List Building Games
I think some of the attraction of the games we play is the ability to create seemingly limitless combinations of units or armies and sometimes come up with that all conquering combo. Whether it is from the boundless lists of old style GW codex or card type units of games like X-Wing the designers put the choice of army into our hands and that gives us a feeling of control over the destiny of our gaming. Which is really great. One of things I really loved about 40K was the ability to not only choose one of the famous chapters but the freedom to design your own.
Freedom of Choice
Well that may not be the case as much as we think. This freedom of choice is easily tainted by a number of factors. It could be restricted by the companies business model. If they make the next new shiney the best then you are restricted into buying those armies or units, especially if your chosen army hasn’t had any recent updates. I’m no business expert and I wont claim that is the case but I speak from the heart using my own experiences and that certainly felt the case when I played 40K. A game I played for a good while and competitively, but one I left because I ultimately felt I could not or would not keep up with the perceived power creep. But then the grass is not always greener, as they say.
Our choice could also be restricted by the structure we choose for our games. Now whether it is an official tournament or just a game with friends we usually put some kind of structure to our games. Obviously the official play is the restrictions imposed by the organisers whereas club or home games might be more subtle, something like a theme or a story. Maybe a recreation of a battle in your chosen games lore. The game that has replaced 40K for me is Infinity and while at its base level I feel it has more choice in army selection as there is more balance in the game one of the big arguments by the people who play Infinity is ITS, its official tournament play, is how to be efficient in ITS you need a certain type of army build and to be honest the more I’ve played the more I agree that is the case. So even here the restrictions have been imposed. Its not just Infinity either. While the restrictions there are down to the best way to win the mission I also feel that X-Wing, the other game I play competitively these days, also can restrict your choices. Now here I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not hugely experienced but when I first started playing I definitely felt that the hour time limit made the game very different beast to an open ended game. I believe this had an impact of the two ship lists that dominated for a while. Admittedly this may have been addressed with the latest FAQ but I’m probably not the best person to ask.
So where to now?
I guess I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately. The new X-Wing FAQ changed my squad for the last tournament I went to and I’ve been talking about high order Infinity lists with the Totally Crit guys. Either way we never really like the thought that our choices are restricted but always seem to forgive out favourite games for any they impose. After all we all partake in this hobby out of love for the Emperor, for the Force or maybe just for the destruction of our enemies.
As always please feel free to leave a comment.