Saturday, 27 November 2010

Porky ponders...

Something unusual up at Bell of Lost Souls today. Something long. If you struggle to get through it, I'd say make yourself a drink, find a quiet place and give it one more shot.

Still no luck? Here's a summary then. Key points in bold. Let me know how it goes.

'Comp' - or army composition - is a corrective system which aims to bring a tournament back from an extreme and closer to the equilibrium of the hobby. Painting and sportsmanship scoring are others. There are arguments for and against such systems. Brent from Strictly Average recently wrote two good articles, one there and one at BoLS, and stimulated a lot of discussion.

Not everyone plays at tournaments. Not everyone plays competitively. Not everyone even plays to win. Basically, not everyone is in the hobby for the same reasons. This is great and variety is fun. The interests of all are spread by the internet and everyone is happy. Right? Not necessarily.

Most players are probably male and young. Many are adolescent. It seems to me natural that this group will be more competitive than the average for the population, more vulnerable to peer pressure. Hardly anyone likes to lose a game. Makes sense we'd do what we can to avoid it. This instinct is one of the big things that skews the game towards an extreme.

Here's where the 'net list' comes in, an army list designed really only to win, with little or no unpredictability, individuality or reference to the rich game background. If we copy a list like this, less hard work and imagination is needed, which means less personal development and self-expression. And it starts an arms race.

In the sense that net lists are used at tournaments, comp has a balancing role to play in the whole of the hobby. If the net lists need to be less extreme to get a good comp score, the net lists will change. If there is a recognised trend in list building, you can get a good comp score by moving away from this trend. Doesn't matter much which direction you move in. Many army builds can get good comp scores. More imagination, more hard work - with the benefits these bring. The heat gets taken out of the arms race.

Yes, I know that comp is subjective. I cover that at the beginning of the article. It's not good. I don't like it. But a lot of people complain that the rules themselves are too loose and they still get used for tournaments. We need to ponder more and beware of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

That was the lead in to the article. Here's the main point.

Don't get me wrong. Play the game you love. If you and your buddies want to bash each other up, you must be enjoying it and none of us can complain about that. The game can be all things to all people. I'd say only look at who you are playing with. If they don't want you to bash them with your hardcore list, something is wrong. If they see you as stiff and obsessed with narrative or background, something is wrong.

Who wants to make the other guy unhappy? Perhaps you both need to compromise, or alternate play styles, or introduce handicaps or merge gaming groups. The hobby is big and can accommodate us all. We just have to be accommodating and recognise what we each want from a game. We need to listen to each other.

We're all friends, no matter what our views. We all love the hobby. We understand each other.

I love being part of the community even when I don't see eye to eye on how to do things. We can all speak, listen, think and go forward. I've changed my views a lot recently. More than I thought I could. I'm glad I have - that's progress - and not afraid to admit I was wrong. I'd say I was wrong on 'spamming' units for example. That change happened through talking. I can persuade you and you can persuade me. We just have to have a conversation.

There's a lot of love in that article. Love for the community. I wanted to say why I'm here and get people asking the same question. If one day you stop believing and need a dose of goodwill, go read it again, especially the second half, and answer the questions.

Better still, say what's on your mind and let's discuss it. I'll listen and others will too.


William Roberty French said...

The only thing it was missing was an extensive, thoroughly researched citation index of ostensibly damning quotes by yours truly.

Readability issues aside, which have been noted on BOLS, I think the subject of comp and community were well chosen, especially given that the subject of comp tends to be divisive in the community, as you highlighted in the article.

Most importantly, though, you went BIG on this. You an an ambitious goal, or so it seems at least, and addressed it extremely thoroughly. that's worth points, in my book.

keep on contributing and I may not think you're a dick anymoar! lol

Porky said...

The surface where game and community meet is a rich seam of material!

Thanks for the praise. I do sometimes go too big though, as we saw today.

I'll take the last point as another compliment!

neverXmoor said...

While this article was much shorter, readible, and coherent, I'm glad you posted the other one on BoLS.

Porky said...

Thanks - me too. As I mentioned in replies at BoLS, the longer text is a chance to sweep the reader up and circle the point slowly, building the idea up layer by layer. After all, it is a subject which inspires strong and perhaps resolute views, and it is our nature I think to reject opposing points with less reflection if given them straight.

Thanks for visiting too. It's funny to see you both here, but in a good way!