Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Praxis of War Gaming

Hey all

Dr Cox here with more rambling. But hopefully on a subject we all know.

I was having a discussion with a nameless individual about a list I was running, and he suggested that I 'drop X for Y, because X is better'.

Now this is a not uncommon statement, but actually is X going to be better, and it may be better but can you still utilise it, and that us where Praxis comes in!
some tank hunter teams i painted, absolutely no relevance to the post

Praxis is a concept of from Ancient Greece and is 'to which the end goal was action'. Not theory or production, but the truth of action. And I think this is something often overlooked by gamers.

A great example of this was my chaos demon army in 5th edition 40K, on paper it looked a joke, and frequently people would ask (and expect an easy) game. It was a strange mix of 'non optimised' units, but I think in one 12 month period it lost 4 games, sadly always around game 4 of a tournament.
More panthers I painted
But people could not understand how I managed to use it effectively, and the answer was that I used it a lot, I understood it, I could use what I knew to react to novel situations, and many others just did not understand their armies to the same degree; I remember a space wolf player I was annihilating going 'I just don't understand according to the Internet this is a good list!' And it was, if Ben had been using it, it would have been a tough game, but he didn't understand it.

So where am I going with this? Well having done my experimental adventures with the schwerepanzerjager I'm now doing so with the volksgrenadiers, and I'm losing a fair bit, but that's not a problem. It's an army I'm unfamiliar with and I will screw up (I still forget storm trooper 98% of the time it feels) but by using it I can understand it and know how to use it. Turning the action of using it from rolling dice and pushing models into playing (and hopefully winning) a game.


  1. The Panthers are really impressive!

  2. Dr. Cox pretty much encapsulates where I derive a lot of my joy in wargaming in this post. Succeeding with a list that /bold/ I /bold/ like, and not that conventional wisdom recommends, is satisfying. Thanks for posting!

  3. Agree 100%. In many games, there are optimised / optimisable lists, but thorough familiarity with a force and it's capabilities is a powerful equalizer.


  4. Cheers for the comments guys, one of my great loves is seeing someone use an unusual list well, especially against a 'meta' good list.

    But you need to discover the way it works for yourself

  5. Interesting post, and very true, a good list in the hands of someone who doesn't really know how to use it , will fail...

    Experience with your chosen force is a must. After that, knowing what your enemy is capable of too, helps!

  6. There's also the psychological factor in your opponent thinking you have sub-par options chosen in your list. And the thing that not too many players use the not-so-hot lists means that quite few have encountered them either, so don't have ready set of tools against them. Thanks for the new word :)