Roleplaying games and tabletop Wargames usually involve a significant tactical element to the game play. So I think it would be a reasonable assumption that most people that play these games would describe themselves as tactically minded. But is this always the case or do we actually make choices (on unit selection for instance) for other reasons?
In a recent email exchange between myself and The Evil GM we got to discussing this very subject. "Back in our Wargaming days, if I'm honest there were some units & models I used not because of tactical considerations, but just because I liked the models. Take the Warhammer epic mad boyz for instance - they were almost impossible to control, you just put them somewhere you thought would give them the best chance to be useful and hoped they'd do something. A complete unknown quantity who most battles did sweet FA, but I just liked the idea and always used them. Or the Goff - one of the few mobs I'd painted and I liked the job I'd done so included them every battle whether they were appropriate or not.
In roleplaying, I'm sure I'm not the only GM who tailors a story or battle just so I can use my favourite new models just because I like them. How many of our decisions are hard nosed tactical choices or carefully crafted to drive the story and how many are just because model 'x' looks cool and we want to use it?"
I know I have written more than one D&D encounter around a cool model I have recently acquired. In fact I have even been known to retain some 'secret' models - hidden away, sometimes for years - for use at some unspecified time in the future. I'm also the sort of player who chooses feats and powers for roleplaying characters not because they are powerful but because I think they suite my character. Of course the power gamer might approach such choices from a different perspective but I suspect that many players, like myself, have more aesthetic concerns.
I think one of the reasons this is the case is because those of us that play miniatures based games instead of computer games have a different perspective. Yes we want to play games of tactics and strategy and we want to win, but we also want to play with our toys. For us owning, painting and handling the miniatures is as important as playing the game itself.