First, I feel a need to break down gamers into manageable groups. Years ago I read an article by a designer for Magic the Gathering, about the 3 types of gamers. The article defines them as Johnny, Timmy, and Spike. Each has there own motivations, and plays the game completely different. And while the article focusses on Magic, I think the typology is consistent for all gamers. In short,
Timmy, the power gamer, he couldn't care less about story, right? The quick answer: wrong. But it's not easy to see why that thought is wrong. So let me walk you through how Timmy looks at unit entries. Timmy is only interested in the impressive. List construction guidelines are a hindrance to him, because all he wants to smash things with his uber-powerful units. But how does he define impressive? Ultimately by the rules, but I have seen Timmy's get frustrated by "sub-par" units.
That's the point where I realized story mattered to Timmy. His frustration at a "sub-par" unit is based on a perception. The rules are there for him to see, so where did the perception that this unit should be better come from? The story. Timmy reads that awesome story where Saint Mary (Darkage) was ripping through the Skarrd, but gets frustrated that in his games she dies to easy. His perception is influenced by the story to make him think she should be more powerful then the rules make her. Timmy likes to impress, and is frustrated when the story he's given doesn't match the table top. It's hard to see, but it's there once you realize it, story matters to Timmy. But it's even harder to see for...
So there you have it, story matter's to everyone. At least in my opinion. I hope you found this walk through the mind of gamers interesting. Until next time...