Monday, November 14, 2011

Fluff on the Battlefield

Alright, this is one of those articles that really serves no purpose other than to try to get people active on the page. That said, I feel that this is a worthwhile question that has been in a lot of discussions in a lot of different game stores.

"Where does fluff fit in this game?"

Some people argue that the game itself is what it is, a strategy game. The dice and the rules are what make the game, and the stories, while nice reads, have little to do with playing this game. This player focuses on list construction in an attempt to create powerful synergies which maximize what their particular codex can do (which in no way is a bad thing, but can often lead to strange unit match ups to maximize rules).

This type of player feels more at home in the presence of stiff competition and generally do well in tournaments as their ability to construct powerful lists and maximizing the output of their army generally pertain to much more solid chances in "random" situations (this random referring to the idea of not knowing who or what army you'll be facing in tournaments).

This type of player generally knows how to play the game very well. In many ways they may have mastered some aspects of the game. Their skills may become the current "meta" if done well enough, and this is truly a testament to this ability to think in ways others may not.


Other people say that creating lists that follow the story or fluff of the game is much more crucial. In this game, we have creative license to create our own armies, but should really follow the fluff. Units are designed to fit a story, and we use them to reenact or create moments from the universe.

When playing the game, often times we'll see somewhat less potent units and/or combinations being used in order to attain a better story. These players often use units deemed "bad" from the online meta. Units will generally play smart, but may often not stand up in comparison to meta-strength units.

Generally these players seem to feel more at home in the beer and pretzels style game with friends. This isn't to say they can't enjoy or do well in the tournament scene, but many times their lists may not sand up. These players may utilize units that are custom made and may or may not fit the correct scale or size in order to allow for more hobby (larger bases or taller/shorter models).

Now I'm not saying that these are the only two types of players. These are examples from the somewhat extreme ends of play. I personally feel like I sit in the middle and float between the two feels. I try to create lists that follow the fluff, but these units are generally pretty potent units. I avoid bad units (as I know I am competitive) but will try to utilize units as they would be in the fluff.

What do you guys think about this? I would really like to see people bring their thoughts in on this. This is a question I know we've all had, and having a discussion online can bring new minds in to have a much broader intellect and more points of view available.

In the end we all can play how we see fit. There is not really a right or wrong way to play. I'm interested to see where people sit on this particular discussion.



  1. I sit on the competition side of the fence. There are units that should just not be taken simply because they are not good units. This will always be because of the fact that these units just don't live up to their book potential.

    For me it rings home with things like Lukas, and Ulrik. These are two of my favorite chapter characters, but sadly they are absolute shit on the tabletop. I tried very hard to make Lukas work, but alas, to run him you have to take power armored scouts, and they just are terrible.

    So for me I would have to say that the fluff, while it is nice to know as it can lead to interesting conversations, is not for the table top. There just isn't a reason to have it there. As much as I love the fluff of my pups, I would never in any way think of bringing all blood claws with Ragnar and Lukas to a game.

  2. who takes 130+ orks to a 1500 point tournament? who takes GK with only 1 minimum sized termie squad? who uses units like Kommandos? Stormboyz? DreadKnights? this guy. i used to think fluff was a complete waste of time, but as i ran into more and more younger players, who took units because they thought they were fun ... i began to see the light. go Floofy, enjoy yourself ... you only have the chance to enjoy any moment of your life once, dont miss out

    the other Chuck