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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
WAAC vs. Power Gamers
This is the second of a two part article on the game of 40k and the competitive nature of the game. I will be discussing being competitive as well as my opinion of what a Win at all costs (WAAC) gamer is compared to a Power Gamer and if they are one in the same. I hope you enjoy the article.
I have had the opportunity to participate in numerous tournaments in my local area. I enjoy the whole aspect of the tournament scene. It gives me an outlet to compete and something to motivate me to plan for and practice for. So when I began playing in tournaments, I tried to come up with the biggest, meanest army list that I could come up with for the tournament. I knew that my opponent would be bringing his best list and I felt that I should too. I would start preparing for a tournament months ahead of time. My group of friends put up with me and would help me practice and prepare for the tournament. They would bring the best list they could come up with to improve my game. It challenged me and allowed me to prepare for each and every opponent. I took my lumps, and lost a lot of games, but it made me better in the long run and I succeeded at the tournaments I went to.
When I started competing in tournaments I began to hear terms like “power gamer” or “win at all costs (WAAC) gamers. This was something that was new to me. When I would play in either friendly or tournament games, I would bring the meanest list I could. I wanted to do the best I could and be competitive. I was quickly noticing that I was a power gamer in some people’s eyes. I saw it as bringing my “A” game.
In 40k, a person can play a fluffy or narrative style lists, and then the next person can play the cheesiest list possible. That is how versatile 6th Edition 40k is. I think that both of these are fine. I think that before a game begins, there should be some dialog as to what each person is expecting to experience throughout the game. Is it a fluffy competition or is there going to be a knock down drag out game? This should be discussed. Everyone should be on the same page and know what each person is going to bring in their list prior to the game. Not running out to your car last minute to bring in a surprise model so you can annihilate your opponent with it.
I think there have been a lot of people that have gotten burned (feelings hurt) when they wound up playing another players cheesy or tournament list without knowing what to expect. I agree that it is no fun to have your army wiped off the table in a game. It is demoralizing to the person who lost. It just isn’t fun.
Now on the other side, if both parties know up front that it is going to be a power list game ahead of time, than what is the problem? I have no problem with that. If I have communicated this with my opponent ahead of time and they know what they should bring as well as what I am bringing, this shouldn’t be a problem. It is a battle, the whole game. Now I am talking about playing fair and honest. Not trying to look for loop holes in the rules or cheating. I am talking about a straight up battle between two awesome lists. I think that is a lot of fun. Some people don’t. My thoughts are, if you don’t like it, don’t play me. It is as simple as that and I won’t get my feelings hurt. But if you do play me, expect me to bring a very competitive list. If I win great, but if I lose, than my opponent is going to leave knowing that he was in a dog fight the whole game.
If that makes me a “power gamer” than I guess I am. I do enjoy winning games, but I am not afraid to lose. I have taken my lumps from very experienced players. I try to learn something each time I play to become better at playing the game of 40k. That is the challenge of it all and that is one of the major things I have come to love about this game we enjoy. I don’t like to lose, but if I do, I know my opponent has earned it. And most important is I am polite and respectful to my opponent and I play fair. That is a very important part of the game as well. I think people would be more willing to play against power lists if they knew up front that their opponent was a respectable and polite person.
Here is where I think the difference is between “fluffy” games and “Power List” games. I can have a great time playing either. I do like to be competitive (it is a game after all). But I mostly just like the camaraderie of hanging out with my friends and the modeling/painting aspect of the hobby. The game is a bonus.
There are WAAC guys around “This is Ard Boyz…this is serious”, but if you look past their behavior and beat them on the table top, it is that much sweeter! I have played WAAC gamers before, but I have prepared my army list and practiced numerous games to deal with what they are running in their list. As with any opponent, when you play against a WAAC player there is a chance you could win or lose. If you don’t like getting beat, there are 2 things you can do…either you practice and get better at playing the game or you don’t play in tournaments or against WAAC players. There is no need to call people names or to get bent out of shape.
The WAAC guys that are completely rude throughout the game and try to take every rule in the rule book out of context, cheat you on their movement of models, etc… it’s uncalled for. I can understand how people would associate tournament gamers with the WAAC gamers. I don’t think that is the case with tournament gamers or “power gamers” at all. Unfortunately, there are a few bad apples that have made a bad name for anyone that wants to be uber competitive. There is a stereotype that anyone who wants to be ultra competitive is a WAAC douche bag. And that just isn’t the case.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that people should not associate all tournament gamers as WAAC douche bags, and not all people who run a cheesy min/maxed lists are out to be total jerks. They may be preparing for the next big grand tournament where other people are playing similar lists.
I personally don’t think it is fair to say a person is a douche bag just because he brings a certain list to play. If a guy wants to run a cheesy list (because he can), than let him. More power to him. But he needs to communicate that he is running that list and explain that to his opponent. Not go into a gaming store and challenge someone and then proceed to club them like a baby seal. If someone were to walk into my local game shop and say he wanted to play me with Cron Air (which I have played against, and lost) or with some other cheesy list, I would take that as a challenge and go ahead and play him. I would do my best to win the game, but also to learn what my opponent is doing that is so good or what I can do to figure out how to negate the strongest components of his list. There may be things I can change in my army list or game play to do better against my opponent or his list, but there may not be. I may have rolled the dice horrible that game or made a mistake with my strategy. Some of it is planning and strategy, and some of it is left up to chance. So the end all is doing the best I possibly can and enjoying the experience of the game.
There are different things that motivate us in this hobby: getting those 100 Termagants or Imperial Guardsmen built and painted, preparing for a tournament, or just the next weeks weekend game at a friend’s house. There is something that drives us all in this hobby. For me personally, it is tournaments and competing against the best opponents I can find. For others it is the building and converting aspect and for others it is the painting or a combination of it all.
Just remember that the game of 40k is just that… a game. People need to just relax and have a good time and enjoy themselves. That is the whole point, to have fun and enjoy the hobby in whatever capacity you see fit.