|Some of Tom's Soviets!|
There is an interesting thing that I have noticed with point related game systems that make our wargaming hobby interesting. That is the statistical balance of power! It sounds like a Kung Fu movie with David Carradine! Sure, there are those we deal with that have the most updated power force. There are those who have a defensive play-style in nature. There are the highly aggressive players and their lists. And then, there seem to be the Horde armies. With great diversity, brings great games! That is the challenge and balance of power related to game play that the writers of various wargaming rule systems hope for. These companies that bring great games before us want us to want to continue gaming on. And for a good game system, I cannot blame them. For the ever pursuit of statistical fun; their game, business, and rules survival is based on luck versus statics!
Unfortunately, this next paragraph is going to bring up a rough statistic. I am sure there were plenty of you who had no interest in math or statistics. Fear not; this is not the hardcore experience you might receive! The statistical data that is mentioned is based more on personal experience than a full calculation of what may never have been experienced by the average wargamer in a certain area. This is more of an opinion based on personal experience. Hopefully, that is more accurate than a political polls! And with that in mind, I would, first, like to bring up the average types of gamer social-types. There is the Social gamer who is there to meet people and hang out. There is the painter who wants to play sometimes, but more likely, likes to show their work. There is the rules collector. Then, there is the power player, who must win! There is the calculated player who wins on calculations. These are the most common types of players that seem to be the ones, my wife and I have come across. I am sure there were other types, but these were the main ones!
Anyway, to keep on topic for this blog post, I wanted to cover two of the groups I've experienced based on the title. That is the Horde players and the Calculated players. Most of the time, they are the different types of players. It seems to be rare that they are one and the same. I, however, have experienced such a player. I should say players, because I knew some others, but they were no where near successful. I met one player in Georgia who had a Soviet horde of tanks that was at a tournament. I want to say, it was "The Midnight Train to Georgia" Tournament. I went there as an alternative to play, if some one did not show. In this case, all 60 players showed for the first time. At this point, my wife, Kalissa was fairly known by a surprising twenty players. Only six had ever met her, but she seemed to have defeated enough people to be known. In either case, this one player had this horde of Soviet tanks that had the worst table I had seen for tanks in a while. That is saying something for a Flames of War Tournament! He had everyone, but one tank bog at the edge of the woods. Needless to say, the opposing German player had every awesome roll to kill his army could by turn two! There was a serious smoke break for this player after the game!
However, the most current horde/calculated player I know is this nice guy named Tom K. He has played in quite a few tournaments, and has ran some. What makes me like this player so much was my first experience against him. Being a Soviet player, I played against him for my first North Carolina Flames of War tournament with my German DAK Panzer Company. It was a mid-war tournament,and he was my second player. After losing quite a few teams, I knew I would not win. He asked if I would forfeit my game! I said "no" and killed off a ZIS-2 Battery with an armored car patrol giving him a 5-2 score, instead of a 6-1. This did cost him the winning score for that tournament.
What I do like about Tom K. is that he is a calculated player. Some people may take him the wrong way, if you first met him. Calculated players may appear stand-offish. This is not the base of their personality. I know this based on when my wife starts deep-thinking in a game. That usually means I have a 70% chance of loosing. Thinking is bad. Out of the many games I have played against Tom K., I have maybe won five out of sixty. So, as a player, I am sure the average person plays against such a players with greater reluctance. For one, he brings a good challenge! There are few campaigns I play him where I have the upper hand. I know this in advance. I do not care, and if I kill a unit or win, it will be awesome! Two, I like to play games. Tom is a nice guy, even if there is no way to win.
|Wife's 4th Canadian Armored Division.|
However, this bring up another interesting thought. With horde armies, the average player of these armies are suppose to except losses. That is the premise. "You can't kill them all!", my wife would say. It was strange to hear she would choose the Common Wealth Forces based on this mind set. I always thought it strange when a horde army lost to a smaller group. It turns out that charging is not the answer. This is where a calculated player is dangerous with a horde army. In my mindset, 60% is and okay loss. A calculated player cannot have anyone loss, if it can be helped! Tom K. is this way, and he is not alone! This is a great reason why he is usually successful and has high ranking in Flames of War.
But, on the flip side, I will bring you my Flames of War experience with a horde players who is more social and rolls bad. I had met Tyler in Georgia over the first years of playing. He was not really far into his teens at the time, and had a a horrible experience against opponents in tournaments. He had the worst rolling I had seen other than myself at the time. Three Strelkovy units and a tank platoon in several games. He was aggressive and ruthless. However, his rolls were nearly worse than mine. Mine were worse, when I ran against him!
Either way, I have learned that the dice have the true odds. It is nice to have the numbers. It helps in wargaming, as well as, gambling. In all realty, does our hobby matter so much? The bases of luck still determines most wargaming functions. Sure, there are statistics, but it is good that there are people who blow this off like any other game day! After all, based on statistics, I should not be playing based on the lack of fun on losing games constantly. That is if I really cared about winning that deeply?