Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all!
It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter I: Laying Plans, 26.
There’s one basic fact about tabletop wargaming a lot new players don’t grasp right away: it’s actually two hobbies.
- Playing the Games
- Collecting and Painting Miniatures.
Playing the Game
Many wargamers just want to play. Painting is secondary.
These are the tournament-style players. They are out to win.
Painting? If it’s only a necessity to get back to playing (like for an official tournament).
For them, fielding unpainted miniatures doesn’t pose much of a problem. Many other wargamers do it after all. Besides, painting takes time.
Expect them to always be looking for an advantage in the rules. In extreme cases, they’ll ditch their army for a new one if they feel the new army will help them win.
They often view the collectors and painters with a certain amount of disdain. “Can you believe it? Those snobs wouldn’t let me play because my miniatures weren’t all painted.”
Collecting and Painting Miniatures.
For many wargamers collecting and painting miniatures is the hobby. Playing these games is secondary, and only after finishing their army.
They understand that collecting and painting miniatures takes time. But it doesn’t matter because they are enjoying themselves.
In many ways, building an army for a wargame is like raising a feudal host: it can take months. It all depends on how many figures you need and how fast you can paint them.
They’ll often view wargamers who only focus on playing and tournaments with a certain amount of disdain. “Can you believe that twit? Half his army wasn’t painted and he expected to play.”
The Middle Ground
Most wargamers fall in the middle spectrum.
Often new players start off at one of the two extremes, then slowly gravitate toward the middle ground. Once a collector and painter has an army or two done, they’ll start focusing on playing more. Even tournament player may start to realize the enjoyment in painting.
Now the big question: If you put a hardcore collector and painter across the table from a tournament-style player, who has the better chance of winning?
The tournament player, because he’s studied the hell out of the rules, and built his army it its optimum potentials–but only if he can convince the collector and painter overlook any unpainted miniatures on the tabletop…
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