|The lesser of two evils... but which is which? No don't answer that!!!|
Firstly if you are reading this Sunday Sermon you should be happy you aren't reading the other Sunday Sermon I had written in preparation for today. Man that was a depressing dirge of a read, that hopefully I'll never have need of. So yeah I'm sort of around again now, although I'm currently feeling a tad rough, like a herd of elephants held an illegal rave in my herd and forgot to invite me. Plus I think a badger in a sandpaper suit has taken up residence in my throat and is doing their best to rip it to shreds. So what the hell is this Sermon all about? Well I had an email a few weeks back from a chap who lives in Poland. He has a bit of a gaming quandry that I think was causing him some unnecessary anguish. You see, amongst his small group of gamers, Warhammer 40k was king. Nothing wrong with that, it's a popular game with a huge miniatures range. But he was upset, and indeed a little bit angry. You see he'd tried getting people to play other games. He'd tried Infinity and Mofaux first, but they hadn't taken. He had brought two starter sets for Warmachine in the hopes that running demo games might entice a few to give it a go... all to no avail.
However, spurned on by my firey words about the hobby needing evangelists he had continued. He hammered away at these games, and indeed added a few more to the mix. But, still it seemed 40k was too powerful a beast to tackle. He was apparently at his wits end with the game, it was too powerful an opponent and he was clearly starting to feel exasperated. He was ready to chuck it all in, and end it all... wargaming that is... he wasn't being that dramatic. He told me he was just fed up with playing 40k, that it was boring, and that it was all his friends would play, He couldn't understand why they weren't even interested in anything else. Then a few weeks later, apparently something caught the eye of one of the other gamers in his group. Something new, something different and exciting... something that was not only not 40k, but was also a none Games Workshop product. It seems my Polish friends prayers had been answered, a chink of light had appeared in the groups 40k armour and he was going to be on it in a flash, and make sure that this glimer of hope wasn't extinguished for good. What was this new game? Dust Warfare... oh crap... I think I know where this is going!!!
Now we get to the meat of his third email to me. I think it would be fair to say my budding Polish games pimp was less than enamoured with my recent review of Dust Warfare. You see it could not have come at a worse time for him and his gaming group. Two other gamers, not including the first guy to suggest Dust Warfare had decided they wanted to play the game and were preparing to make a joint bulk order from some online retailer or other. With him that made four people willing to start up a new game... my God, that's just about enough to get a foothold! They were all excited and ready to jump into a new product from a new company. That's a big step for any gaming group. Then I wade in with my size 9's. Firstly I want to say that I stick by everything I said in my review of Dust Warfare. Nothing any of the hate filled emails I've received from jilted wargamers has convinced me I've got it hideously wrong. I fully appreciate others might enjoy it, but I don't think it's all that and a packet of crisps. It's not terrible of bad, it is just average with a few niggles. However, my review was enough to scupper his break for freedom from the tyranny of 40k it seems.
|I can see how I might have failed with part of my mission statement here|
So despite sticking by my review and everything contained within in it, I would like to apologise to my Polish friend for my poor timing, although in all fairness I think you should be thanking me for saving you £150... no?... Too soon is it? OK. He took it all with good humour and didn't threaten any bodily harm to my personage, or indeed members of my family. No I think he just wanted to vent a little, although he did say he wanted scream when he read my review, because he knew his friends would have read it too. That I can understand... because it turns out my review convinced his three friends that perhaps Dust Warfare wasn't for them. He told me this was a devastating personal hobby blow for him, and that he was close to giving it all up. Again I'm talking about the hobby, not his life. This was the exact opposite reason I started writing my Blog... so I felt a little bit guilty as I read his email, and like I'd somehow betrayed one of my gaming principle. Any way, he just couldn't possibly carry on after months of trying to convince others to play new games, this latest blow was just too cruel. It was all too much. I have to say at this point I felt like a big fat ass hat of the highest order. Not too mention as I say a little bit guilty.
So I had a bit of an emailing too and fro with the guy, to try and sort out why he was so glum and depressed about his hobby. So I asked him what it was about 40k that he hated so much? His answer surprised me, he actually didn't hate 40k. In fact he told me he used to enjoy playing the game. Odd I thought. So why did that change? Simple he wanted to try other things, and therefore the game he once enjoyed had somehow become his nemesis, he'd forgotten he quite liked it. Now I could have told him this up front, but I'm a psychologist by training and we have an insane desire to drag these things out into as many 'sessions' as possible. You know to maximise our earning potential, plus we feel it's best people come to these conclusions by themselves, with the odd push and prod from us of course. So I continued to ask him about various facets of 40k in a fake attempt to get at the route cause of his angst... obviously I already knew what had happened, but play along with me for a little bit. It might get entertaining eventually, and I might even make a point! I know it doesn't seem likely right now as you read this, but there is the slim possibility of both happening.
|It's out now so we all know what it looks like|
So was it the miniatures for 40k? Did he not like the miniatures? No, he quite liked his Space Wolves and had started to collect a Dark Eldar army (I'm sure my friend Sorrowshard would have something to say about that). Even more curious, I said, feigning surprise. You like the game and you like the miniatures? Odd. So was it that there was simply too much stuff for him to paint, to actually play 40k? You know the long hard slog to get an army finished? We've all come close to painting burn out I'm sure, if not felt the full force of it head on. Well no, because he used airbrushes and painted everything quickly, and then touched stuff up afterwards. It's the painting side of things he really enjoys. I have to say at this point I was feeling a bit 'perturbed' as to what the exact issue was, what was this thing that was causing him so much anguish with regards his hobby? So I said this to him. I mean it sounds like he has a good gaming group who meet regularly to play. They all have their own armies, and they all seem to be painted. I know many people who would kill for that right now. He wasn't taking the bait though, so I was blunt, like only I can be it seems. I asked, "what's your problem with 40k?" He couldn't really answer that question.
|It's a bit of a beast|
It seems he just wanted to try something new, and 40k got in the way. There's no harm in that I told him. But seriously? Giving up a hobby you clearly love, walking away on a great group of wargaming friends, and a game you quite enjoy because you can't convince them to try something new? Seems a bit silly and extreme to me, I said. So I told him to take a bit of a break and think about it before he eBay'ed his armies. Or at least wait around and see what 6th Edition 40k brought to the table. He promised he'd at least do that, before knee jerking into taking up train spotting or something! His plight though got me to thinking, and when that happens let me assure you it's never good. How many others are out there right now, in a similar position? You have a decent group of gaming buddies, but for whatever reason they're fixated on one specific game. It doesn't really matter what game it is, but you want them to try something else because some Muppet like me has turned your head. Does that sound like you? Have you tried convincing people of the merits of other games and got nowhere? If so have you to ever felt like throwing the towel in on the hobby completely?
|Peter Paul Rubens - Tereus (1638) - All's well that ends well... right?|
I only ask because it's a state of mind I've never really been in myself. I've always been lucky enough to find people willing to give any game a go. I don't say that to rub further salt into any freshly opened wounds, I say it because I genuinely can't understand the state of mind that would say lets jack it all in. Especially if there was a group of gamers still playing a wargame of some sort or other nearby. I mean, I think I'd always choose the lesser of two evils myself and play whatever game was on offer. I just love my toy soldiers a little bit too much I guess. I think therefore sometimes we all need a little bit of perspective on where our hobby is at. There are bound to be some poor mugs worse of than we are. If however you find yourself in a similar predicament I'd be really interested in hearing what you have to say about it. As for my Polish friend? Two days after he emailed me to let me know he was going to take a break and cool off he sent me another email. Turns out those three friends had read my Dark Age article and re-read my Freebooter's Fate articles again and had decided they wanted to give them a bash. Another gamer in his group had also read about the Heavy Gear Blitz Task Force deals on my Blog and wanted to learn more, so it's not all bad news is it? I'll take that apology now buddy... no?... still too soon? Sorry. Peace out!