I am an Alpha Gamer. I run my own blog, host a bi-weekly board game night and the majority of my friends play the games they play because I introduced them to the hobby. My board game cravings are mollified by this arrangement but my miniature wargame addiction continues to rage. An attempt to convert some friends with Deadzone failed and it is now time for desperate measures.
What follows is a journal of my journey to finding a miniature wargame that I can actually play. It is not advice on how to get started on a game, it is a confessional of the mistakes I will make. As an Alpha Gamer I don’t have someone to guide me, I am that someone. So, I will go it alone, forge my path and report back here.
Looking for GAME
The first step along my path was deciding on a game. I had a fully painted set for Deadzone, Heavy Gear: Blitz!, a platoon of WWII Canadians in 28mm and a handful on Infinity. Should I try to find opponents for these games or start a new one?
A chance encounter sealed my fate. As an Alpha Gamer keeping a bi-weekly game night running for six years requires constant recruitment. When I catch wind of a fellow boardgamer, or even of a potential boardgamer, I pounce like a hunting animal. A friend who doesn’t like boardgames mentioned I should meet another friend of his who does. Quick as a flash I had his email and was inviting him to my game night, which we call Nerdnight, with only two days notice.
Now I had three new gamers (they often travel in packs), one of whom mentioned playing Warmachine. At the time I thought that it was unfortunate that he didn’t play any good miniature wargames. I had seriously considered playing Warmachine back in the 2nd Edition Beta but I just couldn’t bear the aesthetic of either the miniatures or the rules. I was too stubborn and wanted to play the game I liked with the miniatures I liked.
The next day I kept thinking about how I might convince this utter stranger to adopt one of my own game systems when I realized that perhaps it was time to swallow my pride and give Warmachine a try. My closest local game store sells only Warmachine and Hordes miniatures and it always filled me with sadness that I couldn’t support this recently opened store because they weren’t stocking the games I was interested in. I must admit that having a modest amount of money earmarked for hobby spending burning a hole in my pocket may have had an influence.
That day, a Saturday, I went out of my errands fully intending to pick up the Khador Battlegroup starter if the store carried it. When I had previously looked at Warmachine I liked the look of the Khador ‘Jacks so I already knew what I wanted to play. That day I visited four other hobby stores and an art supply store before I finally stopped into The Kessel Run.
I looked at the Khador box. I looked at some Trollkin. I thought and thought. I wandered around the board game aisle and the rpg aisle, I wandered through the Magic PPTQ happening in the back. I saw that there was a dedicated Warmachine night posted on the store calendar. I made the mistake of picking up a Vlad booster. Oh, the shoulderpads! They hurt me, right in the soul. I left. I just couldn’t handle the shoulderpads.
It took me until Sunday to work up the nerve to return. I would only pick miniatures that I liked, I told myself. If I didn’t like the game I’d have two cool robot miniatures to look at, so it wouldn’t be a total waste, It’s more important to play, even if sometimes people ride around the battlefield on a chimney.
All By Myself
So now I have a box of miniatures, some starter rules and a new game to play. It’s a good feeling, that new game feeling where anything is possible. Now I have to paint my miniatures and introduce myself to the local group and see if someone is willing to play a low point game.
Tune in next time for miniature painting and my thoughts on the miniatures.
Please let me know what your thought of this article in the comments below. Also, I’d love to hear anyone’s adventures in starting a new game. You can also find me on my own blog, The General’s Tent, and on Google+ and Twitter.