New post up on Overthinking It: a bit of a rambler about how players use video game builds (statting out your character in an RPG, or, more recently, an FPS) to imprint their personality on the game experience:
Builds ultimately owe their existence to the wargame hobby. You can trace a direct line from the assault class of MW3 to the chit-stacked tables of Advanced Squad Leader. And understanding this ancestry is crucial. As any serious minis hobbyist will tell you, the chief purpose of wargames is to start arguments; the secondary purpose is to paint miniatures; replicating battles is the least of a gamer’s concerns. And the more important a build is to your game of choice, the greater the ratio of time spent defending your build in online fora vs. time spent playing that build.