The Praxis of War Gaming

Hey all

Dr Cox here with more rambling. But hopefully on a subject we all know.

I was having a discussion with a nameless individual about a list I was running, and he suggested that I ‘drop X for Y, because X is better’.

Now this is a not uncommon statement, but actually is X going to be better, and it may be better but can you still utilise it, and that us where Praxis comes in!

some tank hunter teams i painted, absolutely no relevance to the post

Praxis is a concept of from Ancient Greece and is ‘to which the end goal was action’. Not theory or production, but the truth of action. And I think this is something often overlooked by gamers.

A great example of this was my chaos demon army in 5th edition 40K, on paper it looked a joke, and frequently people would ask (and expect an easy) game. It was a strange mix of ‘non optimised’ units, but I think in one 12 month period it lost 4 games, sadly always around game 4 of a tournament.

More panthers I painted

But people could not understand how I managed to use it effectively, and the answer was that I used it a lot, I understood it, I could use what I knew to react to novel situations, and many others just did not understand their armies to the same degree; I remember a space wolf player I was annihilating going ‘I just don’t understand according to the Internet this is a good list!’ And it was, if Ben had been using it, it would have been a tough game, but he didn’t understand it.

So where am I going with this? Well having done my experimental adventures with the schwerepanzerjager I’m now doing so with the volksgrenadiers, and I’m losing a fair bit, but that’s not a problem. It’s an army I’m unfamiliar with and I will screw up (I still forget storm trooper 98% of the time it feels) but by using it I can understand it and know how to use it. Turning the action of using it from rolling dice and pushing models into playing (and hopefully winning) a game.

Category: Flames of WarRambling


  1. Dr. Cox pretty much encapsulates where I derive a lot of my joy in wargaming in this post. Succeeding with a list that /bold/ I /bold/ like, and not that conventional wisdom recommends, is satisfying. Thanks for posting!

  2. Cheers for the comments guys, one of my great loves is seeing someone use an unusual list well, especially against a 'meta' good list.

    But you need to discover the way it works for yourself

  3. Interesting post, and very true, a good list in the hands of someone who doesn't really know how to use it , will fail…

    Experience with your chosen force is a must. After that, knowing what your enemy is capable of too, helps!

  4. There's also the psychological factor in your opponent thinking you have sub-par options chosen in your list. And the thing that not too many players use the not-so-hot lists means that quite few have encountered them either, so don't have ready set of tools against them. Thanks for the new word 🙂

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Article by: Mark Goddard