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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Defining Gaming- the Language we use.

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine the other day, and I mentioned that the Meta-game had changed from when we used to play. Now he has not played in while (since 3rd Ed 40K) and had no idea what I meant by this. I then had to explain to him what “Meta-game” meant (see below), and while doing this, it struck me that perhaps this is something we take for granted- maybe there are a group of gamers out there who are not part of the discussion because they don’t know what the hell we are going on about.

My response is to try and define the common terms used in gaming. Enjoy, and discuss.


The result of Excessive Beard

This one has been around for a while. It was born out of the common trope in movies of stereotypical “bad guys” rubbing their beards whilst plotting the inevitable downfall of the hero. Commonly used to describe a particularly aggressive list, or suggest a sneaky manoeuvre.


Tyranid Evolution: watching a 6++ turn into a 3++

Used to describe a unit that is perceived as being “too good” (describing something which is worth more in game than the points you paid for it.) Vulkan Hestan was often described as being “broken” when Codex: Space Marines was first released, as is the Power Stone in Warhammer Fantasy Battle now. It is rarely used to describe anything in the current Codex: Chaos Space Marines.


Hmmm- nope, no caption needed

This is an alternative to “Beardy.” It implies that something is overpowered, or under-costed. Often, it is a term used to describe the army that just beat you. Another word for “cheesy” is “effective.”


Garing- a great historical tradition

This is more often seen in MMORPG’s as “zerging.” It describes a wild, hopeless charge in the face of over-whelming odds. It happens when caution is thrown to the wind, and players rely on luck as the determining factor in a game. Ork players know this as “Waaaaagh!”


The look of someone who just rolled five 1's in sequence

Math-hammer describes the use of probability to inform tactical and strategic decisions. Wargames are based on variable statistics, so the probability of any given outcome can be mathematically predicted. This approach to gaming ignores luck as a factor in games.


This is what it was like before they banned smoking

This, confusingly, has two meanings.
  1. 1.       Describes the archetype army, and the list relating to those armies, that frequent a given area. The Internet has its own “Meta” for games, which has over recent years crossed into the real world.
  2. 2.       Also used to describe how one player interacts with another. This is more common in card games, where “you play the opponent, not the cards”- however, it equally applies to wargames. There are many descriptive terms used for people that abuse the Meta-game (none of which you will find here.)


Clearly implying that all Necron players will one day be Culexus

Nerfing suggest a change in rules which reduces the desirability or effectiveness of a particular game element. For example, much of Codex: Tyranids has been perceived as “Nerfed” since the Frequently Asked Questions were released by Games Workshop.


The basic RAI argument

This indicates a reading of the Rules As Intended (or as I like to think, Interpreted.) Gamers using RAI can usually be identified by the phrase "the spirit of the rule." It assumes an intimate knowledge of the Games Design process, and the thoughts of the Designers themselves.


The RAW gamers mind is a dangerous place

RAW refers to the reading of the Rules As Written- it focuses on the exact phrasing in the relevant rulebook or FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Often the fall-back argument of Rules Lawyers or WAAC gamers.

Rules Lawyer:

Not pictured: fun

Gamers whom crack open every rule as written, often to gain a perceived advantage. Rules Lawyers will often argue the smallest point, attempting to prove that they are correct by forcing the argument into an individual sub-conscious via repetition.


Make your own "bull-headed" comment here....

This assumes that all outcomes can be predicted- that action “A” leads to consequence “B” giving reaction “C.” It often describes situation in isolation, not the context of the whole game. Like Math-hammer, Theory-hammer ignores luck as an influencing factor in games.

WAAC (Win At All Costs):

In a historical sense, WAAC meant something completely different

This describes gamers who must win the game. Anything goes; beard, cheese, lawyer-ing, abuse of the Meta and body-odour can all be used to win.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

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