Feast of Blades '13

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Competetive 40k: Why it is Important to us Gamers

Fellow Gamers, Kevin here with some fighting words. I just finished watching "A Game of Honor" on Showtime. It was a documentary on showtime depicting this years Army Navy Game. I know few of you watched that game or have seen this show but it does hit home with me as my brother played for Army football as a starting player the past few years and it got me thinking.....

Now for a little while longer I will talk about my past, as well as our past, and then get to how it relates to 40k. I come from a family of prestige. Besides some excellent accomplishments from my parents I come from a family of 3 children. My brother and sister are twins. Both were in the top 10 scholars of our high school with one being captain of the football team and the other being a state champion pole vaulter, in a state we did not even live in, as well as record holder for the most district gold medals(and school record holder for almost every event she competed in....my brother as well being a star competitor in track and field). One went on to be an ivy league graduate and athlete....the other a Division 1 football player and West Point Cadet who you can still turn on ESPN or CBS and watch playing football on TV....this is a hard task to live up to.....I was never much of an athlete or scholar...constantly living in the shadow of my brother and sister twins. I was in the bottom of my graduating class and an inconsistent athlete. I tried for my stake in family fame by leaving the soccer field my junior year to pursue my higher skill on the hockey rink. I remember my first game of varsity Ice Hockey my sophomore year with my dad telling myself to keep my head down in a league full of physical players and penalty box bullies....I scored two goals that game.....This set me up as the right winger of the first line on my team with two of the best forwards in the league....Going into our final game before the playoffs against the best team in the other division, which was set to be on television, who had won the league championship every year previously that we were suppose to lose....In the third period we were down 5-2 and I had the puck strafing up the right side boards and fired a shot in after sneaking around the defense and it went in the net on television.....setting a personal victory of 5 straight years scoring against this "best team" in a row and starting a 3rd period comeback with another quick goal allowing us to pull our goalie in our opponents zone with a minute to go, on tv, in a shootout for pride....we did not win that game and lost to our ever present rival in the championship game 5-4 in the playoff final....fast forward to my senior year in my final high school competitive game against the league leader in a game to see if we made the playoffs. We were winning 3-2 with 2 minutes left....all of our star players were injured with me the final center left on the team not injured. The opposing team stacked their final line with the best players in the league. I had battled this center all game and knew what to expect. I had one a rare face off against this player but they won it back and scored.....45 seconds left and the game was tied....I saw our best player with a hurt leg on the bench in pain...yet again I faced off and the other team won it....With less than 5 seconds left they had an amazingly nigh impossible goal and won the game....I ended the final competition of my senior year game in shame in a game I had till then played well.......so what does this have to do with 40k?

Well it has to do a lot. I had just saw my brother lose to his rival, Navy, for not only his 4th straight year at the academy but, the 10th year running. We as players in a game that ends with a winner and a loser strive for competitive glory. We all want to be undefeated and win that glorious championship that we all have strive for in our careers as competitive gamers. It is understandable in a game that we play competitively that we want all of our efforts to be vindicated. We have spent tireless hours assembling, painting, and practicing our lists...spent hundreds of dollars laying out our teams and painting our jerseys for a game not played on a grid iron...or an ice rink....or even a pitch but a 6' by 4' table with our players being barely 2 inches high and made of plastic....we have assembled our rosters with a larger than life group of candidates and special characters/players....We play practice after practice game trying to see if our thoughts and ideas work just to bring them to the tournament scene. I remember my first tournament....I was a nervous wreck at a local FLGS tournament just 2 years ago....I had put some thought and practice in but this would determine if I would make or break it.....I went 2-0-1 and won that very first tournament in a store I would be happy to win on game in against a rival I had never beaten......I remember my first GT at the colonial ready to pump DE to the top of the barrel wit a strong finish and went 1-2-2......

Now as a gamer of fluff past and competition present....from a family I competitive greatness with myself being a bottom tier I understand why we want to win as gamers....this is our competition....this is our championship game and super bowl....this codices and lists are our teams......these paint schemes are our jerseys and we wear them proudly.....IT is a good thing to want to win...can we go overboard, yes of course, but a way for our competitive nature to come out and to seek glory on our 6 by 4 field is important to us....I sit on the verge of my next GT with the will to win....I hope I do not disappoint myself....more on this later....


  1. That's a pretty heft pedigree to live up to!

    Playing competitively in any environment isn't for everyone. Not everyone will ever understand the desire to better one's self to a "new level" be it for glory or rather what I would better recommend which is self fulfillment. Was watching a reality show last night about a group of guys trying to help a bar become profitable again. They brought in this world reknowned bar tender to train the bar tenders, and the knowledge this guy had about how to make drinks while maintaining the highest level of profitability possible, and the tricks he would use to just pour drinks for people, was fascinating to me. Here's someone who poured his all into being the best damn bartender he could be.

    At the end of the day though, as with any competition, it should be about focusing on self fulfillment rather than recognition for winning. To use a Star Wars analogy, seeking glory as a motivator is the Dark Side of the force. This is what leads people to do unscrupulous things. It's also a farce in the 40K scene anyways since there is no real recognition anyways. Winning all the time more often earns you the ire of other players rather than the recognition. There certainly aren't any lucrative advertising contracts to go along with it.

    Seeking to be the best 40K player you can be, be it through practice, list building, rule knowledge, etc. is more the Light Side of the force. Because, at the end of the day, the true measure of a 40K champion is actually his ability to play well while not alienating himself from his player base at the same time. If 40K were a professional sport, that aspect wouldn't matter, but since it's a "localized" game, that's a bad path to walk alone.

  2. Thanks Neil for chiming in with some good points as I know you are a very good tournament player yourself. Now Prior to the last two years I was always a fluffy for the fun of it type of player for almost 11 years...So I can approach it from both sides of the ball and intend to write a post on why fluffy gaming is the cats tuxedo as well. This post is about how winning in the end can bring a feeling of self accomplishment (since tht is the point of competition in general)....oh and thats probably bar rescue which is an awesome show...congrats on the BFS too

  3. One of your best blog articles to date. Introspective and insightful, I'm actually impressed. keep up this caliber and you will do fine.