Sunday, July 10, 2011

The truth is out there

Let me tell you about my Saturday Night. I attended Blood in the Sun a 50 player WFB tourney here in my area this weekend but not as a WFB player...I showed up at 8 pm Saturday Night to meet some pals and play Warmachine on the tables for the open gaming they had going on.

Considering I knew many players there, it was certainly weird showing up a Warhammer tournament and not playing Warhammer, and I had to explain myself to at least 3 people. But this is the world I now find myself in. I was a registered player and attendee of this event and planned on playing all the way up until probably the last week of June. When an odd series of occurrences somewhat snowballed into all 3 of us (myself and the two guys I was riding over and rooming with from our club) having serious issues with attending the event. For me it was a quick but mandatory overnight, out of town work trip getting in way and not allowing me to be there Friday night as planned. Instead making me head out early Saturday morning for the 10am game one. While not the earliest table call I've ever had but if my 730 am flight home touchdown was late (and when you count on those things they always are) with a 45 min+ drive to the venue.. I was screwed.

On top of that I also to face up to the reality this had become a major tournament with alot of notable regional players and I had played exactly ONE game of WFB since Adepticon. My knowledge of the 8th ed rules is still muddled with 7th ed hold overs that my brain isnt letting go..I know zero about, nor I have played a game against 8th ed version of Orcs, Tomb Kings or even VC,or Dwarfs..8th ed incarnations. The cool terrain contest aside, spending a few hundred bucks to get rolled all weekend suddenly became less than appealing. With 10 person wait list with a couple diehard players I know on it...I did the right thing and bowed out (in fact all three of us did). in favor of people that should be there.

As a result I was glad I did because the first thing I hear when I show up besides people are shocked that a Bretonnian player with one Trebuchet is running the tables and way ahead ( he goes on to win B.O.- so congrats guy whomever you are!) The other talk is that they changed the blood & glory scenario and (there was only one) when you lost your banners you didnt lose the game, just couldnt use your general or BSB any longer. Considering I signed up for this event after Adepticon, on the talk that alternate means of scoring where being considered, including Blood and Glory on numerous scenarios. I would have seriously been bummed out to find out the day of how the scenarios actually shook out. (They did not release the scenarios before the event)

I am sure they did this because of pressure from the status quo to go with the flow, that "flow" being the horribly annoying way Warhammer is currently being organized. The result being standard "by the book" scenarios with B&G neutered so people didn't whine. Outside of confirmation for myself in that I made the right decision, this event looked super well organized and well run by some great guys.(They even had the scores up tonight! ) If I only I liked the game in its current state, I surely would give this event a big thumbs up. IF you are digging 8th edition and its current tournament application then do put this event on your list next year for sure. Unfortunately for me, it was only again confirmation, with an outside looking in revelation that there will be no Warhammer Fantasy Battles for me in the foreseeable future.

We must take these changes in life in context. For me context is everything. I am one of those people who sees something under a different context and its just not the same. Regardless if its outward appearance remains unchanged. A great example I like to use to illustrate my mindset is the TV show from the 1990's the X-files. I loved this show when it aired for probably 5 years, (Coincidentally the same as my love affair with WFB) My girlfriend (now wife) and I planned our social lives around watching this show, (because my VHS recordings of it at the time looked like crap) and used to get together with a group of friends on Friday nighst to watch it religiously (kind of like our current "club night") As its almost decade of seasons rolled on, and of course like any show its quality deteriorated, I became aware of what an utter contemptuous d-bag David Duchovny apparently was in real life how he didn't particularly like the show, and it was just a paycheck until he could get some "real movie work" . While a normal person can separate things like that from the their enjoyment of it, I just cant and eventually there came a point when I watched the show and all I could think about was how insincere he actually was (I guess people call that acting?) and soon after I ceased giving a shit about the show, stopped watching it and life went on.

A funny anecdote I must add here in that many years after the show was off the air somewhere around 2007..I met Gillian Anderson a few times as she and I shared the same taste in restaurants and I kept seeing her at a particular place I like to eat near my work...eventually I was seated next to her and her husband and small child, while I with my wife and small child. we exchanged pleasantries, and eventually saw and repeated the episode again with some more chit chat. While very charming and nice, her comments on the show in our brief conversations where akin to hey it was "cool" but it was again "a paycheck".

Games Workshop is like the X-Files to me, I can still appreciate it to a certain point but in the end I am finding it hollow and insincere because of antipathy it has for it customers and too many of its customers obliviousness or acceptance of that antipathy. While one shouldn't obsess about thing you can have no control over and just enjoy what you can, there is no disputing GW's variety of offenses of late really pushed some buttons with me, that have had an impact on me as a player.

When you invest a ton of time and money or emotion into someone else product you want it to be as important to them as it is to you, but in life that often just not the case. its just a "paycheck".

There are just too many of other great games out there to sit there and say "I want to believe" when as a guy with all kinds of miniatures not just my 5000 points of painted Empire the miniatures/wargaming hobby keeps chugging along and getting bigger and better all the time.

So that was my Saturday night I sat at tables of a Warhammer tournament I wasnt playing in -playing Warmachine and actually did wonder if any of guys were upstairs watching reruns of the Xfiles.


Buhallin said...

I tend to lurk here, but for this I have to say... Bravo!

I play a vast variety of tabletop games, and absolutely hate the air that GW games suck out of the room. For the mediocre quality of the games, and the horribly exploitative way GW presents them, it's absolute torture to me to see GW tourneys/leagues drawing 15-20 players, while our Malifaux or Uncharted Seas fights to keep 3-5 players going.

It's always wonderful seeing someone come out of the fog of GW ;) I don't play Warmachine any more myself, but I'd also suggest you try Malifaux, Uncharted Seas/Firestorm Armata/Dystopian Wars, and I've been looking at Infinity lately as well... Tons of far better games out there!

Anonymous said...

I must say that this was an excellent blog post, well-written and thought-provoking. As an ex-Warhammerist I can agree with your sentiment. While never a tournament player, the manner in which WHFB has been developed has completely killed my enthusiasm and love for the game. The constant price hikes, the rule changes catering to tournament play, the shift in marketing and style to target the kids more and more...meh.

Nowadays time spent gaming with miniatures is an increasingly rare commodity, and I can spend it on much better games than WHFB. It's a shame, since the game still carries a lot of nostalgy from the 15 years of playing it.

Once more, thanks for a great post.

Lord Azaghul said...

I feel the exact same way. I enjoyed it, but it's no longer for me. 8th is not the game I want. And from the sounds of it, I'm not hopeful for 6th ed 40k, the company is already repeating is 7th/8th mistakes.

Gw has simply gone to far, and no longer appeals to me, in fact it even
caused alot of bitterness in me for a time. Sure I've got a closet load of models that I'm still deciding what do with...some I'm keeping for casual play (dwarves/IG) some I'm selling, and a bunch I've already sold...I'm moving on. I've been playing all sorts of great games from table top to board game, and even a few new video games.

Thanks for the post.

Garou said...

Good post, and some food for thought. I have been playing GW games since 2nd ed WFB, and Rogue Trader, although I have done the "drop out, sell everything, come back in a year later" routine a couple of times. I haven't been thrilled with the last several editions, but I have been reluctant to part with my current armies, simply because GW is almost a ground state of miniature wargaming. I certainly haven't added to them in several years, and maybe I should cut an army or three loose and trade from for more Warmahordes figs.

Anonymous said...

Once again - a brilliant post. I hate you. More later.

Steve said...

A great post! GW is in a golden state right now. Not because of their product, but they have the momentum to keep making money no matter what the quality of their product or price is.

After the tournament last weekend, I have even found myself wanting to play Warhammer again. WHY?! you may ask... It isn't because of the rules, it isn't because of the models. It is simply because there are a lot of cool people that still play. It gives me an opportunity to go hang out with those friends that haven't switched to other gaming systems.

I have a feeling that a lot of players of Warhammer right now are in that game for one of two reasons. 'My friends play' and 'I have too much invested to quit'.

As a company, I would love to be in that situation! If only GW could do more with that potential than concentrate how to milk every last penny out of all their players.

Anonymous said...

It's an astute observation that our enthusiasm is instinctively tempered when we see the insincerity in something. How many times have I listened to a rock band, only to discover that the lead singer is a douche-bag, and then turned them off completely? Politics figures into everything. I can't watch Braveheart anymore.

So it is with game companies too. I've had too many years of shitty ideas, price hikes and IP jousting to think that GW is a friendly, interested company anymore. Gaming is fun - I love it. But GW's involvement in my favourite genres sucks all the air out of the room, and now I'm mostly bitter. So bitter in fact, that I'm dropping/selling/refusing their product anymore.

This has turned out to be a good thing. Like you John, I've bought Hail Caesar too, and am keen to play it with my many miniature gaming friends. Ironically, I'm going to use my GW miniatures to play it at first, to get a feel for the rules. I have several painted WHFB armies - but I'm not expanding them. How fucked up is that?

And don't get me started on magic. I cannot freakin' believe that the absolute WORST phase of the current WHFB rules got an expansion!! I am so sick of playing good games, only to be side-swiped by an unstoppable magic item or spell. Makes my blood boil! I guess it's a natural progression to historicals eventually as the years go by.

No regrets.

John@Plastic.Legions said...

While you'll hear people like us called cynics, bitter or just old. It's just the natural progression of things, I suppose. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that GW has just been "phoning it in" at least since the big shakeups of 2009. Fortunately for GW they live in a world with its core customer base consisting of adults carrying on childhood nostalgia's or new players ( young and old) blinded by the bright lights, big city of miniatures gaming. Its the transient player who goes thru the growing pains of the GW hobby only to find out he's been "had" who then has nothing else to fall back on that I feel bad for.They either leave the hobby in disgust or spend that denial phase defending things like "storm of magic" and "orangutangs with laser guns", until they find acceptance and make their peace.

I never grew up on GW and had a childhood collection of old school fantasy and historical miniatures before I ever got on the GW bus, so for me it's just another fork in road. These days not only can I not watch Braveheart but Mad Max and Road Warrior as well.

Hell, I cant even watch the 1st two Star Wars movies, which were as much as anything the blueprints for my gaming youth. I wish we had nickle for every brilliant idea that who's lifeblood was sucked dry the minute its went "public" or whose charm was bulldozed by its crass commercialization. In the end you just have to stick with what you think is fun and with (as you've said)
No Regrets..

at least in today's information age we like minded have the venues to talk about it.


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