Monday, 11 May 2015

More loves and Hates

 Well not really  more sort of likes and dislikes really- I'm past the premeir leagues of L/H now and merely into the uppper dicvisions of mild irritation .... .
Again in no order

 Games Bores ......

Man these Dudes can give me a pain- but I don't encounter them that often - and I can usually walk away so they are never going to be in the real "Hates" column. But I suspect that they are becoming more common as "the gamin' innit" takes over from the more free form hobby many of us prefer.
 I don't bloody care if you rolled a 19 on a 17 sided dice.
 I don't bloody care if you can recite every amendment to  WUNDARULES v6.9(£29.99) in your sleep- go away and re-arrange your sock drawer- it will be more entertaining and intellectually stimulating.

I suppose this really comes from my basic antipathy to  rules gobbeldegook- though I totally accept Sam Mustaphas argument as to its necessity. Such gobbledegook is really why I much prefer Umpire control. Rules are by their nature inflexible- the Umpire should not be.

Geeks and Old men with Tape Measures.....

 This kind of self denigration also gets up my nose. It might be funny once in a while but contantly p"""""g in your own nest gets really wearing. None of the TWATS -even Tom our oldest member in his mid 60s -falls into the "Cardigan and Flask" category seemingly so beloved of some of  those of our commentators who wish to be thought  or to appear to be   more socially inept or deliberately  dweebish
 Of course the problem is that some of you CHOOSE  to be old men with tape measures- and act like it no matter how old you actually are.
 Now don't get me wrong I don't want the equally ridiculous  SHAZAM- KAPOW ! of the comic convention or   the GW dudes I run into and the awful sloganned T-shirts are a definite fashion faux pas  but I've seen shows where- by Sunday afternoon there is more life in a 3 day corpse. Chaps wandering about  with faces like a wet weekend in North Wales in the 1960s- when the pubs were shut all looking as if they are waiting for either a mercy killing or a number 19 bus to fall under.
 I repeat- we do ourselves no favours here. Why  are some chaps so insecure about what they do as a hobby - even to each other? Its pathetic.

Well done demo games.

Now these I like  but a really good demo includes a couple of talking heads in the demo crew who will  give you the spiel - tell you whats going on and possibly allow you to play a move or two- without smashing the place up . Games do not repeat NOT have to be games for children- the average  club show game is not a creche where you can leave young Tarquin while you go and spend cash the wife doesn't know about...
Yet there are some chaps who want to ban Demos from shows altogether and reduce all the games to fast kiddies games of a hour or less- or -perish the thought those bloody awful "Boutique Games" . This of course will massively narrow the hobby and  turn it into merely a dice rolling contest or a chess or bridge  tournament..
So at any show you need a mix- from entry level "throw a 6 to win"  kids games to the more produced and yes sometimes complex re-creations of  period battles in miniature.

Good middle sized shows.

Another like. Despite some of the things I've said in previous posts there are still some good middle sized shows about.
 Falkirk's Carronade  last weekend being a case in point. There was a good mix of games from Durhams 54mm Napoleonic  down to a couple  boutique games- one being a massively overpriced Star Wars game. Which predictably was surrounded by kids- you need no effort to play and from my short watch it seemed massively simplistic superb if you are 10 .
 Yet overall the show was a little cracker- and yes we'll be there next year.
 This is the way a club show should be. Plenty of enthusiasm for whatever they were doing-games of  several different types both historical and not  right until the end no 3 day corpses' walking about and a good spread of age groups. There was no "Death of the Hobby" in evidence here.
 This was - and is a proper grass roots show with real wargamers doing real things and not always  pandering to the commercial whim of the games designer dudes .
 From the Traders viewpoint- I made a few quid and covered my costs and got to talk to some of the chaps buying my toys- never a bad thing.- despite having to get up before first sparrow fart !

Unlike a larger event such as Salute and Derby the more local middle-sized show has something different to offer. The atmosphere is usually more relaxed without the frenetic" buy this now" shyte from much of the Fantasy lobby. As a Trader I get to talk to chaps more at the smaller events and as a hobbyist I get to see what other chaps are doing.
 This tends not to happen at the larger commercial free- for- alls !  
 Of course in an ideal world you want a bit of both. Salute and Derby- now Donnington of course- have their own attractions and are excellent shows from both a Traders and a Hobbyists perspective and I heartily recommend that every serious wargamer goes to each at least once  but a good local show also has stuff to offer- different one hopes from the mega-shows  less strident perhaps. More detail less broad brush.

Now there are probably too many shows in any given year- but frankly I don't care about those I don't go to. In one sense if I'm not there either as Trader or Punter they don't exist .. I'll do 10 shows this year as a trader- already done3 of theseand one- Durham- as a Punter/ Demonstrator. Frankly that'll do me in a given year

Narrowing focus.

Finally a deep irritation but one which ultimately doesn't matter. The HUGE narrowing of the  hobby over the last decade. The emphasis on "games" has  narrowed the focus rather more than somewhat. If all you do is buy off the shelf and do the army list thing. then you are of course restricted to the products that are put into your sweaty mitt. If you don't think for yourself - at least some of the time- then you will be to an extent in intellectual thrall to the producers of those "games" .
. Frankly I can't see the point of many of the "games" touted about today. SAGA with its 6 man shield wall and all its attendant copiers Muskets and tomahawks etc etc - Why are the so popular- ans- no brain cells required. No effort requred no sense of achievement required either ....


  1. I agree with 90% of what you say other than one crucial point. Tom, mid 60's, naff off he must be be at least 82 the old sod!!!!

  2. I can certainly understand your remark on 'games'. They have a place -sure - but to my mind the story's the thing. hence my preference for 'projects' - worlds, campaigns and what have you. the off-the-shelf type game seems likely to become too stereotyped too quickly.

    1. Ion- Exactly . Part of wargaming is of course story telling - but that is a skill that has gone out of the window in the pursuit of quick bucks and simplicity

    2. I think the rot set in with the original AD&D when it was released back in the late 70's.... the story telling got put to one side, and they started bringing out all the scenario books - ready written, all the "hard" work done... as a result gamers got lazy, and started expecting it for any new period or rule set...

    3. Steve- True though the "points system and army list " has a part to play too. and they are older than Dand D and its derivatives. Whilst not directly involved - possibly the rise of competitons- and companies bandwaggon jumping can also bear some blame. BUT as you say the basic problem is laziness both physical and intellectual .
      Apparently dice rolling is an intellectual exercise !!!