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.

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.

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!

Hobby Roundup (Week 3)

Again, far too little hobby actually getting done at the moment!  But lots of interesting stuff going on in the hobby community.

Bit disappointed by Shieldwolf Miniatures cancelling their shield maiden vs orcs kickstarter.  They had over the £30,000 funding they were aiming for 7 days in, so to pull out because they wouldn’t have enough is really bad planning – if their target wasn’t high enough to cover the project, they hadn’t planned right.  Great looking minis, but I think I’ll steer clear of them going forward.

Some really cracking stuff coming out at the moment – the new Fyreslayers for AoS have been getting very favourable mentions.  Too high magic for me in theme, but amazing craftsmanship.

Seeing lots of enthusiasm for Guildball, and judging by event sales, its continuing to grow. I’m eying up a union team at the moment, but I’m trying to be good, given a plastic mountain taking up lots of crates.    I really feel that its a good game to try though, so hoping to sneak in some vassalball.

It looks like the next week will just be sorting hobby stuff rather than painting, but hopefully will get back to the point that I’ll start actually using a brush again – I need models sorted out and primed to sneak in a few minutes here and there!

Eldar Codex

Well, having got the new Eldar Codex on iOS, what are my thoughts?

I think the Eldar are back, baby, yeah!!!!

There are a lot of small changes but there are a few main improvements –

1)  Some flyers!  The Crimson Hunters and Wraithfighters give a decent air superiority force.  Not a massive fan of the wraithfighter look though – looks too close to DE for me.

2)  The wraithknight – as an old fan of the epic knights, this is just amazing!  I believe the phrase is “wraithknight does what wraithknight wants!”  Very expensive model though!

3) Shoot and run, or run and shoot – letting you close in and fire the shorter range elder weaponry, or popping out of cover, firing, then hiding again.  It given basic eldar the sort of maneuverability the tau only get with crisis suits.

4)  No more wraithsight – all the wraithtypes get to kick ass and take names – their “slow” I4 reflects wraithsight.  No more spending a whole turn noodling about because you rolled a 1.

There are also some disappointments –

1)  I was hoping that a phoenix lord would let you take that aspect as troops – only spirit seers shake up the force org.

2)  a bit formulaic – not much new except the now standard flyers and big monster.

3)  harlequins are still  a bit rubbish for the points!

Generally, though, its made me  a lot more excited about Eldar again – I love the take on the fluff, where the Eldar are gearing up for a final stand against oblivion in these end times.  No flickering out,  but going out like a nova!  Rock.