Monday, June 22, 2015

Commentary: A Toast To Those Who Help Us Keep The Hobby Alive

Yeah, its a platitude.  So sue me!  I think it's important to thank the folks who spend that most precious of all commodities, time, to keep us informed and connected.
toast 5

At this point in the hobby, how do we find out about what's going on?  Read a GW newsletter (I know one never existed; that's the point)?  Watch a 45 second GW video?  White Dwarf...really?!  Maybe you have a friend in high places in Nottingham that keeps you current on all the latest.  Chances are none of these apply to you.  I know how most of us stay informed and connected in todays digital world; the Internet.  Whether it's websites like Faeit or BoLS, a podcast or a local forum, our knowledge of what's current arrives the vast majority of the time over WiFi (unless you do all of your online business on your phone).  Who is it that actually takes the time to implant that digitized information on the magical, mystical Interweb?  Those are the folks I want to raise our glasses to today.

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Why even recognize these folks?  Most importantly, because it takes TIME to do what they do!  Yeah, fine, some of them get paid to do it.  I really don't give a rip whether they do or not.  The point is that they actually walk the walk.  Time is the great equalizer; every living person gets 1440 minutes in a day.  Rich, poor, young, old, gamer, non-gamer.  The folks who help us keep the hobby alive choose to spend this limited resource, some much more than others, keeping us informed and giving us places we can dialog about our hobby.  How many of you actually call (not text) your friends and say, "I just got the new ______ codex...let's go out for a beer and sit and talk about it for two hours?"

Many of us find interest in any dex that arrives, but we don't want to buy it, and even if we did, we have limited opportunities to sit and do the breakdown with others.  We find rules conundrums and talk about model building interesting and entertaining.  We just don't have the opportunity to sit with others and have an old-fashioned talk-fest.  Whether it's a chocked-full schedule or a lack of access to like minded people, the chance does not present itself in our busy lives.  So others take the time and make the effort to collect, collate and discuss our hobby in a number of ways.  This gives us a plethora of choice as to how, and how much, of our hobby we wish to inhale at any given time.

toast 1

Major Forums:  They are a vital source of rumors, news and discussion regarding the state of 40K (and many other gaming systems).  Note...Unlike several 40K websites, however, the other gaming systems have major forums that are specific to their hobby and don't include other gaming system content.  These are supported by the manufacturers and populated by their communities.  Malifaux and Infinity come to mind.  Very much unlike the major forums that support 40K, that are driven solely by the community itself.  Back to 40K.  Whether you like them or not (if you don't, why the heck to you spend time on them?), these major sites, such as BoLS, Faeit, Dakka, e.g., provide tons of information (and rumors, as opposed to actual information) for us to sift through and digest.  There is no way that we as individuals could, without spending every waking moment, collect all of the stuff we see at these sites.  Most of the time we are given enough information to pique our interest, which leads us to other sources of information to fill things out.  The other function of these major forums is that, for better or worse, they give actual hobbyists the chance to communicate with the community at large.

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(I know, I know...but this pic just begged me to put it in!)
Podcasts:  Don't know about you, but I spend hours a week as I build, paint and do other stuff (like commute) listening to podcasts.  I credit these 1-2 hour talkfests with giving me a great and varied perspective on the game, as well as great breakdown of rules and models.  If I want an almost painfully detailed codex breakdown, I listen in to Preferred Enemy.  The guys over there literally take a dex page by page, giving every stat, rule, etc., for every unit in the book.  Then there is the inevitable discourse regarding balanced, broken, OP.  I also listen to Forge the Narrative regularly, and have recently tuned into The Long War, mostly because I am a Kenny and Steve fan.  For my Infinity fix, I listen to Tom and Kip over at Mayacast.  Whichever podcast you prefer, it takes many hours of effort to put these together, so that the rest of us can have a way to learn more about what is going on in the community.  It also, at least for me, serves as a surrogate "sit around drinking beer with my friends and talking the hobby" since I rarely get the chance to do so.

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Local Forums:  I have been part of a great group of 40K gamers known at D-Company here in Milwaukee for many years.  Since I started my 40K "career," many of its members have moved on (literally; Washington, Canada, Madison, Minnesota, e.g.).  But because of the local forum (D-Company Proboards) administered by members of our group, we are able to communicate and stay in touch.  When we have our annual "Big Game" every Spring, almost all of the coordination and information we need is done through the forum.  "Big Game" involves 15-20 players and around 80K-100K points worth of models.  For something this big there are ceretainly sit downs and phone conversations, but given the travel distances involved for many, much of the information needed for the game itself is available to players online.  It takes a great deal of time to keep even local forums like this alive, and when they go down, it is frightening how quickly people become disconnected.  The current Proboards forum is testament to this; our original forum went down last year due to administrative issues.  One brave soul took it upon himself to resurrect our comms hub by creating a replacement.  The interim was not a pleasant time.


This game, at its heart, is about community.  How much do you value your hobby/gaming, and how many of your waking hours do you devote to it?  So the next time you are flying around the internet to search for 40K and other gaming content, raise a glass (bottle, can or hookah) and thank all of those folks who make it possible for us to get our fill of one of our favorite pasttimes.  As my uncles taught me to say many years ago...Slainthe!

Where to you spend most of your 40K Internet time?


1 comment:

  1. I spend a huge amount of my time reading blogs and blogging :) The community is just wonderful! (outside of the main sites comment sections and some of the forums)


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