On a forum at a local gaming store (LGS) a hot topic came up among the Warhammer Fantasy players to start using “Lowhammer” rules, these are just guidelines and rules used most often agreed upon by two players in friendly games or official at an event to ensure there is some balance to all the armies.
The concept comes from the school of thought that not all army books are balanced. So, by limiting what more powerful armies may take or general magic spells/items that just tend to unbalance the game in a single roll of the dice making a gaming experience less enjoyable. Often to the point that either people don’t want to play at official events or against certain people because frankly they are not playing a game, they are playing a list.
Most often, these people have various labels including competitive gamer, asshole and power gamer among others. They will build an army list to bring to events to be “Ard” if you will, to think they are the best, but instead it is the list winning for them as well as dice ruling the games. Not the simple and most basic concept of a strategy wargame that is being a good general and having good tactics.
I have seen lists out there in both Fantasy and 40k that you can give to a total newbie, give them 3 practice games and they will do just about as well the top players you may see at some events. Mind you, not all top players at events are like this, but if you watch you will find a pattern out there. Think I am crazy? Ask for copies of their lists, look in the internet to see other winning lists and the use of specific things like “Death Star” units (units that are expensive, powerful, often large and designed to be impossible to destroy as well as strike with such force it cannot be stopped), MIN/MAX units, multiples of the same unit, Hordes, common spell groups (in Fantasy)….you will even see a pattern of armies that tend to go to the top of the list quickly.
Elements you won’t see in these lists are those that follow fluff, variety, the use of units that may be considered “inferior” with the current rules or theme. The concept of a tournament is to bring a good general list and challenge other players in games at how good of a general you are against their skills. Not how well you can build a list and how lucky you are at throwing dice. Lists are a crutch to many players out there. Many know this as a fact; others don’t even realize they are doing this.
This is generally a bad thing for a gaming community, why you may ask? Simple, if you bring a list and roll over someone and they play another list just like it….because it works and wins. So, the player is no longer winning, the list is! When you see these lists over and over, players get sick of them. They don’t want to play against them or rather the player unless they have to in say a tournament setting. I can say that I have walked away from games against players with these lists with a bad taste in my mouth, not because I lost (sometimes I win against these super lists with luck and skill) but rather it is the same flipping list over and over you see on the internet. Usually this army is played by someone that thinks they are “all that” as well and that attitude bleeds over into the game as they think they are God’s gift to gaming. Sadly, they are not. People don’t want to play against these lists or these players. People will avoid going to a tournament or showing up on a specific gaming night to avoid playing when certain people are not around.
Someone called it “Pussyhammer” on the forum, but really they are playing “Powerhammer”, so take your choice of label. Personally, I like pussy so you know where my opinion is on this topic. I like balance and fun over a one sided game that was won with a specific list or a one trick pony that wins at the flick of a dice.
Many other games use various rules at events to balance a game:
· Flames of War: Uses Early/Mid/Late Era to define what units you can bring to an event.
· Warmachine/Hordes: Limit lists to what you could include, or ask to bring multiple lists to an event. So you never know what you’re playing.
· Magic the Gathering: this game posts up banned cards, limits to types of cards you can included among other things. They are designed to create some balance.
Simply put other games have put rules and limits out for their events to keep the peace among the players to prevent abuse of the rules to win at games. Just because something is there does not mean you have to include it into your list. It is about attitude and balance, not what you “can” take and what is “the best” and what is not.
I may offend some people with this post, but perhaps I am hitting the nail on the head to the matter. All I can say if you feel that you were offended and this applies to you then you have something to think about when it comes to your lists and how people look at you. Don’t cry when one day you show up at an event and nobody is hardly there to play or you’re playing the same people over and over, perhaps with very similar lists. If you drive off the new players with crazy ass lists and power gaming you will. Kill the community or grow the community that choice is up to you.