Ron over at From the Warp asked other bloggers to suggest ways of ‘getting kids involved in the hobby’ and it is one if his collaborative post questions. The following are my suggestions – the final sections are my view on what needs to be focussed on locally to me.
A little background – I started playing 40k and Fantasy back in the early 1990’s, whilst it wasn’t cool it was ‘acceptable’ for my age group. At secondary school there was briefly a club but by the age of 14 it wasn’t considered that cool thing to do – but i persevered with a reduced pool of gaming friends. Whilst the staff of GW stores are great with younger members they often go slightly too far (in my opinion) and can add to other kids into believe that the store, models, games and brand are childish and not ‘cool’.
- Attitude – I don’t care if this doesn’t help bringing kids into the hobby, it helps with the hobby overall. The staff should promote (and demonstrate) a mature look at the game. Yes the miniatures are awesome. Yes painting is harder than it looks. Yes people disagree about the rules. However if these are discussed with respect, no bad language and in a mature manner all will benefit. (I believe that this will also lift some GW stores from over catering for young members and remove the store staff from the ‘un-cool’ section of the hobby).
- Long Term Commitment – Stores should promote long term commitment to their customers, the best way I’ve heard of is an escalation league with relatively small steps in army building. This will allow young members to grow an army at a sensible rate, after all buying, prepping, building, (converting,) and painting models should not be rushed. Most importantly they still get their games in.
- Program – Stores can have weekends set out to help young members Saturday morning for prepping and building models, Sunday morning for painting models and afternoons for playing. Again promoting the hobby as a whole rather than just the gaming aspect.
- Competitions – Best painted miniature, best painted squad, best painted 750 or 1,000 point force, best fictional literature, best art piece, best background knowledge and best army list. All these competitions promote other aspects rather than gaming.
- Gaming – Gaming is great. No screaming and shouting, no swearing, no running around, no touching others models, no throwing terrain etc. Discuss the rules, use the staff to answer queries, always bring the rules you require (rule book and codex). This should lead to friendly games. Staff should promote good sportsmanship in the players.
- Clubs – school clubs or local clubs to do all the above.
This list above may seem a little strict, but discipline in the community will lead to more people enjoying it. For example From the Warp has a no swearing policy for the blog’s it links to – allowing for kid acceptable spaces that have no pointless swearing and aggressive arguing (just normal debating). Taking this a step further (but still in the same line of thought) respect should be given when responding to things, if someones paint job is terrible it is rude to say that, but it is really helpful to say ‘that’s a not bad, but you may want to….(thin paint, highlight etc).
Now, stepping away from the main question and into my question – ‘what needs to be focussed on locally to me?’
My local club has an over 18’s night on Tuesdays, an on some of the nights I made the trek over there they were great, on others they had kids (I assume just over 18) swearing, shouting at each other, insulting each others army lists and painting etc. A little more maturity would have limited the swearing and shouting and led to well natured debates over army lists, some great painting advice and lots of friendly banter.
I feel that (locally to me) what is needed is an enforcing of respect to other players and respect the the store rules of no swearing and shouting to allow other customers (me in particular in this instance) to really enjoy myself.
What is it like in your local store? Is a lack of respect and maturity a world wide issue in gaming?