Well, it just goes to show – the Rhetorial Gamer demonstrate an inherent bias clearly indicated by your statement that “I assume that his games are not simply tactical wargames with minis.”
There is nothing wrong with combat being a tactical wargame with minis, and clearly that is what the Lizard guy enjoys. Obviously (or he wouldn’t be into RPGs) he is also interested in what happens between combats, and this is probably not helped by using a grid.
In combat (which is THE subject of discuccion), it is perfectly valid (without anyone having to boil anyone’s blood) to be more interested in what happens, rather than some story or other. The story will be the result and embellishment of what happens (as written by the victors) – and to those of us who are interested in the mechanics of what happens, sppears to us to be simply the effect of which the battle was the cause.