The guy from Running with Scissors wrote this article in response to the Winning Agenda piece on what they perceived as biases against competitive players. Tons of great food for thought, especially given Stimhack’s competitive focus.
The point about how much community effort is focused on supporting competitive play over other kinds of play was really interesting to me, given how often people (especially here) complain about FFG’s lack of support of the competitive scene. The article argues that the structure of Organized Play and the natural communities found in FLGSs tends to be strongly supportive of competitive play, marginalizing other styles at their expense (one example cited is that GNKs give out prizes in a top-heavy manner, always awarding the best prizes to first place. This might seem obvious, but if you think about it as a choice it is clearly guiding the community towards decks and play designed to win games reliably against the field, which may or may not be what most people are trying to do).
Not sure I have much to add aside from what was written, but I know at my local store a few people get frustrated from time to time getting their pet projects clobbered by the standard decks without ever getting a chance to see them flourish. You see this in people’s complaints about how NEH FA puts too much rush pressure on the game, ruling out slower runner decks entirely. For competitive players, who cares? The strong decks are the strong decks and if the game is putting rush pressure on, you build a runner who can keep up. For others, it means that they can’t as freely explore the design space not because they’ll lose, but because their explorations get curtailed immediately. It’s not that their Iain Sterling connections deck loses a game to NEH Fastro, it’s that it never gets a chance to do what was cool about it in the first place because the game was over beforehand.
The article also encourages finding ways to provide organized play opportunities for non-competitive players, since FFG will not do so and those non-competitive players are the financial lifeblood of the game in the first place. Are draft cube tournaments a good way to do this? I love the King of Servers team tournament (though I imagine that will be very competitive, it will allow more exploration space than the standard game) and feel like that could be fun for a local GNK, if it didn’t require so many people. I know folks do tournaments where you’re not allowed to use some set of standard IDs; would that be fun? Are there good prize structures to allow rewarding non-competitive players for playing in their style?