Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ides of March prep, and playstyle musings.

All things Warmachine related have started to fade for myself some what. I've been more of a passive participant in this game as university has started back up and I've begun my psychology internship. I'm training to become an over-thinker by profession, so how about that. With the rest of life occupying my thoughts I've largely switched off on the armies I've prepped for Ides; the lists are submitted and now I don't want to worry about it.

The lists being in has allowed Eviler Dave to post up a numerical break down of all the lists on the Thrallblacks page. there's some pretty tasty food for thought there, though I'm unsure how accurate it is knowing there were at least two drop outs; the number 1 taken caster was Butcher3, though his tally should be siting at 3 instead of the giddy heights of 5. That pushes Krueger2 into the number one spot, and hopefully I have the answer to that particular caster in my Xerxis2 list.

The overall representation of factions is pretty broad, with a pretty even split between Hordes and Warmachine, making the playing field pretty diverse. For what looks to be a 50 player event, I'm looking forward to seeing who I draw against, with the hope that the odds of facing someone from my garage nights are lower. It'll be something like 4 or 5 to 1, so still a pretty high chance, but better than the near 2:1 chance there was at Battlecry. The one stat Dave hasn't included is the lesser warbeast breakdown. I just want confirmation that I'm the only person who's bringing a Reptile hound :P

Beyond the whole lead up to Ides, I've been ingesting way too many podcasts. there's been a veritable wealth of stuff to listen to. Arcane Assist, Muse on Minis and Chain Attack, all the Ozmachine Steakhouse stuff, and I'm sitting on the new Thrall Life. What I found most intriguing lately was episode 28 of Ozmachine with Jason Flanzer. They covered a pretty broad discussion on what a playstyle in Warmachine and Hordes actually looks like. Defining their approaches to the game was illuminating in considering the ways I could relate within my own games, and just what I personally brought to the game besides what the game developers had designed themselves.

They weren't able to definitively define what 'playstyle' in WM/H looks like though, instead discussing their own approach to playing,m and how that is enacted through their choices of faction, army list, and activation sequences. So do we as individuals have a particular playstyle that each of us bring to this game? Well I would argue this is something that can be developed over time and with experience within the game. Initially, we have to work within the limitations of what Privateer Press has set out for us, and gather experience on what works, and what doesn't. As that progresses, I suppose a person would gravitate towards a particular suite of choices, or change faction if they do not like the choices presented to them. I see this as being separate from possessing a particular form of analysis of the game that allows you to exert your own agency within the game's rules.

And perhaps this is what they were talking about when they referred to Will Pagani hating the term 'playstyle' in reference to this game; people would like to think they express their agency and an individual approach to the game, but because we all play by the same rules, the same moves/options are available to EVERYONE if they buy the same stuff. That isn't to say that I agree with Pagani that there is no such thing as playstyle, its just that my concept of playstyle can only ever describe the individual choices one makes within the limits of the game.

So what is my playstyle? Or rather, what I should be asking myself is what are choices that I've made in this game that somewhat dictate the ways I play?

And because I've written this with nil pics, here's a kid with a chicken nugget pez dispenser


  1. I don't think Pagani hates the word 'playstyle' in itself, but feels that the phrase "this caster isn't my playstyle" used as an excuse is BS, as casters play a certain way - players don't.

    1. interesting - I hadn't seen anything from the man himself, so I was only left to speculate what the guys on ozmachine meant when they and Flanzer referred to Pagani's opinion. And that totally makes sense; a caster has a certain set of limitations, so plays a certain way, and therefore present players with a limited range of choices as to how to play them.

      I guess if people say a caster doesn't fit their 'playstyle' it does sound a little dishonest, when it really means "I like to use casters that offer a particular suite of options and choices", with the implication that they can learn to play with other casters so long as they are willing to explore their options. I'm still trying to figure out how the two are distinct, and I think a big part of it lies in the assumption of how much agency players actually have in deciding how they influence the mechanics of the game.

      or something

  2. Play style not only exists in wargames, but is a massive consideration. From personal experience, I have played many different games and gotten so many people into wargames and seen evidence of this time and time again. People of comparative skill level with different armies will have different success dependent on army choice and even unit choice. However, it cannot be used as an excuse. In order to improve overall mastery at wargames, it is wise to play outside your comfort zone and add more skillsets to your repertoire.

    1. Your last point brings to mind the way certain people will make determined promises to just play one thing till they get it 'right'... and then get frustrated when it doesn't work out for them :) playing different things both in and out of perceived comfort zones should be encouraged for sure.