Monday, January 6, 2014

Project golden age Warhammer 40,000! Can it ever happen again?

To answer the question about golden age anything.  It is impossible to reclaim the golden age isn't it?  At best you can create a new age, or perhaps grab a nice silver or bronze age (a bad mish-mosh of metaphor there but you get my meaning). 

So for my gaming group we have cycled through many phases over the past four years with mini gaming.  I've struggled to reclaim anything along the lines of what I once enjoyed in terms of mini gaming.  Board games and RPGs have flourished in my group, but mini gaming has been a tough proposition that has sputtered at best, and just been mostly a non-starter.
We are trying again with some easier, skirmish types of games.  We still have some things on the back burner which I am very optimistic about, such as Bolt Action! (in 20mm), Black Water Gulch/old west skirmish, etc.
My own background in mini gaming is mostly Games Workshop related.  I had a wonderful run with GW when I lived in Las Vegas.  About seven years of bliss and a few years of pretty good gaming all told.  A large gaming club/group comprised of working professional types who enjoyed the hobby at its highest levels.  Many members of the group would drive/fly to GTs and big events together.   We had some golden demon level painters in our midst, some math-hammer wizards (long before Bell of Lost Souls and all the associated stuff).  We had some all around great folks to practice the hobby with. Around 2007-2008-ish that all came to an end.  In 2009 I moved to the Ogden, Utah area and checked out the local hobby store scene and was disgusted with the types of players and the condition of the stores. Seriously not to be a snob, but I prefer to game with hobbyists who paint their armies and like the backstory, and themes of whatever given game system, etc.  I really cannot game with abusive/mean/selfish store troll types and that was all I really found here in public play.

I have sold some friends along the way, and actually feel guilty about it :(
So who knows ... a new golden age is highly unlikely given I have about 8 people living in the ADD-everyone has pads/phones and wastes too much time on Steam vs. 2002 when I had 40-60 people in a huge club with the support of several hobby stores in a time when no-one had the level of distraction we all suffer from now.  To top it off back then I was earning a nice six figure income and half the people I gamed with were high income earning professional types.  Today my gaming group is mostly college student/entry level professional type folks who have limited gaming budgets and my own gaming budget has been halved. 
So I had to put mini gaming on the back shelf and slowly I've found other like minded folks.  Well that quest has taken four years and we still aren't there yet.  But a few little rays of hope poke through the clouds here and there.  Sadly I've sold off pretty large swaths of my once incredible horde o' 40k stuff.  I had tens of thousands of dollars invested into the hobby, pretty much 3000 to 5000 points in every army and a few armies like nids and marines ran well over 10k points.  Of course most of it was in boxes, on sprue, etc.  but a fair hunk was painted.  But as the years passed and no games were to be found and the game of 40k changed.  I started unloading stuff on ebay.  I'm still doing it honestly as I just don't see any hope for 40K in our group at least 6th/7th edition 40k.  I've seen the kill team stuff and for many reasons that has never taken for our group and/or my own personal taste.  The systems never really balance well and it just doesn't feel like 40k.  I'd honestly rather play a better, alternative action, random initiative, true sci-fi skirmish game ... with 40k stuff ... but none seem to exist :(
I have vast amounts of Warhammer Fantasy that I will never sell as it is just too useful in other things, like for D&D, and all the awesome fantasy skirmish options that there are out there as well.  40K was harder to justify as there are really not as many uses for vast amounts of the stuff, it is kind of unique in terms of having other systems to choose from.  For our gaming group we have long since decided that if we want to play company/battalion level engagements in sci-fi we'd go at it in 15/10mm or smaller.  Big models just aren't very practical in 28mm for us anymore.  I don't have the big public spaces I used to have access to for massive apocalypse battles, etc.  So 40k just has on so many levels stopped making sense, from time to space to $$$ it is just not really viable for me personally nor for anyone in my gaming group. 
That said mini gaming is changing in positive ways for us.  Song of Blades and Heroes has really been a hit so far and I think it might be the game that revives mini gaming for us, along with Bolt Action! and maybe Alpha Strike.  After that who knows.  We have had some after gaming BS sessions about possibly bringing 3rd/4th edition era 40K back and on that note I am hanging onto a last couple beloved armies.  My orks and deathguard.  I have some odds and ends kicking around in boxes that will likely remain.  I am slowly going to start working on a project (probably later this spring/early summer) to get a board game style 3rd/4th ed. "demo-set" together and I'll run a game at our micro-con this summer.  It will be a game between orks and deathguard and the intention will be to see if it rekindles any strong feelings in the gaming group.  If so who knows maybe we'll start playing some occasional "oldhammer" if not my goal for next fall is to find a solid skirmish system that I can enjoy 40k-esq games in. 

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