Saturday, August 14, 2010

What does "cost effective" mean?

I know that by now, you guys must be asking yourselves:  Hey, this guy talks about cost effective units all the time.. but what the hell does it really mean?  In short, being cost effective means the "best bang for your buck".. in gaming terms.

This isn't going to be a terribly long post.. since I'm currently worked to shit and I'm kinda tired.  First, a short bio of who I am and why do I think cost effective choices are the way to do things.  For starters, I've played RTS games since I can remember clearly.  My first game was Command and Conquer, then I moved onto StarCraft, WarCraft, the expansions, played Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, all the BfME games, all the Age of X games... basically, every single RTS game ever made.  I'm currently in Diamond Legaue in SC2 and I barely get to play.  Not to brag or anything, but I have a natural affinity towards playing these kind of games.  I know how to optimize, adapt and execute on my strategy.

You know what all these RTS games have taught me over these long years?  That being cost effective is the way to victory.  There's no way in hell that I'm not going to take something that's cheaper and can do the same job as something more expensive.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  Like a computer trying to run a program in some language it doesn't understand.  When fluff players talk to me and brag how they like to take 10 Terminators in every game, my head draws a blank: A real life question-mark.  A state of confusion.  Pretty much a giant WTF.

When I first started playing minis games 10 years back, I used the same RTS mentality and skill and applied it to Warhammer 40K.  In a game like StarCraft, if I was given 2k minerals and I was told to construct a solid Terran army (pretend that nothing costs gas), I could hand you Marines, Medics, Tanks, Sci Vessels and some Goliaths.  Apply that in 40K terms, I'll hand you a bunch of Grey Hunters in Rhinos, some Long Fangs, a Rune Priest or two and some Terminators in a LRC.  That's just how my head thinks.  I see every table-top game as a small "macro" game in StarCraft which sole purpose is to maximize on damage vs. all types of enemies.  This is why my lists always come out strong, powerful and can take on any foe.  This, is the very definition of min-maxing and the only way you can truly understand how to min-max is by knowing your shit.  Maybe that's why I can play Marines effectively.  I understand the value of PPM (Points Per Model) and I know that wound saturation does not mix with a poor PPM ratio.  When building an army list, I make sure I use every available facet of knowledge I have in the game and construct a army that's both powerful and balanced.

I'd like to finish this post off with a very rewarding quote from a very respectable person.  It just comes to show you that no matter how many times you lose, you will always walk away a winner..  As long as you learn from your mistakes that is.

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
-- Michael Jordan

PS - I'm currently looking into Flames of War stuff.  I'm a huge WW2 buff and I've always wanted to play Germans in a miniatures game.


Thor said...

Cost effectiveness is a funny thing. I mean, everyone knows that having cost effective units is a smart thing and nobody wants to take overpriced ineffective units, that would just be dumb. The problem isn't with the concept, it's with being able to recognize what is a cost effective unit and what is not.

AbusePuppy said...

Very true, Thor. Another important part of cost effectiveness is what your army _needs_. The best-priced infantry killer in the game won't help you if you're missing anti-tank.

HERO said...

My dear friends! You would be surprised to find how many people can't recognize what's cost effective and what's not. Like AbusePuppy said, I think one of the bigger problems is people not being able to recognize what your army needs.. and if they have an idea of what they need, they take the wrong unit for the job. Then there's fluff players, who plays with overpriced units.. like Sanguinary Guard.

Yaleling said...

I agree completely mate. I think understanding cost effectiveness is important for all styles of playing the game. Clearly it is vital for powergaming, but even fluff or casual gaming (where I put myself) needs it. I need to recognise what my efficient units are and take enough to make a viable army. And I need to be able to estimate how cost ineffective my 'for fun' units are. That way I don't expect anything unrealistic from them and don't get disheartened when they don't live up to my over-active imagination. ;)

Alex said...

You're dead on regarding cost effectiveness. However, there are other reasons to play the game. The visual appeal is part of it and some people like to use models because they look cool, while others refuse to use models that don't look good on the tabletop (a reason I will never play Warmachine regardless of how good it is). I mean, I spend way more time hobbying for these games than I do playing them, and like most people, I mix it up. I look at cost effectiveness for sure, but there are sometimes units I realize aren't the absolute best because I like the models. Neither player, imo, is right, but there are different ways to look at the game. It's condescending to think that players who take units for hobby reasons are dumb or bad players.

Anonymous said...

I build my armies like Hero, doing the maths to know what unit will give me the best results.

I do however agree with Alex. Some players are more into the hobby side of the game. Others are limited by the models they own.

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