Search This Blog

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The “Hobby” Competitive events V Hobby events

There has been a really interesting discussion on this recently in the NZ scene.  My feel is you are never going to get consensus between the two parties in this matter as to what constitutes the “Hobby” and what people should enjoy and conform too. 

However I wanted to cover this from my perspective and to encourage “POSITIVE” debate towards the goal of a better Warhammer Scene for all in NZ. 

We use to term “Hobby Hero”, Fluff gamer etc. to describe those guys who through focus/choice take softer lists to “competitive events”.
We also use the term “power gamer” etc. to describe guys who they see from a perspective take hard optimised lists to tournaments for a smash face mentality saying they ignore all the other aspects of the hobby.     

Hobby Horse...

Both sides have different views on what should make up events/tournaments ranging from comp, sports, painting etc.  

I will give you my view and ideas on how we can embrace both sides.  I love the “Hobby” I have been in it since the 1990’s and it has been an enduring part of my spare time. 
I partake in all aspects, I paint (when my wife lets me!), I model, convert, blog, have run events, play garage games etc. and love the social side outside of games and do that in a number of systems so I like to think I have a balanced perspective.

I also like to play hard games of warhammer at the top tables of events with hard lists v other hard lists and good players.  This is one part of the “Hobby” I enjoy.  I don’t make any excuses for this.  I am not a dick at the table (no funny comments Ross!) have never taken a sports hit and play fair.  I however do play to win and wouldn’t say go easy on a softer list/less experienced player.  Would I help them with rules yes, would I give them pointers after the game, yes. 

This is part of the “Hobby” I enjoy.  I don’t like being made to feel bad about this as I never impose my views on people whose focus is best painted, or taking a double giant list for example. 
But in a competitive/ranked event I’m not going to handicap myself by taking a softer list because people think I should or do themselves. I’m not making them take hard lists.  I still go to have fun and hope my opponents have a fun game even If I am taking their toys off.

As soon as events are ranked, we have Masters etc. they add a different element and the focus of the event changes. 
To promote the “Hobby” I think there is a place on the NZ Scene for an event like Warhammer Achievements in the UK that actively encourages through comp/an achievements list all aspects of the hobby.  Where you get points for bringing silly lists and choices you would normally not. 
These are more “Hobby Weekends” rather than competitive tournament weekends.  These embrace all aspects from gaming, fluff writing, painting etc.  They REWARD things other than finishing first, smashing face etc.  Prizes for funny lists, best achievements and modelling, hobby.    

I would embrace these events as I love the chance to take units I normally wouldn’t and take the focus away from rankings etc. back to the hobby as a whole.  I have two stonehorns, and 3 yetis that have yet to see the light of day but will!                   

I have rambled for a fair bit so I will leave it to the community to comment, I think there is room for all aspects of the “Hobby” at events I’m just not sure we will ever please both parties in the single event as the views are too far apart.


  1. (Sorry for the essay. I have been thinking about this for some time)
    Thanks for the interesting post. I think you make some really strong points in this response which are important to keep in mind.

    Keeping a positive attitude towards debates over the game that we all love (hopefully) is a really important thing. At the end of the day Warhammer is a big tent and there is room for a wide variety of players to enjoy a similarly wide variety of play styles. Getting grumpy because others don’t enjoy the way you play is a huge waste of time and is poisonous to the community.

    Using broad, totalising characterisations for groups of players does not serve much utility. Within our local group in Melbourne Australia we have players who are very competitive while at the same time have huge fluff knowledge and are very focused on the story. We also have guys who are not at all competitive and could not give a flying fuck about painting or story, they just enjoy the clackity clack of dice hitting the table and neither of these things is bad.

    The dichotomy between those who are all about the hobby and those who are about the game is not accurate and never has been. Instead, they should be understood as a kind of swear word that are levelled against different players to minimise their arguments and avoid real engagement. In your article I think you have still internalised this distinction too much. Sure players can enjoy playing to win and the painting/fluff side of things. However, there is no real clear distinction between the two and most players enjoyment of the game comes from a bit of both.

    I think when it comes down to what should make up events/tournaments in my mind the only thing that really matters is what the TO wants. After having been involved in running a couple of tournaments I think the best approach is to give advice or input when the a TO asks for it, but that being said there is a wide variety of approaches to running events that often clash very heavily. If you need an example just look at the explosive rage or derision that sometimes gets poured onto Australian panel comp from the cousins across the Tasman. In a practical sense the best response to events you dislike is not vote with your feet.

    Whenever a TO designs a player pack they are taking a normative stance that positively directs players to approach Warhammer in a certain fashion. This position is never one of impartiality and should not attempt to take on a stance of pseudo-objectivity. Rather, it would be desirable for TO’s to more actively sign post their intention in each event that they run.

    Having a Masters event will also contain some normative quality, it encourages competition and excellence across the year. It also takes the competition in Warhammer to a new level making a players performance across a whole year more relevant and encourages a degree of uniformity between tournaments that would not have existed otherwise. But by drawing a distinction between possibly unranked ‘hobby weekends’ and tournaments (implicitly the ‘real deal’) is not necessarily useful.


  2. 2/2

    If TO’s were clearer with their normative intent of how Warhammer SHOULD be played at their event. In many events it would be totally appropriate to play a Win At All Cost style list and to see your enemies driven before you. That can be great fun and as long as each player knows what they are getting themselves into for the weekend then it can be a great environment to play in. At the end of the day telling players to take whatever list will help them win is a normative position that shapes players behaviour in a certain direction. There is also room for completely uncompetitive hobby weekends that do not have any ranking within the event or contributing to national rankings at all.

    What I think may have been missing from your original discussion is the room for a more mixed event. As I wrote earlier Warhammer is a big tent and there is a lot of room for those of us who enjoy mixed events that decide a winner based in a mixed criteria. In some events it may be appropriate for players to face censure for taking certain types of lists, when this is the TO’s clear normative intention.

    What I am trying to get at is that there is enough room for TOs to run their event the way they want to. Players who don’t like it are able to stay at home, or even better run an event of their own. The desire to enforce a rigid single way of organising events and deriding all other forms is not constructive and does not help the scene. Warhammer is a fantastically complicated game that can be used by players for very different table top experiences. Why try to retard this multiplicity of table top by dictating the ‘right’ way to play?