Theory on the Different Types of Wargamers

by Stephen Townshend


Generally speaking, I can identify two types of wargamers; Those who ponder tactics and those who don't. The visible difference is probably how long it takes them to draw up an army list. Some, if not most inexperienced players will quickly draw up a list selecting what seem to be the best troops available. This is perfectly logical as they are not experienced enough to consider anything else about the game. And that's all it is to them: a game. Some experienced players are also like this, so rather than call them inexperienced, I'll refer to them as non-ponderers as their gaming style is almost the same. Their armies of choice also seem to be the stuff that one can just drive forward and hope for the best like Orks, Tyranids, or Necrons. The ponderers on the other hand, take hours to draw up an army list considering this and that about their army, the opposition, the scenario, the backround etc. To ponderers wargaming is not just a game but a test of wits, savvy, and cunning. Typically they get worried when their opposition does something they didn't expect and did not cover for in their neatly laid out battle-plan.


I think this may be where 2ndEd players have now become completely separated from 3rdEd 40K. Before, both types of gamers had to play the same system, but now each has a system ideally suited to their style. 2ndEd was the perfect system for ponderers with all the possibilities of wargear, squad armaments, vehicle customisation etc. 3rdEd eliminated all of this to a game that can be played virtually at a moment's notice. Which is good for some but bad for others.


Obviously the problem is that 2ndEd is not supported anymore. Taking Ragnar's gaming group as an indication, the majority of gamers prefer 2ndEd and are probably ponderers (and as such have foreseen the downfall of GW's marketing strategy). Whoever is responsible for the new 40K being what it is seems to be a non-ponderer, if a wargamer in the first place. No thought or reason seems to have been channeled into the revision of the rules. Overwatch was simply done away with. Wargear was simply done away with. Vehicle Cards were simply done away with. Movement was generalised for everyone and everything. I am of the opinion that these were EXACTLY the things that made 2ndEd enjoyable for me. Why was is so important to speed things up? What's the rush?


My recommendation would have been to do with 2ndEd what was done to Fantasy a while ago. New mini's, new art, and rules tweak. Right now, new miniature releases are the ONLY things keeping me reading WD. The Battle Reports are a waste of time when Pirinen is involved (notice how much he moans and groans when using someone else's less-cheesy army). And the articles... well, they couldn't have meant much to me or I would have remembered them.

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