Winning and fun do not have to be mutually exclusive.
I agree, but my point is about actual 'winning' its about the pursuit of winning
Some people find enjoyment in winning, and in competition. And there's nothing wrong with that. We all prioritize our gameplay wants differently.
I disagree with this to an extent. I think there is an underlying common factor which is trying to win. Some people value actual winning more, some people value the journey more.
That is often why I bring up the "playing games with our children" example. In that example, we are still trying to win, at least on some small part, because we want teach our children the sense of accomplishment that comes with "earning" their wins. And for that to happen, we have to make a reasonable attempt to win ourselves. But, our (as parents in this example) desire to win, is such a lower priority than the desire to foster our children's enjoyment, that the "win desire" becomes negligible.
This is all true but it isn't really 'playing the game'
Let me make a semantic clarification, because while I think it is nit-picky, I also think it is important. The purpose of a competition, is to win. The purpose of a game, is to play (ie: have fun). A game can be played competitively. There is definitely room for overlap. But overlap is not required, even if the players of the game can be considered "adversarial". Beyond just our parent example (where we are playing the game, but we are not playing competitively), let me provide another comparison: Pen & Paper RPGs, ie: Dungeons and Dragons.
It is always competitive, its just competitive to different degrees. A game is structured and these particular games are structured to have winners and losers, and if your not trying to compete to win, your not actually playing the game, you are just playing.
In P&P RPGs, you inherently have conflict (often combats) set up between two parties: the GM and the Players. Inherently, this is an adversarial relationship. The GM wants his scenario (monsters, typically) to kill the Players' Characters. The Players, in contrast, want to kill the monsters. As per most adversarial conflicts, there can generally only be one "winner"; either the PCs or the monsters have to die. The problem is: you have a huge power disparity because one of the parties has all the power and is making all the rules. He can "win" simply by stating so. So how do we solve this problem of competition between adversaries between two parties that have asymmetrical power?
Well, we simply change the "wants" of the parties so that "winning" isn't the end goal. In part, it takes a change in mindset, and using such words as "collaborative story telling", and all the other feel-good verbiage that came about in the late-90's and early noughts. Even though the conflict my be seemingly adversarial by nature, you redefine the purpose of the game in a manner where "the enjoyment of the parties involved matters more than winning". Yes, a GM can simply "win" the conflict by dropping an Elder Dragon on a party of 1st level characters, but he doesn't because he doesn't care about winning so much as he cares about his players having a good time. In the same vein, a Tau player can simply "win" the conflict by dropping 6 Riptides against his opponent, but if he cares about his opponent having a good time more than winning, it isn't in his best interest to do so.
Which is all a long winded way of saying: there is more than one way to play a game. I feel comfortable saying that games, and the playing thereof, are good things. How we play those games (competitively, for each other's enjoyment, as a learning experience, etc) is what becomes a subjective value.
Again, there is still the fundamental pursuit of the win which is a common factor in all games where winning is an option
I feel where these situations diverge, is in how we value "winning" vs "our opponent's enjoyment" in a "normal gameplay" environment. Generalizing, it seems that PUG'ers tend to value the former more, whereas people that play among friends place more value in the latter. In that sense, and by their own admission, GW games are more designed and balanced with the the latter value in mind.
There is an obvious answer here, handicaps. When there is a huge disparity between the skills of two players in a friendly game, you just give the lesser an increase in point limit, alternately you could offer strategic advice to them vice versa. The people who don't do this in friendly games wont have friends to game with.