Beards and Fluff
After a terrific stint of games over the last weekend, I've been catapulted back into 'game' mode, rather than just 'pay GW and paint' mode. And over those games, the issue of 'beardiness' has come up. Let's look it up, shall we?
1 the characteristic of being beardy; unfair or unsportsmanlike gaming: he had the beardiest army list ever.2 the trait or habit of selecting units based purely on characteristics, stat lines or rules rather than with reference to an army's fluff: having that many terminators in a 1000pt game is beardyORIGIN unknown (possibly Swedish, or Low Gothic).
Seems pretty comprehensive. Let me give you a real-life example. A recent game as a first-time visitor to a club pitted me against a young Necron player (about 10). He'd 'forgotten' his codex and army list, but some of the more 'interesting' interpretations of the rules included:
- A Monolith that 'cost 60pts' and 'had 16 armour all round'
- Multiple Nightbringers
- Squads of Scarabs, that had double wounds 'because they are on bigger bases'
- Necron Lord with +5 wounds, 'because I paid five extra points'
And so on. Now, you can argue that the rules violations were down to genuinely not understanding the rules. I didn't argue, and let him get away with most of these (briefly, before introducing him to Instant Death, a la Demolisher cannon). But there seems to be a general impulse among young players today to go for the biggest guns, the best stat lines, the nastiest special rules. And GW play up to this, with new armies (especially Necrons, I feel) with some very uber models. Their motivation is clear: nasty models sell better.
But why do the kids like it so? Now, I'm not entirely innocent of this myself as a Guard player, with my plethora of Ordnance weapons and S10 artillery ... but at least we have hordes of T3, 6+ Sv Guardsmen as well. There is an element of playing the game to win, I accept, and everyone needs some big guns. There seems to be an arms race to get the nastiest guns and just blast your opponent to smithereens. Most uncool.
And then we come to beardy gaming. As readers of mine and Headologist's blog will know, we pride ourselves on being fairly sporting players. In our most recent battle, this extended to H letting me move a command squad (after forgetting to do so in the movement phase). This extra move allowed a passing Land Speeder to come in range of a Plasma Pistol, and it was duly blown up. He basically killed it himself; very sportsmanlike.
This boils down to a question we asked each other before the game. Should you show your list to your foe before, or after the game? We came to the conclusion that to show it after the game meant that the only reason you were doing so was to prove that you hadn't been cheating. To show it before implies a degree of trust between players, and it was summed up nicely in the 40K rulebook as well. The game isn't a card game, where you save some trump card up and blindside your foe with it. It's a game of skill, and ultimately luck; you win by outmanoeuvring (and out-dicing) your foe, not smashing him to bits with special rules and expensive special characters.
I'd be interested to hear what people's opinions are on this. Am I going to far? Is it 'beardy' to take Terminators in a patrol clash game, for instance, where they probably wouldn't be used in scouting actions in 'real life'? How important is winning, and how do you best win the game? So many questions!
This has ballooned out of control really, from what was supposed to be a quick post. I'll cut it short here to allow for discussion and comment, I think. Back to normal rations by Friday I think, when my Naval Boarding Team bitz will arrive from FW...
|This is the sort of thing that happens when I'm left unsupervised with Paint after doing a 40K-themed Kitchner poster.|