Monday, August 16, 2010

Metagaming..... Why playing the Meta is a bad Idea.

So, Having had an interesting yet frustrating conversation with somebody (yes you) about what a Meta Game is this weekend, I decided to do up a blog post about metagaming, power gaming and why neither will let you win a tournament.

First Off, what is a Metagame?

Well, a Metagame is a game within a game. How does this apply to us as gamers? well, the whole Idea of Metagaming is something along the lines of the following, no matter what game you play.

Player A, whom we'll call Jimmy, In your gaming group, is widely accepted to be the "Player to beat" each group has one, or maybe even 2 that are up there. Does not matter who they are, just that they exist. Now say in our given game Jimmy routinely plays Army/Faction/Deck X, and wins tournaments with it. So the meta is "Beat Jimmy because he's the best" so what do we build our Army/Faction/Deck to do? Well, we build to kill Jimmy of course! because if we can be the best in our area, we are the new best right? WRONG. To be the best, you need to not only be able to beat Jimmy but also you need to reliably beat Paul, the guy from 75 miles away that really only shows up for tournaments and does well with a different army every time.  Metagaming is good for a single aspect of all of our hobbies. These are Leagues. Leagues are defined by their Metagame. Simply put.

If however you are not in a League, bring a Balanced List that to the best of your ability you can play to defeat ANY ARMY TYPE that arrives and does not depend on any "Gimmick" or "One Trick Pony" because in a tournament, Murphy's Law states that you will not play against Jimmy, but you will play Paul. Even Odds.

Now.... everyones favorite. Power Gamers.

What is a Power Gamer?
A Power Gamer is "That Guy" the guy that finds the broken build of any given gaming system and abuses it to beat any and all opponents and take excessive ammounts of glee in the fact that he pissed everyone at the tournament off. He is also known for using the Rulebook as a hammer to pound the heads in of New players to a ragged pulp and also likes to complain and misdirect opponents when they find that one piece of rule that breaks their trick pony into tiny shards of what it once was. How does this translate into not winning? First and foremost, you're not the best player in the world. nobody is. Your One Trick will beat the face of almost everything.... but not everything. there is always that counter. and there are always people like me who bring counters. you may not play them (see "Jimmy's Law" above) but eventually you will. Don't take that path. Bring the balanced approach and get better and win because you are a winner, not because you can exploit some archaic form of old english to intentionally Mis-Interpret the rules to your advantage. Play the rules. Play a balanced army and you should do ok. As you progress in tactical skill, you'll get better at the game.

Oh, and People will still want to play you another game. Always an important thing.


  1. There is a third type of meta, the meta of list building, where you design you list to take on the most common army builds.

    When designing an army I try an come up with a check list of things to cover. For 40k it’s things like how will I deal with nobz bikers or land raider spam, what about loads of monstrous creatures. I am still relatively new to war machine so I don’t have a full grasp on the meta but things like how to deal with stealth, incorporeal of fast stuff. How am I going to stop molik rush etc.

    I find either thinking like this is or looking at some for the net list where the thinking has been done for you are a good place to start a new army but over time your list has to evolve to fit you play style or you will never be able to take it to that next level.

  2. Shhh! Don't tell him its meta. He might stop playing. See, if no one else builds balanced lists, then building balance lists to counter unbalanced lists IS META. The game within the game to win. Its not playing the game if no one else does it.


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