Haven't ranted in a while, so this one's overdue.
So, having failed to learn our lesson from the drama of last time, my gaming club once again embarked upon a campaign. This one is for Warhammer 40K and is, like the last one, based on official published rules.
Well, like last time, it wasn't a month in before the whining began. "Our faction didn't get enough access to special facilities." "Nobody's telling us what's going on (despite there being a page and several threads as resources within our site)" "The teams are imbalanced." At first, no major problems, but now, suddenly people are dropping out for various reasons.
One of them dropped because he wasn't expecting a tournament mentality in the campaign, but the first opponent he played was super competitive and fielded a cheese list.
For those who don't know, cheese is what we call something in gaming where the player leverages the rules to absolutely maximize the power level of his character/army. There's no fluff, no narrative, no sportsmanship. It's all about trying to create the perfect "I win" button. This attitude is mostly seen in tournaments, but does find its way into casual gaming as well.
And yes, we have a player or two with that mentality.
There isn't anything wrong with being competitive... That's what gaming is about... But there's a big difference between friendly competition and "win at all costs." One is fun, the other is stressful, in my opinion.
So we started up a discussion and even though no names were mentioned, the super-competitive player became defensive and started talking about how his play style was clearly incompatible with the group, and that it meant there was no point in gaming with us. I find that mentality utterly bewildering. Why is it so hard to play a casual game? Why does every single game have to be a struggle for ego dominance? Why does it have to be a test of one's self every time the dice hit the table?
I suggested to him that he get his chance for hyper competitive gaming at tournaments where that approach fits better, and be more relaxed and casual when gaming with us. Unreasonable? I didn't think so.
But apparently he just doesn't have fun when he's not at maximum throttle, being as full-on as he can be. Even that I think I could understand somewhat, but the way it's explained to us comes across as he just plays at a higher level than we do.
That mentality REALLY irritates me. Especially coming from someone who's idea of a good Warhammer player is someone who has a cheese list, as opposed to someone who uses strategy and tactics well.
Whatever game you play, whether it be Warhammer, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic:The Gathering... there's always a way to build an army/character/deck that's "broken," meaning it's incredibly hard to beat with no player skill required. If you play a lot of Magic and you have a deck that's a super killer tournament winner, and it's equally effective if a complete newbie can use it and get wins, then what you have there is cheese. If you have a killer Druid build for Dungeons & Dragons that even a new player can kill all the monsters with, or an army in Warhammer that steamrolls all opposition even if a guy who has never played Warhammer before is running it... Congrats. You've made cheese.
What that means is you might be really good at building a killer combo, but not necessarily good at playing the game.
I often gripe that my army in Warhammer (Bretonnia) is the oldest of the books and due to power creep is one of the weakest. The thing is, it's also an opportunity for me to sharpen my skill. If I have this old, underpowered army and I can beat you with your new, shiny, powerful list, then that means I played a better tactical game. This is my goal. And I can easily throttle that so I can play a new player and he will still have fun, or I can go to max power for tournaments and hold my own. I just find it to be an overall better way to game, but that's just me.
In any case, I'm left with a lot of frustration because yet again a campaign that's meant to be fun and casual has been turned into a steaming cauldron of drama.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."