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"STATE OF THE HOBBY." Topic


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1,796 hits since 15 Sep 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Ottoathome16 Sep 2017 5:41 a.m. PST

Like a State of the Nation Speech, how would you evaluate the "State of the Hobby" today? "The hobby" is defined as "War games with Miniatures."

wakenney16 Sep 2017 6:21 a.m. PST

Strong and growing, though not in the ways it grew previously. Miniature board games are making in roads and taking a few of the players who would have played war games away. But, from what I've seen, it also brings more people into mini-gaming in general. Give the newcomers some time with the boardgames and some will make the jump to war games.

Skirmish games are much more popular than they used to be. Faster play and smaller forces may appeal more nowadays; I'll leave it to pop-psychologists to theorize why.

There is a much stronger emphasis on "fair play" for even historical games. The idea of unbalanced forces, even for historical accuracy or for the sake of a scenario, seems to have died. Point based systems have taken over all sides of miniature wargaming.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 6:54 a.m. PST

I think that there is more division within the hobby, with players in the above mentioned "fair/points/army books" camp, the "historically accurate scenario" camp, and those who, with varying degrees of regularity, move between the two.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 7:12 a.m. PST

Skirmish games are far more popular than they once where. I don't know if this is true for economic reasons, or because of time considerations, or just because they are fun. Whatever the case, skirmish games have definitively made an impact recently.

Personal logo Great War Ace Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 7:28 a.m. PST

Alive and well. But, as already said, not in the direction expected (by me). There is always a popular niche which attracts the newbies. And from there, most leave the hobby, while some gravitate into other, more esoteric genres within the hobby. I do not see miniature wargaming as a threatened species.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 7:40 a.m. PST

Alive and very well, growing in diversity in scales, periods, genres, style of rules. All in all a very happy time

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

One thing will never change. If you are enjoying yourself, you're doing it right.
If your idea of a fun game is 20 people doing Austerlitz over the weekend in a gym in 40mm scale, have at it.
Mine is doing Cowpens on a ping pong table in 28mm, and finishing in 3 hours.

The state of The Hobby is that more and more people have the ability to do things in as many different ways as possible. Nobody is doing it wrong.
Ah. Diversity.

CATenWolde16 Sep 2017 8:53 a.m. PST

While my own personal hobby scene is flourishing in every respect (thanks to the great products available, friends old and new, and especially my son) … unfortunately what I've taken away from TMP over the past month or so has been that there a lot of angry, racist, sexist guys hanging out in the internet basement of the hobby here. It's frankly been somewhat depressing.

Doug MSC Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 9:30 a.m. PST

The hobby on my front is doing very well. Having fun gaming, lots of new young people getting involved and 40mm figures seems to be more popular now, probably because of smaller battles and skirmish games. We are getting new interested customers from various countries including the USA. I'm sure the same could be said of smaller scales to.

Blutarski16 Sep 2017 9:38 a.m. PST

The hobby has never been better from a product availability viewpoint. Figures, models, accessories, reference material and rules (including some good sets) have never been more plentiful.

The only thing that piques my curiosity is when gaming will take advantage of new technology like micro networks and mobile phone apps to streamline and enhance gameplay. I look forward to the day that comes to fruition.

B

Malbrook16 Sep 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Locally, strong. We have a FLGS that really supports hosting games and I think we all strongly support the store in return. We have a historical game club, very informal, but playing more and more games and across different genres. We also aren't all old grey heads.

Personally, I'm reducing Mons Plumbi, working up terrain elements, researching scenarios, and enjoying it all whenever I can.

evilgong16 Sep 2017 1:11 p.m. PST

Nothing has changed, my lead mountain is roughly the same height as last year.

But I still get in some fun games with the gang.

David F Brown

Personal logo PrivateSnafu Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 1:34 p.m. PST

Too many slotta figures and resin ones. All good otherwise.

RudyNelson16 Sep 2017 2:01 p.m. PST

Having been a store owner and convention vendor since 1983, I would have a different view of the status of the industry. For one thing the industry is not only wargames with miniatures. You discount too large of a percentage of the industry's value.
Whether we like it or not, there are several important factors. For example I do not sell RPG or collectible card systems but they are a vital part of the whole.
Your view of the state is influenced by what type of member of the industry are you. For example as a vendor, I view kickstaters in a negative fashion. All it does is take sales from my store and reduces the number of copies of a product that I would order. Hence fewer sales for both a distributor and the manufacturer. If you have not been a retail store then you do not understand the stocking levels for a new system as compared to the limited number of products willing to stock when you have lost the initial sales of your customers to kickstarters.
So many other topics comprise the state. Shifts in point of sale, level of combat being played.casting composition and scale and others.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 2:24 p.m. PST

I must not have been reading the threads referenced by CATenWolde. On the other hand the demise of my FLGS has shown me the fragility of a thriving gaming situation and led me to regard the future with trepidation.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 3:25 p.m. PST

I don't know. If someone told me in 1969 about eh variety of scales and periods of castings--and the quality of the sculpting and casting--the amount of information at our disposal, the professionally made playing aids and rules, the gaming shops with castings and paints and the 3,000 person conventions of historical miniatures gamers, I'd have been thrilled.

If someone told me I'd be down to less than a game a month on average, and most of those well out of town, I'd wonder that happened to us. Hard to believe they're both true.

Don Manser17 Sep 2017 3:23 a.m. PST

Blutarski wrote:

The only thing that piques my curiosity is when gaming will take advantage of new technology like micro networks and mobile phone apps to streamline and enhance gameplay. I look forward to the day that comes to fruition.

They've taken the first steps with boardgaming. Miniatures rules/scenarios etc won't be far behind.

Don Manser17 Sep 2017 3:28 a.m. PST

>>>>>
…..unfortunately what I've taken away from TMP over the past month or so has been that there a lot of angry, racist, sexist guys hanging out in the internet basement of the hobby here.
>>>>>

?

bruntonboy17 Sep 2017 3:56 a.m. PST

Here in Albion things seem pretty good. Our club has more members, we seem to have more shows and we even have a recent (4 years) games store.More and more toys of better quality in any size and period. However I am a little perturbed by the way the hobby is going- the higher standards in painting, modelling and products seems to have led to more small "warband" games, full colour hardback rule books mean I buy far fewer books so maybe miss out on interesting games or mechanisms.I do wonder if it is largely driven by the demographics of newly arrived mass numbers of gamers who joined as teenagers in the 1970's now having larger disposable incomes having now no family at home/career progression or retired and therefore can afford more expensive products. Certainly if we had a hobby like this in the '70's I doubt I would have joined in or at least I would likely never have aspired to having large armies. Just a thought or two.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 4:54 a.m. PST

Which one?

The Historical gaming hobby is doing fine.

Don Manser17 Sep 2017 5:33 a.m. PST

Seems to be healthy in the NE US. I see a higher number of smaller, local events than in past years. Overall pretty good.

irishserb17 Sep 2017 7:06 a.m. PST

The state of the hobby is good, it evolves and grows, though we are not all well served by this direction of the evolution and growth.

Ottoathome17 Sep 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

My comments are primarily concerning Historical Miniatures gaming. Skirmish gaming, Sci-fi, and fantasy is largely of zero interest to me. I don't do the latter so I don't know much about them.

Since I began in 1962 with Joe Moreschauser's How to Play War Games in miniature, not much has changed. While there may be more aggregate gamers in Historical Miniatures, I do not think the percentage of the population involved with them have changed. It still is a woefully teeny, tiny niche hobby, and is destined always to be so.

Since I began in 1962 the number of miniature makers have exponentiated tremendously as have the number and availabity of figures. However none of them seem to have any longevity and the makers and lines they produce disappear with frightening regularity a few years after their launch. So in the aggregate we aren't much better with availability.

Since I began in 1962 the quality of miniatures produced has improved tremendously and this is one of the few areas I think the hobby is better. But I don't know if this is anything to do with war games or more the application of vulcanization and spin molding from the jewelry industry to toy soldiers.

Since I began in 1962 the most disasterous part of the hobby has been rules. There have been hundreds if not thousands of new rule sets cranked out since then, all of them except for a handful have gone straight from press to oblivion in one step. Some enjoy a fitful period of interest for a year, maybe two, but they never last. Significantly, most of the rule sets in 1962 are still around, played, and enjoyed including Moreschauser, but hundreds of the intervening ones are gone. Most players today wind up writing their own rules just as Jack Scruby said in 1962 with his "All About War Games."

Next to Rules the most astonishing phenomenon has bee the rise and fall of the game store. Twenty years ago they were springing up like Mushrooms in August. Now they are almost extinct. It doesn't matter the excuse used, the simple fact is that once there were almost non (other than big chain "toy" stores in the classical toy genre) then there were hundreds, and now they are almost gone. What this is an indicator of is that within any given area the quotient of interest (desire to buy miniatures and games times population) is simply insufficient to sustain the cost of a store, especially one which can devote valuable floor space to hold miniature games in. This hearkens back to an inductive indication of the lack of growth of the hobby.

Since I began in 1962 the plain, out and out, without caveat or qualification success story of the hobby has been the convention. Back in 1962 there were none, or maybe one which was always held hundreds of miles away if not thousands which you had no hope whatsoever of getting to and now there are small and large conventions all over the place such that they are starting to get in each others way. These like miniature manufacturers and figure lines tend to wax and wane and are still a large part a labor of love by gamers. I do not refer to Gencon or Origins, those are over the top shows which have little to do with miniature wargames, and often once again hideously expensive, draining, and hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Nevertheless this is one are games have done well.

Since I began in 1962 the venues for most games are atill the basement, garage, or attic. The store always was a strained and impermanent venue. Not much has changed here, not is it likely to.

Since I began in 1962 the Public Perception of the hobby has changed. Back then war games were seen in some way as a malevolent and psychopathic influence on people. Gamers were seen as kill-crazed crypto Nazis-- warmongers and chauvanists who were to be avoided, criticized, discriminated against and if possible institutionalized. As time went on with AD&D this changed to worshipping the devil over the AD&D board, and now it has a more neutral reception of almost bemused apprehension of us as intelligent cranks and socially dysfunctional but harmless eccentrics.

As for our view of ourselves. Since 1962 I have seen this run from overweening megalomania to an almost Garbo – esque "wanting to be alone." I remember how in the early days of the HMGS we though we could as an organized body lay down the law to the manufacturers as to scale, quality, what we wanted them to make, with wild talk about buying our own facility for a game convention, for censoring and dictating what rules were used. This still echoes around here as people make themselves absolutely ridiculous talking about placing qualifications on games masters and games as to what is allowed in conventions, and on the other extreme end people who purposefully remain below the radar and don't even go to conventions next door. Gaming among ourselves seems to be a hugely personal matter with people who play the same rules, same game, same minis who live next door will each drive 3 hourse to play with someone else far away. When asked the reason given is "Oh, he serves Doritos for snacks and I'm a popcorn man." Of course there's another issue going on. One guy is a democrat and the other is a republican and they can't seem to leave their party at the door for game day, or some other thing. But we are as squirelly as we were in 1962.

So on the whole my view of the hobby,it's the typical historian question when you as "are we better off now or back then" it's always depends. Better for who, worse in what way.

Ottoathome17 Sep 2017 7:49 a.m. PST

Dear Don

That is the purpose of TMP, the revelation and promotion of those modes of behavior. TMP is in many ways the Jerry Springer show of War Games. The whole dawghousing element is there to vicarious vengeance against personal enemies- the public vetting of come-uppance against people one does not like or rage how someone just like you is treated.

It is amazing how many war game groups, basement groups, store groups, attic groups have people of wildly different likes and dislikes, political beliefs, and social stations eagerly interacting together and gaming with great joy and detachment and they even talk and debate these volatile issues, but keep gaming together.

It should be the same here No?

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 8:00 a.m. PST

I attended the GMT games weekend. The owner gave a "State of the Company" talk. Business is up 40% and their big challenge is delivering new product. The 25-35 year old group are becoming more involved because they like the strategy concept of the games.

This past year a few hobby stores closed and a new one opened up. There is only one real active and they just put in about 600 sq feet of new gaming space.

Wolfhag

Blutarski17 Sep 2017 9:12 a.m. PST

The flow of new rules to market has increased by an order of magnitude. This is a great improvement over the 70s/80s, when the appearance of a new set of rules was akin to a solar eclipse. Some of them are actually worth playing.

B

RudyNelson17 Sep 2017 9:42 a.m. PST

Don M. I have been on TMP a very long time and have never looked on this site for views on politics or any other social issues. Of course, I do not read every head or topic since many are not of any interest to me.
We can guess at the political leanings of the editor but they would only be a guess. Regardless of his position, the site is his site, so we read it or get off.
I am curious as to what your training is to identify racism, sexism, which is the wrong term? Personally I am a DoD trained investigator in race and GENDER relations. So I tend to make note of slanted opinions. In regards to political or 'angry' opinions, that is your opinion as to what level you assign certain comments. Since I have been a consultant for local DHS/EMA and a State HR manager, my evaluation may differ.
What can we do about violations to our sensitivities? Not much, as you did, make note and move on.

Neal Smith17 Sep 2017 11:55 a.m. PST

Strong and growing nicely, but…

I know my time is too fragmented between various projects I WANT to do. :) There is almost too much choice!

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 1:39 p.m. PST

Don M………..I am curious as to what your training is to identify racism, sexism, which is the wrong term? Personally I am a DoD trained investigator in race and GENDER relations.

That's all fascinating I'm sure. Perhaps some closer reading may be in order however. Don didn't make that comment, CATenWolde did.

As for the topic at hand, I think Wnston Smith said it perfectly.

Don Manser17 Sep 2017 2:31 p.m. PST

Bill,

Can you please terminate my supporting membership immediately?

Thank you.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 2:52 p.m. PST

Don

Don't let a couple of "label-makers" or mis-attributed comments chase you off. Stick around. There's been way too many people chased off recently, from all sides.

Picard said it best:

YouTube link

Dan

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian17 Sep 2017 5:43 p.m. PST

Can you please terminate my supporting membership immediately?

Done.

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2017 9:34 a.m. PST

The situation in the UK as per my perception is as follows. Modelling generaly has moved out of many shops. Too many shops did not have the capability to stock a wide enough range of kit and prices were very uncompetitive to Internet prices. However most shops were not the heart of wargaming so it's impact was not great. Shows in the UK are not the same as the US they are mainly shopping and or very structured tournaments. The "shopping" shows are reducing as the Internet let's you see what you are buying anyway. With regard to clubs it seems they are holding out well, perhaps not growing but I see no failures.

To me the game is advancing since the dreaded Featherstone. The best rules are still getting better and faster in many cases, usually not the ones created my major miniature manufactures. Particularly for the simulators the advent of the net and PDF rules means you can find something close to what you want.

The internet is a dream, real military manuals on line and free, how much better can it get?

The advent of 3D printing is a major boost. You can now commission models that would never make economic sence to manufacture, so would remain unobtainable to other than expert scratch builders.

All in all to me the hobby is just getting better.

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