competitive strategy, while others bury themselves in novels and artwork and play the game as an extension of the narrative universe to better tel their own stories. Very few people fall exclusively into one camp or the other, and instead have some degree of fluff and crunch in their personal preferences, but when you and your opponent do not lie very close to one another along the continuum, conflict can arise. Respectively, people fret over game systems and rules changes, often arguing over which is the 'best' or 'right' way to play a game. Should you and your gaming group all make the switch to Warmachine because of its ruleset? Is Infinity the way forward because of the story it is set in? Should Forge World products or Lords of War be allowed at your 40K table? Was Age of Sigmar a travesty because of the change in rule complexity? What exactly is the right balance of fluff and crunch in your games?
painting his models, and doesn't seem to care that Inquisitor Coteaz would never willingly join forces with Daemons of Chaos - as long as that's the most efficient and effective list he can build, he'll take it. At its extreme, this becomes a game of 'who can find the limits of the ruleset and abuse them best', which can be interesting for some but overall takes away the point of actually playing in some circumstances. Winning at all costs is usually only fun for the winner, and if this kind of min-max powergaming is what interests you, then you're more likely to find more fulfillment in a game that is better suited for full-on competitive play. Why bother with the dice and the modeling when you could play a faster and more directly competitive video or board game for much cheaper? Additionally, heavily relying on crunch considerations when building an army list means that certain units or models are far less likely to be taken. Say you're particularly interested in playing with a new cool model kit you've picked up, but after a few games, you find that it never seems to perform well. You do a little math, and realize it is too expensive pointswise to justify its toughness or offensive abilities, so it stays on the shelf. Many players end up doing this - you'll notice that you tend to see similar lists because 'those are best', which reduces the variability in listbuilding and might actually stagnate the game. Entire armies often go unplayed in certain game systems because they are seen as 'weaker'.
Fluffy GamingConversely, the fluffy gamer wants their battles to mean something in the context of a larger scene, setting, or story. To a fluffbunny, it's more important to know why a certain thing is being done, and by who, rather than determining the winner. If you can dream up a scenario where something really cool is going on and make your models and terrain match that story, being able to see the tale unfold on the tabletop is an enjoyable experience and can make for all the enjoyment of reading a book while adding the enjoyment of participating in the story and being able to influence the outcome. The ideal fluff game involves an in-depth backstory about where the two forces are, what comprises them, and what they are trying to accomplish. Both sides would be well painted, and perhaps the game would fit within a larger narrative or campaign system, and at the end you would have a good story to remember and share with friends. If you are reading about some unit that really strikes your fancy in the rulebook, you are going to want to include it in your force because of the way it looks or the fluff stories written about it, regardless of its performance on the tabletop. To a fluff focused player, the story is king and the immersion into the narrative being built is more important than the competitive aspect.
power creep unit even though it doesn't appeal to your preferences.
Play Your Own Way
It's really important to remember that not everybody has fun the same way, and there is no 'right way' to enjoy this hobby. Some people will try to tell you that you're doing it wrong if you play a certain way, take certain models, etc. The thing is, they're wrong. Your responsibility is to have fun with your hobby and help your opponent have fun as well. Anything beyond that is personal preference and you should make the game your own and make it the way you like it. Some people like creamy peanut butter, others like it as thick as trail mix. Neither is better, they're just different, and how you play is up to you.