Good day everyone, I thought I'd bring some food for your brains. When we discuss and debate wargaming we fall into one of two general categories in what we say: positive or normative statements. There is a very fundamental difference between these two types of statements and ways of thinking. positive statements are based upon verifiable, objective facts, such as the statement "A fire warrior has a ballistic skill of three." A normative statement is based upon personal beliefs, such as the statement "A fire warrior should have a ballistic skill of four." If a debate centers around positive statements there are facts that can be referred to to solve the dispute. If the debate centers around normative statements there is no independent, objective source of data to which to turn to solve the dispute. In an normative debate, all points of view are equally valid as they are based on beliefs, not evidence.
How does this apply to wargaming? When we are constructing army lists, what do we look for? Do we look for an army that is mathematically the most damaging for the points spent, an army that resembles one from a story, or do we try to make an army how they "should be?" The first approach is based in positive thinking: there is statistical data that can be compiled to analyze the amount of kills a unit should get for its points, if used ideally. The second approach has some grounding in each as you are looking at a force whose composition can be verified, but you are sometimes sacrificing more points efficient units for accuracy. The third approach is entirely based on normative thinking. How an army "should" be is based entirely on your own opinion. I may not agree with your perception of what an army "should" be composed of, but that does not make my opinion any more or less valid than yours.
What do you folks think? Which type of thinking do you employ more often when you think about wargaming? Which do you think is more prevalent in the community at large or in our local gaming group?