I just ran across this interesting article over at Neogrognard. While the article focuses on the relationship of R&D to Marketing within RPG businesses, it also relates to the difference between the crunchy player and the enthusiast player in the 40k realm. I found it very relevant to my earlier article on Hype.
Crunchy players like mechanics. They like dice, they like mathhammer, strategic theory, numbers and things like that. A crunchy player (often called a power-gamer and sometimes mistaken for a WAAC player) derives satisfaction from the successful completion of their well-honed strategems.
The enthusiast is a different sort of creature. Whether they focus on painting, fluff, their army's backstory or some other aspect of The Hobby, tabletop gaming is not their primary focus. These are the people who show up at a tournament and score Worst General while nailing Best Painted Army.
I'm a mixture of both. If I were more crunchy, I'd be running Blood Angel drop troops or Air Cav, or something more along the lines of the current trend towards many small, different units in a Vanilla configuration, probably being headed up by a special character or two. That's not me! I keep sticking with my Eldar regardless of my atrocious win-loss ratio.
And the truth is, most of us are a mixture of both. There's ample room in The Hobby for both kinds of gamer. The pure power-gamer can get their fix by showing up with unpainted models or counts-as lists showing off a lot of meat, and they can usually grind out a win; this makes them happy.
Ditto the enthusiast. There's room for everyone! Whether your thing is painting, modeling, fluff, literature or just the broad spectrum of GW's "Enthusiast Games", there is something there for the enthusiast.
Going back to the Neogrognard article again, what this tells me is that there is ROOM for both enthusiasts and crunchies in the GW universe. Somehow GW has managed to find equilibrium between these two often disparate groups (though it's worth noting that enthusiasts are the ones who spend all the money). It's worth noting that this balance is unique in the gaming world; the various owners of Dungeons & Dragons over the last thirty years have struggled and failed at the same task, only coming close during the golden era of the Open Gaming License.
Food for thought, the next time you start bagging on Games Workshop's pricing and release strategies...
Fonkin over and out!