Winter is Coming… And a change to how we game

Winter is coming… And it’s bringing a change to competitive  gaming.

From my point of view, things have recently really started due to the recent lawsuit by Judges of ‘Magic: The Gathering’ against Wizards of the Coast (WOTC), and Privateer Press’s (PP) recent announcement regarding their Press Ganger program.

A breakdown of the Wizards of the Coast ‘Magic: The Gathering’ case is Here.

Basically, Judges of their (WOTC) tournaments, feel they are treated as employees, and should be due recompense, due to WOTC controlling the Judge program, and are in overall control of the tournaments and Judges duties during those tournaments. WOTC, of course, feel differently.

And given Privateer press’s recent announcement regarding their winding down of their Press Ganger program, which can be found Here.

So the way I see things is on one hand we have a company who expect a group of loyal fans and supporters to act as employees and to run big tournaments, without them benefitting from the rights and entitlements of employees.*

And on the other hand, (it looks like at least to me), that we have a company, that’s (A) trying to avoid a similar situation with their Press Gangers, and (B)  partially using it as part of a cost cutting program. As they’re also planning on no longer releasing cards with their models, instead relying on digital downloads and a print on demand program.

So given what’s happening with these two game systems/ companies, what’s in store from other companies. 

I’m looking at Paizo’s Pathfinder Society and WOTC Dungeons & Dragons organised play, to see how things play out. Both rely on fans and volunteers to run and promote their systems. 

Are we entering a period of gaming where more and more game companies will be leaving it up to the game stores to promote and run their systems. Instead of their previous fan base/ volunteers. I’m aware some systems already have an organised play system in place with game stores, such as X-wing by Fantasy Flight Games and Friday Night Magic  by WOTC, as in my local meta. 

But what about others such as Privateer Press, who relied on their Press Gangers for promoting and organising tournaments (big and small), and who’ll now be leaving things up to the brick and mortar stores. 
It’ll be interesting to see how things develop further.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave 

* I’m aware previously WOTC have rewarded judges and volunteers, with limited edition cards, playmats, and other such merchandise, for their contributions and effort during and after tournaments.

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Why we do, what we do…

This one has been sitting in my draft folder for months. Part of the reason is I didnt think i could do it justice or put it properly into words. I still don’t but i’m sick of looking at it in my draft folder. It’s going to be a long one, so here we go…

This time round its going to be part tutorial, part testimony and part question about why we do, what we do.

A bit of back story to set the post. Christmas just gone 2 things happened that was the basis for this post.

The first was my meta ran a Secret Santa where you got a name of a player from the meta and then spent up to €15 on a model that you would assemble and paint for that player. The second thing was I had a conversation with my older brother about what i do (about my tabletop games) and about how i’ld assemble and paint models. It got me thinking about why we (as tabletop wargamers) do, what we do.

In the Secret Santa i got the name of a Cygnar player. As he was only starting to build his army i chose to get him a Junior Warcaster (or a Junior as they’re normally known as). As he had the ‘normal’ one I got him the new character ‘Junior’ that was created for Privateer Press’s Kickstarter video game.

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Lt. Allison Jakes is the name of the character. There was actually 2 versions of the model. The first was a Kickstarter backer esclusive and then a general release version. Personally I’m more of a fan for the general release version.

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Once i got the model, I assembled the tools of the trade. I have my files, my superglue, a modelling tool, my green stuff and the plastic inside roll of a till roll (i use this for ‘rolling’ out green stuff).

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The first step is to take the model out and double check all its parts are included in the blister. Next up i take up my files to remove any mold and flash lines from the model.

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Next up i’ll use the superglue to assemble and attach the model to its base. I then prepare the green stuff.

Green stuff is an epoxy resin used in modeling, it comes in 2 parts. A yellow part + blue part. You mix the 2 parts together using your fingers with some luke warm water and it turns green (hence the name). I’ll then use it to fill in any cracks or gaps in the model before i move on to using greenstuff on the base.

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For the base i simply covered it in ‘green stuff’ and then using my modelling tool i cut channels into it to simulate street pavement.

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Next up comes the painting of the model. I’m not going to go into the detail of what colours I used and what techniques but rather a general overview of what was done. You can find hundreds of video’s on YouTube for miniature painting. The model was painted to fit in with the recipients army.

First up the model is ‘base coated’ with a primer colour. Then I apply the primary and secondary colours before applying a ‘wash’ to the model. A ‘wash’ is used for both to shade and to add some definition to the details of the model. Next up I touch up the model with some ‘highlights’ and try to do some ‘wet blending’ on her skirt.

I’m not a great miniatures painter. I’ld class myself as a decent tabletop painter. The results of my painting are below.

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so now we get to the hard part of the post ‘Why we do, what we do’.

For me it’s part escape, part challenge, part love of the game and not forgetting the social aspect.

There’s something to be said about ‘the escape’. for that 1 hour plus, you cease to be your everyday self. All your daily live trapping melt away and your just a player. Theres just you, your opponent and the game to be played.

Theres the challenge, do i have it within me to do this. For some its the challenge of assembling and painting a miniature to the best of their ability and beyond. For others its the challenge of competition. Can I out perform others, do i have what it takes to be number 1?

And finally but not least theres the love of the game. Perhaps its the artwork, or the models, or the fluff (the background story), or the rules of a game that draws you in.

There’s something to be said about any game that draws you into a made up world or universe. For myself with Privateer Press’s game Warmachine it was the model design and rules. The idea that a giant steam powered robot has the ability to pick up a model and throw it at something else or having the ability to headbut and knock another model down is appealling to me and that these abilities are reflected in-game is great.

I feel a big part of any game is the social aspect of the game. I’ve been playing games for most of my life and i’ve found time and time again that gamers (of tabletop, board game and card games) are some of the most socially inclusive groups you’ll encounter.

** Disclaimer**
One exception might be if you interupt someone while they are in the middle of their winning master plan.

To be able to sit down with either friends or complete strangers and have fun, shoot the breeze, regardless of backgrounds, occupations or beliefs is something rare and to be treasured.

My brother asked me ‘why i do it’, tabletop wargames wise? I gave him all the reasons i just gave you. Reading back over this post i think i left out a simple but important thing. In the words of a friend ‘Witness Me!!!’.

In tabletop wargames, being able to put a fully assembled, fully painted army on the table is a statement in itself. ‘Witness Me’, I constructed this army list. I built it, I painted it and now I’m here to play it. This army is a part of me, regardless how good a player I am.

Maybe I’ve been able to communicate my thoughts, I hope so.

– from The Man Cave