Thursday, January 05, 2012

Editorial: Starting a new game

Back in 2004 one of my best friends got me interested in playing miniatures games when he brought over these plastic robots with guns.  These "Necrons" were really neat-looking and he told me about this game that involved pushing these models around on a table and there were rules which described their various abilities and what they could do.  After some convincing and a trip to the local game store, I found my interest piqued by these space bugs with living guns, known as Tyranids.  The rest is history, and I was hooked by miniatures games.

That same friend of mine still plays Warhammer 40k and his army collection has expanded over the years, but as I and our friends have moved on to play other games throughout the years, he has stubbornly stuck to playing 40k.  He's invested a lot of time and money into his armies and doesn't see a reason to stop.  I've been trying to get him to play Warmachine/Hordes because I think he will enjoy the game more, but he's been so resistant to changing.  This got me thinking about how to get someone into such an involved hobby like miniatures gaming, or getting someone to try a new game system like Warmachine/Hordes.  I think the key lies in the story of how I - and probably most you - got into gaming in the first place.

1) Get your friend into it!  How did I get started?  I saw my buddy start it, and he naturally encouraged me to play too.  Miniatures games are not fun if you're the only one playing it, and the key to getting into any game - like Warmachine/Hordes - is to have even just one friend play it with you.  Whether you start at the same time or they teach you the rules and let you borrow their models, the key to getting someone into a game is to have someone there to play with that you already know.
Nerds, according to the internet
Making friends with strangers is all well-and-good, but let's face it: we're nerds and walking up to a complete stranger and asking them if they'd like to play with your toy soldiers is a bit creepy.  No, you need someone around that you know who can play games with you.  I do not personally recommend using a boyfriend/girlfriend for this purpose either, as it's always healthy to have separate hobbies from your significant other.  Besides, if you beat him/her in a game then that kind of thing can carry into the bedroom... then again, it might not be so bad after all.
2) Tell the story of your models!  Warmachine/Hordes is such a well-crafted game that sometimes I lose sight of the fact that the story, history, and universe are also richly crafted!  As a gamer at heart, I care a lot about the rules, fairness, consistency, and skill involved in a game, but some people care more about what the motivations for their particular models are.  Talk about how Grissel faced-off against Vayl, only to return with Doomshaper and a cadre of Dire Trolls.  Talk about how Sloan focussed her energy through her warjacks to blow apart Khadorian defenses.  These are stories that make the game seem more active and alive than the metal toy soldiers portray.
Even if you're not up-to-date on the "fluff" (story), you can tell the story of your models, like what your favorite warjack has killed in the last month, who your favorite warcaster is, and why.  You can talk about the close game you played the other day and how annoying Doom Reavers can be.  Talk about the game in a positive light focusing on how your models have performed and what they do for you.  Share how you painted your models, your future goals for your army, and maybe what factions you might be interested in starting, and why. That kind of personal connection is what makes miniatures gaming unique and the personalization draws people in.

3) Find a store that stocks the product.  This is a huge part of starting a miniatures game, in my opinion.  While online retailers are good for purchasing models at a discount, a local game store is the hub of any miniatures gaming community.  It's important to have a neutral location to show your friend where they can play and meet other players while they are there.  Even if you play with a different army every time, it can be frustrating and boring playing against the same person all of the time, so it's important to find a space to play in "public" so that there's at least a chance to meet someone who also plays.
Support your local game store!
 Secondly, this is also significant for supporting your local game store.  It's very difficult to be a game store owner compared to other retail businesses, and they always welcome more business.  It's also a great place for your friend to see all of the products available for them to play.  Sure, they can see the models online on the website, but it seems more real when you can see the box of models on the shelf.  Starter boxes are also a great thing to showcase, as they are often affordable to pick up and allow you and/or your friend to start playing small games and eventually build up to a larger force.
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...