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"Competitive" vs "Casual", are they really that different?

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33 minutes ago, AldousSnow said:

What I'm gathering is that everyone is simply different.

<snip>

 it's all perspective. Find the people who play like you and forget the categories. 

Yup. It’s sort of like what I hinted at, that I think it’s closer to a spectrum than a binary either/or.

Find a community of people whom you enjoy gaming with, and do so in your own way.

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To answer the original question:

 

No difference for me.

 

For people that play “a lot” I understand why there might be a different mindset on a ‘casual night’ versus ‘major event’, but I just don’t play enough games to make a distinction between the two. 

 

I always play to have fun - but I enjoy being competitive. I wouldn’t take things that are competitive but not fun though (for me... impossible to say what opponent may enjoy playing against as that is very subjective).

I have zero interest in following a meta etc, but understand some people like to play that way. Each to their own. 

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1 hour ago, Dave Grant said:

To answer the original question:

 

No difference for me.

 

For people that play “a lot” I understand why there might be a different mindset on a ‘casual night’ versus ‘major event’, but I just don’t play enough games to make a distinction between the two. 

 

I always play to have fun - but I enjoy being competitive. I wouldn’t take things that are competitive but not fun though (for me... impossible to say what opponent may enjoy playing against as that is very subjective).

I have zero interest in following a meta etc, but understand some people like to play that way. Each to their own. 

There is a huge difference in the two, mostly. During RPQ people want to have fun, but most have fun by winning and not losing every game by the 3rd round. A seasonal tournament might not have the same level of "builds" as a Store Champ or RPQ and higher, but you will see a difference in there. For the most part even the higher competitive scene it is still a great community, and this goes for all the FFG Star Wars games I have played, you might get a MGS or Ben type player on occasion, but they are the minority. 

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Posted (edited)

They are very different.

I recall a time when casual and competitive had no meaningful distinction. I'm talking TO's who were also gaming company employees, allowing homebrew units, at prize-supported tournaments. Compared to that, there is definitely a difference now.

Just because not all individuals play both ways, or don't shift gears when they are in a different play environment, doesn't mean competitive play in fantasy and scifi wargames hasn't become divorced from the old semi-RPG nature of fantasy & scifi wargames.

Battletech had a hotter competitive scene but it was played on a hex grid which lent itself to that a little more. Also DBA, a psuedo-historical game, was huge for tournaments. It worked well because the armies are/were all 12 units, and a great degree of abstraction existed to level the playing field between weapon types. Archers were archers, whether you modeled them composite bows, longbows, handgonnes, or crossbows, on the theory that if you WERE facing someone from your own time/place, the effects of each side's ranged weapons would've been roughly comparable.

Once players get a lot of free reign (ie, detailed varied lists) and the culture shifted away from the RPG fad to follow the CCG fad, a great difference arose between competitive and casual. Though they've gone by many names, such as home play and tournament.

Edited by TauntaunScout

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43 minutes ago, GreatMazinkaiser said:

Somehow I don't see dicing off to settle disputes or defining terrain in-game when there's some ambiguity flying in competitive games...

I most definitely had a dice off at High Command! 

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On 6/10/2019 at 10:51 PM, ScummyRebel said:

Yup. It’s sort of like what I hinted at, that I think it’s closer to a spectrum than a binary either/or.

Find a community of people whom you enjoy gaming with, and do so in your own way.

This is where I somewhat disagree.  I dont think most people are locked into a certain playstyle.  Its just the context surrounding the game that really matters.  

My x wing experiences for example: if I am going to a tournament I'm going to bring at least a moderately competitive list, with an eye towards being competitive, becuase that's what is defining that event.  I'm going to make sure I brush up on the latest rules and combos and make sure I'm ready to play. Its great fun, and generally everyone understands the context.

 

But the next day I am happily playing a very laid back couple of Heroes of the Aturi Cluster missions with two friends.  Everyones having fun, becuase everyone understands the context.  

Someone can be a competitive player at an event and then go kick back playing an RPG later that night.  

I just don't see it being nearly as dependent on the personalities of the people as much as on an understanding of the event youre a part of.

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Posted (edited)

My opinion is that these kind of games actually rely on two important concepts:

1- It is a game

2-It is a hobby

The percentage of enjoyment these two aspects gives us is what makes a difference. 

Persons that take into account only ONE of the aspects are perceived as being "wrong" by the other "player-hobyists" and considered as persons that don't really understand what this is all about, somewhat called newbies (if you only play) or strange persons if you only paint. That is:

1-Persons that only buy this game for minis, and only buy minis because they like to collect them and paint them and showcase them. 

2-Persons that only care about the game, and wouldn't mind playing with unpainted minis and even would play with tokens to proxy elements of the game just to try rules and strategics. 

Between both extremes are hundreds of shades, but persons that are not closer to the centre are perceived as not enjoying the "whole" experience :)

And so, competitive are placed in the first group, and they are not suposed to enjoy the hobby aspect and are centered only about meta and don't care about the aesthetics. So are perceived as loosing a whole universe of enjoyment, while casual are NOT necesarily perceived as painting freaks, that's why casual is not perceived as "bad" while competitive is. XD

Edited by Tubb

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Competitive play vs casual play will be distinguished by things like time limit, the presence or absence of impartial judges to rule on disputes, etc. 

Competitive players vs casual players in my experience will mostly come down to prioritizing list efficiency vs list theme. Competitive players want a list that’s at least worth every point if not making some units pull more weight than their points suggest. Casual players will often deploy inefficient units just because it fits the theme they want to play with or it’s a fun toy to play with. (T-47 is the most obvious example, though even the AT-ST is more likely to be found in a casual list than a competitive one.)

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I kind of reject the term "casual" as the opposite of "competitive". There's nothing casual about a fully painted, themed, army with a table of matching scenery. There's nothing casual about writing your own scenarios.

To me what's often called "competitive" used to be called "tournament" play, or perhaps "powergaming", and everything else was just playing. It didn't need a name like "casual" or "thematic".

Wargaming (as Legion and Warhammer and so forth knows it) grew directly out of the RPG craze of the 80's. That fad upended what the word "game" even means. Chess has a winner and loser, RPG's don't. Casual wargaming brings that attitude into it. This was not always "casual": At one time it was mainstream for fantasy and science fiction wargaming to be firmly rooted in RPG culture instead of CCG culture. The way most people game today would have been seen as bordering on crazy, not long ago. To do something that is second nature today (such as assessing the opportunity cost of a unit) was unheard of and marked someone out as having "something to prove". It would be like picking up 34 cents off the sidewalk and entering it in your household budgeting spreadsheet and reporting it on your taxes.

Competitive wargaming, getting away from that RPG idea, moves into taking advantage of accidental by-products of game design. Like figuring out that "archers are a waste of points, catapults do the same job better" or always lining your squads up in a "L" shape all the time to control the combat mechanics. Or whatever it is for that game system. It's also how most people seem to play now, particularly in Games Workshop and FFG games. No distinction is made now between "the rules" and "the game" and there used to be one. There definitely used to be a sense that it was bad to "play the rules instead of the game".

That stuff does come up in casual gaming but it's experimental in nature and results in "Yup that does work. Neat, I was right. Now back to playing normally." instead of the competitive conclusion which is more like "Oh that's now an auto-include, there's no reason not to do that". Or, it's limited to one person in the group who is "win at all costs" and they are included in the group for assorted reasons, despite not being on the same page as everyone else. We kept a guy like that in our Mordheim group basically just to keep everyone else honest. You don't want the wargaming group to devolve into a mutual congratulation society, so, the one obsessive power gamer kept that from happening. Or my brother the math whiz who used to break every game for the fun of doing new math problems. But we kept him in the group cause he was my brother.

From what I see in gaming stores (not people's houses), ordinary gamers are extremely competitive now. Legion less so than other games but then again, there isn't a whole lot of a Legion community here yet.

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On 6/13/2019 at 9:39 AM, TauntaunScout said:

I kind of reject the term "casual" as the opposite of "competitive". There's nothing casual about a fully painted, themed, army with a table of matching scenery. There's nothing casual about writing your own scenarios.

To me what's often called "competitive" used to be called "tournament" play, or perhaps "powergaming", and everything else was just playing. It didn't need a name like "casual" or "thematic".

[..]

That stuff does come up in casual gaming but it's experimental in nature and results in "Yup that does work. Neat, I was right. Now back to playing normally." instead of the competitive conclusion which is more like "Oh that's now an auto-include, there's no reason not to do that".

[...]

From what I see in gaming stores (not people's houses), ordinary gamers are extremely competitive now. Legion less so than other games but then again, there isn't a whole lot of a Legion community here yet.

Thank you for this.

I think you're right, casual is a terrible word for this (even considering the 'fly casual' quote).

For historical stuff, we can use the term... well... 'historical'. 'Simulationist', and 'realistic' are also useful for prioritizing the subject matter over the rules that attempt to approximate the subject matter. Alas for our beloved magic space samurai and robot Nazis these are a poor fit... Perhaps we could call it 'naturalistic', 'immersive', or even 'authentic'?

I'm particularly taken by your example regarding archer min-maxing vs catapults because it speaks so true to my experience with historical wargaming. When ever we've encountered something that didn't collectively make sense (too many snipers, T-47 ineffective), we'd just go ahead and house rule a variation, wether among a small group at home or a large gathering at the game store... And we've happily treated every subsequent game and variation as playtests... competitive ones, but always open to changing up the rules and stats until we're happy. 

And it's worth remembering that even when feeling ownership of the game and rules, we've always been highly competitive within that construct!

 

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22 hours ago, CaptainRocket said:

For historical stuff, we can use the term... well... 'historical'. 'Simulationist', and 'realistic' are also useful for prioritizing the subject matter over the rules that attempt to approximate the subject matter. Alas for our beloved magic space samurai and robot Nazis these are a poor fit... Perhaps we could call it 'naturalistic', 'immersive', or even 'authentic'?

Thanks. I think realism within the known game universe should still be striven for. Things should be intuitive. When juggling a couple side games of Sudoku is more important than something resembling infantry tactics, the munchkins reign. This is one of the reasons I don't think anyone with plot armor belongs in these games. How do you scale that? Like space ships, it's off the scope of the game. I either won't believe the characters, or they'll be massively OP and dominate the games.

I use purely hypothetical historical examples in this forum specifically to avoid getting drawn into pointless side debates. It's not really drawn from any one game I've played. "There's no reason to take X instead of Y" would have marked you out as like, a psycho, or someone compensating for a super sad personal life, or something, back in the 90's.

Ultimately this drive to break the army lists seeking wins really helped to kill off WFB.

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