Hobby Positivity on Twitter

Someone mentioned that they were trying to be more positive on twitter, and someone else asked me how I seem so unrelentingly positive on Twitter, so I thought I’d pop together my unspoken rules of Twitter Hobby Etiquette for fun positive interactions.  I certainly make mistakes from time to time, but generally my upbeat tone seems to resonate with the hobby field.  So what’s my secret?

Well, one obvious one is to make sure your twitter client is set to “Latest Tweets” or equivalent.  If you rely on Twitter’s default, you’ll see hundreds of tweets from people liking posts or from people you don’t follow, and that can really move you away from seeing little models and seeing, well, practically anything.  That can sour your mood before you even begin!

Another technically related tip is to use the “Retweet with Comment” option sparingly, if at all.  Any time you do this, it looks like a focussed deliberate, thought out response, and any hint of negativity looks like a deliberate attack, not a discussion.  I’ve done it a few times accidentally, or trying to be funny, and if you misjudge, it’ll look vicious.  Try to think twice, or use it to highlight very positive things, rather than using this often.

Most of the tips aren’t really related to features, though, but a general approach, and it all goes back to a piece of advice I learnt when I started work for interacting with people – praise in public, criticise in private.  

Essentially, for social media, tweet whatever the heck you like on your own timeline as standalone tweets.  If you didn’t like a new model, feel free to post up you didn’t like it if you want.  Don’t feel constrained in what you want to express in your own tweets.  However, don’t crap over other people’s fun.  Don’t reply to someone who loves something  to say “I hated that”.  Let’s think for a minute on what the possible outcome can be.

  • They are convinced by you, and lose something fun from their lives.
  • They ignore you, and will respect your tweets less in future.
  • You have a blazing public row, and end up never interacting again with another fun hobbyist

The only possible beneficial outcome is basically if they argue with you and convince you to like it, as then you both have something fun in your life.  But I’ve never in ten years on twitter seen this outcome.  Oddly, saying why you liked something to someone who doesn’t is a far more positive experience, generally.  You aren’t trying to take fun away.

On the flip side, genuinely praising people by saying why you like something instead of just mashing the like button has much more of an impact too.

Now, there is obviously a middle ground.  When people ask for advice or genuine criticism, that’s different than just crapping on something they adore. Offer genuine advice, but try to mention positives rather than just negatives.  If they want to know how they can improve in terms of painting, try to mention the bits you think are strong already as well as possible improvements.  

Finally, one thing that often happens in tweets is that we have a limited space to express our concepts.  Sadly, one of the areas we tend to remove in order to focus on the main concept are often the key words we’d use when talking to people, which take the edge off what we say.  We can lose the oil that lubricates the wheel of social interaction.  Saying “I absolutely love the models, and I wish I’d have better luck with them on the field, but they’ve always been crap for me” is far less confrontational and negative than just “They’ve always been crap”.  Sometimes it’s worth spreading out over a few tweets and keeping those  perspectives there.

Oh, and some of us will be friends either in real life or have interacted regularly online for years.  In those cases, the general guidelines go out of the window, just like you can talk with mates in a different way than a stranger in a GW store.  Don’t assume that because you see a teasing interaction that your tweets will be seen in the same light!  That’s probably the most solid advice I’d generally give – think of talking to strangers in your local GW as a guideline.  If you wouldn‘t say it to them if you overheard them talking, don’t tweet it to someone.

#ParentPlayers5

What is Parent Players?

Parent Players is a semi-regular meet-up with a group of wargamers who all have children and don’t often get to game. We plan the events months in advance so we can arrange childcare and make sure it’s in family diaries, and hope no emergencies, illness or accidents intervene!

As we’re all parents, we all are in the same boat, and it’s nice to play some really relaxed games and have a few beers with people who enjoy your hobby, understand the pressures you’re under, and are pretty relaxed about the fact you haven’t played a game in months and keep remembering the rules from 2 editions ago.

Most of the focus is on GW games, predominantly 40K. We meet up in Warhammer World in Nottingham on a Friday, play big games all day, retire to a nearby hotel where we get a few more beers in and play games like Fluxx in the bar. The Saturday tends to be smaller games in Bugmans as it can be hard to get tables if an event is on, and some of us may be a little worse for wear…. (Just to be clear, beers are optional and several of the regulars are teetotal. Playing silly games is the important bit!)

Tables are harder to arrange, but can be booked in advance if we know how many people are definitely coming.  The Fridays are normally pretty easy to grab tables, but Saturday has an AoS event on, so if we don’t have a table we’ll be playing small games in the bar.

When is the next Parent Players?

The fifth Parent Players is on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 June 2019

What do you need?

Well, to play, you’ll need the latest rules and a force for the game. We’re definitely expecting Warhammer 40K, and Bloodbowl to be on the agenda – if you don’t have a force for any game you’d like to play, it’s not too hard to arrange to borrow one from one of the other people attending, but you need to arrange it in advance to ensure it’s there on the day. For 40K, we tend to play fairly fluffy 1750pts lists (though we’re going to use the Chapter Approved rules and turn our warlords into Legendary Heroes). Bloodbowl tends to be standard starter teams of 1,000,000 crowns, and Shadespire is generally standard gang starter decks.

You’ll also need transport to Warhammer World, and somewhere to stay. We generally stay in the Holiday Inn near Warhammer World and several people have already booked rooms. Its certainly not compulsory to stay in the hotel if you want to arrange somewhere else, but we do have some cracking games – this meet up I’m expecting some Munchkin 40K and various editions of Fluxx to be pulled out.

It’s a pretty laid back event – some of us make up our own t-shirts to match our armies with our names and twitter handles, but again, that’s really not necessary.

How do I stay in touch?

We all can be found on twitter. I’m evilkipper and seem to be co-ordinating it at the moment, but the whole thing was the devious concept of thefirstautarch. Other regular attendees include oneoflots, avarrisxbox, grimdarkness40, bigbadbirch and alphadevilinak as well as horde of possible attendees who haven’t been able to escape the kids!

Say hi to any of us, and we’ll keep you in the loop on twitter with all the updates.

Play it Painted?

I was having a discussion on twitter (that immediately got derailed) about what sort of painting projects can be fun, and I suggested painting up board games like Hellboy or Dungeon Saga, as board games stand in isolation.  No one expects the game pieces to be painted so its a nice stress free distraction, but armies for Warhammer 40K?  There’s a definite expectation that armies should be painted or at least will be painted over time, and that can sometime make it feel like work – I have to get this painted or I can’t field it.

Someone bounced into the conversation to say that thats not true.  GW don’t have any such barriers up, if you want to play with unpainted pieces you can, and any pressure is just from a few individuals in the community.  I’m afraid I can’t agree.

Now, I’m not saying that shouldn’t be the case!  I’ll happily play anyone if I think I’ll have a fun game.  But the hobby is definitely based around the concept of playing with painted armies.  Many people will flat out refuse to play unpainted armies.  Some stores won’t allow less than a three colour minimum.  Warhammer World events have a fairly stringent set of requirements that involve no bits from other manufacturers, fully painted, and these events are described as the “pinnacle of the hobby” by Warhammer World – which clearly indicates the aspirational goal for people in the GW community.  On twitter, you’ll regularly see campaigns to “#PlayItPainted”.  There’s a meme stratagem aimed at unpainted models that floats around featuring the face of GW painting, Duncan Rhodes.  Whether or not its right, playing with painted armies is expected in tournaments, in many stores, and by many players and the wider community.  Saying “you can play how you like” doesn’t help if opponents walk away and you can’t take part in events.

If you just want to play at home against a mate, you can do what you like.  If you want to buy into the wider community, you do have to go along with the general community rules, and at the moment, that would seem to be painted armies, or at least working towards that goal.

I rarely play, and paint far more.  I love painting.  But at the moment, things are stacked against those who don’t like painting but love the game, short of throwing money at commission painters.

And is the pressure to be at least moving towards painted minis bad?  Its a far more absorbing experience for me, and anecdotally many others when all the models are clearly identified in glorious colours instead of sprue grey where you can’t identify the weapons or gear easily.

Is there a good answer?  Introduce gaming tournaments where all that matters are results?  Deprecate the painting part of the hobby to make it more about the game?  There isn’t a perfect solution.

All I can do is enjoy painting my minis, and be willing to have a fun game whenever I can, regardless of how painted the opposition is.

Should GW add women to Space Marines?

There has been a lot of argument on Twitter on this topic for a while, so I thought I’d go through what I see as the pros and cons of both sides of the argument.

I say both sides, but this is actually a three sided argument!  There is one argument for introducing female space marines as if they’ve always been there, an argument to keep everything exactly as it is, and a third stance saying “why not kept the history as is, but introduce female space marines as a new option like the Primaris Marines were recently introduced?”

Now, if you look at the models purely as game pieces, it’s just ludicrous to have the primary faction in a game designed in 2019, often included as both sides (with Chaos Marines having the same issue) of the main starter sets being gender exclusive.  Of course, the game was designed in the 1980s, not 2019, and culturally there was a much bigger divide in hobbies than here is today.  2000AD simply introduced lady judges as if they had always been a part of Judge Dredd, and that was successful in a similar cultural icon.  Why couldn’t that work here?  They’ve thrown the history out repeatedly for other changes like dropping Squats and rebuilding the entire Necron history.  Why not here?

Well, one reason is that the background back then specifically excluded the possibility of female space marines, and that takes us into the opposing position – that 30 years of shared fictional history including hundreds of published stories as well as 30 years of rule books and army codexes have given us a shared universe we all enjoy, so why change it?  Why throw out all those books and novels and shared enjoyment when we could simply release more models in other lines and make that there are options for women to play and feel accessible – the new launch of the Sisters of Battle line is often a key part of this counterpoint, as it involves a line of models that are just women.

The intermediate stance is simply that we could look at a compromise position – keep the history as is, but evolve the ongoing storyline.  Introduce women into the ranks of marines as the new discoveries that allowed the creation of the next generation of marines also allow the genetic enhancements to work with both sexes.  It’s an easy, simple fix, and would allow reasonable people on all sides to come together.  If you don’t like them, you could still build male marine chapters, or others could build all women chapters.  

Some point to the satirical background of Warhammer 40K, and highlight the fact that Space Marines aren’t supposed to be aspirational or inclusive.  They are, in fact, pretty much the extreme example of what is often referred to as toxic masculinity- exemplifying intolerance, and violence as a preferred solution.  There’s certainly some truth to this viewpoint, I think, but the parodic  and satirical nature of 40K has been somewhat lost under a more traditional sci-fi overlay over the years – I’m not sure it’s as obvious to people joining the hobby now as it was in the Rogue Trader days.

i think it’s easy as people argue abstract positions to ignore the fact that honestly there are a lot of people in the hobby that are bigoted and would keep women out if they could.  Latching onto excuses like the shared history allow them to avoid appearing prejudiced, but honestly?  Sometimes people are.  It’s very important not to tar everyone with that brush, but it’s also important that the industry leader in the wargaming field do what it can to be available to everyone.

The biggest problem, really, is that the lore and in game history about Space Marines is, in this instance, bloody terrible.  The entire argument basically goes “We can re-engineer men from the basic genetic code up to be immortal Demi-gods of War, but we can’t do the same for women, because they are girls.”

There are so many strong stories one way or another.  Buy fully into the despotic, terrible universe, and cast the Emperor as a utter sexist bastard who wouldn’t sort it out because he felt girls shouldn’t go to war.  Go Jurassic Park, and have life find a way in the early tests on women – and a fully viable immortal replacement species for humanity was exactly what the Emperor wanted to avoid as he wants humanity to thrive, not perish.  Have the move as part of the Emperor’s prescient design as systematically culling the genes for successful  Astartes  leads to the psychically immune blanks rising in replacement and saving all humanity.  Maybe his second wave of design was a set of female primarchs and their Astartes children, and that fell apart because of the Heresy.

But saying “no, we can’t get it working for girls” is shockingly weak story telling at best.  It sounds more impressive if you say “The lore doesn’t allow for them”, but really?

I’ve been playing 40k since it launched.  I enjoy the shared history and background, and would prefer major changes to be in the way the story moves forward than throwing all the history out.  I could cope with the monastic male warrior tradition if the story is fleshed out with something convincing (and better representation continues elsewhere), or women joining the ranks as new Primaris marines too.  But there are three main things I’d really like to see – people on one side of the argument not accusing everyone else of being misogynistic bastards, people on the other side not shouting about SJWs and virtue signalling, and some damn decent story underlying the move forward, whatever route that takes.

EDIT – Just some additional notes.  I mentioned a few reasons that would be much stronger to explain the lack of female space marines from a story telling perspective, but they don’t really work if introduced now (unless you introduce a new faction of some kind to explore it as well as a Black Library series).  Adding a better excuse 30 years later is definitely a cop out – if there was a solid story reason already in place I’d be more inclined to accept the cries of “but the lore”.

I’d also like to quickly address the other argument – that there already exists an all women army in the game with Sisters of Battle, so its all fair.  I have some sympathy with this view point, mostly because I love Sisters of Battle and am very excited for the new release, and I’d love for the sheer scope of the Sisters to be raised to the same profile as Space Marines.  However, arguing its all fair because there are some female factions is a bit specious.  Why?  Because first, the Sisters of Battle aren’t an all woman faction at all.  You can field male priests (that outrank the sisters), male crusaders, male arco-flagellants, male penitent engines in the same list.  It’d be like having the option in the marine list to field women representatives of the High Council that all marines have to answer to, having dreadnaughts not containing marine heroes but male or female guard heroes, and turning the victrix guard into cool lady knights guarding the top bods.  Now, that actually sounds pretty awesome, to be fair, but it isn’t the case.

In addition, while Space Marines are the flagship force, with Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, General Marines, Chaos Marines, Thousand Sons and Death Guard all representing with their own lists, there have been long periods of time with no Sisters of Battle Codex at all, no minis in the shops, only 20 year old + sculpts available online at incredibly high prices (£50 a basic squad as compared to £20.50 for a metal guard squad, for example).  Its not exactly two high profile, easily available forces with Sisters and Marines jostling for place in the starter sets.

What of Sisters of Silence, introduced at the same time as Custodes?  We still have almost no Sisters of Silence available, and a pretty big old range of Custodes introduced already.  Again, its not really a great argument to point to a token box and say, look, it must be OK, there are a few ladies in a different list.

While Space Marines are the primary force sold in the game, with no solid reason not to add women to their ranks given the recent introduction of changes with Primaris Marines, we’ll hear continuing calls to make the entry armies more accessible to everyone, and I think rightly so.

Hobby Plans for 2019

Well, as we’re two weeks into 2019, I suppose I really should start doing some kind of planning!

First, I really want to track my work, as though I lost track towards the end of 2018, logging my painting made a big difference in getting things done.  I’m going to take part in #painthammer2019 – you can find loads of details over on JewelKnightJess‘s blog Silent Dream.

Second, as a rough target for the year, I’m going to aim for 100 painted minis.  I think thats achievable, and should keep me pushing and painting hard enough to get it done.

Third, I want to “finish off” my Sisters of Battle armies, which are coming up for a major relaunch.  I have two armies, one in green (the Order of the Verdant Garden) and one in silver (the Order of the Argent Shroud).  Both need some reworking for the 8th edition beta codex, and both need some key models painted for a “complete” force of around 2000pts.  Things like a couple of Gemina Superior to protect Celestine, finish off any odd or missing people from complete units, do extra Rhinos for the various squads, add an Exorcist to the Silver Sisters, and so on.  It’s not trivial amounts, but not impossible amounts either.

Fourth, I want to start a new Sisters of Battle army in the traditional Black and Red when the new army is released in plastic.  I can make a start on this with Celestine and the Geminae from the Triumvirate set, and a Canoness Veridyan.  Fingers are crossed for an all plastic exorcist and a Sisters flyer of some kind.

Fifth, I want to try and keep on top of Warhammer Conquest.  I’ve done a rubbish job so far, and its rather starting to build up, especially as I’ve built my Dark Imperium set alongside it and picked up a few extra copies of some of the issues, as well as kitbashed some primaris, and added a chaplain and a box each of intercessors, reivers and plague marines to the mix too.

Sixth, 2019 is going to be the year of the terrain for me!  With RubbleCity and a Suluco (think space hulk tiles in Resin) due from Fenris Games this year, and with terrain coming in from Warhammer Conquest and from my Shadow War and Kill Team starter sets, plus a _lot_ of old Sector Imperialis buildings that need gluing back together after a move, I should have enough terrain to run my own club!

Seventh, I want to paint up one or two Blood Bowl teams, like the new Dark Elves and my cracking Iron Golems set of Halflings.

Eighth, I want to cherry pick the odd fantasy mini to paint for fun, so I don’t get stuck grinding on tasks for the hell of it, so I’m staying subscribed to my monthly bones pack.  I won’t get them all painted, but it’ll be fun.

Ninth, and this is unlikely, but I would like to also pick one of my board games like Zombicide, Dungeon Saga, Imperial Assault, Blackstone Fortress or Star Saga, and get at least the basic starter minis (or alternatives done).  Completing all the minis I have for one game would just be amazing.

Tenth, I want to make it to at least 2 Parent Players events this year, as they are just mind-blowing fun.

Eleventh, I’m in a Blood Bowl league online!  Hopefully it’ll be really fun, and I can make time for it!  Some cracking people in the league.

There are many more possibilities and projects on hold if I blow through these like some kind of hobby demon, but it’s pretty unlikely.  Time just isn’t going to permit it, I think.

#ParentPlayers4

What is Parent Players?

Parent Players is a semi-regular meet-up with a group of wargamers who all have children and don’t often get to game. We plan the events months in advance so we can arrange childcare and make sure it’s in family diaries, and hope no emergencies, illness or accidents intervene!

As we’re all parents, we all are in the same boat, and it’s nice to play some really relaxed games and have a few beers with people who enjoy your hobby, understand the pressures you’re under, and are pretty relaxed about the fact you haven’t played a game in months and keep remembering the rules from 2 editions ago.

Most of the focus is on GW games, predominantly 40K. We meet up in Warhammer World in Nottingham on a Friday, play big games all day, retire to a nearby hotel where we get a few more beers in and play games like Fluxx in the bar. The Saturday tends to be smaller games in Bugmans as it can be hard to get tables if an event is on, and some of us may be a little worse for wear…. (Just to be clear, beers are optional and several of the regulars are teetotal. Playing silly games is the important bit!)

Tables are harder to arrange since the events team stopped taking bookings, so it’s particularly hard to guarantee availability on the Saturday.  Several of us live close enough to be able to pretty much guarantee a decent spread of tables on the Friday at opening time.  There is some talk of looking at visiting Warlord Games to try some Bolt Action or Test of Honour on Saturday if WHW is particularly crowded.

When is the next Parent Players?

The fourth Parent Players is on Friday 22 and Saturday 23rd February 2019

What do you need?

Well, to play, you’ll need the latest rules and a force for the game. We’re definitely expecting Warhammer 40K, Blackstone Fortress (with TheFirstAutarch’s gorgeous set) Bloodbowl and Shadespire to be on the agenda – if you don’t have a force for any game you’d like to play, it’s not too hard to arrange to borrow one from one of the other people attending, but you need to arrange it in advance to ensure it’s there on the day. For 40K, we tend to play fairly fluffy 2000pts lists (though we’re going to use the Chapter Approved rules and turn our warlords into Legendary Heroes). Bloodbowl tends to be standard starter teams of 1,000,000 crowns, and Shadespire is generally standard gang starter decks.

You’ll also need transport to Warhammer World, and somewhere to stay. We generally stay in the Holiday Inn near Warhammer World and several people have already booked rooms. Its certainly not compulsory to stay in the hotel if you want to arrange somewhere else, but we do have some cracking games.

It’s a pretty laid back event – some of us make up our own t-shirts to match our armies with our names and twitter handles, but again, that’s really not necessary.

How do I stay in touch?

We all can be found on twitter. I’m evilkipper and seem to be co-ordinating it at the moment, but the whole thing was the devious concept of thefirstautarch. Other regular attendees include oneoflots, avarrisxbox, grimdarkness40, bigbadbirch and alphadevilinak as well as horde of possible attendees who haven’t been able to escape the kids!

Say hi to any of us, and we’ll keep you in the loop on twitter with all the updates.

Model Releases, Rules and Limitations for GW with 8th Ed

This is a response to a common question, particularly from veterans of early editions:

“Why don’t we have XYZ option in the rules right now?”

Examples of this include Blood Angel Primaris having Chainswords as an option, while normal marines or dark angels don’t, for example.  Why aren’t the rules the same for the basic units?

Now, I’m not a lawyer at all, but in my understanding it comes down to a legal decision in the states when a more litigious GW went into conflict with Chapterhouse Studios a few years ago over some of the additional models and conversion packs they were producing.  The decisions were pretty mixed, and no one came away happy, but one point did come out:

If you have rules in a game and don’t actively sell the parts or models for those rules, it is legitimate in the US for third parties to produce their own version.

So if they released rules for all Intercessor Sergeants to have chainswords, and only had chainswords for Blood Angels in the Blood Angels Primaris upgrade packs, it might be legal (I’m staying well clear of morality here) for another company to actively produce and market chainswords for the other chapters.  It might even be OK to produce Primaris Sergeants with Chainswords.  And if that happened before GW released them, there are all sorts of issues.

Essentially, it means that GW are in a position where they literally cannot provide rules for conversions unless they also produce the models without opening the door to alternative manufacturers in the US.  That’s just the way it is.  It’s one of the main reasons that the current codexes have entries exactly matching the single weapon load outs of the manufactured models.

Its also why they release new data sheets with new models, rather than putting all the rules in a new codex months before models arrive, and why we don’t see any named characters without a specific matching model.

Its also why a token selection of Sisters of Battle have been kept up on the site in metal for years – if they don’t have them on sale at all, others could potentially actively start to sell and market Adeptus Sororitas minis.  Actually as Sisters of Battle.

At most, you can complain a little as to why a specific load out hasn’t been chosen and released yet, but differences between ranges and codexes have to match the produced models.  It’s just the legalities of the marketplace. 

One interesting note on this – by providing the legends rules for AoS and one last made to order sale of the classic model before closing down the moulds, they may be opening up the production of some of the classic characters to third parties for those wanting to play narrative games at home too.  It’s a brave move with valuable classic IP, and fantastic for the community, so kudos!

Hobby Resolutions for 2018

I have many hobby resolutions for this grand new year, many of which may fall by the wayside!  I’d rather have ambitious targets and get halfway than just potter along though!

First of all, I’m going to take part in multiple hobby challenges through the year, particularly #hobby500, aiming to finish 500 models this year, or approximately 10 a week, and the #painthammer2018 challenge (which is a smaller 365 models but has a few other goals and a really nice painting log involved).  Will I hit them?  With 2 small kids and recently moving house, probably not.  But I’ll give it a damn good try and get properly back into the hobby game!

Second, my hobby purchases are going under review.  I want to finish more of what I have, and I want to focus slightly more of my hobby fund on smaller miniature manufacturers.  Games Workshop is fantastic, and honestly I’ll still buy a chunk of their new releases, but regular small purchases to support independent mini makers like Hasslefree Miniatures, Heresy Minis, Bad Squid Games and the like can make all the difference to them keeping their doors open, and I’d hate to see those fantastic models vanish forever.

Third, I’m going to attend the #parentplayers event towards the end of April, meeting up at Warhammer World with a Fallen Angels army completely painted just for the event.  Its going to be awesome, and a great focus for getting a reasonable chunk of minis knocked out.

Fourth, I want to get some regular games on the go, with my brother and maybe attending some events or a Sheffield gaming club.  it’d rock!

Fifth, I want to keep this blog more active, with painting guides, techniques and the like.  Its great for my reference and a lot easier than working out what paints i used in 2 years time!

It doesn’t sound too unreasonable, does it?   On with 2018!

Let’s maybe, just maybe, be a little kinder to our fellow gamers

Well, the new edition of 40k is upon us, following the Gathering Storm series of books, which are a close echo of the End Times books from Fantasy Battles.   Some people are excited, some are tentative, and some are worried … and those groups keep shifting as we get more nuggets of information about the new game coming out.

This isn’t a discussion about the new game.  Its a discussion about the levels of vitriol I’ve seen directed at each other by those who are supposed to share a love of the game.  Its really not good!

There are a lot of people who are genuinely upset by the prospect of a major change to the game they love.  Since 3rd edition, the game has gently evolved, rather than radical changes to the game engine.  That’s a long period of stability, and while most people would agree the current rules are overly complex, with so many varied sources for the rules including the main rules, codexes, codex supplements, data sheets, downloads, and errata, it doesn’t mean people are comfortable with change.

Some of the changes being talked about remove core rules that have been in play since the days of Rogue Trader.  Thats 30 years of experience with those rules in my case.  Its not easy to see some of those changes …. even if they bring improvements.  Its something I have to overcome every day when running projects – fear of change.  This article gives a good idea what people are going through.

In addition, lots of people have significant amounts of money tied up in the game.  Its not an investment in any real sense, but there’s certainly a cost associated to walking away from 40K if the new rules don’t appeal.  Trying a new game?  You’ll need to reinvest in new rules, models, time to learn it, and trust that the new game won’t be changed like 40K was.  The more you have “invested”, both financially and psychologically, in a game, the harder it is to see it change.

There’s always an argument when these changes happen that you won’t lose anything.  You don’t have to play the new version.  You and your group of friends can carry on playing the old version.  Except that’s rarely true for most of us.  If you want to play a pickup game at a club or store, you’ll need to play the current version.  If you want to take part in any tournaments, you’ll need to play the current version.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a small group of friends who will happily play the older version … and even those who are are likely to be a bit torn between people who want to move on and people who want to stay with the older version.

I’m not advocating that the game should remain fixed and unchanging.  We need to recognise that our fellow players are human, and many will have issues with any major change.  And that assumes that those changes are good – a game played for fun is highly subjective.  A change you find speeds the game up and makes it easier and more accessible may feel like dumbing down for kids and losing a lot of the individual feel of the troops on the board to someone else.  And the killer?  Both people can be right for them.

I’ve been around the edition wars of 40K, Fantasy Battle and D&D for some time, and major changes don’t work for everyone.  But they certainly won’t work for everyone if we don’t try to support our fellow gamers.  Rejoicing that people are talking about quitting the game because of the change?  That shouldn’t be a celebration, its a tragedy.  And if the people who leave are the ones being driven out by intolerant behaviour, that doesn’t say much for the community that’s left.

Make the game fun for others when it’s released.  Look at alternatives like the mad range of board games reintroduced by GW and keep people in the hobby. Get people excited for troops that have been obsolete for years and will make a comeback as we find out more about the rules (like space marine devastator Elder Dark Reaper and Chaos Marine havoc squads!)  A large part of people overcoming change is down to the community encouraging them to give the system a chance, to try the new system in a welcoming way, and yeah, walk away if they don’t enjoy it and still play blood bowl with them with a smile later.

Just remember that the person on the other end of the screen screaming about the change may be a kid who has just dropped 3 years savings on a FW model and feels that he might have wasted all that money.  It might be someone who has loved 40k for 30 years and is worried the game he loved is going forever.  Or yeah, it might just be a bit of an arse.  But you?  You’re better than that!  Please?

Every time I see someone laughing about the “tears of the haters”, or good riddance to all those whiners, it makes me want to play games that still welcome players, not drive them away.  And that’s got nothing to do with rules.

Is Hobby Creativity on the Wane?

Of late, I can’t help but think creativity in the hobby is at a bit of a low ebb.  I’m not detracting from the amazing painting and techniques I see used on Facebook or Twitter (which are frankly spectacular), but I see fewer and fewer physical changes to models that surprise me.  At best, I see kit bashes, not scratch built pieces or crafted conversions.  The only exception tends to be for diorama or display pieces, not for the tabletop.

Pondering why, I think there are several reasons.  The most positive, of course, is simply that these days the sheer range of models on the market is so broad that there isn’t the need to create things yourself as there was in the 80s or 90s.

While I don’t mean to bash GW, as I understand their business model and it seems to work for them as a company, their policies do impact this a bit at the moment.  They only release rules for models that exist now (due to some copyright entanglements), which means you don’t need to scratch build or convert for them.  Their store and event policy specifies all GW parts – technically even scratch built pieces wouldn’t pass muster, so you can’t go beyond kit bashes with only GW parts.  And the current pace of releases means more involved conversion projects get obsoleted by newer models – I was considering a Deathwatch squad with custom conversions and team members, and a rumoured deathwatch box put me off – I thought I’d just wait and see the new models.  Great for GW sales, not so great for unique pieces!

I’ve seen some weird and wacky conversions for Malifaux, but generally there is a high level of tournament play with the Faux crowd, and that does mean the core of the models are Wyrd standard.  The same definitely holds true for Guildball, and even more so for the prepainted Armada and X-Wing crowd.

I think this is one of the big reason that Frostgrave is hitting so many buttons for so many people.  There are no “official” models.  There’s a strong fluff and theme around it, but the characters are blank slates, letting you convert them however you like, and it means that boards and warbands for this are just all kinds of wacky fun models.  Its definitely the system I’m seeing the most creative modelling for, except perhaps Of Gods and Mortals, which is similarly unfettered.