I hear things about prices, model design and rules. Since prices aren't going down and model design can, at times, be satisfied by third party products and conversions - and 40k plastic provides a wealth of options, the only we left is the rules. And the rules can change.
The downside to having a thriving nation-wide tournament scene that is knit together by regional tournaments and Adepticon, is that rules get standardized. Surely, this is good for the tournament scene, but it also entrenches rules written in the books and FAQs, by GW or by independent TOs and their gaming buddies.
However, for local gamers that interface with tournament players, a strict adherence to the rules can displace your hobby dreams. What I mean is, what if I want just a vindicare in my Tau army - a converted Tau sniper that uses the vindicare rules? What if I want him to have a jetpack? Like this model:
Can I just throw him in my list and expect to use him in games at my games store...or my buddies place? I have some friends that'd let me, others that certainly wouldn't.
But I don't know if anyone has ever asked for something like a complete rules changes before the game. I sure haven't and its because there is a presumption that I would be breaking the rules for advantage. I'd be called "cheese" if I win... or that I didn't really win because I wasn't codex-legal, people might complain about our game behind my back. There's no reason to think I am doing this for advantage - other than you assume I'm only interested in winning. But this is tournament thinking.
Lots of tournament players in our mix and we've, I feel, been dominated by tournament thinking. In tournaments, the game is played to win. For the result. The rules are standardized - there's no "breaking" them. The game is serious. You must practice. You must hone your list. There's money at stake! Take it seriously, man!
This thinking has gone sour in our community. Rules ambiguities create arguments, friends turn on one another, sometimes feelings are hurt or guys feel "butt-hurt" as I've heard it called. Couple this with some complaints about how one was treated during our local convention and we've got a community tinged with sour grapes.
Is it like this in your area too?
Remember hide and go seek? A game for children that really encapsulates the way I approach gaming and the state of play in general. I used to love hide and seek. I had three older brothers and we lived in this huge 4 story home in Bucharest, Romania. The house was ancient it seems and filled with nooks and crannies, a scary basement, and two sets of staircases, apparently a servants' one and a residents' one (we had no servants, sadly). It was a great house for the game.
Of course, the best part of the game is finding a great spot and being found in your imaginative hiding place. You hear the seeker approaching, you tense up with anticipation just hoping he'll keep walking. And then you surprise the seeker and dash out to get chased around the house, oh, what fun!
Sometimes I hid too well. The game would drag on and eventually my brothers would stop trying to find me and wait for me to come out. LESS FUN!
You see...if your hiding place is too good, it's less fun for all.
It's the same in 40k. Don't take the game result too seriously. Don't be too good.
Approach the game with a mind at ease and light heart. Bring your game but bring your good humor too. Approach it like a kid playing hide and seek.