Monday, April 22, 2013

The Objectivity Concerning Value in Games

Many games involve some mathematics. Some of the equations are very simple. Other equations require a higher level of aptitude with statistics or algebra to truly understand their effectiveness. Warhammer 40k, Magic: The Gathering and even games like Settlers of Catan require some understanding of chance and probability.

I was discussing the major reason why net-decking in Magic: The Gathering is somewhat unavoidable with a friend last night. The reason is quite simple; there is invariably a BEST card in the slot for your intended purpose. The example I gave was Dreg Mangler. In an Aggro style deck with Jund Colors, Dreg Mangler is invariably going to be the best 3 CMC card with B and G in the cost. It just simply is the best. Any player who wants to succeed in the competitive environment, they must collect the best cards for the job.

In other games, like Warhammer 40k, there are a variety of units and models that can achieve success in a particular part of the game. Looking at just some various imperial armies, there are Missile Launchers, Meltaguns, Autocannons with Psybolt Ammo, and the Battlecannon as providers of large scale strength 8 shooting. They each provide a slightly different kind of strength 8, but there is still some variety. It simply depends on what the built list wants to incorporate. Even still though, the lists often do want a specific type, for it is the best possible fit.

With this extreme objectivity, it becomes tough for some players (myself included) to actually reach a winning combination or cards, models, or characters that doesn't reach simple mimicry. Believe me when I say, it does grind on me when I simply can't incorporate certain rules that I find really compelling or cool based solely on those criteria. It is even more bothersome when I do pick something I find cool, and then it has a horrible stigma attached to it because of its over-inflated value.

In the end though, I think that often the games are not the problem. For certain games, the crowd becomes the major problem. People take a game too far, and they ruin it for others. This phenomenon can't be avoided, so I intend to play the game as I see fit. 

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