29 May 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun - The need of players in our games

Shout out to Frontline Gamer (read his stuff)

When I was a little tyke, I ended up moving.

A lot.

At first is was new countries and new cities, then once we got back to the land of mapple, winter and being semi french, we moved every year or two to a new city until I came to Ottawa. 

When you move around alot, you find ways to ingore the world, blend in crowds and make the odd friend. You also learn how to be alone. One of my profs called me a 'liguistic chimera' unable to sort out where I came from but able to learn where I spent time. 

I found the D&D box set my parents had in Grade 2, urm... Age 7. Looking at the neat purple box and the strange plastic blue dice with a slew of numbers beyond six confused me. Instead I played, Grail Quest the trilogy of chose your own adventure books by J. H. "Herbie" Brennan. Ok those lasted a month or so. Then Ian Livingston and Stephen Jackson (not of GURPS fame) Fighting Fantasy series claimed my imaginations. 

Why not?

The Old Bears video games on the Apple II-C (Wizardry 1-3 and Bards Tale) were awesome. He played on it as well and my time was limited. Also I wanted to find my own hobby. I guess it was a journy of claiming my own identity. Who fucking knows, I sure don't. 

This continued, until my parents put me through a D&D game. Mrs Bear, played a cleric and I wanted to be an Elf. Old Bear put together a small map and we played on a long weekend. I was age 9. By age 10 I got Heroes Unlimited Revised Edition (the blue cover). What followed was downward slide in awesome fun. 

I also made friends. I learned people skills, to imagine and create. Propose ideas with a crew of strangers working together towards making a group of Ninja Mutants, building a castle in AD&D 2nd Ed and reading to gather information to share from my West End Games, Imperial Sourcebook. At the tender age of 14 in 1994, I played Battle Tech. Within the next couple years, I was playing Heavy Gear within a month of it's teleportaion to the local game shelf. 

To me the table had a top that was changed. Built for more then holding snacks, soda, Magic cards and stolen grid paper to make cool maps. Its uses had expanded and the future showed me wars in the worlds of fantasy, planets in the 41st thousand year, darkness of space, worlds torn by mechanical warriors and fields covered in blood. 

So why the long preamble?

I have a cuz (Tzar) a devoted 40k fan and player of GW games in general. (I'll hit the GW topic another time. Or read Frontline gamer). He's getting a kid and winning a wife. All I know, he made me MC for the hitching and it (all of it) is Tzar's fault. 

For his various gifting I've decided to save him, well kinda. I wanted him to join our new, fast growing ranks but more to try another drug of painted miniature warriors. I got him the Warmachine Two Player Starter box. I'm even paiting the dudes, picking up the tokens, dice, carry case... it's like I'm buying the switch for Tzar to beat me with.

We had quite the yammer about gaming and I flew off the handle. Then the idea hit me.

We need our comunities to play. This hobby of mine, to which I am a citizen along with some of you imagined readers. Our small group is not enough to support our hobby of table top games. More and more I find the need to find other players, forums and blogs to expand my enjoyment of the game.

In Tzar's case, his group is small and he's moving about 40 mins away from them. Yet he's about 25 min from a whole community he hasn't even heard of. Well it's time to make more friends and pick up a sturdy case folks. You need to get out of the house. Sorry European readers, we measure distance by time, not Km (or Miles).

Tzar is one of many gamers, who love the table and the supper of terrain, hills, bunkers and rivers. These hobby people are stuck playing only with their friends and close mates. These people are afraid to step out and find a place, when it's there, and bring it. 

Since playing Warmachine in Jan 2011, I've met a couple dozen people who I don't hate and a few that I tolerate. I've expanded my circle of friends and made connections that I never expected. I found a few groups to play with and expand my games.

There was five of us wankers; Vandred, Ontos, Pale Rider, Dozer (me), Doc and later on Sarge, who have put down the old games and found a new game to play. In many cases, it was a return to the table. It longed for us and it found a new siren call to lure us back.

Outside of the Green Room (the old games room at the Bears, named after the giant 8'x4' green table) we ventured and found warzones that needed the light gentil touch of Lola, the repose and peace of the elves of Ios, the warmth and grace of Menoth and the lulling sounds of wolves circling your home. I jumped in guns blazing, dropping armour peircing rounds, watching black pennies flying and the odd Foxhole placed to make lanes of fire.  

Our hobby needs people, opponents. In this hobby being a jerk gets you nowhere. This is why I got into these games. To make friends and create a group of people I could spend time with outside of the chose your own adventure books. 

Everytime I get to the table and meet someone new I feel like that kid speaking the wrong language in the odd clothes and obviously not from around here. When the dice first hit the table, that kid is gone. Instead I'm playing a match with a person who for some odd reason has come to the same table as me. Instead of a meal, we feast on the results of our decisions. The wine is the sweet success and bitter failure of our choices. After every game I leave the table and offer my hand. Even if I hate the jerk on the other end, if they beat me like a red headed step child or got take for a ride on the pain train. My hand is there, offered.

In most cases, I get a limp shake back. Other cases, the shake is firm and strong. Sometimes, there is no return. I'm not offended but I pick up my mess, clean off the table and walk to another ready to dine again. We need to find new players, and new players must understand that we are all here doing the same thing and that we need each other.

Our hobby does not allow you to call out table for one.