Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Scattered fragements of different Eras ...Cries of "We're DOOMED !!!"

40mm ECW  troops on round bases placed in trays 8 to a tray . Its a small company of 24 figures
 So Barry Hiltons short piece on the future of the hobby makes a few waves. Surely that was its point. But as I consider the Scottish referendun like fallout I wonder if we are not rather putting the cart before the horse. Times change , ttastes change,  the hiobby is not what is was even 10 years ago.  While for some this is a "Golden Age " for others it is merely the onset of Doddering Old Age..
One of the things that we HAVE to get used to is that this is not one homogenous hobby. We go on and on about Broad Church and all inclusivity but how true is that?  There are a few common elements perhaps but how close is some chap who plays a single specific game - be it Flames of War or DBM  or Void or Warhammer Fantasy or WH40k  to a "period player" who studies his chosen era and builds his armies to fit them as he sees it then chooses his rules to fit his vision ..
 At one extreme the dyed in the head FOW player will ONLY  buy the overpriced and not always accuate Battlefront gear in the same way a Workshop junkie won't look at any other kind of Sci- Fant models- better and cheaper though they may be. Now as always there are shadings so for example I sell lots of WW2 stuff to chaps who use FOW  but don't like Battlefront at the other end of the spectrum are those who only  buy or even have made the figures that fit their particlar favourite period and style and the  choose rules that fit in with their idea of how the 3rd Slobovian War was actually fought.
 My point here is that these innumerable shadings are more like a random collection of potsherds in an arhaelogists trench than a single homogenous hobby . The different sherds come from subtly different pots- some pretty similar but others not and some not fitting this pattern at all- but perhaps THAT one over there in a different trench..
 That some games outfits want to make us all dig the same trench and olny use the pots they "allow"  is simply part of the normal commercial hurly - burly  and organising a "single voice" would only aid that wish - even assuming such a monumental imposition was even possible let alone desirable.
 Lets be honest here and pull no punches most chaps just want to do what they do they way the do when they do without interference from anyone- and indeed most do.
 Bad shows should wither on the vine- nobody forces you through the door with a cattle prod. I've told you my personal solution. I'm down from a high of 26 shows a year in the mid 1990s  to a mere 10 now and a couple of those may be in jepordy. Since the 90s costs have rocketed- Trade Stand Fees  Van Hire Hotels  Food Beer. the cost of doing even a small local show  would be around £300-400 ,  .A Weekender further afield and I've kissed a grand plus goodbye before a soldier has gone over the counter, so I pick my shows carefully  and if they don't cut the mustard they are gone.
 However Chaps want shows to be local  - witness the number of small local club shows in the small ads  or even simply on the net I can think of loads of shows I no longer do- either because they were poor  or because they are no longer being run  but that doesn't stop new ones in the same mould sprining up  all over. I've been to some God-Awful shows in my time both as trader and displayer. Some where the traders outnumbered the punters and where the little old Ladies wanderedin looking for the White Elephant stall !
 I can remember a show where the organisers offered free entry and still no-one turned up. At another one- one of the bad mannered organiser shows.. another trader- no longer trading made a hlf - hearted attempt to run over one of my team in his poxy knackered old van - possibly because Jim had commented on his well ...stink...  he was one of the most unwashed fellows ever !
 so shows are much better now in many respects  especially if you choose wisely.
 Now on to diversity- todays PC buzz- word!
 In our small and unrepresentative group none of us do exactly the same periods in the same scale Jim and I do AWI- me in 28 he in 15mm  Jiom also does SYW in 10mm I no longer do Andrew and I both do moderns- different bits in different scales Jeff is mainly Naval - though does 15mm WW2 , Napoleonic and some 15mm Ancients and has other armies but usually only 1 side- a hangover from his competiton days .
 I have 25mm ECW. I'm the only one in the group who does except perhaps new chap "Theatre" Dave- to distinuish him from Farmer Dave( lots of stuff see his Northumbrian Wargamer blog)- who has some as well as a bundle of 28mm Ancients. As far as I'm aware no-one games fantasy- thoug both Jim and I may paint the odd fantasy figure as a painting excerise.
 I'm the only one who has a sci-fi collection - and that pretty modest.
 So even  in  our tiny group  the diversity is considerable- none are now competiton players and all  are to a grater or lesser extent "period players" rather than points and armylist types.. By comparison to some g larger clubs I suppose we are pretty homogenous !!!
 So are we doomed - no I don't think so  changing certainly evolving perhaps- though when you see some of the 1970s unwashed brigade ...  but I'm not  joining the nay- sayers and  Prophets of Dooms (or should that be profits of doom??) 
 As always if you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined


  1. Evening Andy,
    Im with you I think on most of your post. We certainly aren't doomed, in fact I think the wargaming arena is doing okay.It could do better, but I still see a lot of people buying, playing and generally being busy.I think the nature of what wargaming is about makes it certain that there can never be a central organising politburo, as I said in my posts, wargaming is different things to different people, and long may it remain that.
    Anyway, good post.

    1. Robbie the things we could do better on tend to be those outside the hands of the Trade- at least to a certain extent. There are still plenty of blokes who are "nervous" about their hobby. They don't seem confident in what they do- especially outside their comfort zone.
      Lots of chaps arer only intrested in certain gam,es orv periods and not really in "Wargaming" generally .

  2. People do get excited about the strangest things... :o)

    Supply and demand will "fix" the show issue - not enough footfall and the show dies...

    My guess is we'll end up with a half a dozen huge ones, geographically evenly spread.... I'm not so sure on duration... I guess the bigger they are the more likely they can support multiple days....

  3. It seems the railway modelling hobby has many of the same problems! Diversity of scale from Z to 1 and upwards, massive range of interests from Stockton and Darlington to Modern Era, and choice of worldwide railways. Shows are just the same, varying from little local clubs with perhaps only half a dozen layouts to national shows at the NEC or similar. Groans from afficcionados about attracting 'the youth element'.
    But it still carries on, and have you seen the price of a Hornby loco these days?
    So I wouldn't get too dis-spirited about thinks, there will always be an interest, even if it does seem to shrivel temporarily.

    1. Steve and Joppy- precisely and yes the bloody things aren't cheap and O gauge can cost a mint as for 1 and above -