don’t understand why the only response to this is: ‘The system may not be perfect, but it will improve over time.’ The system is worse than the one you started with.

    • I’m all about the painting, I fully admit that. Seeing a beautiful army that looks like it belongs in the game universe is just about as good as it gets. Playing the game itself is the icing on the cake for me. But at the end of the day, I’ll never place painting at more than 20-25% of a tournament score. It’s an important part of the hobby, but it’s still just one tiny fraction and that’s the way it should be.

      Taking a list that is a random smattering of useless units does nobody any good. As you say, it’s not much of a challenge for a competent general. A list that has some serious synergy without needing 3+ of each unit can still be very competitive without being boring at all.

      As an example (yes I know it’s out of date, but bear with me), the Raven Guard army that I was playing back when I actively considered myself a tournament-going 40k player was a mashup of staple units that worked well together. The base of the army was a couple of Tactical Squads (one in Rhino), a unit of Scouts with bolters and missile launcher, 8 Devs with 3x lascannon and 8 Assault Marines led by a Captain with lightning claws (this was back when Captains weren’t a complete waste of points!). Balanced and reasonably well-rounded core for the army.

      The other portion of the army was a squad of GK Terminators and a GK Interceptor Squad. As several units in the army had teleport homers (the Captain, Assault Squad, Scouts and Tacticals in the Rhino) so the reserves could safely deploy anywhere in the army that I wanted them. That was often what helped tip the scales in my games. There was no obvious target for many opponents, so they couldn’t focus a ton of effort on one squad and cripple my army. On the other hand, if I found a weakness in their army I had the speed and flexibility to exploit it.

      That initial list was thrown together at the last minute, as I bought entry to the tournament 5 weeks out and had 2 models painted at that time. I picked a list that gave me familiar options (it was my third Marine army) and provided me with a few aces up the sleeve as well. I might have played one or two practice games the day before the Grand Tournament, but regardless, I felt good about my chances because I had a plan and was using Grey Knights to good effect when in the metagame they kinda sucked and nobody was using them properly.

      That army went 3-2-1, and one massacre loss was due to getting horribly cheated by an Ork player who used an illegal list that some ignorant TO signed off on. He also evaporated massive chunks of my army from 36″ away by spamming Kustom Mega Blastas — guns with 24″ range. I guess it’s my fault, when I asked the stats on a KMB he just said “Assault 1 plasma cannon” and I assumed that included the 36″ range. He was more than happy to let me continue thinking that until I got tabled. That loss was the difference between top 10 at a Grand Tournament and being in the top 3 with a chance to win Overall.

      The point is, people used to enjoy the challenge of coming up with an army list that used synergy rather than spam to win. Some of the blame rests with GW for making books where one unit (or one strategy) is often head and shoulders better than every other build, but at the end of the day, it’s still up to the individual gamer to decide whether to play something interesting or just throw three squads of Long Fangs and a pile of Rune Priests into an army and say “Job’s a good’un.”

      Don’t ask me why Space Wolf players talk like Orks in this example. I don’t know either.

  5. I am not an expert by any means on past editions, but still fail to see the synergy you think your list has in abundance. Other than an interaction with some teleport homers and your terminators, it is just another hodgepodge of units, with clear choices on what has to be killed based on your own list strategy. At least it definitely is in 5th edition. Nothing mutually supports each other, nor allows for casualties to occur and similar effects to still happen on the tabletop. It is an army of specified lynchpin units, and when the couple that counter an opponent’s are gone, what can you do? I have no clue how you could face a focused list with that. Unless paired against someone else with a single of each unit out of their codex, chosen specifically not to work together, then you could chalk a win up to generalship I suppose. It is a very boring army to bring to a competitive tournament.

    On one hand you talk about people enjoying the challenge of coming up with a list that uses synergy over spam to win, but on the other, you fully admit that you threw the list together at the last minute. Which was it? Should you be rewarded for being so unprepared?

    I have thought a bit about what you are saying, and your stance on things, and I think I get it now. Balance be damned, this comp was created fully willing to arbitrarily ruin some players’ day just so long as you don’t have to face a list with three units of long fangs in it. Why not just ban people from taking all the same choice in a non-troops slot? Seems like that is the only thing you actually have a problem with.

    My current thinking in general is that a paired off army is a lot stronger of an option, as it easily splits to take flank deployments if needed, where triples tend not to offer that as evenly.

  6. I don’t play 40k in tournaments anymore for that exact reason, I don’t find it fun to play against a min/max army. I have changed my lists over each edition, but always keep them within the fluff and background of the army.

    Now I’m not saying that all people in 40k at tournaments are min/maxers but there’s always about 5 or 6 people that are determined to win and will do anything to accomplish their goal, whether it be taking a leaf blower or 3 units of Long Fangs or some other ridiculous would never happen in the fluff army. Those armies annoy the crap out of me for a few reasons. First because it is no fun to play against and I’m sure no fun to play unless you get off on other people’s unhappiness, and second these people have decided to ignore any background of the army and decided to take the cheesiest combo they could off of BoLS and/or Warseer.

    I will admit I didn’t look at the armies at this year’s onslaught, but I will give an example of the “I take the best thing at the time” armies from the onslaught previous. There were 6 Vulkan Hestan armies…….6! Now everyone expects to see a lot of marine armies and there usually is quite a bit of diversity, but 6….come on. It seemed that everyone was like “Fuck this guy is the tits, I’m gonna buy him and paint him the same as my army, then make a few more troopers with flamers and meltaguns/multi-meltas.”

    Another reason I don’t play 40k in tournaments anymore is the ridiculous amounts of armour that is now on the board because it is way to durable in 5th. It’s become ridiculous and no fun to play. Now I may be biased because most of the armies I play have very little tank killing capability without me breaking fluff ridiculously. My Ravenwing do, and my regular Dark Angels have some, but my Khorne berzerkers have, wait for it, meltabombs, and I’m not about to add a predator or *shudder* Havocs *shudder* in a berzerker army (yes I have seen it done), and my Thousand Sons army have a similar problem. My point of this is too not bitch about how GW fucked the armies I play within 2 months of each other but the fact that I now have to build armies around lascannons and melta guns in order to deal with the ridiculousness. No thanks, I will play against armies like Dan’s Raven Guard, something that is built around diversity and fluff similar to the armies I play and enjoy playing and will play fantasy in tournaments.

    After all that and me getting off topic a fair amount I will add one more comment, 40k currently is not built to be played competitively. I’m hoping that GW gives it a huge overall in 6th edition similar to the overhaul they did in fantasy that brought a lot of balance to the game and most of the armies.

  7. Well, B, that Ravenwing is also clearly an army that breaks the fluff for Ravenguard and Space Marines. There is no way a Captain would be leading such a small force, nor why that many Grey Knights would be sent to assist it. On top of it, it says the Raven Guard rely heavily on their scouts, and prefer drop pods and thunderhawks over rhino/razorbacks. So… it’s only okay to break the fluff if you do it in a set way?

    • Lol a Raven Guard army that features half a battle company, its Captain, Scouts and surgical/deep strike specialists breaks the fluff?

      Maybe I should have just taken Shrike w/ a squad of his Veterans with jump packs, lightning claws and furious charge in every game because that’s way more plausible 😀

      • It seems like it would be more plausible (except for the furious charge part), so long as you had more than one unit of scouts and focused on drop pods over other transports.

        GW has also gone to lengths to explain how there is a huge universe being fought over, and every possible combination of forces exists out there somewhere. If, however, you feel the need to judge other people’s ‘fluff’ choices, it can equally be pointed out ways in which you chose to deviate.

  8. I’d even go so far as to say that your Raven Guard deviated more from the fluff than a Salamanders army that completely focused on flamers and meltas, or Imperial Guard with an all tank army.

    • After yet another long day at work I needed a good laugh. Thanks Tim 😀

      Also, if you didn’t know, my other Marine army is Salamanders and Vulkan Hestan can go fuck himself lol.

  9. I have some Salamanders also, I absolutely think they have the best scheme available, and have enjoyed them since reading about them during Armageddon. I also happen to believe they are less strong with Vulkan though…

    I really think this article is worth taking a look at, I only found it about a week ago, but to me, it’s been very interesting:


    I started out much less competitive with this game, and had I read that then I would have disagreed with nearly all of it. The thing is, everyone started out as ‘scrubs’, and I would bitch just as much as anyone about combinations I thought were ‘broken’ or ‘cheesy’. The present me agrees with a lot of it. There really isn’t another army that I will face up against that I think a game is hopeless or ‘boring’ to face, each is a challenge to be overcome. Worst case, it becomes a note to myself to overcome that new hurdle through more practice, or if necessary, list changes. Losing a game is only my fault, and the fun you have is a personal responsibility. It is really immature as a gamer to shift the blame of either of those on the opponent, nothing improves and it just leads to this big “Me vs Them” divide. If things were truly bad, everyone would play that one combination and GW would step in, but that hasn’t happened.

    There is only one army out there that actually needs composition help in 40k (though questionable, I could think of a really good list involving many necrons, destroyers, tomb spyders and no monoliths or C’Tan), but they will be completely sorted out in August.

    • I read that article before, and I think there’s a huge flaw in the author’s argument.

      For starters, the article you refer to uses Street Fighter tournaments as its example. In those events, there is only one way to win (by knowing the game inside and out, embracing any technique that works and doing whatever it takes to win).

      That’s simply not the case in Warhammer. Your win/loss is just one part of the tournament system (and the overall hobby as a whole). You can win Best Overall by loading up on redundancy in your list, winning a ton of games and barely scraping by with average scores in every other category … or on the flipside, you can win Best Overall by treading water with a slightly above average in battle scores and top notch soft scores. Doing extremely well in all categories is very rare (unless you’re Matt Lau) and so either of the two scenarios will often work.

      If “scrubs” are people who are hopeless because they fail to embrace an essential part of the game, then what do you call people who don’t bother painting their models beyond the basic 3 color minimum or people who give zero consideration to their opponent’s enjoyment of the game? By neglecting these simple and effective means to earn yourself valuable points in a tournament, how is that any different from someone who self-handicaps when it comes to win/loss (either by limiting their tactics or army selection)?

      The fact that being a really top notch Warhammer player requires more than one skillset is one of the things that makes our hobby unique and different. I think it’s way too easy for people to get wrapped up in making army lists that have the magic number of cloned units, and forget about all the other aspects of the game. They’re all important.

  10. I don’t know why you’re veering this off toward soft score elements of tournaments. Sure, everyone should aim to do well at all things, in their hobby and in their lives. Painting? Absolutely! Though it’s a shame that some people don’t have the raw talent to be the best (seems similar to the gaming, but painting doesn’t get comped). Sports? Sure, I guess. Though it seems like something really hard, creating a way that sports can be scored in an ethical way (…also, should the more dour players, like guys who have had a rough last few weeks at work, get a bonus on this score?).

    I remember way, way back, to younger days long past when I played a little bit of Magic: the Gathering. I thought it was pretty interesting, making decks and playing them, trying to make things better and to be prepared for nearly everything out there. Sometimes someone would try something new, and you would have to think about how to change your deck or playing to match them. Then… it sort of sunk in how nearly all the good cards to make the balanced combinations you needed to compete would cost a fortune. Well, that was a shame, I got out of it. A bit later on, I stumbled on Fantasy/40K. “How cool,” I thought, “now I can go build the kind of deck(list) I’ve wanted, but instead everyone is on the same playing field in terms of costs. Now it comes down to your skills, understanding the rules along with their nuances, and combining those in a list.”

    Now, I took a long break, but I still remember that feeling. It is a really shame that now, I get told a lot that when I picked my list, that I picked wrong. My list doesn’t match with other peoples’ list-building views. Since they have been playing longer, it is me that has to change my list. I have to match their strict list-building instructions, effectively purchasing again from scratch, or else I will face a hefty penalty if I want to participate in the biggest game in town. Sure is a shame to be one of the newer guys around, you sure get a feeling that you are just not welcome as a member of the hobby.

    Maybe your needs would be best served by setting up a booth in every GW, and giving out brochures detailing how to not play wrong? Heck, I could even give you some tips on painting less well: gotta give everyone a chance at that overall.

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