I love when the end of the year rolls around and we read of predictions (including ones we make ourselves) for the new year and a look back on our general state of affairs. I know I will not make my painting goals or games played. I can live with that and try harder for 2016. Yet as a veteran gamer I do like to think about our over all condition of our hobby and for some their professions.
My history with gaming goes back forty plus years and I have seen many trends come and go. I know there will be a few new companies on the scene each year and few will also leave us. There will be the latest games dealing with The Battle of the Bulge, Midway, Waterloo or Normandy because we still have not created the ultimate gaming experience. This is generally not a bad thing, but we keep re-fighting the same two to three months of history year after year and convention after convention.
So where are we today; probably in the best possible position for our hobby ever. I will defend this statement by siting three items, technology, shows and demographics.
Social Media not a new trend but definitely maturing, allows groups to gather and share research and technique. This also comes at cost, I need more shelf space for the books that I have acquired because of these conversations. These communities help you to find local gamers and clubs. It is surprising how many of us are out there. If you take the time to be active on these communities you will add gaming buddies as well as friendships as some of use share their lives on there as well. Even picked up so awesome recipes from the Lardies.
Conventions and Shows are changing and in some ways for the better and others, well not so good. Attendance in the big name shows are down. That goes for attendees and the vendors. While the numbers are rarely released on the shows listening to the tone on boards and social media you get the feeling that the world has changed. I know this as I have attended some of these shows since the mid-1980s. I have found that the major sows I attend here in the US do not have the same excitement that they did in the past. Some blame the Internet and the fact that we do not have to come to shows to buy everything we need for the coming wargaming season. But when I come to a show now there is not the excitement of seeing something new, I saw it already on line. We can do better with demos and generating the excitement online before the show, but it takes effort and that I see is missing.
But smaller regional shows are all the rage here in the northeast. There are more of them popping up all the time. Within two hours of me is a club or show event going on at least once a month. In the summer and fall I can choose up to three in a month. Yes there are more of us out there (am I repeating myself) than we think. Are they generating excitement, some, but they are smaller and scrappier and I see them only getting better.
WS&S magazine did a second survey and the results are encouraging. What we need to remember is to be more inviting, to get people to our clubs and allow the army of solo gamers to have a chance to use their troops against real opponents.
While I may not have painted as much as I would have wanted, I am looking forward to 2016 being a great gaming year. Now I have to place that order for the Unix P107. Von Luck needs at least two. :-)