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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I derailed a thread with this topic so I have started a new thread specifically for it.

Do people play to win? Or play for fun? Or both?

I contend that people always try to win when they play, even if they say they play for fun. And it is possible that playing for fun can mean trying to win even though you know from the outset you are probably going to lose. It can be fun winning and fun losing but the aim is always winning (unless you are trying to cheer someone up and let them win, in which case your not actually even playing the same game, and you are actually trying to win another game)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I play a proper game I always try to win, but my lists are not made to win, they are made to have what I like. So I most often lose. But I still try to win and I feel like I have succeeded to some extent when I kill a general in a challenge or a big monster or whatever. I enjoy the game as long as I kill something and I only feel disappointed if I kill nothing or my opponent kills nothing.

There really is not point playing if your not trying to win. People say they don't try to but I think what they really mean is they don't care if they win, and a good game is a game where you have some measure of success i.e. you put up a valiant defense despite being crushed, or you perform some incredible feat.

I don't play to win against my son, I try to lose, because I just enjoy seeing my boy happy. He's 4 and has always been fascinated with it, so we play a version with just a few small units of 9, or 3 monstrous inf, and we all move 6" and when we fight we roll dice and the dice roll is how many are hit, and then for every hit he rolls 2+ to kill, and when it's my turn I roll 1 to kill. Monstrous infantry roll two dice to hit, monsters roll 3. We don't play with human teams because my wife thinks it's too violent, so we play with orcs, lizard men, beastmen. His favourite is lizardmen.

But that's the exception. and even so, if your playing to let someone win your not really playing the game, your playing at something else i.e. Being a good parent, or trying to get your girlfriend interested in the hobby etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've also noticed a trend where the more you care about winning, the more satisfaction you get from winning. And conversely the less you care, the less satisfaction you get (not to the point of dissatisfaction, just less).

But the con is that those people who get more satisfaction out of winning, also take there loses harder.
Has anyone else seen evidence of this spectrum?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
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.
This discussion came up in light of the ongoing developments in Warhammer 40k, and how its becoming more convoluted and unbalanced. I don't think that it is as much of an issue for friendly games because people use handicaps and house rules anyway to balance it (which makes it more fun because the odds of winning are better), but formal games suffer badly from following the rules and force people into playing it in a way that is less fun. I think that GW does not appreciate the fundamental reasons behind why people play, and the direction they are taking the game will see more people playing among friends and less people attending tournaments. Which really is a shame for the hobby. I think the only reason 7th is coming out so soon is because they realised this and are trying to fix it asap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Of course, this all goes back to the premise: is balancing the game a desirable goal?
There is no goal more desirable in terms of game structure. And enjoyment is the most desirable in terms of game experience

and is randomly generating a narrative for enjoyment a game? or is it just playing around? you can't have a tourny where the winner is the one who had the most interesting events transpire in their "game" and this goes back to what i said at the end of my last post. It may be fine for casual games but formal games.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I feel like you're rather muddling your usage of "trying to win". Or rather, I'm not following you. At what point in goofing off is a player no longer "trying to win". If they take sub-par choices in the list building phase, are they no longer "trying to win"? If they take one sub-par choice, is that fine? What about two? What if they take an all-Grot army?

In the latter, nobody seriously thinks they will win with an all-Grot army. It's a fairly certain defeat prior to starting. Does that mean there's "no point in playing"?

Along the same lines, at how many "intentional poor tactical choices" is someone no longer "trying to win"? At the first? One every turn? Or do we have to go to some extreme like "all moves determined by the scatter dice"?

I just feel as though you're being rather nebulous in your criteria, but a large part of that is just because I don't quite understand where you're coming from. I need clarification.

lol, I'm not always that great at explaining things. I think the only time a player is not trying to win is when they don't want to enjoy the game, but instead they want to achieve something else i.e. letting someone win. when they do that they are no longer enjoying the game, but they are enjoying the fact that they are making someone feel good. Also, if someone is mucking around and trying to lose to see what happens, they still have set themself a goal and thus losing in a sense becomes winning.

as for your grot example, you could say that someone wanted to:
- handicap themselves
- they just like grots
- or they don't know better

but in any of those instances, they will not try to lose by deciding not to move into the open, deciding not to shoot, electing to flee every assault etc. They will try to win, they play to win. they may not have any hope, and they may not try very hard, but the whole purpose of playing is trying to win. regardless of whether you do or dont, or try hard or try little. That is my belief on the fundamental basis of these games.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Yeah but when your orcs attacked that hierophant you were hopeful that they would kill it, you didn't attack it because you wanted to die, although you knew you probably would.

Ps. no one (especially not me) is saying that having fun losing, is not winning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
It's odd that when I used to play 40k 5 years ago, I had to make up house rules to spice it up a bit, but now I have to ban rules just to make it playable. That's how convoluted it has become. I don't bother with tournaments anymore. I think it's not fun anymore. It's only fun these days when you set a game up to be fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I used to be a hyper-competitive person when playing any game. Prone to getting pissed when not going first out when losing. Not minding shoving it in my opponents' faces when winning. Yeah I used to be "that guy" we all love to hate. Here's the problem with that mindset. There's a point, after all your wins, that another win is just that, a win. How many tournaments do you have to win, how many prizes must you attain before it all becomes "been there, done that."? On top of that, if you are truly that good, how long can you win before people stop playing against you? Especially if you act like an @$$ on top of it? It may take some, even at your FLGS, but eventually people would rather not play than play against you. If that starts happening, it doesn't how awesome you are at list building or playing the game. This game requires two people to play and both must get done enjoyment out of the game otherwise one of those people playing will stop playing.

So my point here is that I no longer care about winning. It's not that I don't try, I most certainly do. I go into every game with the intent to win. I also go into every game with concern for my opponent. I don't just want to be good at the game but I also want to be liked by the people I play against. That way when I ask fir a game, I get a "Sure!". Not a "I'd rather take this fork and jam it into a light socket."
There us a very clear distinction between playing in a tournament that you payed to enter, and playing with friends. If you play your friends like you are playing a tournament then of course no one will want to play with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
I think a lot of us are reiterating a very similar thing. Well on a side note I for one am sick of people denying the existence of a universal desire to win, and especially of them pretentiously denying it in themselves lol.

Edit: But on a serious note, it's not cool that they try to shame people for wanting fair rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Your will to win is much higher than mine, nothing wrong with that.
It's funny because it's not really that high. I've got more of a thing about equal opportunity. The fact I loved my tyranids so much in 4th edition really hurt to see what GW did to them. Not much equal opportunity there and it hurts that I have to twist the rules to play with them. It's like if the game were tennis and each team is a different racket and then the rulemakers decide that the tyranid racket is a badminton racket, maybe even a table tennis paddle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I'll not necessarily disagree that "winning the game" isn't somewhere in there on the priority list of even among the most non-competitive, story oriented players.
That's the main point i want to promote, and that people who deny it have delusions of some kind of moral grandeur. And for some reason, these certain types (largely on other forums) like to take slightest hind of trying to win a game, and twist it to throw shaming accusations of being a competitive douchebag stereotype, and then reaffirm there own superior moral high stance for never thinking of the dirty act of playing to win, which they are in fact guilty of to some extent as everyone is (as small as it may be).
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I resent the "they are just toys" argument. Its used dismissively far too often. They are an escape, an outlet for imagination and creativity. There is nothing trivial about it. Or am I just in too deep???
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Then Captain, don't play anymore!
I don't play 40k anymore, because 40k is the worst offender. Fantasy is actually not doing too terribly in the balance department. They gave us the same free reign with the supplements, but I have yet to see anybody actually use them. And even then, the supplements aren't typically that overpowered (except K'Daai, but everyone can have a K'Daai). When Fantasy gets to the point of 40k, you'd better believe that I'm going to start playing something else a lot more. Maybe WarmaHordes, or look into Kings of War. Or just keep all of my books and keep playing 8th edition with my group. Who knows.
I'm already intending on doing this, so are a few of my friends. We are stocking up on 8th edition stuff so that we can just keep playing a game that's good indefinitely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
I guess its inevitable that groups will start to form which stick to certain editions of the rules. especially after another decade and yet another few editions of the game, there will be that many editions that not everyone will favor the current. I've seen it in other games but not so much GW games but I think its about to start. I think thats why GW never releases all the armies in one edition, to prevent people settling into that edition and not moving forward into the next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
The biggest plus side I think is that it allows players to be cheap. If they want to use just one unit of 5 terminators and some assault marines with jump packs, then they can and don't have to worry about buying troops to make it legal. So they don't necessarily have to spend more to be able to play.
 
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