I am sitting in a soul-crushing 8 hour meeting, and my mind is wandering to my favorite pastime, 40k. I’ve been back in the hobby for about 3 years now after a mega-hiatus. Back in the 90s, I started with WitchHunters, and now we are about to see the fourth revision of the Sisters, albeit in White Dwarf form. People who were infants when I started playing are now beating me in games (while legally drinking, for gods’ sake).
So while my cohorts are in their fifth hour of discussing “registering” vs. “signing up”. I thought I would express some of my thoughts on the hobby as a whole. (more after the jump)
The Internet does not define the bounds of this hobby. If Games Workshop had to rely on just the sales generated from Internet pundits, trolls, lurkers and commenters, it would go out of business today. Their publically available revenue numbers reveal many – maybe even most – gamers that either have no interest in the Internet or have no interest in gaming information on the Internet. Case in point: The kid (meaning under 18) that beat everyone at Adepticon 2011 has no significant Internet presence.
For me, 40k on the Internet is double edged sword. It has been invaluable for painting tips and modeling techniques, and I’ve really enjoyed reading the blogs of others, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading mine. I’m also grateful for the access to small vendors and casters that I would never have seen otherwise like Chapterhouse, Trollforged, CMoN and many others.
The forums have been a real mixed bag for me. 40k forums have all the quirks and negativity of most special interest discussion groups, but sometimes, the rancor is really exaggerated, most probably due to the combination of reduced social and communication skills of the population and loss of perspective. I don’t like online conflict in even the most important or dire discussions, but I hate it even more when it’s about little plastic soldiers played with by people who are over 9.
Another aspect of this is army lists. This is not a criticism of the Internet, but more of my own use of it. When I decided to paint my first Carnifex 3 years ago and plunge back into 40k, I scoured the Net to create a collecting plan that would result in a playable army. Since I had no experience with fifth edition (or fourth) for that matter, it gave me a good starting point. But it’s sometimes crippling in terms of choices. DoA or Mech or both? Gaunt Horde or Nidzilla or both? Although doing this in my forties really expands my flexibility due to a better financial position, I still don’t want to just buy everything I can.
Comp vs WAAC is a strawman argument. I am not a WAAC player by any means, but comp in tournaments is ridiculous. This is something that I have brought up in online argument after online argument, but it just gets ignored.
If you are playing in a competition, the assumption should be that the contestants are there to win, right? So to intentionally NOT maximize your list is pretty counterintuitive. In a friendly game, a fluffy narrative game, or any other non-tournament thing, I wouldn’t expect people to choose an FOC that pummels and spams, but at a tournament? How could you not do that?
It’s a question of semantics, really, and it’s also a case of comparing apples to oranges. WAAC vs. Friendly or Fluff is like analyzing Chess vs. Dungeons and Dragons. The fact that you are using the same rulebook and the same miniatures is irrelevant…they are two completely different concepts.
Then to add comp to it? Silly. Well, let me rephrase that. I am not against comp scores, but I think they should be lauded separately, and an aggregate winner should be clearly labeled as such, not as the “best” player.
40k is most definitely an addiction (for me). This is something that has been hard to admit. I am addicted to collecting 40k minis. Actually, I am addicted to buying 40k minis. Back I the 90s, I played games almost weekly. Since my return, I have had only a handful of games with my Nids and no games yet with my Angels Sanguine, not to mention my small Black Legion warband. But what I have done almost daily is buy miniatures.
Part of it, of course, is the exorbitant prices, which cause me to look for deals…sales, closeouts, trades, auctions, etc. It’s very much “in the moment” and highly speculative, so it satisfies my gaming (in the economic sense) urges but requires daily vigilance.
But that is hardly an excuse for irrational behavior. I tried to set limits for myself; no new 40k stuff until I painted what I have. That lasted 0 days. To buy a new mini, I have to paint a mini. That lasted two weeks. No new army until I’ve collected everything in the current army list I am building. That didn’t even last until I completed the thought.
40k rocks. That’s my last and overarching thought.