The great gamer divide - competitive vs. non-competitive. It gets put into other frameworks, like tournament vs. narrative gamers, competitive vs. casual, what have you. But at the core, it comes down to the idea that one group is competitive, while the other one isn't.
"No" I hear some of you protest, "I'm really not competitive - I don't care if I win or lose the game." And maybe you don't. I say that myself. I try to win, but I'm not wrapped up in it, and don't feel bad about myself if I lose. But that's a very different thing than being competitive or not.
And I am competitive. But what many, especially many players who DO seek out the win and get upset by losses don't understand, is that for me, and for many others, the person across the table isn't who we're competing with.
When we put our models forward for painting competitions, we're not competing with the other painters.
Who am I competing against then?
Myself, of course. Or, myself in the context of an idea I'm competing against, a challenge I'm seeing if I can overcome.
I don't look at a beautifully painted model and think about if I can do better than that; I think about if I can do better than I currently am.
I don't build lists to be the most efficient; I build stuff I like, and see how well I can do with it.
I want to do well - in games I generally try to win, but that may not be my main goal.
I'll let that sink in a bit, as it may be a shocking thought to some.
My primary goal may be something else, with winning the game a side effect. I may have had trouble killing a particular character or unit, and have challenged myself to take it out this time. Or maybe my goal is to see if I can claim all six objectives. Perhaps I want to see how a particular unit does, so I focus my attention on that. Sometimes I'm in an especially cinematic mood and want to see dramatic things happen, like big characters throwing down with each other, or bikers using a wreck as a ramp to assault into another unit, and try to arrange that in-game.
And really, the tournament types are the same way, they just have a different focus. How many times have you said or heard them say something like, "I want to place this time" or "I went 2-1-1 last time, my goal is to go 3-1 this time" or "My goal is to not make major stupid mistakes"? It's another way of competing with oneself. It's setting a challenge for yourself, and seeing if you can overcome it.
So in my mind, there's really no such divide as competitive and non-competitive players. We all just set different challenges for ourselves.