Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays - Play Style

This guy obviously doesn't play orks...

What differs from game to game?  Sure, it can be the terrain, mission, dice rolls…etc, the list goes on.  But, does your opponent differ?  If not, have you noticed a change in play style?  If not, have you thought about finding more opponents?  (I realize that this option may not be available to everyone, keep reading.)  What sets each of your opponents apart from each other?  Sure, you can say their models, color scheme, mannerisms.  Whatever the case may be, it comes down to one thing.  Play Style.

Have you thought about how you play a game?  I mean, really play.  From before turn one; your play style has been developed.  How?  What lead you to choose the army you chose?  Perhaps it was the aesthetics of the models in the army, or the fact you like to smash into your opponent in turn 2 and rip them apart in combat.  However your army “came to you” so to speak, how you build it and play with it reflects your personal play style.
My hobby...

It is no secret that I have hobby ADD, in my 17 years doing this hobby, in 40k alone, I have at least owned (if not built, and sometimes played with.)  14 different armies!  Sometimes more than one a year!  So, in essence, that is why I finally decided on Orks.  Once the new “5th Edition” Codex hit, I knew this was my army.  Why?  Well, it allowed me variety.  Not in just unit terms, but in painting terms as well.  Even if I did an all shooty Bad Moonz army, using black and yellow as the main colors, each ork would be slightly different.  But I chose to do a united Waaagh recently to mix things up a bit more.  Occasionally, I find the lure of building an all new Necron/Tyranid/Guard army tempting.  But what could I do with them on the table that I couldn’t with Orks?  Not much.  Sure each army has strength and weaknesses, but overall there are multiple rolls I can play with my orks.  They are an army that can “wear multiple hats.”

Which brings me back to play style, I like to switch up my lists, and try different things.  (Perhaps this is why I have an ok track record with my orks.)  Have you thought about altering your play style?

Play style encompasses so much more than lists and armies though.  It comprises of tactics, mood, and personality. 

Tactics  - think about how you play.  Do you like combat?  Shooting?  Large number of models?  (Keep in mind that the more models you put on the board, the more you will have to put back into the case later.  ß  my only/biggest problems with my orks.  Easily overlooked though.)  Change your tactics.  If you play a Imperial Guard gunline, have you ever thought of swarming the enemy in combat?  Do a horde army. Sure, this isn’t the main strength of the Guard, but if the list is written well enough, and you use terrain to your advantage, etc…you can find it may actually be dependable.

<this space for rent>

Mood – what is your mood like when playing a game?  Unless you are in a tournament, hopefully you are having fun, and so your mood should be good.  Your mood reflects back to your game.  If you are losing, and are upset about it, you may make more tactical errors that could have been avoided if you just relaxed, and had fun.  I personally will not play with someone who constantly is complaining about GW or the rules, or the new codex, or whatever.  Are you loud when playing a game?  Is it exciting?  Are you “telling a story” when playing?  
A perfect example of bad personality, wrapped up in a big box of "me"...

Personality – Whatever your personality, it will reflect in your play style.  The only example I can think of to give right now is the Rules Nazis.  Anytime I have met a Rules Nazi, it has not been a pleasant experience.  Even just talking fluff or painting with these guys was a chore.  They had a personality of a wet blanket.  So, keep in mind that you are here to have fun.  Time to climb out of your “nice, warm, box of me” and open yourself up to new ideas and opponents.

All in all play styles defines our hobby for us.  They can lead someone into the hobby, or make sure they stay out of the hobby.  Hopefully, in your case it leads people in.  (Remember, if you can’t bring people in, your hobby will die out eventually due to no “fresh meat”)


  1. I found my style over time. As I played different lists (even though I'va always loved Dark Angels), I've found things I like and don't like.

    For example, a gun line bores me to death to play. Once I found the style I really liked, I started to refine it and see just how well I could do against other play styles.

    Ron, From the Warp

  2. I'm always driving towards a deeper understanding of my own playstyle and others'. Knowing what you're getting into before a game enables so much gamer drama to be avoided, after all.

    What I'm gradually settling on is the notion that I don't like a fair fight. I don't mean that I break the rules or employ gamesmanship at table; I mean that I like armies that don't follow the usual rules of engagement and instead do something out of the ordinary. For instance, if it's an attrition army, it has to get back up or shoot into melee or do something other than just pile in and rely on stats and rolls to do the business.

  3. This is something I had some trouble with when I first started playing 40k. I've always been a bit of a power gamer and I had to learn to chill out a bit and just have fun. Quite often I would get frustrated with dice rolls, the chaos marine codex, playing a short range/close combat army on a table with hardly any terrain, my friends being unorganized or unprepared, etc. I still play to win obviously, but after taking a step back and thinking about what I was doing I changed my attitude and started having a lot more fun playing the game (and probably was more fun as an opponent too.)