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Unit discussions and meta-gaming

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  blinky465 1 week, 3 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #1795853

    sundancer
    42139xp
    Cult of Games Member

    What I notice more and more often: In the various groups on games/tabletop systems I’m in, be it on Facebook, Discord or elsewhere on the net, threads and discussions like “What’s the best thing to do with this unit” keep popping up.

    I notice this most often with Star Wars: Legion and Star Wars: X-Wing. As soon as new units are announced or even teased, the desk generals go off and discuss how best to use the new thing to get maximum profit out of it.

    I understand why they do this and that this is all the fun for many people in the hobby but where are all the players who just say “Hooray, a new doll to build, paint and push across the table!”?

    Am I alone in this? Is fluff gaming so out of fashion? I think I need to give it some more thought and maybe even make a video about it.

    Or is that tedious?

    #1795855

    onlyonepinman
    17987xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Here I am!  I look at models and get excited purely because I like the models.  I absolutely hate list building and meta because I am just not a numbers guy.  Boiling it down to statistics and probability does absolutely nothing for me.  However nice looking models to paint or even average looking models that fit with different themes I am looking for is where I get my kicks.

    I have said this many times.  I like wargames because I love the final spectacle of the game itself.  Two nicely themed and painted armies on a well crafted board just looks amazing.  I enjoy looking at wargaming tables, especially at wargames shows, like I enjoy looking at model railways.  I love seeing people’s passion brought to life in miniature and there are absolutely no numbers involved in that.

    #1795856

    templar007
    52297xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Your NOT alone!

    I am all about the fluff. With ‘Star Wars:Legion’ when a new model is released I see it as’ ” hurray another piece of the Star Wars universe has been made “, so now I can replicate ‘insert name of battle’ or re-creating a scene from one of the movies.

    As far as 40k goes I stopped chasing Alpha Builds long ago. I buy models for 40k based on what will look cool in my Legions. Same for Age of Sigmar.

    Even in Conquest I buy what looks good on the table. Although, I did buy at first what was recommended by the grow league here in OnTableTop.

    Rule of cool is my only driving force in miniatures.

    #1795857

    dags
    Participant
    3407xp

    Not alone, the competitive play slice of the player base occupies a volume of the conversation inverse to the size of the overall player base for any game.  I think GW once had some data that suggested the “meta” players were about 5% of the player base, and that as I understand for most games is pretty standard.  It is in part why tournament players are seen as a problem in my view.  Most people are buying the minis they want, paint them, and play with friends, never posting online.  I’d suspect as largely they don’t have anything to share other than painting or game pics.

    I have multiple themed armies for Legion galactic civil war period, which are being painted up with separate bases, and if it wasn’t in that setting in a series, film, or game it isn’t in that set.  Even hunting for proxies to theme forces for blizzard force and want to do a Freetown rebels army with Boba and Djin

     

    #1795868

    sundancer
    42139xp
    Cult of Games Member

    That is really reassuring. So it’s possibly just a “vocal minority” problem again.

    Maybe I should set up groups only for fluffy fans. “No list meta list building discussions allowed” XD

    #1795939

    onlyonepinman
    17987xp
    Cult of Games Member

    You are almost certainly correct, it’s a certain vocal group although I don’t think they’re a minority as such or at least they’re not a small minority. I think what you see is that competitive players are those who often play outside of their social circle, for example at tournaments. That creates a “scene” or a community and the internet is how they foster that community. However players who just play for fun are more likely to be playing at home with friends or family or perhaps in a club; those communities are self contained and they may be more likely to have a private Facebook group or Whatsapp chat groups that people outside of the group can’t see so seem less vocal.

    However as you can see, you definitely aren’t alone – there’s plenty of us about 🙂

    #1795944

    dags
    Participant
    3407xp

    I’d say so, although in part it is the area where there is more discussion to be had, and that is a part of the hobby for many.  The trouble is it tends to drown out any other discussion and warp it, in general, something like legion for the non-tournament style game balance is good enough that it doesn’t warrant a discussion about rules issues or balance.  Tournament players though will always focus on efficiency, reliability, and optimisation and that would be true if there was only ever a 0.5% difference between every unit in a game.  That then gets broadcast as most podcasts, bloggers, and active people on social media are tournament players because talking about it is part of their hobby.

    Another factor is there has been a certain amount of conditioning shall we say those coming to wargames from a non-historical angle tend to have, due to games where balance is such an issue that you can make genuinely “bad” purchases which can in any game mean you just get repeatedly smashed.  Therefore you get the just starting what’s  strong question, or is the new thing “good” because people want to avoid trap purchases so they can have a game where the result is not important but at least non-probable at the outset.  I won’t exclude myself from that group, as it used to be a concern. My perspective shifted though and now its more about the cool minis, or if I can see the unit has some interesting interactions and options on the table – not necessarily good but fun.

    This is why I love stuff like the AMG bulletins, Moff Gideon while it is not the best sculpt IMO looks to be a fun and interesting piece.  Fire support could be interesting in Empire even if my playing with clones has made me aware I am really bad at using it, which has its own draw.  Looks to be that decent mid-range sith light option.  That and the fact the character is just a great bad guy.  My only pondering is if I get 1, 2, or 3 units of Darktroopers

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  dags.
    #1795952

    pagan8th
    Participant
    6971xp

    Be careful how you word that @sundancer

    Setting up a group for ‘fluffy fans’ could lead you to ‘furries’…

    As for miniatures… I buy factions that look cool… it’s why I bought Circle Orboros for Hordes and Cryx for Warmachine… it’s why I pick and choose GW box two players sets, Underworld factions, Blood Bowl teams. Carnevale gangs…

    I buy miniatures that look good on the table and if they happen to play well then it’s a bonus.

    #1795963

    phaidknott
    Participant
    6930xp

    Many moons ago we were playing a company level WW2 game (Grey Storm Red Steel) where the figure ratio was 1:1 (likewise with the tanks). We soon felt after looking at various ORBATs and typical company/battalion frontages during WW2 that our games would be best met by “nerfing” our armies so they typically the only AFVs were Armoured Cars and APCs (main battle tanks were just not typically seen UNLESS as part of an organised assault). So “gone” were the Tigers, and IS-1s, and “in” were the BA-64s, M3 Half Tracks and 222s and 251s. Typically an AFV has an impact by just being (mostly) impervious to small arms fire, and if they are shooting at infantry then they just going to be shooting with the MG (Note Hull MGs on tanks were pretty useless as the gunner usually had a small hole or periscope to aim through, couldn’t use iron sights, and basically had to walk the tracer rounds onto the target). So now without having your usual “arms race” where we see Tiger IIs appearing even in skirmish games, the lowly Armoured Cars and APCs armed with MGs became our “tanks” for the game (and were more historically accurate for the level of the game). A little bit of self control and the willingness to not HAVE to use the most technologically advanced pieces of kit on the table……and our games improved massively. Plus even bog standard infantry DO still have a chance against APCs and ACs if they get close enough and the player with the armoured units isn’t screening them with infantry (which again is the historical tactic).

     

    Plus in other historical eras I’ve found games where you are using ORBATs forces you to use those “sub prime” units which players who play a pointed style tourney game would never take a look at. Finding a theatre in a period where BOTH armies are equally useless brings a whole new level of tactics to the fore (rather than just rolling dice at each other until one of the elite units is eliminated). Dealing with unexpected routs from units having just engaged in a single round of a firefight (due to bad dice rolls), brings a (realistic) level of chaos to the table where the players are effectively trying to “herd cats” while still attempting to achieve the battle/scenario goals.

     

    Under achieving with your army list brings a whole new joy to the table top (plus you can both blame the troops when you lose 😀 ).

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  phaidknott.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  phaidknott.
    #1795977

    guillotine
    15997xp
    Cult of Games Member

    What grinds my gears a bit is the assumption of some “meta gamers” that everyone builds their lists to optimise the game performance. I basically do “Stillmania” for my Star Wars Legion — I’ve painted couple of small themed forces of units that I think are cool and I change the list only to accommodate the game size the opponent prefers (I’m indifferent on that too). I think this is pretty obvious, yet people still give me tips on optimising the army, usually after they’ve wiped half of it off the table with some latest mega-combo 😂.

    #1795978

    crazyredcoat
    Participant
    13587xp

    You’re deff not alone, mate. I much prefer to play a game for fun than for meta. Sure, I like balance in my games and not complete chaos, but when I get a new unit the only thing I usually do is check to see what the rules are for numbers. I got the Mandos for Legion for christmas and while I don’t have a playable army yet (I like the little fighting mans enough to just collect and paint) Legion is a game I wouldn’t mind playing in the future, so I wanted to make sure they were ‘usable’ units rather than ‘meta’.

    Like @guillotine, I too am often given advise of ‘optimising’ my armies. I usually play 40k at the moment, so it’s sure annoying when I CAN’T win because of a meta that I don’t meet, but that doesn’t mean I want to be told what to buy to make my army better…what I have was expensive enough… My Bolt Action Brits, for example, I have built to a standard WW2 Platoon level, so 3 sections of 10 men, plus an officer with the Sergeant and the Radioman. I’m sure it’s not meta, but it’s what I want to play. I also refuse to shoot medics in Bolt Action because I don’t care if it’s a good ‘gaming’ choice to make, I just don’t think it’s right to do.

    As I’m still currently in North America, I think the lack (at least from what I see in Southern Ontario) of gaming clubs drives the competitive nature of the hobby. Over here people tend to play to win in stores or tournaments, or they play at home with a few mates, so the only voices you hear are the one’s getting out there. The idea of a club where you more just hang out and are brought together by a shared hobby is much more of a European thing, I find, particularly with this hobby. A club is more likely to band together to play one big, fluffy game once or twice a year, and spend most of the rest of the time hanging out, discussing projects, ect. Two very different settings. A friendly game over a few beers and some pizza is much more my style. Honestly, I miss the idea of a space to just go an hang out with like-minded people…

    #1797800

    kiranamida
    5773xp
    Cult of Games Member

    I think the meta gamers are just more apparent because they’re out of the forums and up in Discord channels trying to work out how to get the most out of the new thing that has been announced.

    As a more narrative player myself, when something new and exciting is announced for a game/faction that I play, I am usually too busy snuggled up in bed with reference books and novels looking for inspiration on how to incorporate it my toy soldier’s back story to be combing through the meta of how it’ll perform on the table. =P

    #1797801

    redscope
    Participant
    2617xp

    I think the answer is rather simple one. Buying a model to paint or for a fluff reason is down to how we feel personally about it. It is a question we ask ourselves rather that one that requires someone else to re-enforce that logical decision. That is not to say people dont pose this question but often we do it in around about way.

    It would seem odd saying “Do you think I would like this model”  say on discord. Normally someone would comment “I really like this model” then you get into a debate on the quality and looks of the model. Part of the reason people comment on it is to get a second view or to re-enforce a reason for buying it that is part of the fluff reason.

    I would also suggest that not every question about how best to use the unit is really people trying to be meta. I can give you a personal example.

    I have started in Team Yankee recently mainly because of the Red Dawn expansion from the fluff aspect. I like the film well the 1984 version the idea of replaying that on the table top is interesting. I have a basic idea of the units but i have no idea what I should be taking and if it is any good. A new unit came out this week Nona-S SP Mortar Battery so yes I have asked if this is a good unit how would you get the best out of it. Not because I am looking to create a Meta army and crush everyone.

    But by the same token I dont want buy something that I am never goint to use or would not fit the army or playstyle it has. At the end of the day I want to play the game to a reasonable level. By that I mean, games are no fun for either person if I have a horrible fluff only list that gets totalled in the first round. Most people are looking for some balance if they are playing the games.

    The process we go through buying models is not just one single aspect it is often a combination of factors, do I like this model, would it be fun to paint, can i use it in my army, would this make my army better on the table top. We are all different and the reason we buy one model over another is not always the same.

    I think a video on exploring the process and the reasons we buy a model would be interesting.

     

    #1797804

    sundancer
    42139xp
    Cult of Games Member

    I think a video on exploring the process and the reasons we buy a model would be interesting.

    If only there was someone with expertise on this and an interest in making videos for YouTube 😉 But I really see your point and thank you for that insight in your point of view.

    #1797806

    guillotine
    15997xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Maybe some guy on that video platform could have a stab…

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