Tau Empire Codex 2013 | Army Builder Program
Dark Angels Codex 2013
Chaos Daemons Codex 2013
Chaos Space Marines Codex 2012

Warhammer 40k Forum Tau Online


Warhammer 40K Forum

Playing not to win vs playing to lose
Old 25 Feb 2008, 16:49   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 770
Default Playing not to win vs playing to lose

This is from the thread about rules lawyering. I felt that the thread was about to get off topic when this debate came up so I decided to make a new topic to discuss.

The general topic of discussion was...

Is playing to lose the same as playing not to win. One person stated that they took pride in playing and getting draws against less experienced players. It is a more fun way to play according to him.

Of course I am paraphrasing what he said. If you want to know what he actually said


the poster is Knight Actual

My belief on this behavior is that it is very condescending to the less experienced player. As if to say you are so bad I don't even have to try to beat you and I still draw. While this is not the actual point, and it is never stated as such, it can come across as this. Also the less experienced never gets the opportunity to improve be seeing better tactics being played. Sure someone might say after the game "I could have done this to really hurt you" but it could be seen as just Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

It can also be considered un-sportsman to not try your best with someone. I have a friend who at tournaments gives his opponents low sportsmenship scores if my friend beats them too easily. His logic was that the other person did not bring a competitive list, and therefor it was not a sporty game for him.

Now this is the extreme logic, and I know no one else who does this, but it does make a good point. If you are not trying your best then you are not doing anyone any favors.

I also agree that when dealing with complete new players then this changes. I see playing people who have not been playing for very long (a few months) to be more of a learning game over actual competition. By competition I mean any game that is not meant to teach the rules. After the new player has learned to rules I feel the gloves can come off so to speak.

I do however, give advice to less than experienced players. this advice is along the lines of Maybe you should reposition that unit there, or maybe you should be more concerned with killing this unit instead of that unit. I also will tell them what my most likely strategy will be next turn.

Anyway sorry for the long post.

I would like to hear others opinions on this subject.
JBunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 16:59   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 18,087
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

In a tournament, I think you should play to win. At the same time, it is better not to "run up the score" unless massacres are counting for more points.

But friendly games are a different issue. I don't see anything condescending about playing for a draw in those. Or taking a themed list that really isn't all that strong. I don't think it makes sense to deliberately handicap yourself during a game, but you can still point out things to your opponent that might not be in your favor.
khanaris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 16:59   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: On the Midnight Ocean
Posts: 26,404
Send a message via MSN to Wargamer
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

I always consider the Powergamer attitude as a sign of stupidity. That or brain damage.

The Powergamer will Play To Win. By extention, they assume everyone who doesn't Play To Win is Playing To Lose.

We are not; we are Playing For Fun.

Case in point. A long while back, I was playing as Orks vs Eldar. Now, my friend's Farseer was annoying the hell out of me, and so when he charged said Farseer into combat to save his Guardians, I gave him a grin and said "I'm gonna get you, pointy-ears!" in my best Ork Accent.

Cue the madness.

It began as Guardians vs Trukk Boyz. He added the Farseer and some Striking Scorpions. I added the Warboss and a Shoota Boyz Mob. He added a Wraithlord. I added a Dreadnought.

All the while, I went for the Farseer. My Warboss could have sliced the Wraithlord in half and spared me a lot of grief, or squished enough Guardians / Scorpions to win me the combat, but I wasn't having any of it; that Farseer was going to meet the business end of Grozkrugga's Power Klaw.

The game ended in a draw, with the Farseer infuriatingly intact. Good fortune brought down the Wraithlord, though I lost everything else in the process. By the end, I had my Warboss, a handful of Boyz, and the odd Wartrukk. If I had focussed on pulping the Wraithlord, then moved on to fleshier targets, I probably could have won the combat and thus the game. However, that would not have been as fun. We both agreed that the Warboss and the Farseer duelling in the midst of this epic brawl was a truly inspiring image, and we both enjoyed the game. As such, nobody really cared who "won" the game. As I recall, we didn't even bother counting up Victory Points (we used the "Yeah, we've both got about the same left" method of calculating the result).

That is what we call Playing For Fun. I could have played smart and "won", but I decided I would rather go down in a blaze of glory than emerge triumphant atop the mundane. That is what Playing For Fun is all about, and what the "Play To Win" brigade remain clueless about.
Farewell, Kangaroo Joe, you shall not be forgotten.

Originally Posted by Tom Norman
"Wargamer is never wrong, Frodo Baggins; he knows precisely the rules he means to."
Wargamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 17:05   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,645
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

I've been playing for a little over a year now, so the game is still sort of "new" to me just because I don't get in a ton of games. I play with friends who have been playing 40k for 17-years now (each person, not combined experience), so you can imagine they are rather experienced. When I started playing with them they would offer up helpful suggestions, as you're saying JBunny, point out mistakes or offer up better methods and the reasons why, essentially helping me understand the game more and help me become a better player.

After a few games, for the most part, I had the core stuff down and the helpful suggestions ceased, it was time to play. These guys do not take it easy on me, they don't pull punches, they play to win. Granted, they may try something against me they may not a more experienced gamer, but they aren't letting me win by any means...and my gaming record reflects that.

I would have it no other way though. Playing these guys is making me a far better gamer then if they took it easy on me. I can't say how I'd match up against someone with an equal amount of experience, but I dare say I'd do better then I'd expect considering my beatings come at the hands of really experienced gamers.

Now, when I say they play to win I just mean they aren't going easy on me and letting me win. We do play for fun, we aren't putting together tournament lists, but the goal is to have fun, get in a good game, and maybe win.
Thor{DoH} is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 17:18   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Austria
Posts: 3,435
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

I play to win. Always. I might be fielding less-than ideal or eperimental units (Skyrays and Piranhas, respectively), but when I play, I play to win.

That doesn`t mean that Im an D'yime; that doesn`t mean that Im raping the rules just to get the equivalent of a half-inch advantage; that doesn`t mean I`m deliberately misleading my opponent.

It only means that I try to give my best game - both behaviour-wise and tacticwise. I like finding out my limits and espanding them, that`s where the fun comes in.

When I face younger and less experienced players, I still play to win - but I take exceptional care with them. I`m not one to voluntarily give them an advantage; after all, if they manage to cause a draw against a vet without any grasp of tactics, why should the bother to improve?
I explain what I do, and why I do it. I explain to them how the rules work; and why hiding a Commander behind a Skimmer can be a good idea. I explain them that I have about a decade of experience playing Tabletop games; and thats the only reason he has problems beating me. I`ll carefully advise them to read the Rulebook and the Codices. I encourage them to be patient; and I advise them on the tactics that are good against my army.

I believe that a lost battle with a "nice" opponent who explains what exactly happened teaches much more than a draw or a win against an opponent which, well, is basically letting the noob win. Victories make us lazy, and you don`t give any incentive to improve.
After I win a game, I don`t really think about what I did wrong. After a loss, I`m forced to confront the fact that I happened to, well, basically Y'xauk it up - and come up with a better tactic (or I go online and flame my opponent`s army for being cheesy... depends on my mood ).

So, yes, I am playing to win. But I try not to be an D'yime during a game (in fact, being an D'yime during a game would be worse than actually losing to me), and that`s the whole point.


Edit: Thor, I compeltely agree with you. After all, you are a better gamer now for all the beatings you received...

PS: Ah, and a couple of early losses help to cure the "OMG! Marines! ROXXORZ!"-disease so many beginners seem to suffer from...
CmdrBonesaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 17:46   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Records Expunged
Posts: 623
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

I agree with Wargamer that there is more than just playing to win or playing to lose.

I guess playing to lose would be not trying to play (and not necessarily not playing to win). With Wargamer's example, he was playing his best, he just wasn't doing the most tactically sound thing (very orky IMO). If instead he had been like "well I'm just gonna sit here and let you gut my army" then that would have been two things. First, a sign that Wargamer is very sick. :P Second, that he was playing to lose.

Having defined what I mean, I'll say that I don't think people should play to lose at all, but especially not against new players. I played checkers against my grandfather for years and he kept crushing me, but I kept getting better and finally beat him. You don't learn anything if someone lets you win. However, I also think that (again especially against new players) you shouldn't try to utterly crush them or at least don't rub it in, that's just poor winning. Such a combination could easily drive a new player away, even a good one who would normally mind losing.

So I think that you should either play for fun (as Wargamer said) or play to win, but not play to lose. Against new players, either of the two is fine, but discernment and sportsmanship is needed when playing to win.
Dirac Angestun Gesept calls. You know where.
TopBanana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 17:53   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: On the Midnight Ocean
Posts: 26,404
Send a message via MSN to Wargamer
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

I think the simplest way to define how a game should be played is to watch Lord of The Rings.

A summary of just about any battle is thus; two armies of generic footsoldiers slog it out until two Heroes run into each other. At that point, the battle is decided.

I view 40K, Warhammer and several other games the same way; if you aren't willing to go out of your way to stage a truly epic conflict, then you might as well not turn up next time. Whilst I despise the 6,000pt Daemon Prince style characters, I equally loathe forces who favour "realistic" tactics. If you want to witness realistic combat, there's a war in Iraq you can take part in. 40K is not about realism, it's about heroes and villains, and the armies that get slaughtered whilst the aforementioned try and get to each other.

That doesn't mean I will throw the game away on stupid tactics that will never work. My Guard will hunker down and blow the hell out of you as Guardsmen should. However, if the oppertunity comes to throw Commissar Lucas into single combat with Autarch Jakatis as he tries to cut my gun-line to ribbons, I will not pass it up.
Farewell, Kangaroo Joe, you shall not be forgotten.

Originally Posted by Tom Norman
"Wargamer is never wrong, Frodo Baggins; he knows precisely the rules he means to."
Wargamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 18:07   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 14,585
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

When I play against new players, I tend to handicap myself but still playing the best I can as their list. When I handicap myself I usually do two things

1)I change my list entirely to a list that I have no familiarity with. Either that or something that I would not do.
2)I ask a vet to make their list

I actually find it interesting to handicap myself that way for I am now playing with something I have no experience or very little experience using against someone who got the right things but does not know how to use them. So in a sense, we are even up by the fact that we both do not know much about how our list really works (in my case the efficiency, while for the new players the synchronization). So for all matters win or lose, it does not really matter for this games are there to expose the newb to his first 'trials by fire'. So whether he wins or lose, I do not mind and I will guide him to become a better player. However, I never do the "points handicap" (playing only 300 pts in a 500 pts game) for I believe that if you do that, it is called an insult upon the new player, as he will believe that giving away points to him to win tells him how N00b he is. But as the Newb becomes slightly better, I will switch to my usual list, to show him my more preferred style and let him get use to that.

However, when it comes to playing with people of equal to above my rank/experience, I will play my best while also having fun. It is a contest of skill and wits, and each move I make I will think quite a while before I implement it. No matter the result of the game, I am satisfied that I give it my all. However this is not to be mistaken with powergaming for I will not tailor a list, min-maxing, or anything like that against my opponent. Even if they did powergame, I would fight them straight on with my own list, for I am confident that my list is competent enough to play any kind of battle. In addition, I expect the battle to be a enjoyable experience for the both of us, or else the main premise of the game is lost; have fun. In addition, I also expect myself for being a nice guy and being humble when I play with my armies.

I also expect the opponent to do the same to me, and thus we are able to battle it out without any regrets. If we want the battle to be silly, we will do it. If we want a more competitive battle, we will go with it. You may call this sportsmanship, you may call it chivalry, or maybe just me being a dumbass but this is how I play my games. A drink in the end for my opponent is always worth it when the game gives both of us so challenging but yet fun at the same time.

The only time I will drop this attitude of mine is if the player is a cheating T'auk'cka and/or bloody insults people. Then I will be for all matter and purposes, an D'yime and give him a hard time. What ever unit he boasted that he will win with, I will wipe it off the map and after that I will cripple his army. That kind of battle will give me no satisfaction, but it is just to prove to the cheating git that he can never win against someone who does not cheat.

This is how I have played for two years, and this is how I plan to play for the rest of my gaming days.
Guide to keeping:
Scorpions : Corn Snakes : Basilisks

Originally Posted by Emlyn
Originally Posted by FT
They're an insane bunch of reptiles...
I wasn't asking about the moderating staff.
crisis_vyper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 18:30   #9 (permalink)
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 7,926
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

I always play for fun. If I happen to win, that's great for me. I don't think I'd seriously try to handicap myself, but I'd let the other player know what would work on me, give them pointers and such.

Course, I've only had 3 games where I was learning, so I'm probably mimicking my opponents who constantly help me learn the game.
*Doh!-Nuts DarkWand3r3r Msg Player 04-08-2009 17:51:32
Moral of this story... in real life or in a pen and paper game... do not piss off Delpheus or he will OMGWTFBBQPWN your face with a uber hit.
DELPHEUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25 Feb 2008, 18:42   #10 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Denmark
Posts: 954
Send a message via MSN to Esque
Default Re: Playing not to win vs playing to lose

I have a mixed feeling about this. On one hand, I want the battles to be grand, mighty, epic, majestic. I want to have fun, and tell stories, create a little glimpse of something else, some consensual image. I dont ever play to lose however. I always explain everything I do if there is but a small chance of misinterpretation. I want the game to be fun. As it states in the golden rule of the gw rulebook, if you can have fun and share a great story all the while you pound your opponent, you really are a winner, or something along those lines.

The win in its own right is not THAT important, but hell, it is a game, and we do both play to win. If you lose because youre a gentleman, its ok - If you miss a inch to see someone in nightfight, we always grant it, and disagreements are always a "ok youre right on a 4+" to speed things up. Lawyering is just bogging the game down.
Esque is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Oh the Joy of playing Tau Lord Zambia Tau 35 29 Sep 2009 14:10
ok, is msn playing up for anyone else? messyart Enclave Talk 8 23 Oct 2008 22:19
WoW Help [not playing] lonely tau Other Games 2 27 Jul 2008 05:38
Why do you like playing Tau ? frankthetank Tau 41 03 Jul 2006 06:53
playing Gorloth the Great Orks 3 22 Dec 2005 14:35