Warhammer 40K: Maintaining Your Amateur Status or Going Pro

I am fortunate enough to live in an area where there is a strong gaming community. Whether your poison is roleplaying games, magic, or tabletop miniature war games, there’s something here for everyone.

Best General?

I could probably play in a 40K event every week, and at nearly all these events there is a strong emphasis on “Best General.” The “Best General” is the player who won the most games or scored the most points at the event. Most of these events will have a Best Painted award as well, though not always, and the prize support for this category is often much smaller. Sportsmanship awards are almost extinct, and I rarely see an event award prizes for theme or achievements.

Two Men Enter…

I understand the need for competitive events. It’s human nature and it makes sense for those events to be prolific. However, it’s a sad state when winning the most games has become the dominative aspect of the hobby. There is a regional event that I am scheduled to attend this weekend that gives a hefty award for “Best General” and a modest award for the category of “Best Hobbyist.” The “Best Hobbyist” award combines all other elements of the hobby—sportsmanship, painting, favorite army—into one. Kind of lame for those of us who really gravitate toward painting or just playing for fun.

One Part Strategy, Two Parts  Lawyering

Warhammer 40K is as much a game of skill as it is a game of rules lawyering and chance, but our community treats it like an Olympic event. We talk about going to TSHIFT, the Las Vegas Open, and even competing internationally. We rank codices like sports teams and we spend countless hours figuring out ways to create army list that will maximize the likeliness victory at the expense of honor.

I am not against competitive events. They are critical to engaging players, maintaining community, and keeping the hobby going. But by ignoring other aspects, like painting and sportsmanship, a void has been created.

Where It All Began

It’s important to remember why we got into this hobby. How many of us—aside from Shae—can say we started playing 40K to wreck face on a bunch of nerds?

For me it was all about the Space Marines. Not a competitive army, not a bad army, but I connect with the backstory. I love the way the models look. I enjoy purging the alien and heretic alike, or dying in the attempt. I’ve won as many games as I’ve lost, but my favorite games forged some type of narrative and were just plain fun.

I enjoy playing in competitive events, but it would be great if there were more options out there. There are multiple aspects to this hobby. Why do so many 40K events only cater to this one slice?

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