Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Closeted Gamers

Joshua is a good guy, and a good gamer, but in the oft-judgemental group that is the 40K community, he can't always be himself.

I mean, it's pretty obvious to me.  It's obvious to everyone he plays.  But should the topic come up, he denies it.

Today I asked him about it, if he somehow had something against it himself or something, because it seemed so evident.  I tried to be tactful, as it's a pretty sensitive topic to broach with anyone, much less someone you don't know really well yet.

He said he didn't have anything against it, no, and that he'd tried letting himself be who he was fully around the other 40K players, but the negative attitude of some of those players caused him to retreat a bit into his shell and to try to avoid the topic.

You see, Joshua has a not-so-secret-secret.

He's an Ultramarines player.

While this alone is enough to earn condemnation from many of the more closed-minded, there's more.

Not only is he an Ultramarines player, but he...

I hesitate to out him like this, in a public post, but discrimination of this kind needs to be addressed head on.  OK, here we go.

Not only is he an Ultramarines player, but he also enjoys, sometimes, within the privacy of his own army list and with his own miniatures, to use special characters whose backstory does not mark them as Ultramarines.

I think that it should be apparent to regular readers here that I fully support the rights of my fellow gamers to engage in this kind of activity, as I think that they should have that choice, and it doesn't hurt anyone.

Really, how crippling is it to you to see a fancy Terminator with a big hammer and shield in blue and gold paint and accept that he happens to be an Ultramarine using the same rules as Lysander?  Despite what some who deplore this activity may think, there's nothing in the codex or rules that prohibit it, so how does it really hurt you or your game as long as it's clear which figure is using which rules?  These fears about "chapter-mixing" and "heraldic purity" are very outdated.  Please, come into the 41st Millennium with the rest of us.

But Joshua has faced scorn and hassle from other gamers over this.  Back when he was open about his army being Ultramarines, they would tell him that they really weren't due to X, Y, or Z character he would sometimes try out in pursuit of those horrible sins, "having fun" and "trying something different."

So he retreated back into his shell a bit.  His army was still blue, with white-helmeted vets and so on, but it would be hard to spot any Ultramarine iconography.  The army languishes half-finished, in a limbo of identity crisis, being "blue marines" when they clearly cry out for full expression as the prime chapter flowing from the 13th Legion.

While I personally don't want an Ultramarines army, I don't think that there's anything wrong with it, and I hope that someday I can see Joshua's army standing proud as who they are, regardless of the company they keep, whichever Darnath, Pedro, or Vulkan is "in coherency" with them.

Be proud of who you are and who you're playing, and don't let anyone else tell you who you "really" count as.  If they try, they can stick it up their Sus-an Membrane.


  1. I am working on the Ultramarines 1st Company at the Battle of Macragge, but alas can I do a Terminator and Veteran army in the Vanilla Codex?


    So I am forced to go Deathwing or Loganwing.

    People hate characters as they cannot adapt. This makes the haters tactically weak, and thus make haters weak.

  2. If he really enjoyed how Lysander played, Shrike or Khan, etc, then he could just play it as counts-as. Lysander is instead a Sarge in the 1st Company, since the Captain is already known in fluff. Paint him blue and call it good. He could also claim Lysander was requested by Calgar to aid them in a setting up a siege of some sort and thus his presence.

    The fact is if these people have a problem on principle with it then first of all they're lame but secondly that they lack any sort of imagination and apparently prefer their 40K material spoon-fed to them.

    Your friend needs to grow thicker skin and do what he enjoys even if it offends the local fluff Natzis. At my FLGS we have an Ultramarine player who plays the 2nd Company and his army is a biker army. The 2nd Company Ultras as bikers...unheard of! One person once said something and it bothered him a bit but he still plays it and will continue to because it suits him regardless of what one guy said.

  3. lol, a buddy of mine once showed up @ the FLGS in an Eagle Scout uniform & I immediately branded him as an Ultramarine player (despite knowing he never had, nor ever wanted that army).

    Meanwhile years earlier, I built up a Smurf army purely because people hated them! It was the:

    "Oh, you hate my army? Well wait till you lose to them. Don't worry though, we're handing out merit badges in 'Failure' today."

    Your buddy just needs to take pride in what he wants/likes, consequences be damned. People may not like that, but that attitude is easy to respect.

    As for 'Lysander' my Dark Hands army has a Catachan green painted 'Commander Sanderly' among it's ranks as well. A slight name alteration like that somehow seems to work wonders in helping the gaming group except the 'count's as' concept.

  4. That fancy Terminator with a big hammer and shield in blue and gold paint is beautiful in every way. Words can't bring him down. I don't get why Ultramarines are so reviled. Even after hearing the arguments from a die-hard chaos player I still don't get it.

    re: characters, I have a Blood Ravens Shrike proxy who looks like he's dressed for a state dinner (with jump pack and lightning claws of course) instead of Mr. Stealth. Big deal. He's painted and it's about as obvious a "counts as" as I could field. I hardly ever play, and I'd hate to waste a precious opportunity playing someone who was too brittle to deal with a proxy character.

  5. People should always feel free to modify, paint and explore their creativity however they want.

    I wouldn't bat an eye at an Ultramarine army using the rules of a different one, just like I wouldn't have a problem with, say, an Imperial army made from Genestealer Hybrids.

  6. Glad to see so many open minds. I knew I liked you folks.

    Once you've accepted the principle of this little 1" tall piece of plastic as a representation of a superhuman spaceman warrior in the first place, you'd think that the details would be pretty small leaps. ;-)

  7. And if there were no UIltramarines players, everyone would then just complain about how many darn Salamander armies there are. :)


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