Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tales from the Soapbox episode I

Why can’t some people just play 40k? I am sick and tired of the my list is better than your list because I got it off the internet, and the by they way that unit you are using is crap conversations at the local shops. Hell, I’m so sick of it I have almost completely stopped visiting forums.

So I was at the LGS today and overheard another conversation about this list is better than that list, don’t use that unit because it is crap because they read it somewhere on an Internet forum. This was happening as a couple of guys were setting up to play, the twenty something guy was slamming the thirty something guys list. The young guy was using a tough as nails Internet IG list with all the bells and whistles, painted in that drybrush everything style, while the older guy was using a Chaos marine list that was painted nicely and contained Bikes, Lesser Daemons and Possessed marines.

On turn one the younger guy’s friend shows up and he announces loudly that they would still be able to get a game in because he would have the CSM list tabled by turn three. The older guy just grinned, knowing full well that he knew how to use his army.

The really funny thing is that the younger guy got hit tail handed to him in a bad way. He then ranted about how if only his dice had rolled well he would have won. Sure he had some bad luck, but the simple fact is that the other guy just out played him. I really wish that he had congratulated the guy for the victory. Oh and incase you were wondering the game lasted 6 full turns.

Now don’t get me wrong I have trolled the forum scene looking at lists and tacticas, but I would never tell someone there list was crap, let alone do it before any dice had been rolled. Heck I even post lists here on my blog, looking for feedback, but at least I normally state right off the bat that I’m not looking for a power list.

I play for recreation and don’t feel the need to consult the stars or mathhammer the crap outta my lists to see if they are efficient; that’s just too much work and I get paid to do that all week. I want to be casual and relax during a game; after all we are not really deciding the fate of the galaxy, right?


  1. Hey, what is wrong with the dry brush everything style? If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have any style at all... :-)

    I agree. Yes, the Math Hammer lists do work. However, if you look at the results from Slaughter in Space and Battlefoam's Wild West Shootout, you will see that the winner did not play a Internet-List-O-Power...yet, he managed to win two tournaments.

    Knowing your army and your play style are more important that the latest Internet-List-O-Power.
    Usually, those lists are very tough and will kick butt against lists that are made in a similar fashion. However, if you are decked out with Melta weapons and an Eldar Avatar comes a knocking....hope you can run.

  2. Congrats to your friend, Jim. I may have recently bashed Possessed myself, but there is something to be said for the man who knows how to use his army because he has used it and knows full well how to lead it vs the kid with the internet list. Bravo. BTW lesser deamons and bikers are not so bad!

  3. Well said.

    My experience in forums is this...

    "please help. Here is my proposed list."

    Response 1: Nice, but here is what I suggest...
    Response 2: I don't know, but I'm just going to post.
    Responses 3 - 9: Responder #1 you suck, your list sucks, and your momma dresses you funny.
    Responses 10 - 523: Did you here about this new thing in the new space wolves codex....
    Response 524 (from the original poster): Sorry I asked.

    Forums are trash.

    "Power lists" aren't "power" - it's someone else's list.

    It's only you and your codex, son. Only experience can make a list.

  4. A few things:

    Have you noticed how people who posts comments to our blogs more often than not are quite nice? Proofs there are a nice community out there and that is the one I want to belong to.

    When I posts list for help I want to know: "Can I get help fine tuning this list I've made?", not "give me a list". Besides, in the end, you play the person not the list. So I consider my list to be a part of my own personality.

    Nothing wrong with mathhammer, some people are built to think in those terms. It's their lists and they reflect them just as much. Again it is not about the list but about the person.

    What do you do for a living? Sounds like you mathhammer or similar for a living. Something tells me that ain't true, but sometimes even I am wrong:)

    Btw, how would you feel playing this list:
    two tactical squads, both with lascannon, flamer/melta, one power fist
    two rhino, assault cannons, armor n stuff
    Lysander and five termines, very assaulty
    A big panzercab for the termies, i.e. Land Raider
    five assault marines
    AoBR dread

    1500 points of Imperial Fists. They are mine and I like them. I have no idea if this is cheese or flavor.

    Do people actually copy lists from the net? Boring…

    It would be neat to have a tournament where the purpose is to bring units that are considered "bad". Flavor it up a bit, make it fun:)

  5. I'm amused that someone would say "I found it on the internet, THEREFORE IT IS TEH BETTAH!"

    No, that's wrong.

    It's true that you CAN find good lists online, just as it's true you can find some pretty terrible lists.

    Personally, though, I've little enough time for that kind of smack-talking. It seems rude, and it leaves a great potential for making an ass out of yourself later ( someone no doubt found out).

    but, the thing is? Not all lists and units are created equally.

    Random question: is that someone actually standing on a soap box in the picture, or just a couple boots on a box?

  6. Nice post, time and time again I see this played out. Nothing beats experience. Often times, people go with what they learn off of the interwebs, more than they go with their own personal tabletop experience. They run hypothetical situations and games through their heads, only to find themselves out-maneuvered on the tabletop. Find out for yourself what works and what doesn't, that will win you games. People laugh at my lists sometimes because it isn't what they see on the internet. But hey I am going to use your assumptions about my army against you and win.

  7. I've said it a few times, you can grab a list off the net and do good with it until you actually meet someone who knows his army.

    On the forums, I'm in pretty much the same boat. There's a few converting/terrain ones that are excellent but the gamer ones .... well lets just say I tend to stick to the modelling sections and leave the tactical stuff to all the armchair wannabies.

  8. I'm also a rec-gamer, mainly because of the apparent lack of sportsmanship left in the world, err, the FLGS. More often than not it is the case of someone being nice amidst all the antics you've described that is a rare occasion indeed.

  9. Thanks to everyone for the fantastic comments, I appreciate them.

    Magilla, Drybrushing is not a bad technique if you know how to do it right; your minis look good. His on the other hand look like he never cleaned the brush during the whole painting process; the minis have chunky rough paint jobs. I didn’t mean to sound elitist or anti-drybrushing.

    Old School, I agree Lesser Daemons and bikes aren’t horrible if one knows how to use them, but the cost of the bikes is rough.

    Flekkzo, I agree here in the Bloggosphere that we seem to draw a more thoughtful community of posters. Which is why I am not visiting forums much at all any longer. I agree there is nothing wrong with Mathhammer if that’s your thing, and it surely isn’t mine.

    Currently I am managing shipping and receiving in a large warehouse for one a largish chain store. My sentiment was more of a quick whip that I don’t wanna spend craptons of time niggling lists; because I’d rather be playing.

    Your list is fine, in fact one of the guys in my group runs a similar list at 1850.

    That’s a nifty idea for a tourney. If I ever run a tourney, I’ll keep that in mind. I’d also allow a sideboard to be used as I think it’s the koolest thing that I’ve ever experienced in a tourney.

    Raptor, I agree this kinda talk is annoying, I really could not believe it was going on, against a stranger and before the minis hit the table. Hell the older guys must have really wanted to play, because I probably would have walked away to find another game.

    No doubt there are plenty of good list on the net if you know where to look, but I’m sure everyone will agree no list is unbeatable.

    The pic looks like it is an empty pair of boots, I yoinked it from the net cause it look kool.

    OSH, Great points, I couldn’t agree more. I really wish more gamers would focus on learning how to play 40k better. Even a so-called crap list can win in skilled hands, challenging oneself is a great way of improving player skill.

    Thanks again,

  10. I fully understand the "don't want 40k be like work".

    One thing struck me, there are plenty of cool people out there. Maybe you/we are doing ourselves a disservice by not showing up at stores / tournies. Could it be that there are many cool people sitting at home painting and lamenting on the Internet instead of being out there showing how wargaming should be fun. Table top shouldn't be like the real thing! So go out there and play the other cool guys and show how to have fun and make sure you give the youngsters a chance to get some better role models.

    How about, for ever pt more you lost than your opponent you can switch out that amount from your side table, with a margin of let's say 25% per unit (still the same pts in total). And prices for the most unusual units fielded in a glorious fashion. And maybe codex specific prices too, like best Waaagh! for the Orks or most heroic for the Marines. Most despicable for CSM and most "for the common good" for, well, you get the idea.

    For in the end, isn't all tabletop games about the hobby and about the fun?

  11. How about a tournament where it's completely judged on sportsmanship and whether you win or lose doesn't count for anything.

    I'd play in that in a second.

  12. Flekkzo, No doubt there are plenty of cool gamers out there like the guy I just mentioned. Who by the way i got his contact info so we can get together and game!

    I do head out a couple of time a month to play at the local shops. So I do get out of the Man-cave and play.

    The problem is that other than the local GW all the LGS's are 35 to 40 min drives and after a long day at work I'd rather not have to pack up and drive to go and play. I work 20 mins in the opposite direction of both shops.

    I would really love to build a stronger community at the stores but just don't have the time to focus on it.

    You are just full of nifty ideas! If and that's a big if, I ever run a tourney it will be focused on the fun aspect of the hobby. Which I know is subjective, but you get my point.

  13. There will always be people like that. Just like there will always be people that memorize every codex and rule. The point is don't play with them.

    I agree with you. This is a hobby and should be for fun. However, the younger guy sounds to me that he'll always be switching to the next best thing hoping for a sure win and will never find it.

    Like any completive activity, there will be good sports and bad sports. There will be humble players and arrogant players. But, I'll say it again, Don't play with them. No ones holding a gun to your head forcing you to play with a jerk.

  14. Col. Colbane, now that's a great idea! We could score on Sportmanship, Best background/fluff, Painting and converting, finally using Win/loss to break ties; making this an extremely hobby oriented event.

    It's too damn bad that we, the 40k Bloggers are so spread out all over the World.

    Maybe we could organize something similar to 40k radios World Wide War, having regional events.

    Just a little food for thought.


  15. Excellent post.

    Having played in clubs and LGS for the past 15 years +, I can say that in general the 'type' of player I come accross has not really changed that much. Yes, there are still the 1/6000th of an inch tabletop napoleons, there are still the grin and laugh even then you get tabled in 10 minutes, there are still the much larger group of people that sit somewhere inbetween these two.

    But, sadly the forum (and it has to be said, part of the blog) community seems to be a small cross section of the much larger gaming public which focuses entirely on a very focused area of the game. Like an F1 car racing team, which puts all effort into squeezing an extra tenth from its vehicle, these enthusiasts drive all effort into pushing their army into the limits of a system.

    As they say, I guess its whatever floats your boat, and one players enjoyment is subjective and not of any more value than any other. But, when looking at the rich narrative of the game, expanded over 20 years or more, at the excellent miniature design, of the comraderie which comes with shared enjoyment of an experience, and the feeling of mutual respect with such opponents, i can't but help feel that such players are only experiencing the tip of a very sharp iceberg when it comes to tabletop gaming.


  16. My schtick is that if I don't think a unit is that great, I'll try to actually explain it.

    EG: Possessed: randomness in abilities is a chance to get nothing off the table, but more importantly Khorne 'zerkers do the job better, cheaper, and with a powerfist. That being said, I'd still worry if the Possessed got a good roll.

    Plus, possessed look cooler. And see? That was delivered without a "THAT UNIT IS TEH SUCK!" I think a lot of folks just take the internet for gospel, and aren't really savvy consumers of info.

    Always ask WHY someone thinks that. I mean, hell, you might learn something. I've changed my opinions of stuff before, and there's always the using it. Generaliship counts for something.

    In fairness, though, from my angle half the fun IS analyzing stuff; figuring out of that thing has a use, and then using it and seeing if I was right or wrong.

  17. Thanks for the great insightful comment, Pacific!

    Raptor, I totally get what you're saying and I see nothing wrong with that approach, it does make a lot of sense.

    I do analyze units, but not to the point of agonizing over it as some people do.

  18. How far away from each other are we anyways? Can't help but think that a tourny that is made for fun could work. Just make winning an honor and give out prices for best played army instead etc.

    Playing and having fun needs to go hand in hand with both winning and losing after all.

  19. I'm out on the Left Coast of the US, out by San Francisco.

    The more I think about it it would be a lot of fun to host or organize a hobby tourney would be fantastic fun.

    Maybe I'll do a separate post laying out the ideas I have, and looking for ideas. Planning something for a year from now might help with laying out a solid plan and gauging interest.

  20. "Raptor, I agree this kinda talk is annoying, I really could not believe it was going on, against a stranger and before the minis hit the table. Hell the older guys must have really wanted to play, because I probably would have walked away to find another game."

    I wonder if he stuck around because he knew he could win the game and show them they didn't know as much as they thought they did ;-)

    I don't think there's anything wrong with using the forums and net lists, especially when you're getting started with the hobby, or just with a new army. Knowing where to start can be difficult, and the net lists can give you a good starting point. You'll still have to learn how to use them, but at least you won't unintentionally gimp yourself from the outset by picking units that just don't work that well together (or at all).

    The group I currently play with is made up mostly of people who have just gotten into the hobby, or who have just returned after an extended absence. Almost everyone started with lists taken from the web, or heavily influenced by forum advice. A lot of those lists are already changing as people see how things work and get a feel of their individual play styles and the dynamics of the local environment. It's actually pretty interesting to watch.

    I think the real problem with the situation you describe in your post is the rudeness of the younger players. Trash talk is fine amongst friends, but not with people you don't know. I'm glad that I play with a group of people that seem to know when it's appropriate and when it's not.

  21. Good post... after being active on a few boards over the course of the last years I prefer spending my time reading blogs and commenting on them. Those 40k boards aren't the communities black hole of despair on the web, but they tend to degrade down into some mob activities more than once. A lot of people just write down other peoples opinions w/o giving it a second thought leading to those "most members of XYZ say that the best/only way to play orks is..." arguments we all love to read or hear. Same goes for either copying one of the lists who went top5 at the last big GT and either start a "is this army even beatable" topic with it, spam it into someones "I want to start with orks, what should I buy" topic blindly or post it in the army section of your favorite board asking the people to rate it.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think that borrowing lists from other people (web or not) is a bad idea. If someone wants to understand why that list won 3 tournaments in his local area in a row, or uses it as a starting point to build his own variation, customized to his personal gamestyle, I really don't give a damn. Same goes for "lecturing" people on their army or unit choices. I would never harass someone with my unwanted opinion regarding his army. Let me add a short story from my visit the FLGS this weekend:

    After finishing work rather early I wanted to take a look at the "how to paint tanks" book and ran into a couple of people playing games in the store. Over the course of a couple of hours I watched a "free for all" game involving 4 players (including one with an eldar army) and a 1vs1 match. The guy with the eldar army was rather new to the hobby (and I guess most of his friends too), so he asked me for some advice regarding further spendings. Sure, I could have told him one of those eldar list roaming around through all those boards, but I didn't. My primary advice was to suggest some small games to learn the rules in a proper way first and get a clear picture regarding the playstyle he likes most (hybrid, mech, footslogging...). My secondary advice was my personal opinion which units aren't that really good from a mathhammer point of view, without forgetting to mention that it is totaly okay if he still buys them because he likes the models that much. My humble guess would be that he will get more out of that advice on the long run than getting served the latest "gamebreaking" combo from the web. You don't want to spend a lot of hard earned bucks for the latest power combo, only to learn that you can't stand the way it was meant to be played. As someone who really likes eldar tanks and finds the idea of a dying race sending their frail guardians unprotected towards the enemy I would never ever field a footslogging army even if it would beat mech eldar by far in terms of competitive gameplay. I would be really annoyed if someone would try to harass me with talk about how godly footslogging eldar are and that it is sheer madness to play full mecha. So in return I try not force my opinion on someone else.

    Bottom line: If you get annoyed from all this crap going around on the net either take a short break from it (and use the time painting your army) or shun those parts of the net, where the force of the mob is too strong and stick with those lovely and civilised blogs we all love to read.