Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tipping the Meter

I'd come into the fall with some high hopes of the NOVA Open being only the first stop of at least a couple of east coast tournament appearances - I had my sights set on getting to the Battle for Salvation and Battle for Blobs Park at a minimum, and maybe Mechanicon or the Warstore Weekend.  For varying reasons, I ended up only making it to NOVA.  Though I've tried to keep motivated, moving my stuff into my man-cave coupled with no tournaments to look forward to has sapped the mojo a bit.  Thinking too that my repeated experiences with the slow-play aspect of Tyranids being a disappointment to my opponents is a factor, and even a general dissatisfaction with GW seems to be creeping in as well.

On the one-hand, having a functional hobby area outside of where my family hangs out in the evening sounds like a plus - but it feels like I'm distancing myself from them.  I need my "me" time and all, but working the hobby aspect of 40k and being around my family aren't mutually exclusive things, especially after the summer rush getting ready for NOVA: I had my hobby stuff close at hand and got into a rhythm of painting/modeling while my kids did their homework or watched TV or whatever close by.  Changing the paradigm isn't having the effect I hoped it would of making it easier for me to focus and work on repairing the tournament/transit damage from NOVA and start working on the other models I'd like to play with - raveners, trygons, tyrant guard, venomthropes, getting my harpy painted, etc...  Instead its harder to get started, in turn harder to accomplish anything.  I haven't picked up a brush to paint since right before NOVA.

The no tournament aspect is frustrating - despite best intentions, other things have simply continued to come up.  I truly enjoyed the tournament "scene" and want to experience more; but without that shiny bullseye on the calendar beckoning, I don't feel the urgency.  Add in the fact that at the tournaments I've managed to play in, I've made it past turn 4 only once.  I enjoy playing Tyranids - they are thought-provoking, require meticulous placement of upwards of 60-100 models with multiple touches per turn - but for my opponent across the table it can be frustrating, especially when they can easily complete a turn in under 10 minutes, moving/touching fewer than 30 models.  Its hard to have fun when one's opponent clearly isn't.

Then there's the general dissatisfaction with GW.  White Dwarf continues its downward spiral away from anything of remote value into an advertising flyer I have to pay for.  I'm having a rough time justifying renewing my subscription next year.  This last issue should be studied by marketing classes as what not to do.  Here's some examples:  whose bright idea was it to have the all-grey metallic army appear on dark grey terrain on the back cover?  Biggest insult to injury?  Page 114: the Road to Glory Campaign announcement - I started to read this with a good deal of excitement thinking back to the Eye of Terror and Armageddon campaigns.  Then noticed the "Rouge" Trader references, not once - several times.  I could be nice and chalk it up as a simple spell-check mistake; but it really just serves to highlight how far the mag has fallen.  There are forgivable editing errors and there are those that absolutely should not be missed, and this one falls into the latter category.  Poor layouts, bad color choices, low-quality editing, and an 8000 point batrep?  Did I mention that because I subscribe, I get the magazine a week or more after it's been in stores?  Ah.. the stores.  I was overjoyed to have a Bunker open up five minutes from the house - but I can't walk in and enjoy it.  The staff follows me like I'm trying to steal something, asking multiple times if I need something, can they help me, what am I there for: these are trained behaviors that are designed to get people to purchase something and then make room in the store for other customers - in short, to get me out of the store as quickly as possible to allow for maximum commission turnover like one sees in crappy furniture stores.  You know, the ones that have had the same "going out of business" sale signs up for the past two years.  The lack of brand management savvy is just ridiculous - and if there are any bored business/marketing students out there looking for a great "what not to do" topic as a graduate project, GW is one of the best candidates you could ask for.

If you've stuck with me this far - I share the frustrations above mostly to vent, but also because I draw motivation from the views to this blog, the comments, and by living vicariously through the amazing talents of this community of creative people who dedicate so much to the hobby.  Today at least - that means more to me than I would have suspected it ever would when I started.  Today its you and not the game, the creative release of the hobby, or the fluff.  Thanks for your time.


  1. Great picture for the post... I have to admit it echoes a lot of what I feel about the game/company... I rotate through my "several" armies I've collected over the years when I get bored with them and I find that frequency increasing recently... Though I have to admit the time I spend in the basement working on the little toy soldiers does help keep me a little sane...

  2. Oh, dude...the Tyranids did it to me, in a sense as well.
    40k players I game with are very, very competitive.
    I never saw a fluffy choice in any army across the table from me, ever.
    These dudes are always 'fine-tuning' for SOME event, somewhere.
    It made my 'Nid learning curve very brutal, and by the time GK came out, I had had enough.
    I put them away for a while.

    And because GW is in 'Marine Mode,' I drifted away from the hobby for a bit.
    A demo game for a different system pulled me back in.
    It was Flames of War in my case, but I've got an Infinity starter set on the way now (tracking number and everything! I'm not kidding!).

    This hobby is bigger than 40k, my friend.
    I just wanna put this thought out there to you:
    'Go, check something else out'
    My friend dragged me into another system, and now I've got weekly games again, and models to paint, and new stuffs I want.
    It's...pretty exciting, actually- it's like, all brand new again.

    I'll be attending my first FoW tourney Thanksgiving Weekend, and playing FoW at this year's Conflict GT, instead of 40k.

    I'm sure I'll return to the Grimdark when 6th edition or a new Tau book drops, but in the meantime....

    I also understand the whole, 'painting amidst the family chaos' thing, as I generally have family around me when I hobby...they're annoying, but...well, waddayagonnado?
    They're family, and I love their annoying asses.

    And, as for GW and their 'business practices,' you summed it up with ,'what not to do' perfectly.

    Hope you find yer groove, my brother!

  3. I gave up on WD years ago. It's been a big expensive ad for long now, and the downward spiral after Fat Bloke left has been steep. but can't say that my hobby interest suffers much from it.
    In my country we have very few GW stores, and none in my region. But the hobby is healthier than ever. We order on internet and form small clubs and organize tournaments.

    I play Nids competitively and take them to tournaments, with good results. First tournament I had games were we only got in 3-4 turns. Last tournament we got at least 5 turns in every game, so you can train for it.
    You can also take a more elite based army.

    For the next tournament I’m taking a full null deployment army at 2000 points. It works well and it has proven fun both for me and my opponents, plus it’s pretty fast to play as you skip a few turns in every match.

  4. Thanks for the kind words. I've been watching BBF's null deployment army development on Terminus Est with a good deal of interest lately too. Had a good friend over a couple days ago who is just starting to get into the hobby and actually painted a tiny bit. Felt good.

  5. You can learn to fast-play a Tyranid army. Remember that must units are identical - move the back rank to the front rank and call it a day. Even faster when units are single file, which they should be.