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"5 Free Ways to Attract Gamers to Wargaming" Topic

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741 hits since 27 Jul 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2017 9:44 p.m. PST

"One of the most popular boardgame video reviewers, Marco Arnaudo, has a saying, "In every boardgamer there is a wargamer screaming to come out." I happen to agree and I am on a crusade to help bring more gamers to the wargaming hobby.

You may wonder who am I to try to teach publishers about doing their job, so I will briefly introduce myself. My name is Ania B. Ziolkowska and I've been a freelance graphic artist in the wargaming industry since 2014. You may say this isn't very long. It's not, but I believe that I have a fresh perspective, not only from an industry insider point of view but also as a trained ad specialist. And, what's probably most important, from a casual gamer-turned-wargamer point of view. So bear with me and I guarantee you that following these five simple and (mostly) free steps, will not only attract new customers to your business but will also increase loyalty to your brand…"


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Ottoathome Inactive Member28 Jul 2017 7:46 a.m. PST


What the author has been saying has been said since the sixties. It has no appreciable effect.

There is no great gaping yearning burning hole in the soul of anyone to go into war games, be they a board gamer or a guy who just heard about it five minutes ago. It is not a categorical imperative.

Board gamers have moved over into war games as their fancies tickle them. Role Playing Gamers have done the same, and historical miniature gamers wander over into board games and role playing games as is their wont. I have seen far more condescension and patronizing going on FROM miniature gamers to non-miniature gamers, and far more of the "When are these kids going to get serious and start doing Napoleonics" than the other way around.

In my life time I have brought into the hobby 28 people who are now converted, eager, die hard miniature gamers. Many of them historical miniature gamers at that. These have been board gamers, role playing gamers, and the like. They remain board gamers, role playing gamers, card gamers, but they now do minis. I found these people at work, family friends (in that 28 are two whole families of four) and here there and everywhere.

What brings them in is not the game. If you try and sell the game to them they will never pick it up. What you sell is having a good time and that you are fun to be around with. YOU have to sell yourself. This obviously shows why we are such a minority hobby when you consider the people that hang around here.

I'm not sunshine and brightness and I clearly am abrasive, critical, difficult, condescending, patronizing, a snob and and a critical person. Yet if I can recruite 28 people then others should do much better. My personality above (my good parts) is my life personality. My game personality is it's all fun and games, all jiggles and jokes, all 'hey kids lets pretend."

It works.

People will play the game because you invite them over and put it on for them. They enjoy being with you. They have fun, and they want to come again. The game may be completely unfamiliar to them, and they may not care for it at all, but they'll come and play because they have fun. Eventually, they will start to see something in the game. They will make the connections themselves and they will have fun. Once they have fun…

Softly, Softly Catchee Monkee.

I had a guy who used to play Drang Nach Osten- and Squad Leader- Exclusively. Didn't like minis- came over, kind of dumpy-frumpy the first time. However the group had a lot of laughs, and we played Drang Nach Osten and Squad learder with him every so often. He had a good time. Wanna see the 1,000 man army of Sodom and Gomorrah he's got painted up?

I had several role playing gamers come over and play. They used minis- but used them unpainted. Didn't see the slightest reason to daub paint on them. Now.. they agonize that the shade of verd on the shield of their fighters coat of arms or the brown of the shelf fungus growing out of the side of the head of a forest druid wasn't correct.

Once I had a friend who I met on the internet where we debated politics and religion. She was going on vacation and we were going to meet for the first time on her vacation. She was going to swing by my house. She asked "So what do you like to do besides argue politics and religion?" I told her. IMMEDIATELY she was interested and wanted to know if we could play a game. I was scheduled to go to Historicon the next day, but I put that off and put on a game for them. All four of them. Herself, her husband, her 16year old very hot teen daughter, and her 9 year old son. Twenty minutes into the game they were all hooked. An hour into the game the daughter is yelling at her mom. MOM!!! YOURE FORGETTING THE VICTORY CONDITIONS!!! THEY HAVE TO GET OFF THE BOARD HERE!!! DON'T MOVE THOSE TROOPS AWAY AND UNCOVER THE ROUTE!!. Goodness! I've been at conventions and seen players in the hobby for 40 years ignore that!

If you want to sell the hobby you have to be more like a carnival barker than an academic professor.

People want to have fun. If you let them have fun they will play.

Wargames has no intellectual content whatsoever. It's all "Sense of wonder" he "WOW!!!! NEAT!!! element and "Spirit of Play" or the "Let's make believe" element.

I wrote once in "Down at the Train and Game" a column I put out in the Society of Daisy Newsletter" which is about all the stories and funny occurrances I have seen in my life in gaming. One of them was where a club put on a show at the local historical society open house for Christmas with their Santa Claus to entertain the kids. When the kids came in and saw the table top set up with a battle, the tanks and ships and other war game toys lined up. The books of Freatherstone, Moreschauser, and Wells open for inspecton. the kids went wild.

Amid a flurry of little arms and fingers the mothers were earnestly screeching ala sotto voce, 'DON'T TOUCH DON'T TOUCH!" I said "Oh madam, it would be too cruel to not let the kids touche and see the toys." "But I don't want them to break anything, it's so beautiful." "Oh, but they are only toys, and they can be easily mended!" Please, that's what they are here for?" "REALLY! You don't mind???" "not at all…" I had seen in her eyes the look that she too could touch them, that she too could look at them and wonder… wonder… wonder…"

In my mind was the single word…"Gotcha!"

At that moment her little daughter came up with one of the books of paper dolls from my collection saying "Mommy Mommy" , she must have been all of 13, "… when I get married I want this for a wedding dres!!!" "Yes-- " I said, "it's very nice, Marie Antoinette liked it too!"

By the way, the Santa Claus was quite forgotten.

Another little girl was sitting on the ground reading Joe Moreschauser's "How to Play Wargames in Miniatures"

She could not be moved and she didn't want to leave. I told the woman the girl could take it home and finish reading it." The woman was shocked. The book came back two weeks later. The mother told me that her daughter had started making her own magical kingdom.

Eventually the parents dragged the kids away from the table to Santa, waiting rather grumpily in the corner, but their minds weren't with him; their eyes were wandering back to the table.

As each group left, they were given a small toy from "the local train and game" and a gift coupon.

The next thing I'm going to do is see if I can put on a game in the mezzanine or open area of a shopping mall. Let the public come up, see it, play a round or two, roll some dice,…

"Hurri, Hurri, Hurri, step right up and see the show.. she the horrible man beast of Kukkamonga, the largest rat in existence, look at the reincarnated spirit of Pharoh Psoriasis.. look at the pretty dancing girls….

Give em the old hocus pocus, bead and feather em…

Want new customers and gamers? Put on a game in the mezzanine of a shopping mall,

Want to attract other gamers, show them that it's fun to game with you.

Wargames is about FUN, nothing more.

TGerritsen28 Jul 2017 2:19 p.m. PST

I agree, Otto. It's about fun. I've played games that are unbelievably complex but had a ball because the person running the game was organized, had enthusiasm in his presentation and made that enthusiasm infections to everyone playing.

I've played very simple games (which are the ones I typically prefer) where the person running the game was disorganized, took over an hour to explain a game that would take anyone else five minutes, the players were jerks and despite beautiful miniatures and a class act table, wanted to never play with them again.

It's about having fun and interacting with your fellow players. If you aren't having fun, the game itself will have little bearing on the experience and vice versa.

Ottoathome Inactive Member28 Jul 2017 4:35 p.m. PST

Dear TGerritsen.

Thanks. If it isn't fun why do it. I agree about complexity. But complexity is elusive. More rules do not a complex game make. One of the most fascinating games I ever played is Quartermaster General. Incredibly complex based on a few simple elements. On the other hand I understand EXACTLY the type of game you are talking about. An excellent GM can make it all flow.
The other gamers not being a bunch of dorks is also important. But there is one other element. The player themselves, or yourself or myself has to be WILLING AND WANTING to have fun. I have seen dozens, hundreds of wargamers who go into a game and it seems they are almost fanatically determined NOT to have fun.

The circus is NOT the greatest show on earth. What makes it so when it is, is the eagerness of the attendee to be gulled.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2017 1:40 p.m. PST

Otto--where's the "Like" button?????

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