Has to be WIN.
GW seem to be doing there very best to convince gamers that 40K doesn't have winners and even more scarily losers (although Mrs Simo is strongly of the belief that we are in fact all losers).
There is no better example of GW's inclusion policy than Throne of Skulls. 15 years ago I remember School Sports days receiving the same treatment as GW's premier event. Kids were no longer allowed to compete against each other just themselves in order to have good clean fun.
I have never played at a Throne of Skulls event but I have been in attendance at the old style and heard some nasty reports of the new. The old style when I was in attendance was a competitive tournament very similar to the tournaments I and my Claws and Fists team mates attend, you have your mix of your very good gamers on the top tables and then your chancers like us (minus the baron) on the middle to bottom tables. In the end with Swiss Style everyone is where they should be by the end and most of the time is facing an opponent with a similar play style to their own.
This however is no longer the case. Now throne of skulls tries to make as many winners as possible but in the end alienates a vast number of people (this description comes from a number of conversations with people last weekend at Caledonian which was on the same weekend as Winter Throne of Skulls). Instead of having a overall winner there is now a winner for every army used. These winners then get their points amended by looking at their final score and their difference from the average of everyone else who used thier armies. One player last weekend was telling Andy and I that at the Autumn event there was only one player who had won 5 out of 5, he had Blood Angels. He however wasn't crowned overall winner instead that fell to a Dark Eldar player who won 4 and drew 1 (using the new codex) who had a greater difference over the others in his field (which was one lad using the old codex) and so he beat the Blood Angels player. As I see it that is truly pathetic!
It has been suggested to me that GW's aim is to promote these events for friendly gamers rather than competitive ones because there are enough competitive tournaments about these days. However Andy, Darren and Gav were all at WHW the other weekend during the fantasy throne of skulls and noted that the place wasn't very busy at all. Are friendly gamers really going to spend £55 for 5 games and some really awful food?
This to me is where GW are falling down at the moment. We have all seen that sales and stocks are falling and their answer is to keep pandering to children while raising prices. Children may be the future but they aren't your present. What is is the 25-50 year old bloke with plenty of cash on the hip to spend on a 10 quid bit of lead.
On thinking about this the surprising thing is how different North America do it or at least seem to. I have never played 40K in America, although I have chucked plenty of dice in Vegas, but I do remember the arguments revolving around Ard Boyz last year on Warseer and Bolter and Chainsword. Now I will never play in it so I'm not going to say whether I think its right or wrong but the impression I got of it was this was GW NA saying this is an event for Competitive Gamers, no painting, no comps just gaming, you don't like it don't play in it.
So why is the American way of gaming so different from our own? Is it something to do with society where we fail to recognise achievement and promote mediocrity where as Americans refuse to do so?