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The prevalence of "Mathammer"
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Old 09 May 2006, 16:39   #1 (permalink)
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Default The prevalence of "Mathammer"

Why is it that suddenly people are churning out stats based on what a unit of rapid firing fire warriors does to a marine unit? I can't remember who coined the phrase, but "Mathammer" isn't the hobby I started, and I don't think its the hobby everyone else on this board started. I am a fierce advocate for using units that you like, look cool or just have simply done cool things on the table top in the past without worrying about how much damage they can do in a theoretical situation.

I mean, does it really matter if one player decides to use sharpshooters on their guard force? No because, ultimately, its theirs and they can do what they please with it, even if it does allegedly make the army worse.

Am I the only one here who thinks this?
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Old 09 May 2006, 16:42   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

I agree, I don't see the point in getting so caught up in how well a unit could do. For me its all about the fun. I want to have an army or two that is personalized, and fun to use.

But then, if someone is really into math and they like to run the numbers and that's fun for them, then more power to them. To each their own, but I'm personally not a fan of mathhammer.
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Old 09 May 2006, 16:51   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

I have never ever once used metrics to determine whether or not I will use a unit. I never really even care remotely if a unit is effective in terms of point efficiency or average statistical damage potential. Few things give me more pleasure than seeing a painstakingly-powergamed 'Mathammer' army defeated without effort...purely because the arrogant gamer never expected random ploys or moves that differed to 'what the book taught him' as it were.

I know there are lots of reasons why people like them and I'm not ripping into those that do, I'm simply stating that I do not and will never be convinced as to their worth enough for me to play a way different to my own.

I remember when the game was about taking things that looked badarse or did something extremely funky on the board rather than simply did the most potential damage in a given situation if certain conditions were met. I think my upcoming tactica, that of the Fist of Bash, exemplifies this concept- it's useful against very few things and not all of the time, but if you ever manage to get it off it will look awesome and leave people feeling sick at having witnessed such horror.

Some people, though, think it's fun to use maths...some think balancing an army in this manner allows them to have greater pleasure later as they believe they'll win more games in this fashion...or at least compete in them better and field the best possible army under their viewpoint. It's a hobby for everyone.
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Old 09 May 2006, 17:07   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

I tend to skip over the math bits of tacticas :P

I always have taken things that are cool rather than try to figure out MEQ/GEQ kill ratios and blah blah blah math really isn't my strong suit...

I think a special shoutout should be given to Malveaux for making his math sections in small print so you don't have to read it if you don't want to. At least, I think that's why he does it...
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Old 09 May 2006, 17:18   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

Originally Posted by Dom
I am a fierce advocate for using units that you like, look cool or just have simply done cool things on the table top in the past without worrying about how much damage they can do in a theoretical situation.
Hear hear!

I agree 100%

It's all well and good to work out what the average results will be but once real dice are involved ANYTHING can happen.

I've been playing long enough to know now that with dice nothing is guaranteed and they routinley suprise me.

The only consitency I've found with dice is that more = better!

Using only the units that are mathmatically good and never trying some of the really wacky/fun/crazy looking stuff just isn't fun.

If I'm building an army I want to really FEEL it. I want to be proud of it and think it looks freaking awesome. Then I'll MAKE it work on the battlefield (or keep on laughing every time my blood claws eat battle cannon)

The Mathhammer might give a bit of a baseline for comparing effiencies of some things. But once you start using it on the unit based level things start not working quite as well.
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Old 09 May 2006, 18:55   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

I use it to balance my force in a "what else will I probably need" way. There's no way to be 100% certain unless you're good enough with dice to get the exact result you want... And then you really should be in vegas, not here.

But for a "Ok, this gives me two sorta-accurate plasma rifles... yeah a third's probably a good idea", its quite useful.

I want to have fun, but I don't want my rookie mistakes to just pile up... doing a few calculations helps untill I'll have enough experience to know at a glance that I didn't just screw myself royally.

Some things just don't get taken into account with the pure numbers though of course; which is where fluff/fun come right back to take over.

My drones are probably my most productive units, despite what people say about them. Blowing up a basilisk or pinning down a couple of squads (they're utterly deadly against sentinel squadrons so far) is definitely worth the meager points cost.
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Old 09 May 2006, 19:12   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

Meh, I've been known to know in some units that mathematically are suicide but actually carry them off on the battlefield and they do so well in fact that the next game I'm guilty of using them, unless of course their a mainstream force element, like troops or my favourite unit.
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Old 09 May 2006, 19:27   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

i only work math into my tactics with my tau, but thats because my tau are my uber competitive, 'tourny only' army. for the rest i can't really be bothered. i work out fluff, i rule out anything that wouldn't fit in, i leberaly sprinkle anything else into my army. im not going to field 5 powerfists in a single imperial guard squad no matter how cool or fluffy it is, but i wont scrap all of my autocannons infavor of Mlaunchers for an extra .175% chance of killing a certain vehicle. as with everything, moderation is needed.
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Old 09 May 2006, 19:38   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

I find numbers very useful with Guard, where you tend to have enough firepower to get those statistical averages... but it's not a huge factor in army composition. I take what I like, not what Mathhammer says is good.
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Old 09 May 2006, 20:16   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The prevalence of "Mathammer"

You can both take what you like, and use the options that make the most statistical sense.

Why do people get into it? Because, face it, when someone asks on a forum, "how can I beat this" or "I always lose, what am I doing wrong", telling them to take models that they like the look of isn't exactly helping them. When someone asks for help with their list, they're not asking you to tell them which of their models look cool. It's the nature of the forum system. People ask for help, and so people who are helpful offer help, in the only way possible online - we discuss the underlying math behind the game.

I can't help someone play a game online. I can't explain to them what to do in every possible situation that might arise in a game. I can help them select units that are more likely to make their points back...

The best way for someone to lose interest in any hobby is to always lose. And so, some mathhammer can actually help keep people in the hobby, because it might help them win games.

For a beginner, running the numbers and taking what is statistically good is probably a good start. They can build up a comfort level with their army and their tactics, because their choices are solid. Bad unit choices + bad tactics means losing, often. Good unit choices and bad tactics are more likely to pull out a draw. After a beginner has an understanding of tactics, then it's ok to start experimenting with suboptimal units.

And, when people get to this point, they stop asking for help, and they start posting list ideas instead, which are, often-as-not based on the models they like. But, as long as people ask for help with their lists, we'll offer them the sort of help they're asking for.

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