Friday, May 2, 2014

This Is What A Healthy Game Community Looks Like

by SandWyrm

Thursday is the official X-Wing night at the North Store, but Farmpunk and I usually game on Wednesdays (or the odd Monday) because of our wives' schedules. Well, I got a rare chance to go out this past Thursday night, and this is what I saw. Five simultaneous games of X-Wing, and one game of Warmachine being played in a packed room. Seriously, I haven't seen the game room this stuffed with players since the heydays of 5th Edition 40K. It was glorious.

Fair, well-written games create communities of players that seek each other out for an enjoyable time. Poorly written, sloppy systems fracture the playerbase into artificial 'sides'.  Encouraging what once was a vibrant community to fall apart into little sub-groups that distrust each other. Causing those players to shun the stores. Which here in the USA, are the primary place that people meet to play wargames.

All I heard in the store was laughing. There were no rules arguments. No douchebaggery. Guys with out-of-the-box models were able to enjoy themselves with guys who had repainted their ships. Amazingly, I only recognized a couple of guys from the old 40K days. The rest just might be... GASP!... new players!

As I was leaving, I was handed a form to fill out to join the gang. Evidently FFG supports them, and I was told that if I signed up I'd be eligible for free stuff. I was kind of stunned at that. Support? From the company that makes the game? Really? I mean, I've seen the D&D guys talking about that kind of thing, but... wow!

Played a Tie Bomber list against Chris, a cool guy who knew what he was doing. I lost, but didn't mind that at all. Felt just like the good old days from 2-3 years back. :)


  1. This, a thousand times this. You nailed it. The table top room at my FLGS has had this atmosphere for quite some time now, ever since people discovered Infinity and even more so with X-wing, or Sex Wang as we like to call it lol. It's nice to see table top gaming community growing again. I was very concerned that the death of 40k would kill table top gaming community, but articles like this give me hope.

    1. The 'death of 40k'? Sounds a bit premature to me, but to each their own. I suppose the endless variation kills it here and there for some.

      That said, the photo above looks & sounds like our gaming group, (though we can be a bit fractious at times). Except we're still playing 40k (with occasional games of WHFB, Classic Battletech and Warmhordes). Lately our FLGS has been cranking out lots of terrain and replacing their old plywood boards with painted & flocked RoB boards And tables with raised edges to hold them in place) as there's been a shortage requiring team games or carnage scenarios to make room for everyone!

      Friendly gaming like the photo above, not only exists but is still quite alive and well for those of us who are GW centric players.

    2. @Intrizix

      Last night, a guy named Andrew from our old 40K days started a conversation with me on the upcoming "6.5" edition of 40K. Now normally in a crowded room of Flames or Warmachine players, half the room would have got in on the GW bashing for a laugh. Both games are heavy with ex-GW customers. But only 1 other guy (playing WM) even looked up to share a quick comment. The rest of the room just... didn't care. GW who?

      That gives me a lot of hope that the wargaming community won’t die. That maybe it’s not wargaming that’s dying. But the traditional GW business model that defines not only GW, but Battlefront, Privateer Press, Mantic, and to a lesser extent Wyrd and Corvus Belli.

      When FASA died, its management thought that the market for miniature games was doomed to shrink. But it turned out that people were only tired of Battletech. GW grabbed the ball and expanded the market (with simpler rules) in the 90’s far beyond what it had been.

      Now that GW has jumped the shark, I hope to see the market evolve and grow again. Beyond what GW has known. But instead of a model shift from low-quality metals to high-quality plastic, this shift will be from ‘assembly required’ to ‘ready-to-play’. With simple rules that reach a broader audience than ever before.

    3. @Da Masta Cheef

      40K won’t ever really die. Just as Battletech didn’t die when FASA finally went under. GW is another story, but they’ve got at least 5 years left. Profits are down, sure. But their debt is very low, and companies like HP have hobbled on for years with crappier numbers.

      Glad to hear that 40K is doing fine where you are. Although there's been a slight uptick lately, that's not the case around here.

    4. @ Da Masta Cheef: I'm happy that 40k is getting the love in your part of the world. This being the internet I should have parameter-ized my comment better. Since the release of the current edition, IN MY GAMING SPHERE, which to some extent is the NW region of the United States, thank you ordo fanaticus, I have seen a waxing and a waning of 40k popularity. In the FLGS I have seen only 1 genuinely new table top player start playing 40k. I have seen no converts. For Infinity and X-Wing, more so X-wing in the last 6 months, I have seen many new table top players entering the hobby. This is my bases for saying the 'death of 40k'. I agree that 40k will never die, but if GW isn't careful it will enter a state of non interest for the community in general. Sandwyrm hit a very good point when he said "But the traditional GW business model that defines not only GW, but Battlefront, Privateer Press, Mantic, and to a lesser extent Wyrd and Corvus Belli.". The fact that the majority of the community follow, following, followed, this model was the rise and dominance of GW. But as SandWyrm said, paraphrase: things is a changin, and this brings me hope as well. I didn't mean to come off as bashing, not at all,

      @CJ Kilbride: LOL, when we do play 40k we're as likely to play all in 40k, escalation etc as we are to dig out an old edition codex and play it under 6th ed rules :D it's crazy :D, good fun and good laughs plus we already own all the models, most are even painted ;)

  2. I'm glad to hear that Masta Cheef. In my local area 40K is definitely dying. In my club, where pretty much everyone has a 40K army or five knocking around, you only really see Warmachine, X-Wing and Saga. I play 40K, but there is just me and 2 other guys left.

  3. "Amazingly, I only recognized a couple of guys from the old 40K days. The rest just might be... GASP!... new players!"

    When 40k guys quit, they do it hard. Some land softly in the Iron Kingdoms, the rest usually get bitter, whining about whichever edition was their respective armies best combination.

  4. I quit 40k, I just sold them all. I was tired of the game and needed money to help out my family. I didn't land softly on the iron kingdoms, I just found out there were other things than 40k.... and I finally found a game after 3 years of looking and loved it.

    Thank you X-wing.

  5. A lot of folks got introduced to wargaming through 40k. A some folks then found GW's style of game (Background-driven and Forge the Narrative) just isn't for them. Saddly this is often after spending a lot of cash and time on miniatures and rules. When 40k players quit, they do quit hard, just as CJ stated. It's easy to leave a pre-painted miniatures game like X-wing or Heroclix when you don't have a lot of money and time invested,but much harder to leave a game like 40k.

    This is at the core of all the internet rage at GW. Dissatisfied players feel trapped by their sunk costs (models and rulebooks) and get upset at changes GW makes to the rules or game balance. Healthy gaming communities cannot be built about players who feel trapped.

    1. Farmpunk beat me to it, but yeah. Fantastic comment.

      I definitely am more meh about hobby-heavy games lately. Not wanting to feel trapped by my sunk time costs in a bad system is a pretty good reason for that. Which I hadn't thought of before. All X-Wing costs me is money, and if FFG goes south I'm not so attached to the ships I have that I wouldn't be able to quit.


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