Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Call to Arms 40k

I must say I am very surprised by the lack of sign-up for 40k at Call to Arms. Numbers are less than 16, I believe.

This is the region's first 6th Edition event - and only one of two Wellington 40k events in the past 12 months. I expected people to be busting their chops to be trying the new rules in a tournament setting.

The weak response, on top of falling numbers at Fields of Blood and the lack of local events, appears to indicate that 40k is a dying tournament game locally. This is a real change from the past decade when 40k ruled supreme in Wellington.

Thoughts on why this is so?


  1. That's funny because Hagen, Mike Talks and I had little trouble getting 17-20 people for campaign game days at the Sunday meetings.

    This included a lot of former Warlords and the general responsewas thanks for something that's not a tournament.

    I watched 40k die at the club. The gaming community fractured into two groups, the tournament gamers and those that weren't. There was little enjoyment for the two groups to play each other so gaming dropped.

    Then the tournament players stopped playing each other, who wants to get thumped by Charlie every week?

    Now it's only the most evolved tournament players that want to enter competitive events. everyone else knows that they don't have the meta game figured out or a 100-0 winning steak.

    Why enter something you know you will get killed in most of your games? It would be like me entering a martial arts tournament. I'd get killed.

    It takes a special kind of heart to enter something that you know you will die in.

  2. Another view... a number of the 'older' 40k players who were stalwarts of the previous decade of 40k now have 'other priorities'... new families, new hobbies, new... cities of residence, and so on. I can think of several that previously I could have expected to turn up now don't or won't, either permanently or irregularly - Alan, Blaise, Richard D, Greg, Wes, Sam K, Paul G, and yes John you are included in this list... and me to an extent.

    Just off the top of my head.

    Some also don't necessarily have the impetus, free time, or desire to spend a weekend on the hobby any more.


  3. While that's a part of it John, I think the worst thing is the social environment of the nz tournament scene. There is none. In the uk 90% of the people are there just to hang out drink a few beers with friends they haven't seen in a while, regardless of tournament results.

    Here in nz, firstly we have little interaction outside of warhammer, everyone just buggers off home straight afterwards and no one tries to make friends with out of towers either. So little inclination to go outside of warhammer...

    Secondly the lack of advertising won't have helped, I think people forgot it was on! I know Sean Lincoln did heaps of pushing for the WMH and they got like 40 odd players though I grant Warmahordes is easier to get tournament players to as standard gaming matches tourney gaming

    1. Hi Meals

      Your point about lack of advertising is incorrect. The Warlords had flyers at other events, advertised thru blogs, emails and the NZ wargamers yahoo group and last of all, word of mouth.

      In he end we had 96 people signed up before the early bird finished and we have around 150 people coming to CTA's.

      If this is a lack of advertising than I will take it.

      I think people have moved to other periods, alot of 40K players are playing Warmachine which is the in period at this moment in Wellington and may it last for them.

      I beleive 40K (may be GW systems) are in the low point of their circle and they will climb their way back to the top.

      All it takes is one person to do something and go with it.


    2. Grats on the great numbers! I did say the WMHs event was well advertised, and appears to have gained massively from that, but personally, I was just talking about 40k/fantasy which seemed lacking, You are right though, there is a significant downturn in numbers at the moment for both which hasn't helped... I guess the more important question is how to fix that issue, and I sure can't right now.

  4. James,

    Not sure that your observation is 100% correct. Not knowing the UK scene like you have recently experienced I can't comment on that, but I don't think there is no social environment in the NZ one.

    In my case, most of my very good/best friends are wargamers who I have 'grown up' with. I don't feel the absolute need to hang out with them all the time, and many of them we just pick up where we left off next time we catch up as if there has been no intervening passage of time.

    Or.... maybe you are just not invited to the social events ;)

    Again, if I can reiterate the changing priorities of the older generation, I suspect that (more often than not) they can only get enough free time from their loved ones to go and play with their dolls, and this does not extend to all night drinking sessions like it did when they were younger and had different outgoings to the mortgage and kids they have now... and when they had more stamina to cope with the next few mornings!


    1. I'm not saying everyone needs to stay out drinking til dawn but even having everyone together for dinner would be nice. All of my favorite tournies have been when everyone stayed out for dinner afterward. Ie The Masters, even going out for dinner with the Aussies on the Sunday of Fields was good.

      I just think that otherwise, it's just paying money to play warhammer for 2 days which could be done elsewhere for less and may not be that exciting for many if youre just making up the numbers. For the reference I'm thinking how best to organize this in future...

  5. I used to play 40k but then people started showing me pictures of their kids.

    Although I'm known for my empathy - having won Best Sports at two GTs - that was a bridge too far. Killed the game for me.

  6. to me the club scene used to provide the social environment and people went to tournaments to play games. Going with your club mates provided a social scene but hanging out in a too loud pub or watching a wargamer eat an entire elephant in one bite isn't my idea of fun at the best of times.

    We used to have a lot of interaction and socialisation outside of the club scene. It was easier when we were single or without kids but it's also easier now that people have houses to pop round for a coffee.

    If there was a vibrant 40k gaming scene at the warlords lots of people would have been going from the club and the event would have been talked about amongst the gamers.

    Hagen lists a goodly number of people who have left the 40k scene at the warlords most of the people Hagen listed have left because they were not enjoying the gaming scene. When there is no social scene because every game is part of training for the next event then that's no fun for the people that don't want to be a tournament pro.

    I've been enjoying plaing games like dystopian wars and AK47 that don't have a tournament scene precicely because they are just fun and there's no stress. I also doubt whether I could handle the stress of a multi day turnament. I'd like to get back into fantasy and 40k event, I really enjoy painting the models but it's got to be in a stress free no stakes environment.

  7. Ok guys clearly I'm just a social butterfly and our preferences greatly differ... I'll leave you to your remote shacks in the bush ;-)

    On the note of having 17-20 people playing in the campaign, what happened to those players that they don't even stop by warlords anymore? Just curious cause that sounds like a great environment!

    1. What 2011 proved to me was that there is a community of 40k players out there. These people will come to events / days of gaming if they know something is happening. We had several really cinematic games with Kevin's super heavy IG vehicles and Peter Rundletts warhound titan.

      Then there was the famous grab the scared icon game from the island in the middle of the lake.

      However people needed someone to organise the games and let the community know it was on. When the Club stopped the Sunday meetings, Hagen and I stopped being available to organise the events and no one on the committee has taken up the mantle to organise the events on a Saturday.

      No one shows up at the club for a pick up game in any period as there are not any other people that might be floating around. This is common across all the periods. The 25mm ancient gamers seem to be the best at arranging games at the club maybe because they need a bigger table than is practicable at home.

      Most people with a house of their own can put together a 6*4 table for a game and can do so in their own time and their own comfort.

      A few years ago the club created a really vibrant Full Thrust period where we regulary had 12+ people turning up for the campaign sessions and games. What made it interesting was the fact that the games were not played with the same army lists as people built their ships and moved specific ships around the map. You needed scouts for reconnassance and harassment and captial ships for fighting.

      However when you try and translate this into 40k or fantasy people only want to play with their standard army list like they use every game.

  8. i have one theory to throw into the mix - fatigue. a new edition of the game is hardly going to affect that, when people are just playing what's essentially 40K v3.3

    the fantasy pool's a little shallow too isn't it?


  9. @john tailby
    You raise some really valid points there mate, and I can totally understand the lack of enjoyment garnered by getting thumped in all 6 games in a tourney.
    However, this conundrum has often crossed my mind, and I feel I have a fairly good solution.
    How about a two tiered tournament? Using the RHQ rankings, you could quite easily have a seeded tournament split into diferrent groups (kinda like wieghtlifting at the Olympics) top tier would compete against players of similar ability, and bottom tier likewise. Top tier players battle points graded from 0-20 and bottom tier 0-25 or 0-30. This would give the top of the bottom the chance to finish higher than the bottom of the top (if you catch my drift)this would encourage bottom top's to compete in the higher tier later on.

    I think that's a pretty unfair evaluation of the tournament scene. I have now hosted four out-of-towners and have thouroughly enjoyed it. It has been of no cost to them and there has been great socialising as well.
    During NiCon the Hamiltonians and the Nerdymen enjoyed great revelry at the local Greenhithe pub. My point, I think, is that you actually have to put the effort in to make these things happen. They don't magically fall out of the sky!
    I tried to start a biliting thread on the city guard forum but it did not generate a lot of interest.

    Yes Ross you can stay at my place for GuardCon if you wish.


    1. The NOVA system answers most of the issues you raise regarding seeding and competitiveness for any skill level/play style across 6 games. So far I think I'm the only person to run an NZ tournament using this system (and will be again next year) and imo it caters to both competitive and social/casual gamers better than existing systems (which often try to compromise and end up not really satisfying either group).
      Seeding using RHQ could be viable, but its far from a perfect system, you run into issues with pool size (NZ is in a completely different ballpark size wise to the UK or US), where to split the seeds and a number of issues inherent to the way RHQ works (people can move up and down very quickly, particularly if they don't play in tournaments for a while). Just because someone is ranked 20th doesn't mean they want to play in a super competitive bracket, just going to three tournaments will get you pretty high up with middle of the road placings. Alternatively you could run super competitive lists for 3 tournaments, make the top 10, then decide to run a deliberately terrible or fluffy list which could easily get run over in a highly competitive environment.
      Personally my goal/hope as a TO is for people to get one, at max two mismatch games. Usually this will be the first game or possible second game, as you don't have much to work with in terms of seeding/ranking early on. After that you should be getting games against people with similar skill levels etc.

      I agree that a little more effort could be put into running dinner/drinks/some other social event after tournaments as a more organised event. We did this after Masters last year and it went really well. Obviously its venue/location dependent to some extent, so not everyone will be able to do it.

    2. Rory, to be fair, I am basing this on tournies from 2-3 years back, but based on those trips to Auckland, I never felt very included, and tended to just end up hanging just with fellow Wellingtonians. If things have changed then sweet, and I look forward to a good time in Auckland for Guardcon :)

  10. Rory, John used to be one of those people that crushed his opponents into small pieces on the way through the top tables... .. . . . :)

  11. I think some people need to come to the tournies in Hamilton and Auckland!!!! There is always lots of socialising and plenty of people too. My belief is that the Wellington scene for 40k is not what it used to be. A lot of the guys that used to play just don't anymore. This makes it less appealing. Plus then there is the cost associated with travelling that far. Maybe NZ can not hold the bigger numbers that we come to expect. I would have made the trip but unfortunatley for me my leave is running dry and one of my workmates got in before me. My parting word is that 40k is very social and I have made a lot of friends through it. Secondly in my club I have seen the 40k numbers triple in the last couple of months, if thats not a sign I don't know what is

    Haydn K

  12. While i understand that this is a North Island based blog, and I was once a resident of the North Island, i'd like to point out how different life is down here, on the South Island.

    Tourneys are still well attended. We have a nice mix of doubles events, campaign events, and "standard" tourneys.

    I'd like to chuck my support behind Hagen's theory of "changing priorities" as almost all of the people he mentioned reduced their interaction with the (40k) scene because of new relationships/end of old relationships, new additions to the family, new/busier jobs (go on, try and get a hold of Dave Foster, i'll wait...), or new residences.

    I agree with John, that too much of one style of (40k) games became too common, but tip the scales the other way and you'd have (possibly) driven off the more competitive players. balance is the key.

    I'm sorry to be missing CtA but starting a new job just hasn't left me time to get my army to the point where it's presentable. the time away also cuts into my prep/marking time, so i can't just go running off like i did earlier either.


  13. Greg, Richard and Geoff all gave up 40k for EVE. They found it more social to interact with people on the other side of the world rather than Warlords 40K players. Not sure what that says about them or the 40K scene at the Warlords.

    1. TBF John you could just as easily say they gave up Full Thrust for EVE and that they found it more enjoyable to interact online than with Warlords Full Thrust Players.

      Neither Geoff nor Richard had played 40k since 2006

    2. I'd agree with that, we got into full thrust because 40k wasn't as satisfying and then when that group broke up some got into Eve.

      I thought people were still playing after that. is it really that long?

    3. Pretty much.....

      Geoff fell out with another 40ker and gave it away.

      Richard played less and less and from 2007 was largely competing for painting prizes but when gave that away when his Exodites received muted response. Understand he also focused on becoming a Knight in his LARP group.

      Greg played until 2008 but then gave 40k away once he started Full Thrust, dabbled in Fantasy.

      Paul G never really played 40k after 2002 - he was pretty much full FOW then played some Warhammer Ancients

      Alan played less after 2008

      Of the others one Warlord stopped playing when he pretty much alienated all his opponents to the point where there was a list of players who wouldn't play him in tournaments.

      So I'd say the Golden Era of Warlords 40k died in about 2005/06. However from my involvement in 40k at the Club (2001+)the focus was always on tournament gaming.

  14. Love the fact that I've found your blog online and hope you won't mind an extra opinion...
    I have never competed in a tournament and have only ever had social games with a friend of mine (40k).
    I once came to a Warlords meeting (would have been around 2000 - 2001) and was offered an intro game with a very experienced player (forget his name).
    He pretty much killed any desire I had to join the Warlords club when he just proceeded to use his knowledge of the rules and armies that were on the table to just destroy every model I was playing with in 4 turns or less...
    The other thing that I found about the club was that it felt incredibly intimidating.
    I recognise a lot of the names of the people that have contributed to this thread...Hagen, John, Peter. I know of Greg and Alan as well...
    It felt like every one knew everyone else and it was a fairly 'closed' group.

    Having said that, I never gave the club another opportunity to change my mind after that first experience, so I'm afraid I let that first encounter colour it badly for me.

    Personally, I prefer to play 40k socially. Still stuck with 4th Ed rules and still have most of my army unpainted....which leads me to agree with Hagen's comments...too many other commitments and not enough time.

    Just out of curiosity...what's happened to the Warlord's website?

    Cheers for listening...
    Craig Haywood