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Author Topic: Stillmania  (Read 1342 times)

Offline Mr. White

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« on: June 05, 2024, 03:19:54 PM »
Named after the tenets created by Nigel Stillman back in WD, I'm curious if there are any followers here? Do you follow closely, or modify? What has been your experience? To me, it looks like an ideal gaming philosophy, but am curious if anyone out here is living that Stillmania Life.


Offline Pattus Magnus

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2024, 04:09:17 PM »
Thanks for the link, I found that quite interesting! I’m definitely not a Stillmanian (I make way too many alternatives for each army and rarely complete anything fully). I appreciate the ideas, though. There’s a lot of sense to putting together something you like and then using it regardless of the ‘meta’.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2024, 05:42:35 PM by Pattus Magnus »

Offline v_lazy_dragon

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2024, 04:47:27 PM »
I read Stillmania as a kid, just getting into wargaming. Many points I fail on (never going to paint figures with 3 coats of gloss varnish! and I sadly keep expanding my forces), but the key tenets of 'make what you want to play with, even if it's not the best', 'play the game for the games sake and don't worry if you lose', 'only play with painted figures'  and that everything should be 'what you see is what you get'. I do occasionally vary forces*, but typically stick to  the same characters

*The A Good Day To Die: War On The Plains campaign rules kinda sold me on the fact that compositions in skirmish/warband level games can be pretty variable with respect to who shows up on a given day. Plus I tend to have a narrative to play. But I'll pick e.g. cavalry because it fits the theme rather than for strategic advantage
Army painters thread: leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=56540.msg671536#new
WinterApoc thread: leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=50815.0

Offline Easy E

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2024, 04:58:01 PM »
I am not a full-blown Stillmaniac, but I can see how these ideas early in my Wargaming career have impacted me to this day. 

1. I dislike named characters, I want to build my own characters. 

2. I build an army up to a playable size, and move on.  I don't have endless swap-out options.

3. I do not have multiple armies or projects.  I work one until it is done.  Once done, I am done with it.  I do not go back to it.  I only play it.   

4. Once I have two playable armies and rules, no one can take the game away from me.  I have it forever.

5. Finally, when it comes to playing; I always give my opponent the benefit of the doubt.  I rarely argue a measurement, rule interpretation, etc.  I may note that "we will want to look that up later" and that is about as strong as it gets.   

Now, in other ways I have drifted away from his approach. 

1. I never build a special carrying case.  I move everything in Rubbermaids and scraps. 

2. I don't bother writing the background of the army or think about why it came together anymore.  I have a rough idea of who they are, and what they are doing; but that is about it.  It never seems to hold-up in the long run. 

It is also interesting how Stillmania influenced the devs at GW long after Nigel had left. 
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Offline Inkpaduta

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2024, 05:58:26 PM »
Nope. I can't say I follow that viewpoint.
First, I hate "point" based armies or games.
Second, I have way to many interests than just one army.

Offline Belligerentparrot

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2024, 01:18:51 PM »
I get where Mr Stillman is coming from, but I dunno, it seems too first-person-singular to me. Gaming is something you do with others (most of the time).

Personally I prefer just one rule, the "rule of cool". Don't think it originated with the Ironsleet boys, but they certainly personify it: acquire/convert/make the minis you want to, according to what really inspires you (your idea of 'cool'), and then fit the rules and gameplay around that.

The rule of cool ranges from little things (that ganger looks cool with a chainsaw the ruleset says he can't have? Give him it anyway and think about how to game it fairly) to big things like using a GM to ensure the game narrative unfolds in a cool way. It's all about finding a shared vision with the people you game with, first-person-plural rather than first-person-singular.

Offline jon_1066

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2024, 04:28:34 PM »
Absolutely not.

That approach makes no sense to me in any context.  Build an army and preserve it in aspic?  Why?  To what end?  To me an army is at its best as it evolves and legends are created as you play with it.  A champion takes on an enemy unit single handed so you upgrade him to a hero.  You add a new warband to your horde from the Chaos Wastes.  The army can tell the story of its and your battles.

I tend to play scenario based games from historical wars so it makes even less sense in that context.  If an OOB needs a different tank or new Napoleonic uniform then I'm going to try and add that if I can. 

I've also never varnished a figure in the my life and am not about to start now.

Offline Corso

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2024, 07:22:39 PM »
Read that article the first time when I bought wd221 in '98. They were different times and it was inspiring back then.

From a narrative point of view there are good points, and also a sense of self discipline by sticking with a single project before moving to another (something I never do). However, the two coats of gloss varnish are a straight no for me!

Offline Elbows

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2024, 02:20:33 AM »
Generally disagree entirely with 'Stillmania', having even read it recently while perusing old White Dwarf issues.  It's also worth noting...the guy was well known for losing almost constantly amongst the GW staff...so I wouldn't take his advice from a tactical or strategic standpoint.

I also imagine, unless you're built of better stuff than most normal humans...if you build a crap army and lose 90% of your games...you're going to hate that army, that game, and by extension may even begin hating wargaming, so I'd argue Stillmania is patently stupid on the face of it.

It fails to address numerous considerations:
1) You're new to the game and don't have a full understanding of the rules and so you're winging your first purchases.
2) Your army may receive new units and options in later expansions or model releases.
3) Your army (particularly if you're stuck playing GW games) will be vastly diminished or altered every 2-3 years as editions change.
4) You may develop better painting skills and want to touch up old figures, or you may have intentionally painted your models to "table top" in order to play with them, but wish to go back and flesh out the paint jobs later.
5) Your opponents will actually get really bored facing the same identical army every time they game.  I have several friends who dabble in some different games, but only have the bare minimum force required - and it's dreadfully boring knowing precisely what will be on the table...again...and again...and yet again.
6) Having a fixed army means you have zero capacity to play a narrative or developing campaign.  You're now unable to include allies, address the army composition for sieges, team games, or special events, etc.  In a campaign you now can't address the loss of a particular hero, unit, etc. Everything is stuck in time.

If you dilute it down to a more simple "Don't chase the meta, WYSIWYG is cool, and paint your minis"...then I could endorse it.  Now, don't get me wrong...I actually miss the older days of White Dwarf and vastly preferred the non-corporate styling of the 90's issues...and a big part of that was outspoken, honest opinions from the staff.  However, this guy had some stupid takes and this is one of them (most of it, anyways).
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Offline Constable Bertrand

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2024, 07:55:48 AM »
I came across this idea recently in some retrospective discussions and the one part that resonated with me the most was the fact it locked your army in time.
And how Anti Corporate GW it was!  >:D "dont buy any more minis ever again"

My first gaming minis were Bretonnians and over the time I've repainted and spruced them up, i even striped and dissassembled my king hero unit (still in bits and not redone). While the repaints are much better, and the army looks uniform today, I think there is something very special about having that original 14yo painted army today, and wish I didn't improve them.

The idea he peddled of even making a box with only the set holes for them so you couldn't even add new units, or swap units out.. thats just crazy!!  ;D ;D

Offline Storm Wolf

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2024, 11:40:33 AM »
For my tuppence worth, I see the merit of "Stillmania" especially in its day, but not probably for today. Nowadays everything changes every three or even two years so this be impossible to maintain with changing rules, army books and whatever.
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Offline Easy E

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2024, 04:02:24 PM »
I see a lot of people thinking about this from the GW perspective only. 

I was thinking about how it applies to some of my other, non-GW games.  It works better in that space than the Meta-chase GW has become.

Offline Byrthnoth

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2024, 04:53:52 PM »
Here is an interview with Nigel Stillman that touches on Stillmania, among other things.

Interestingly, he mentions that there was a desire within GW to push back against factors that were seen to be obstacles for new players: overly competitive power gamers and large army sizes. 3000 points was often seen as the standard for a 'proper' game in 4th/5th edition, so 2000 points was relatively accessible.

I see Stillmania more as a vibe and general approach to the hobby than the set of absolute principles set out in the link in Mr White's post. If you read through Stillman's other WD articles from the era he advocates things that contradict some of the bullets (for example, he says you should play 2000 point games, but you'll probably want to collect 3000 points worth of troops to have some options), so 'Stillmania' as presented on that scroll is more of a polemic to get you thinking than something to be followed to the letter.

Offline Ninefingers

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Re: Stillmania
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2024, 07:19:27 AM »
I always thought that was very much a pisstake, making fun of one of their own staff who did things in an eccentric way. The point was that he wasn't doing Warhammer properly.