Friday, 2 May 2014

Tribes and tribulations

Afternoon all!

First off, thanks to everyone for looking at the blog. I linked up with Natfka's Faeit212 this week and got a really big boost in viewers, so thanks for clicking!

Today I want to talk about how I have found the community since setting up shop. Before I became the greatest retailer in all of Gilkes Street (maybe), I was a humble wargamer, much like yourself (except shorter and rounder). My own "meta" as it's known, had dried up to nothing since leaving uni, I just didn't have the connection to the local wargames scene (despite its size) and so I continued alone for a few years quietly building and painting forces that appealed to me aesthetically.

About 4 years ago, an old friend returned to 40k and with him, came my first games in about 8 years! It was like starting all over again, but that was fine, because we both had a blast! We would game very infrequently, but when we did, it was an event. A full day trip to Warhammer World, a few casual games, good food etc. We loved it, and you might say, that this was now my "meta".

Fast forward to six weeks ago (in a weird wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey sort of way), and I hit a hugely unanticipated flaw in my otherwise brilliant business plan. I had vastly underestimated just how diverse and how factional wargamers had become. Back in my day, you were a geek for playing wargames, and we wargamers stuck together. These days, there are so many different games going, that little sub-factions have appeared.

I seriously hadn't seen the level of factionalism coming. I felt so judged because I carried this range, or didn't know of another it was bizzare. "Can't we all just get along?" I wondered as rampaging Warmachine players chewed through Mantic games, whilst die-hard Games Workshop fans formed a shieldwall against the onrushing hordes of Bolt Action fans. Well maybe that didn't happen. But it sounds good, and that's the main thing...

On top of all that, I've found myself chatting more and more online with others who are finding it hard to get their "meta" to try new games. All too often I hear "My local club is more of a (insert game/company) club so I can't really play (alternative game/company) stuff." Yet I hear great tales from other about clubs like the Redcar Ironbeards  whose mantra is "If you bring it, we will try it". How cool is that?

Anyway, after many weeks of thought, I decided that as an independent, it was my job to bring harmony to the community, balance to the force, the horse to the well etc. I had two ideas about this:

1. Become a defender of the faith. Basically challenge any and all hatred of other games in the hope that people will simply agree to disagree.

2. Become a champion of the cause. Here I would have to be the flag bearer for every range I stocked, enthusing about every range and every model.

Neither really appealed. I had vowed some time ago to dictate my business, and not the other way round. My customers come to talk hobby and so they should, as long as its about a hobby they are passionate about, for good or ill! So this past week I've had debates ranging from how GW is an evil empire run by bean counters, to discussions about how GW are producing some of the most amazing models they've ever done (seriously have you seen this guy? ). I've chatted about how I feel Mantic Games have a lot of work to do on the quality of their models before I buy an army off them, but I've enthused about how brilliant the new terrain is (and about how I'll be first in line when they release Mars Attacks!)

"So, what's the point, you crazy muttering madman?" I hear you ask.

Well it's my hope that by waxing lyrical about how divided the community seems to be, I hope I'm holding up a mirror to you, the gamer. Ask yourself next time, "Do I really need to hate another game/company so much?", "How bad can it be to just try something new?" or "Why the hell did I read that entire boring blog?" At the end of the day we are all Wargamers and we should revel in the fact that we play war in a golden age when our every geeky whim is catered for.


  1. Having been a gamer on and off for about 20 years I think the market is the most diverse I have ever seen it. This is all the better for us gamers especially if your local store is willing and able to stock the newer manufacturers and ranges. Kudos to you for this and introducing these new systems to us gamers.

    1. It's great out there these days, there is so much choice, hopefully people appreciate that fact and enjoy the ride, I know I am!

  2. I think "hate" is pretty strong for any war gamer. Certainly "frustrated as f*ck" with Games Workshop is reasonable, hehe. But how many gamers actually hate a particular game publisher that much?

    Hating a game... Well, that isn't a problem so much as the attitude that comes with the dislike. Gamers are fans, fans of a hobby that requires remarkable patience, money and dedication, with that dedication comes a certain passion and investment. But compared to many football supporters, we're a fairly chilled out bunch. However, opinions can be strong and gamers aren't always the best at handling criticism or argument. Still, they rarely fight in the tournament halls about it.

    I can't think of a wargame I hate, but I do hate the Shadowrun rpg... In that every single thing about it pisses me off and I would never play it again. Still, I don't think I'd ever glass anyone because they liked it. Tempting as that may be, hehe.

    Dedicated fans support and defend their hobby, sometimes overmuch. Wargamers are often geeks, who are often a little socially awkward. As long as they're not coming to blows, let them argue the toss... Well, unless you want to close up shop and go home for the day, in which cause kick the argumentative whiners out!

    1. Sure no one "hates" anything in the sense of wanting to kill anyone or anything related to said wargame, but they certainly talk the talk!

      I just found it startling that what I had put down to "internet confidence" is actually spouted as opinion. The whole GW argument about pricing or game balance are relative points as far as I'm concerned, but, as you and I have discussed, others feel quite strongly about it!

      What I've found myself is that I'm enjoying playing new games in new ways, not to spite GW, but simply because I'm looking for variety. It's that attitude of "you've changed my game and expect me to pay for it?" that I struggle with, if you love it, great, if not, there's plenty out there to scratch any itch without raging at the change!

      Or maybe it's just me 😃

    2. Well, I think a big part of the struggle when it comes to accepting GW's approach is their lack of communication with their rabid, easy slighted fan-base.

      White Dwarf is the only way "into" GW for most and it is hardly the best. In this day of easy communication via the net. It means the audience vents, rants and rages in an echo chamber, creating some pretty nasty attitudes.

      GW, in avoiding argument, is also resisting engaging their loyalist fans in a way those fans want and (not unreasonably) expect. To completely close borders as GW do just prompts the barbarians to rabble at the gates really.

      "New Editions" really is a topic worth discussion on its own.