Games change. Games based on War change pretty frequently. In a way, the evolution of wargames parallels how the wars we simulate also evolve.
Over the last year, two of the biggest fantasy/sci-fi games underwent some pretty severe changes. Games Workshop got rid of an entire world, advanced their 40k storyline and started some heated arguments over round vs square bases.
Privateer Press made a sweeping change last summer, releasing the third edition of their game. Three changes in 15ish years isn’t bad in the wargame life cycle.
I don’t know why, but any time the games change, the gaming community goes nuts. I have some theories outside of the fact that these are usually adults playing with toys, and so one should probably expect childish behavior.
Actually, I suppose that is my theory. I would like to say otherwise, but browsing the forums and Facebook pages associated with gaming groups makes gamers look like whiny children who have had their favorite toy taken away.
As an avid Warmachine/Hordes player, I subscribe to several Warmachine/Hordes forums. Today’s Trollbloods forum suffers from a serious salt surplus.
I get it. It feels crappy when you go from winning every game because you’re exploiting strengths in your army that your opponent can’t counter to occasionally losing a match. It sucks watching your rankings slip because you can’t face stomp. When you’re used to tabling pretty much everyone, and now you’re more evenly matched because of a top tier rebalance, what do you do? It’s easy to blame a change in player ranking on toughness rules changing, on new product releases, and on the demise of the elemental Theme and other game breakers (a single model unit surfing, or “riding the axe”).
Instead of focusing on what was lost, or what we want changed, we (all wargamers) should take the challenge for what it is. When a new weapon is added to our enemy’s arsenal, we need to adapt. If we’ve slipped in our rankings, we need to make that frustrating climb back to where we were prior to the game state changing by learning how the game works in its current state. Spend time playing in new ways with new pieces to find that new trick that snags the win.
That’s the difference between good and bad players. Good players play for the challenge. Good players weather a loss with as much grace as they accept a win.
Unfortunately, the whiners and crybabies displace the content casual gamers and good competitive gamers through sheer volume of posts. The posts are usually repetitive complaints with little basis for argument other than their personal experience or bad statistics. Those guys make a good community look bad.
Hopefully they’ll get bored and play something new, whether it’s within the same faction, or another faction, or whether it’s a different game, it doesn’t matter. Anything is better than crying.
Until they adapt, the rest of us need to speak up. Winners need to share how they win. Risk takers need to brag about their offbeat builds. Creative hobbyists need to display their unique paint schemes and models to get people excited about playing the models-seldom-fielded.
My advice to gamers everywhere is when the game changes, adapt and lead your army to the next campaign with valor intact. Make your next victory your own.