+ Common Core Concepts +

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

+ inload: WYSIWYG +

+inload: WYSIWYG+

WYSIWYG is short for 'What you see is what you get'. In tabletop wargaming terms, it's shorthand for ensuring that the model the other player sees is representative of the figure's capabilities in-game. This can range from the literal – 'Does that model have the gun/sword mentioned in your list?' – to the more complex and interpretative – 'That model isn't big enough to use the rules for [X]'.

+ It's a very big subject, but I wanted to touch upon one aspect, which is why making your models WYSIWYG is important; but also that it shouldn't impinge on your – and other players' – fun.

+ Someone on Dakka Dakka, a forum, brought up the following question:
[My friends and I] decided to get into WH40k and after making all of our models[,] we went to a tournament and someone mentioned that you should do WYSIWYG. They talked about getting magnets and green stuff to make them have easier to change on the fly for what you are using in a game. Now as a new player and not a wealthy person should I care about the fact that my glued unpainted 2000ish point Space Wolves army looks cool to me but is not very WYSIWYG at all. 
In fact some models have weapons that they can't even use on them primarily my GH [Grey Hunters, a type of Space Wolf unit] which could have been converted into WG [Wolf Guard, another type of Space Wolf unit]. Something I didn't know about so they have stuff that GH can't take normally wouldn't. 
My WG Terminators Have TH and SS [Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield] because I thought it made them look pretty sweet, but found out I don't always want them to have that load out, and one last example is my TWC [No idea] having all TH and SS then finding out that is also an impossible load out. So should I spend the money and get magnets and try to pry the already glued pieces off and change them, or leave them as it is and not care about people complaining. Mind a lot of these mistakes were made by my friends also as we didn't know any one who could give us insight after buying the models and getting into the game.+

+ This brought up a rash of answers, many of which were quite surprising to me; ranging from 'nah, don't worry' to 'tear your models to pieces'.+

+ Here's part of my answer to the thread: 
My opinion is that your models should, as far as possible, match your army list [when gaming].
Epic: Armageddon has a five minute warm-up phase before the game. It's a great idea that helps ensure that both players know things like how you'll both treat the terrain ('does that hedge block line of sight?', 'Is that building a ruin?' etc.), how you prefer to resolve common situations, and it also mentions drawing attention to unusual models that may have unclear rules.

Applying this to 40k, if there are any differences between your model and your list – missing bits, alternative/non-standard bits – then alert the person you're playing with before you begin the game. It's simply polite, helps avoid awkward misunderstandings, and importantly makes the game more immersive and fun.

Being non-WYSIWYG can be for a number of good reasons, including:
1) You would be unhappy with the model's aesthetics if it were perfectly WYSIWYG (a cool pose that prevents you putting on a standard piece of equipment, for example).
2) You want to try something out before spending money.
3) The model has something non-standard, which counts-as something else.
etc.

All of these are fine in my view if you chat with the other player about it before you begin the game. That said, I don't want to encourage laziness in modelling, because I think this is a game whose aesthetics are a big part of the enjoyment for some players. Again, it's polite to take account of their point of view.

The simplest option in the opening poster's case would be to simply rewrite his army list to accommodate the changes. As insaniak [another poster on the thread] puts it:

If you buy a tactical squad, and you build the special weapon guy with the melta gun... then just use a melta gun in your lists.

I agree.

The OP says that he built the models with what looks cool to him, and I think it's a real shame to then encourage him to break his models. If he's happy with how the models look and it fires his imagination, then I think that's absolutely more important than a so-called competitive list. I'm sure there may still be some illegal options, in which case simply make a point of notifying the other player, and explain that – in time – those models will be replaced, or moved to another squad, where their kit is legal.

Alternatively, if the list is more important than aesthetics to the OP, then I would encourage him to either retire or remodel the figures until you have coherency – if not correctness – in the modelling. I'm perfectly fine with 'all of these plasma guns are missile launchers' (or whatever), but 'this plasma cannon, this lightning claw and this lascannon are missile launchers – but this one is still a lascannon' is awkward, confusing and makes the other player's day harder.

Painting is also a good way to help here. Adding a certain detail – blue shoulder trim, stripes on helmets, or a clear marking on the base – and making a neat list of what detail indicates what to give to the other player, can be an excellent way to combine models you love the look of with a particular army list.

Ultimately, there's absolutely no need at all to spend lots of time and money on magnets and remodelling, unless you want to. Much better to play smaller games for a while and use the money you've saved to make some models to fill in the missing bits.

+++
Anyway, I probably sound a bit hectoring there!

Basically, my recommendation is to slow down and plan ahead. Whatever you choose, the world isn't going to end. It's a game, so treat it as such – and remember that the other player's enjoyment is just as important as your own.

+ That's not the last word on WYSIWYG, of course. As I mention, I think it's a huge issue that goes a long way to illustrating the difference between some tabletop wargamers/painters and others. Everyone will have a slightly different view on things, I'm sure – but I'd like to see everyone putting less work into finding out what's 'the correct way', and more into just chatting with the person they're playing with and working it out together. 

+ I think it'd demonstrate that a lot of problems and worries people express on wargaming fora are just straw men – speaking with the other player isn't a chore before a game; it's an essential, and hopefully enjoyable, aspect of it. Tabletop wargaming is a cooperative affair; the complexities of WYSIWYG simply highlight this.+

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more, even if I wanted to. However, I would like to point out that WYSIWYG is pretty much essential in tournaments due to the lack of time to actually discuss each other's armies with your opponent (from what I have heard, you only get approx. two/three hours to play a game in GW tournaments and I'm fairly certain that you have the same amount of time in other events). This shouldn't discourage tournament-goers from being creative when building their armies, but it is definitely something that should be kept in mind as not everybody enjoys having to be told what's what in an army and then having to remember what that model is armed with while working through the combat phase of the second turn.

    Anyway, great article as usual and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts about the hobby in the near future :)

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