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40K Deep Thought: Collection vs List Players

3 Minute Read
Sep 10 2018

I’ve been playing games a loooooooong time now, and I’ve noticed a big fault line among us.

You play games long enough and you see folks come and go like the seasons.  Sit around in any store for long enough and you will note the long timers who stick with the wargaming hobby, and the folks who drift in and out never to be seen again.  I’ve started to break these down into two broad groups.

I really don’t want to count them.

Collection Players

These folks tend to enter the game based on a combination of the background, and the models.  They slowly build up collections that interest them and tend to keep slowly expanding.  You know all those crazies out there with 20,000 points of some army (you know who you are) – it’s these guys and gals.

Now a lot of these folks are good players too, but it tends to not be the focus of their hobby.  While not ultra loyal to a particular army, a lot of these players will tend to have a smaller number of larger army collections,and tend to not be too affected by “release of the week” syndrome.

List Players

We all know these gamers.  They are first in line to pick up every new book and tear it apart line by line.  Armies are usually purpose built to a specific army list and end there.  Thus a list player wouldn’t tend to identify himself as a Space Wolf or an Astra Militarum player, but rather as owning a killer Space Wolf/Astra Militarum list (and a few other ones).

In general these folks tend to army hop quite a bit, and are lightning fast to abandon or switch lists as the meta changes, FAQs are updated and new things get released.  More often than not, you will see a higher level of competition in this crowd with a priority placed on playing, rather than the collection/hobby aspects of the hobby.

In the Balance

Here’s my observation.  The List Players are on the cutting edge of competitive gaming, and tend to drop way more cash/month. They are the paragon of the game’s meta – at any singular period of time. But overall – they burn out.  The List Players are the primary source of the “the new codex makes my list suck now – I’m selling it on eBay”.  And often if a series of sub-par codices or FAQs come out (in their eyes) that invalidates their current play style or lists these folks will system jump entirely to something that suits their fancy more.

It’s the less competitive longer term Collection Players who hang in there year in and year out spending at a slower but continual basis that form the backbone of the playerbase.  After all, eBaying 20,000 points of Ultramarines is just a pain 🙂 For all those List Players out there, the next time you think your current listsucks – don’t ditch it.  Just take a deep breath and add a new unit or two.  You’ll be a happy Collector in no time!


~So who are you, and what do you see in your area?  Me, I’m collection all the way, but after 30 years – it just happens.

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