Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Mark 2 Musings Pt1 - Warmachine in Belgrade

Warmachine has rapidly become my primary hobby and as a hobby store owner it is something of double interest for me. In the last 2 years the only hobby game that has really taken off in Belgrade is Flames of War and that's pretty much due to the work of one promoter. Warmachine, after initially getting around 18 or so players, has stagnated and atrophied down to around 10 players. There are various causes but one of them is the transition from MK1 to MK2. Players saw it as a bad GW practice and watched as competitive models became uncompetitve - the cynical seeing it as a way for PP to sell product lines that languished in their warehouses.

I personally watched as my stock didn't move and as my choice of opponents vaned. As this happened two things made me struggle to act. The first was the birth of my first child and the second was the clashing of personalities in our local community. Having a child is the best experience in the world but also it means you disappear off the face of the earth for about a year. I have no regrets and I am looking forward to doing the whole thing again (biology and my wife willing) soon. However keeping the enthusiasm for Warmachine was not an option and therefore the new edition came at the worst possible time for me personally.

I came back to hobbying and had a choice to make; keep Warmachine just for me and a few close friends and turn the club into a Flames of War club or try and revive Warmachine and rebuild a new and strong community. Luckily a couple of the existing players rallied round and together we decided to make a go of it. The first thing was I stopped acting like a hobby store owner and solely focussed on being a player looking to promote the game. The second was getting some new players interested right from the grassroots. Friends canvassed their friends and got them to watch the game and play demo games. To the existing players and especially the new players I offered a large part of the stock at cost price. For new players this got them enough models to build a 35/50 pts army quickly and cheaply and for the existing players this was about rekindling their love affair with the game. The next thing was (and is) about putting a structure and dependability to the community. The existing wargaming community in Serbia all use a forum called 'Klub Zmaj'. Just as Warmachine had stagnated in Serbia so had the entire gaming community. The keen young players had all grown older and more cynical and (with a few exceptions) their enjoyment of gaming had turned into conceit and they spend their time belittling new people looking to get into hobbies and gaming. The environment is extremely political and very toxic. Luckily a friend (Painbringer) shared the desire to keep the game in the public domain and after bringing in some of his friends he suggested starting a new forum. We didn't do this but instead set up this blog in order to have a healthy location to promote Warmachine in Serbia; to reach out to other communities around the globe; and to discuss and mull over the Warmachine & Hordes games without negative influences.
I also started a club night just for beginners and inexperienced players and hopefully now Belgrade has a place that people interested in gaming and more specifically Warmachine and Hordes can go and they;
- are always welcome
- can always get a game, no matter if they have models or not
- can seek advice on lists/tactics and assembling/painting
- can buy/order models at a really reasonable price
- can avoid egos and tantrums
We are also running very regular events and tournaments and looking to get groups to travel abroad and play international events and tournaments.

To see if the seeds grow ... watch this space

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Yeah, situation was exactly like you described it. Besides, I do not think that "Zmaj" should be the only place to look for WM/Hordes information. Yes, that forum should have discussions about the game, but there should also be places which handle things in a different way. This way, we can promote the game much better, because we have access to the modern channels of communication - like twitter and blogger. Also, the primary thing we want to do is to promte fun and friendly environment.