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"How to stem the graying of the hobby" Topic


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Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 1:23 p.m. PST

This comes from the conversation regarding the postential moving of Historicon (http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=147935&page=1) but I thought it deserved it's own thread. The argument is that sci-fi and fantasy wargamers are where we largely recruit from, and this is how we should continue in the future. I don't necessarily agree with this premise and I lay out my plan below. Please discuss:

I think we are missing a great amount of people who will stick to historical miniatures gaming by simply going after sci-fi and fantasy miniatures gamers. Even given we bring some people in from this field, the percentages would not be high, and the percentage who switch to historical mainly gamers would be lower still.

My personal idea is thus: Every single college and university in the US, as far as I'm aware of, has a history department, Most history departments have a corresponding history club or honor society. Why not have us gamers offer to do run games as demonstration of history in action at their clubs. Not to denigrate high school or younger students, but most generally will not have the stick-to-it-ness to stay with historical miniatures gaming unless they have an outside force such as a parent involved. However, college and university history students would have the natural interest to pursue such a hobby, be mature enough to maintain a decision, and have discretionary money to spend on such. This same tactic can be used with the gaming clubs that are found on campuses (many school have boardgaming clubs, that wouldn't be too hard to convert). Additionally, this can work for ROTC programs (possibly even JROTC) as a means of practicing tactics. Current military personnel and those with access to military bases can also put on such things for various organizations. I think it's important to draw the college crowd rather than the high school or younger crowd because of the graying of the game. HOw often will a high school student (or younger) listen to a 50+ year old, and relate. Hell, vice versa as well, unless you are talking about your own children. However, college students are old enough to be able to have the maturity to relate and interact with old guard historical gamers. Those same college students, once they are hooked, can now teach the younger generation, because they can be looked up to as an older peer instead of as "old farts". Since I am starting graduate school this fall I intend to put on demonstration games for the history department and board game clubs of my school. This really makes sense to me rather than pulling in the fantasy and sci-fi gamers and trying to convert them. Please, tell me if I'm wrong here, but it seems the way we've been trying to recruit doesn't make the most sense.

Forest

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Aug 2008 1:38 p.m. PST

I think you are spot on. The best source is High school and College History classes/activities. In all my years of gaming, most were Historical FIRST and played some Sf/Fantasy. SF/Fantasy players rarely became historical players.

mweaver16 Aug 2008 1:50 p.m. PST

Three members of my History department are gamers. We play fantasy games, almost exclusively. Sorry. Still, it is a good idea. (And the appearance of nice plastic historical figures is luring me and one of my colleagues in the direction of historical games, at least at the skirmish level).

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 1:55 p.m. PST

MWeaver, no need to apologize about playing fantasy. Perhaps with the addition of Perry Plastics and the others getting into plastics you could put on a demo for your history club, if you have one at your university. Historical Small Unit Tactics and How They Changed Military History would make a nice course :-)

Forest

doc mcb16 Aug 2008 1:58 p.m. PST

My gaming (historical as much as fantasy) is very popular in my high school.

quidveritas16 Aug 2008 1:58 p.m. PST

It's really quite simple. Get out of your basement and put on public games. Each and every one of you. Make your public games very accessible. Put up a sign inviting anyone to play. If you get a potential recruit, forget about finishing the game. Help out the newbie and make sure he/she stays involved. Yup, she. The place I regularly play runs about 10% female gamers these days.

mjc

kyoteblue16 Aug 2008 2:10 p.m. PST

DELETED

Allen5716 Aug 2008 2:14 p.m. PST

Just for Men or Grecian Formula 21 if still available.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 2:18 p.m. PST

I have been hearing about "the greying of the hobby" for 25 years, and frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.
It is up to the youngsters to discover the hobby, and not for us to go out into the hedgerows, dragging in the hat and the lame (those too slow to make their Evade Roll.)

If the hobby dies out with us, the world will go on. Know any stamp collectors?

The Monstrous Jake16 Aug 2008 2:39 p.m. PST

Yup, this discussion has been going on at least as long as I've been in wargaming, which is coming up on [counting on fingers] 32 years now.

Back in the 80's and 90's we held our game sessions on a college campus and our regular attendees including college and high school students. Turnover was so high that I honestly don't know if any of them stuck with the hobby.

Like model trains and plastic model kits and board wargaming, miniatures wargaming may simply be a product of our time, and when we're gone, it'll be gone too. Oh well.

How many people listen to entire "albums" (music CD's) anymore, every track, in order? Most people now burn their favourite tracks on a mix CD or load onto their MP3 player and never hear the rest of the tracks on the album. I've run into several young'uns who have never heard an album all the way through, in order, and are not really sure what to make of the concept.

Personally, I'm with the OFM. I don't think we have any sort of sacred obligation to recruit new wargamers. Gamers have been trying all sorts of recruiting ideas for at least 30 years now, and I'm not sure it's gotten us anywhere.

Connard Sage16 Aug 2008 2:42 p.m. PST

Personally, I'm with the OFM.

So am I

Not my responsibility, sorry

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 2:54 p.m. PST

OFM, So the old farts are also anti-social now. Not your problem? Who cares huh? Let it die? Good riddance to you all when you kick the bucket then. Take your hobby to the grave, be selfish. Perhaps you've given up on caring, I haven't.

Forest

Personal logo Wyatt the Odd Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Aug 2008 3:00 p.m. PST

Heck, if someone wants to demonstrate battles in the grade-school level, I can arrange that here in So. Cal – ditto with my son's AP history classes in High School.

Only thing keeping me from doing it is enough figures and examples (as well as opponents).

Wyatt

Connard Sage16 Aug 2008 3:09 p.m. PST

Get a grip man, it's only a hobby.

I used to practice kendo, but I never felt the need to evangelise about it.

People either come or they don't. The trick is to make them feel welcome IF they come – I've seen too many clubs that don't engage with their new members.

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 3:16 p.m. PST

I did my part. My 3 boys are gamers since and early age. All love gaming – both fantasy and historical.

The key is fun.

Any younger person who typically are already into video games can be shown how fun miniatures gaming can be. At conventions with a friend or wargaming parent is a great start. Encouraging a few friends locally is even better as then they can game more regularly. What parent gamers need to understand is that kids these days typically have many hobbies not just one they concentrate on. So getting into painting and playing and research (for historical gaming) is all part of the attraction of the hobby.

I don't think there is much truth in the "graying of the hobby" comments. There have been more kids attending and playing games at the Historicon, Cold Wars and Fall In conventions the last five years than I ever remember. GMs have become more accepting allowing kids in their games which is a big plus. Of course younger ones need to be with a parent but that should be taken for what it is – parents should be teaching their kids how to play and handle figures.

Agesilaus16 Aug 2008 3:28 p.m. PST

We started the PAW (Parkside Associtaion of Wargamers) in 1973 at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside campus. The club has gone through many changes over the years and for a while we co-sponsored the Gencon Convention. But it's still there.
We had Old guys back then who taught the young guys how to play, and behave. The challenge is the same.
I now own a gaming shop and I have a large crop of young gamers who have spent the last year and a half just learning the protocol of gaming. They are just starting to really understand the hobby. They have gone from micro armor to naval minitures, to board gaming. They're pumped.
Nothing has changed since 1973, the hobby is the same. People just need good role models in a good environment and they catch on. The beauty of the hobby is that it spans the age and gender barriers. Nowadays it can teach socialization skills to young folks who would otherwise be locked in their bedroom playing against their computer.

Pat Ripley Fezian16 Aug 2008 3:28 p.m. PST

"Additionally, this can work for ROTC programs (possibly even JROTC) as a means of practicing tactics."

You might find they use computers for a much more "realistic" effect

Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian16 Aug 2008 3:42 p.m. PST

Personally I think my general enthusiasm for the hobby has opened lots of doors and introduced plenty of folks to gaming, be it historical, sci fi, even fantasy, without 'deliberate' effort.

I spent 5 years teaching (and getting paid) TTGs as part of an after-school enrichment program in my son's middle school. I've gamed with pople in church & youth groups, with my nephews and their friends, and with local gaming clubs with other men my age.

Call me naive, but I think that's kinda the way it's supposed to work: by osmosis.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 3:47 p.m. PST

Another vote with the OFM, but not for the reasons implied by pavelft, I suspect they are closer to OFM's (unstated) reasons though.

Recruiting is for armies and evangelism is for religions – Wargaming is neither, its a hobby.

A Hobby requires a basic level of interest in the individual to sustain it over a period of time, at least enough to make the attempt to find out more once introduced (and there is plenty of public exposeure here in the UK).

Making all the going easy in the early stages of a person's interest makes them think it will always be like that. Give someone a challenge and those that will stick with the hobby will rise to it and they may end up with the enduring passion that many of us have.

Yes I do my bit by putting on games at shows, visiting the local primary school (where my wife works) to help the kids with their Warhammer etc. and showing them my historical stuff, but really that's because I enjoy it, not because I expect them all to flock round to my place for a game every weekend.

I really don't much care if the hobby dies as they bury me. If it does then it probably wasn't worth keeping alive anyway. The future of ANY hobby lies with how inherently interesting it is compared to other activities and there is certainly more competition out there now than in 1963 when I started but the hobby must be at least 10 times the size now.

It has nothing to do with not caring or being anti-social, that's just bullBleeped text and you know it. Some of us believe the hobby is better served by helping once they get in rather than prostituting our wares on the street (as it were).

Ken Portner16 Aug 2008 3:49 p.m. PST

It's a chicken and egg thing.

Is it more likely to make a convert out of a gamer who has an interest in history or a history buff who likes games.

My sense is that it's more important to find a gamer. I've met many many people who are very interested in history but they don't like to play games, period.

I think the historical miniatures hobby will get greyer and greyer and eventually become a mere shadow of what it was, just like model railroading is in the process of doing.

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 3:56 p.m. PST

Dentatus, osmosis is fine, but I simply prefer a more pro-active route. Call it the type-A personality in me.

Pat Ripley, computers are nice, and I'm sure most youth would prefer that. Can't hurt to try though.

BrigadeGames, yes, I too have seen more younger children at the cons. I think this is fantastic. However, if we limit ourselves to only our children that's not a great deal of growth. I also wonder at the mercurial nature of children and fads. As I have spent exhaustive time working with children as a therapist I can definitively say that though we may interest a child in something for a while, transforming that interest into a life-long one is far more difficult.

Connard Sage, sometimes you must go to the masses to bring in people. How many random people, without prompting, have shown up at your door to game? How about a show of hands on this one. How many of you all who run, or are active in clubs would say you bring in a significant portion of newer gamers (who actually stick around rather than showing up to a couple sessions and then vanishing) without putting in any effort whatsoever. I've gone up to Northern Virginia and hung around in Game Parlor around the NOVAG group (one that is arguably quite large and proliferate) watching their games, asking a few questions, showing interest, and with only one exception NO ONE has ever invited me to join in on a game. That is apathy born of the attitude "it's not my problem to bring anyone in". Connard Sage, I'm not saying you do this, and from what you are intimating you are quite open to having new people play and that is incredible. I just don't see all that many people doing just that though.

Forest

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 4:00 p.m. PST

GildasFacit, I think you're doing a wonderful thing showing off your hobby for your own sake. I'm not asking people to go out with the wargaming pom-pom squad and recruiting sergeants. I'm just saying put it out there. If people join, they join. I never said shove it down anyone's throat. I am wondering though, is your hobby one you don't talk about to anyone else, because it's your private hobby. Every time you talk about it to someone new it's not exactly evangelizing, but it's something akin to it. You are demonstrating your passion to the game, and sharing the experience with someone who hasn't had the opportunity to know about it. I'm simply espousing doing the same, and enjoying a game at the same time.

Forest

Honcho16 Aug 2008 4:05 p.m. PST

I've done my bit as well. I have had three boys and hope to tack a few more on. They are very enthusiastic about games, although they are still young. I am sure they will want to paint miniatures. They love it when I browse minis online.

As far the graying goes, it seems there are more miniatures available now than ever before, in every genre and taste imaginable, and if price is any measure of market demand, its hard to see what the issue is. If anything there are too many good games, too many figs to collect. I am astounded at the number of new games that come out. Nothing ever dies. If you go on ebay you still have to pay a good bit to beat out other bidders for old game mags and even RPG stuff you would think would be virtually free. Who'd of thought that HP Lovecraft would ever have the following he has today? Or that the stories of Verne and Wells would morph into steampunk? The only real threat to the hobby is the holograph deck…not much point in collecting minis if you can get right in with them.

The big question is, will the next generation have the peace and prosperity to enjoy the hobbies they discover?

lutonjames16 Aug 2008 4:06 p.m. PST

i'm brain washing mine any friends children- i thought we all did that!

Connard Sage16 Aug 2008 4:07 p.m. PST

Connard Sage, I'm not saying you do this, and from what you are intimating you are quite open to having new people play and that is incredible. I just don't see all that many people doing just that though.

It's not incredible really, it's just common sense and politeness. If someone makes the effort to arrive to see what it's all about then ignoring them for most of the evening isn't going to make a positive impression. The least one can do is attempt to explain what's going on, and answer any questions in a civil manner – even if that interferes with one's own enjoyment of the evening.

Jeigheff16 Aug 2008 4:09 p.m. PST

I hope this doesn't sound too cynical, but a friend of mine made a valid observation. He said that if folks aren't interested in wargaming, then nothing can make them do it. But if they are, you're can't stop them.

Quite a few years ago, this same friend put on a couple demonstration games at his local library in Victoria, Texas. He told me that most of the folks who saw his games(and his poster with photos) weren't interested, but a handful were.

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 4:18 p.m. PST

Connard Sage, I totally agree with you on that point. Unfortunately I've gone to several places and received the cold shoulder even when I've shown interest. Maybe it's just the Washington DC area… Thankfully I'm moving to Denver.

Jeigheff, that's what I'm talking about. I'm not expecting a conversion of the world, just simply showing the hobby to those who've never had the exposure previously, and perhaps we can catch the few who are interested. To catch the rarer fish you have to cast the wider net.

Forest

Paul L16 Aug 2008 4:24 p.m. PST

Most history departments have a corresponding history club or honor society. Why not have us gamers offer to do run games as demonstration of history in action at their clubs.

You're making an assumption that history students are actually interested in military history. The majority are not. Moreover, there is a general professional distain for the study of military history – probably in part because it is almost completely dominated by amateur historians and not academics. This might be changing with the current war in Iraq (compared to when I was doing my MA in the '90s) and then again it might not….

link

Anyway, I'm with OFM on this one.

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 4:40 p.m. PST

Paul L, you could be right, and I bow to your experience with History department. I ask you though, do you think it would hurt to put on a demonstration there?

Forest

aecurtis Fezian16 Aug 2008 5:09 p.m. PST

"I think the historical miniatures hobby will get greyer and greyer and eventually become a mere shadow of what it was, just like model railroading is in the process of doing."

Excellent (if unintended) analogy! Just as miniature gamers have a greater selection of products than ever before, so do today's model railroaders.

Neither hobby is close to death. Neither is even exhibiting a nagging cough. Our hobbies will almost certainly *change* from what we rememebr, but that doesn't mean they're sick. No more than they were in the '70s, where there was great rending of sackcloth and heaping of ashes in both hobbies.

Allen

Pat Ripley Fezian16 Aug 2008 5:40 p.m. PST

no not computers are nice, the comment made was that ROTC could use it to simulate tactics presumably stuff that would benefit someone being prepped for military service. Modern computer simulations are much more accurate for modern fighting simulations and not what most of us are doing.

pphalen16 Aug 2008 6:13 p.m. PST

Frankly, it is the attitude the somehow pushing little men around in the name of "history" is somehow more important than pusing fantasy or sci-fi men.

I know that the Fall-In at Timonium (With major GW presence), but I've said time and time again that the majority of the Historical GMs could take a moment to learn what makes the GW outriders so successful. if you looked vaguely interested in one of their games, someone would talk to you , explain the game to you, nad find a spot for you to join in (if possible)

Contrast this to 95% of the Historical GMS who barely even look up when you when watch their games, and then sneer at you for not immediatly recognizing that is the Third Day for the Battle of Jenkin's Ear…

We see this here on TMP, as well, when questions of certain historical details are answered with, "DO your OWN research!"

lutonjames16 Aug 2008 6:32 p.m. PST

it might not be any more important – but its way COOLER!

Paul L16 Aug 2008 6:34 p.m. PST

I ask you though, do you think it would hurt to put on a demonstration there?

I don't see how it could hurt, but I'm not sure it would help either. Personally, I've had better luck recruiting board gamers than fellow historians.

malcolmmccallum16 Aug 2008 7:03 p.m. PST

Mistakes that I've made in the past has been trying to sell new players on the grandeur and historicity of gaming. It does attract a certain type of player but it doesn't get us gamers. In the past it has gotten us enthusiastic spectators… once or twice.

In order to get gamers I need to entice them with accessible games rather than ones with thousands of already painted miniatures. I'll try to play fun narrative skirmish games and then, when they are sucked in and playing for the sake of fun, I'll push a mega battle in their face.

I got into the hobby via TSR's Chainmail and Featherstone. I need to lure them in to that level of gaming, not expect them to want to come to my current aged level.

Personal logo Dances With Words Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Aug 2008 7:13 p.m. PST

it's sorta a 'moot point' to worry about 'greying' when you don't have HAIR to turn 'grey'…etc…

If you do…then 'just for men' has hair and BEARD stuff…(don't know about for chesthair, nose-hair, ear-hair, 'bikini line' and for hair on toes and knuckles though…)

On the other 'tentacle'…I think any 'avenue' of approach to bring folks into gaming…be it thru 'historical' gaming, 'fantasy' aka thru Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings etc or sf/pulp….can't be all 'bad'…and sharing and spreading the 'word' when and where we can…is a good idea.

I don't think HISTORICAL is the ONLY 'approach', but might be more 'publically/scholastically' supportable/bring more 'awareness'….

whatever works…

doug redshirt16 Aug 2008 7:21 p.m. PST

Back in the late 70s the local community college let a gaming group hold games in one of the class room once a week in the evening. They ranged from board games to role playing to historical miniatures or all at the same time. It was a nice way to meet different people who had your same interest. I got into Napoleonics, ancients and even WWII minis. I had several different role playing groups I ran or was a member of. But without a place to originally meet I doubt if my interest would be so large.

I have no ideas if colleges let groups meet anymore. This was back before internet and everything was word of mouth. You had to know someone who knew it was going on. Now with the internet I wonder if it is really any easier to meet. I live in Wichita and have only meet 2 other people who share my hobby in a population of over 500,000.

Ken Portner16 Aug 2008 7:26 p.m. PST

I don't think the fact there there are more wargaming products available today then ever before proves that the hobby is growing.

Another explanation is that as the hobby greys its members have more disposable income. In addition, the advent of the internet makes it easier to bring products to market and computer publishing makes rules and books much easier and cheaper to produce.

Model railroading is experiencing the same thing. That hobby is definitely greying. If you need proof of that just look at the prevalence of layouts and products made for the steam or transition eras (1950's, 1960's). The guys who model those eras are engaging in a bit of nostalgia. But they're not being replaced by newcomers.

Formerly Regiment Games Fezian16 Aug 2008 7:32 p.m. PST

Don't GW outriders get rewards for doing demos? I think that is the case.

If Perry or OG or Foundry or whoever gave t-shirts, rules, and figs for promoting their lines, and getting new players into purchasing their products, I bet more folks would do such historical demos.

Mark Plant16 Aug 2008 7:41 p.m. PST

Targetting history students is unlikely to bear much fruit IMO. As stated above, most have little interest in military history. They aren't competitive people, and tend to avoid hobbies that look geeky.

I would go for targetting those that show an aptitude for the sort of thinking involved -- science students, and maths -- and aren't as likely to be put off by the geek factor.

(I studied history at university, but my majors were science/math. An "interest in history" is common among gamers, but studying it far less so.)

As for "greying" -- it's an artefact of the previous youth of the hobby. It's like computer gamers complaining about the "feminising" of the hobby, because now more women play (and disregarding the massive increase in numbers of male players).

As the predominantly youth hobby of 30 years ago has now got more veterans, of course the average age has increased.

Perris070716 Aug 2008 8:07 p.m. PST

If you want to promote "Historical" Gaming, a great place to do it is in Elementary, Middle, and High Schools where a large number of kids have an interest in hobbies – of all types. I know in my school that kids are always interested when I use my miniatures for displays and put on demo games. Many of them have become gamers or bought some figures to paint. Large numbers play board games, computer games, and card games already. Very few of them even know about Historical miniatures! I have read many online blogs from teachers who game with their students using plastic miniatures. Plastics are exploding in number and are relatively inexpensive. They could even be used for class projects. I have suggested these for my Ancient/Medieval History classes and my European History classes. Not to mention some of the amazing castle projects I have gotten from students. I tell you the interest is there!

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 9:26 p.m. PST

Perris0707, one problem I've found working with children younger than high school age is that yes their interest can be drawn rather fast, but it is very fickle. In my opinion, I say encourage younger children to play, but it's not until they hit teen years or later do they have the attention span to retain a hobby for more than a few months at a time.

Forest

nazrat16 Aug 2008 9:32 p.m. PST

I'm with the OFM's sentiments as well. I'm VERY chatty when I run games (historical or SF or Fantasy notwithstanding), I have lots of people over to game here, and I run games at the local store, but not once have I had anybody START playing from seeing a game. All the guys who I host and game with are gamers who found the hobby on their own. In fact, I don't think I know ONE guy who was brought into the hobby by an old timer. We all found it as a matter of course.

Connard Sage said it best,"People either come or they don't. The trick is to make them feel welcome IF they come …."

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2008 9:34 p.m. PST

I just got home and "did my bit" at a local hobby shop. Our group ran one of our ever popular Pirate Tavern Brawl games. In fact, we ran TWO games. All with my awesomely well painted figures.
Three "kids" joined in to play. They had a great time.
The odds that any of them will actually buy a historical miniature? Less than 1% in my opinion.

I ran a game in public that has wide oublc appeal. I did it because it pleased me to do so, and I had fun with my friends.
But to think that I did it out of any sense of obligation to "The Hobby" is ridiculous.

OFM, So the old farts are also anti-social now. Not your problem? Who cares huh? Let it die? Good riddance to you all when you kick the bucket then. Take your hobby to the grave, be selfish. Perhaps you've given up on caring, I haven't.

Forest


And why are you making this a moral issue? If "The Hobby" is worthy of surviving, it will survive. Tou cannot force anyone to enjoy what you like. If anyone asks me for advice on starting in historical gaming (and they never do), I will be glad to help them. I play in public because it pleases me to do so.

Our club started out in a shop that whose clientelle is 99% kids nad youngsters. We put on our games about once a month. Sometimes the kids come over to play, sometimes not. The only ones who are regular hosts and players are those who already historical gamers before they joined the club.
Gamers seek us out. Our efforts at evangelizing are wasted. In the 30+ years I have been gaming in this area, I can think of ONE person who actually started paintingand playing historical figures as a result of contact with me. He moved away.

The Hobby owes me nothing. I owe the Hobby nothing. I enjoy it. It is not anything I feel any need to promote beyond what I do now. Why should I? Call me all the evil names you want, but answer my question first.

Mark Plant16 Aug 2008 10:42 p.m. PST

OFM: while I accept that you owe "the hobby" nothing games in public is often a good way to advertise a club or gaming group.

So public games might not convert anyone not likely to be already interested, but then almost no advertising does.

(Oftentimes there is a big time lag though. Recruits are unlikely to sign up right there and then for the bounty after a good game. They go away and return when they have decided it might be for them. There might be people you have suckered in that you don't know about.)

chronoglide16 Aug 2008 11:53 p.m. PST

I take it by 'fantasy' that you're refering to goblins and elves, as surely as soon as a historical game alters from the documented outcome and events of the battle as it happened then you've entered the realms of fantasy….it's not that long a journey from rolling a '6' and rallying Hitler in his bunker to Harry Turtledove's jet-riding lizards…….
I've not experienced it personally, but there seems to be a prevelant trend for historical gamers to look down on fantasy and sci-fi as some sort of 'kiddies' version of their hobby, as if they are lesser sub-genres of the wargaming whole. We game both facets in our little gang and there is friendly rivalry between the two camps, but at the end of the day we're all enjoying the game we're playing.

Lupus117 Aug 2008 1:29 a.m. PST

I agree with a lot of what has been said above. Wargaming, be it historical or fantasy/sci fi is a hobby. And, you will either get people that are into or won't be. I know my wife thinks I'm crazy playing with toy soldiers at my age. And half my work place thinks I need to grow up.

However, every now and then, I'll run across someone who has that certain something that will draw them into the hobby.

Half the trick is making the general public aware of what the hobby can offer. You won't be able to win everybody, but just raising the level of public information about what other hobbies are out there will draw some of those who may have a potential interest in gaming to the hobby.

However, the other trick that I've found is that some gamers out there need to chill out and be a little more approachable. I'll admit, I started gaming from the fantasy/sci fi side of things. Why? Because I found history boring (its a subject that is very poorly taught down under)and the hard core wargamers around when I got into the habit were totally anal about facts and figures and made me feel small about not being an expert in the period.

Given time though, as I've gotten older and my interests have diversified, I have wandered into some historical gaming. Although, I'll have to admit, my interest still lies in the more contemporary conflicts rather than true ancient wargaming.

As I have mentioned above, we need to raise the public level of information about wargaming in general…not just historical but all wargaming. We won't win everybody, but the ones that do stay will gradually sort themselves out based upon their interests.

Hey, the more gamers there are, the more opponents to play against at various conventions and clubs :)

Fonzie17 Aug 2008 1:53 a.m. PST

Paint our hair black…..? ;-)

I don't think this is as much as a problem as one might think. I see lots of youngsters at every convention that I go to and I know a fair few too.

They are not as prolific as the rest of us simply because they don't have the money to spend on wargames like we do. Wait until they have jobs and make a living, they will be just like us then and complain about the greying of "their" hobby too in another 20 years or so.

Martin Rapier17 Aug 2008 2:44 a.m. PST

John the OFM and Allen have summed up my position neatly.

It is a hobby not a job.

Connard Sage17 Aug 2008 3:06 a.m. PST

Because I found history boring (its a subject that is very poorly taught down under)and the hard core wargamers around when I got into the habit were totally anal about facts and figures and made me feel small about not being an expert in the period.

Knowing the exact shade of the facing colours of the 113th Foot & Mouth, or who was their colonel on the 4 August 1809 is not 'history', any more than knowing who the crew of Apollo 11 were is rocket science.

Many wargamers kid themselves (and others, I see it all the time on here) that their extensive knowledge of pointless trivia collected over many years makes them scholars when actually what they are is argumentative bores

It's what I was saying above, being condescending to someone because they cannot match the useless (in the real world) minutiae that you have collected and retained over decades is the Biggest. Turn. Off. Ever.

Second on my list is gamers who try to convince themselves, and others, that by shoving a few nicely painted figures around a table for a few hours they are Exploring History. Nope, sorry, what you are doing is pushing a few nicely painted figures around a table for a few hours in the name of entertainment. Get over yourselves

If people who wargame are worried about the decline of the hobby, some of those people would do well to stand back and take a good look at themselves. Then decide were the problem lies

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