Thursday, February 23, 2017

Road to Adepticon 2017 : Part 2

Hello everyone!  This week I wanted to give you a short update on my Adepticon 2017 Preperation.

Adepticon 2017 is now less than one month away and I am feeling the hobby crunch in full force.  This is not a new feeling, as I have experienced it before, although it feels just as stressful and fun as it always has in the past.  Perfecting my models, my list, and stashing aside those few extra hobby bucks for an impulse buy constantly occupies my mind.

As you may have seen in my previous posts, I plan on taking a Stormcast Eternals force.  You will be happy to know that I finished painting the last of my Warrior Brotherhood last Friday night, just in time to see my original plan change the next day when I picked up my copy of the new Stormcast Eternals Battletome.

I am in no way upset that Warrior Brotherhood has been altered and that some warscrolls have been changed.  I believe it was a necessity for the health of the competitive gaming scene.  There appears to be quite a bit of potential in the new Battletome as well.  Diving into a new book is always an exciting time, especially “educating” your unfamiliar gaming buddies by catching them off guard.  However, I have chosen to stick with my initial plan of taking the Warrior Brotherhood.  I may splash into something new from the new Battletome, but I see no reason to alter my plan.  I believe the Warrior Brotherhood can still work and I intend to give it a go at Adepticon.

I am excited as a Stormcast player, but I feel that I may be running out of time to have an army that I am comfortable with playing.  I typically play test a list for a few months before I am familiar with it.  It is when I am comfortable playing the army that I can simply enjoy a fun competitive game with some new opponents.  I do not want to find myself second guessing my lists and abilities.  I feel keeping the bulk of my list as the Warrior Brotherhood will keep me in my comfort zone that I have developed, while at the same time bringing in something fresh.

I have a chance to field some new models and units in a competitive environment with a book that is a bit of an unknown.  I feel that including some of the newer units could prove to give me a slight advantage over players who are unfamiliar with the change, given that new mechanics and new list compositions can mix things up.  I just have to get my head wrapped around the new book and how I can supplement the list I wish to bring.

I may feel terribly behind on what I want to have completed for Adepticon, but I am staying motivated.  I keep the thought of meeting some of the people I know from Twitter and enjoying time celebrating this hobby.  I hope everyone is feeling more confident in their preparation than I am, but if not just stay positive and keep toward your goal as I am doing.  If you see me at Adepticon please come say hi!

Until Next week Happy Hobbying!

Also, I want to apologize again for the delay of last week's blog "Building a Community : Part 2"  Feel free to check it out on the link in case you missed it!

Edited by @Grudgegamer

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Building a Community : Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my Building a Community Series.  If you missed Part 1 please check it out here.  I apologize for the delay in getting this article posted.

In this installment, I want to talk about poisonous players and the current challenges with this type of player that I am currently facing.  I will not be calling out anyone by name, as that is not the direction I want to take this article.  My wish is to show you my personal dilemma that I have encountered while trying to grow my local scene.  Hopefully, my experiences can help others to better prepare for these obstacles.  


So first let me set the scene.  When the 8th Ed. Warhammer Fantasy scene died, I decided to take the reins and lead the Age of Sigmar division of our gaming club, Ligonier Legions.  Our club has three main game systems that we run, Flames of War, 40k, and Age of Sigmar.  We typically meet twice a month, and Flames of War.  Flames of War is the most popular of the games and was guaranteed a date each month.  This left 40k and AoS competing for the other date.  During this time, I was only in charge of running the Age of Sigmar events.  I did not have any authority on picking the dates for which games would be played.  This worked for about a year, until recently.  The senior member who handled all the higher level duties, as well as running the other game systems, burned out trying to manage it all.  He tried listening to everyone in how to run things and gave in to every request.  By trying to make everyone happy, this quickly made everyone unhappy.  Instead of playing the three main games we were supposed to be dedicated to, we were playing older editions, board games, open games days, build leagues, paint leagues, etc.  This led to bitter people blaming everyone else and generally beginning to create a poisonous atmosphere.

This should bring everyone up to speed.  At the end of 2016, I arrived at a combined 40k/AoS event.  The senior member who had been running things up to this point told me that he was done and needed a break from all the aggravation.  I was thrust into the position of club leader and running the 40k events as well.  I now organize all the events; however, I did have to put someone in charge of running Flames of War, as I am unfamiliar with that system.  I had seen this coming, so I had a bit of mental preparation to take over long before it actually happened.  The thing I wasn't prepared for though was the complaining that followed, and the poisonous players trying to assert their views.  I never realized how a few people could bring a group down and inhibit its growth so easily.

Over the past year of running AoS, I have learned to run events and gaming groups with the view that "if I was a player, how would I like this to be run".  My first order of business was to adjust how we shared time.  I wanted more focus on 40k and Age of Sigmar.  These two game systems have a bit of player cross over, as well as a stable core.  We now have a solid rotation of 40k and Age of Sigmar, and are able to keep Flames of War consistent each month.  Unless the group wants to run an open games day, in which case Flames of War has to volunteer to give up their day.

It did not take long after this adjustment for those poisonous players to assert their opinions and make demands that had pulled down the previous leadership.  It has been challenging, to say the least.  These players have refused to accept that Games Workshop has changed for the better and cling to older editions with zeal.  They have had no love for 40k as it stands now for the past year, arranging for previous edition play outs that have had a reduced turnout month after month.  When I put the word out that we will rotate 40k and Age of Sigmar they suddenly began defending the game of 40k as if nothing was all that wrong with it anymore.  They debated my change because I was taking time away from their failing games for Age of Sigmar.  I have explained myself, but they didn't grasp my long view.  I understand they want their old editions to become the “new” way to play in the area, but I know we can grow all of our game systems to be equally supported by the player base.  

They talk about wanting to run older editions of Fantasy and 40K even though in the past these events have failed to draw players.  I decided to not simply say no, as I feel that isn’t the right path.  I told them that it could be a fun idea and they should organize it on one of our open days.  I put the ball in their hands and said go for it.  So far they are unwilling to step up and organize it but continue to nag and make comments to other players.  You must be cautious if you have players who may be poisonous to your larger group because they could easily get the ears of the newer players with negative remarks or even outright complaints.  When my new players show up, I just want them to have fun playing some games, and not have people who take a negative view on the game drag them down. When this happens in my group, I combat the problem in two ways.  I counter with my excitement for the game.  If this fails, I have no problem pulling the person aside and asking them to set a better example for the younger players.  I have seen this succeed in the short term, but old habits tend to die hard so you need to keep aware of the poor attitude returning.

The long and short of all this is there will be some people that may be poisonous to your local group for one reason or another.  My advice is to set your course and see it to the end.  Some people may drop off, but others will join you and those are the players you will want to focus on.  It is important to adjust your course from time to time but always head towards your goal of growing your scene.  Don't let anyone drag the whole group down, keep motivated, keep active, and keep it fun along the way.  All the negative talk will not be able to stand up to the real examples of fun and excitement you will bring to the community.  You will fall occasionally, but focus on the good and don't let it drag you down.

Until Next Time, Happy Hobbying!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Building a Community : Part 1

Hello everyone!  I wanted to start a sub-series focused on building a community around Miniature War Gaming (particularly Age of Sigmar) by sharing my experiences.  My hope is to speak with other community members during this series, and share ideas to use with local gaming groups.  Part one of this series will focus on developing your local scene.  I will explore connecting a personal gaming group to a larger scene in future articles.

Before I dive in I want to preface the article a bit.  I had written an article about building the community, but after some friendly and honest critique, I saw how generic and boring the article was to read.  Instead, I am bringing you a fresher and much more personal experience, my experience to be exact, of the challenges in developing a local scene.  Please enjoy.

At the end of Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition, my local scene was falling apart.  My friend that was leading it all at the time was out of steam.  The dropping of Age of Sigmar took what little wind he had in his sails away.  I can't blame him either, as he had been playing for over 20 years in the Old World.  Within a few years, the scene went from tournaments of 24 attendants and up to just him and myself showing up.  Thankfully he has returned to the scene and is playing games somewhat more regularly, but he is no longer leading the group.

I decided to take up the reins and try to regrow the scene shortly after.  I debated with myself “why I had chosen to lead the local scene?”  I found my answer after a bit of thinking.  I truly love this hobby and this game, and I didn't want to see it die in my local area.  So I began taking steps to rebuild.  I began showing up to play and teach Age of Sigmar to anyone who would try, but it was weeks until I managed to get anyone to throw dice with me in a game of Age of Sigmar.  I won't lie in the fact that it was very rough and heartbreaking at times.  My best advice is to never give up and keep showing up to play.  You may not get a game in every night, but eventually, you will be playing consistently with a small group.

Over time I had a few small groups of people playing regular games and it felt rewarding, but I faced a new challenge.  These small groups played only 15 minutes apart from one another, but no matter what I did they simply would not communicate and to this day they still are separate entities with the only connecting being myself as the consistent Age of Sigmar player who leads the scenes.  This has been immensely frustrating, to be honest.  I have tried to set one-day tournaments with prize support, narrative events, and even simple open games days to get everyone together.  Nothing so far has worked, but I have not given up on it happening yet.  I hope to ultimately bring these groups together and get them playing with my consistent group (a scene I happily play with but have no part in leading) of game buddies that are a bit farther away.  I do not know if this will ever happen, but I continue trying.

There have been very exciting times within the groups that made then take leaps and bounds in a positive direction.  The first was the release of the Generals Handbook.  Many players who were on the fence were finally convinced, as they now had an easier way to set up a game with other players.  Those players who held off for so long found themselves with points and small local groups within reach to begin playing with and we welcomed them with open arms.  Shortly afterward, we had The Season of War, which we all had something to play for in capturing our perspective cities in order to change the future of the narrative.  It was a fun and exciting time.  As scenes grow, more and more types of players will join in.   Occasionally, however, you will attract people who can be harmful to a local scene.  This is a topic I am going to save that for the next installment of my "Building a Community" series.

I hope my honesty won't keep anyone from stepping up to lead their local scene.  It is a very tough and can be thankless work, but if you are doing it for the right reasons (love of the game and hobby), then the happiness you will experience as positive growth happens will outweigh any of the drawbacks.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and until Next Time Happy Hobbying!

Edited by @Grudgegamer on Twitter

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Realm Gate Blog One Year Anniversary

Last week was the anniversary of my blogging career, and I wanted to take a moment to look back on this previous year.


On January 23rd, 2016 I released my first blog post.  I loved the idea of running my own blog to share my thoughts and ideas with the community in a format beyond Twitter.  Truthfully I felt a little intimidated at first.  I believe I spent a week or two designing the blog layout and reading articles with titles such as "How to write your First Blog Post".  Soon I realized that I just needed to jump in with both feet and enjoy the plunge. 

Humble Beginnings...

I did my best to consistently put out one post each month.  I was successful in posting once or twice a month.  I, however, did miss a post in the month of August.  The topics I discussed were varied and typically what was on my mind at the time.  I was able to follow and respond to the trending topics of the Age of Sigmar community at large.  It is very likely that you will continue to see the same general composition of topics in the coming year, but I hope to add new topics of my own as well.  I believe responding to current events in the community and introducing topics of my own will create a continuing narrative between you, the readers, and myself.

This year I decided to make a few changes to my blog.  The biggest was switching to a weekly release format.  I am still adjusting to the new level of output, but I am very happy with the change.  One of my goals is to ensure I post entries on the same day every week within the next few months.  The other big change was the addition of my friend Tom as my editor.  If you have read my blog before, it isn't a secret that I am not the best with grammar or sentence structure, but I am striving to improve on this.  Tom has stepped up to edit my posts in order give you an improved professional product. 

I have had a lot of support throughout this past year.  I want to end by offering my thanks to everyone who joined me on this journey.  First, let me thank those in the Twitter community who have retweeted my blog posts, encouraged me along the way, and read my blog.  Second, I want to thank Tom who is now editing my blog.  He is volunteering his time to help me produce a better product.  He also has been my longest wargaming buddy.  He has taught me a lot about the way of gaming and tactics throughout the years.  Next, I want to thank my closest friends who are always there encouraging me.  They are not all wargamers, but they can see my love for this game, and buy me brushes, paints, models, and put up with my questioning of "What color scheme should this army be?" or "How does this look?".  When they visit my home, I am always humbled by the amount of time they spend looking at my latest work.  It truly fills me with joy having friends like this in my life.  Last I want to thank my wife for many of the same reason as my friends, but also because she allows me to put the time into my hobby as well display my armies throughout our home.

And of course, I cannot forget to thank you, my readers.  I am always pleased to see when my reader numbers increase every month.  Without you, this blog would not be worth it.  I hope you have enjoyed my first year and are looking forward to the coming year of posts.  The best thing I can hope for is that every one of you will share my blog with you gaming friends and clubs.  I also encourage you all to reach out to me about any topics you might be interested in seeing in the coming year.

Until next week, Happy Hobbying!