Monday, 27 May 2013

My first year as an Oldhammerer.

I have been blogging about my wargaming shenanigans for four months now, before that I was a lurker on other people's blogs and before that I was trying to throw off the shackles of the bad gaming habits I had fallen into (trying to invent Oldhammer in isolation, unaware it had already been done). It has been 12 months since I had my sudden 'wargaming is rubbish and it's my fault' epiphany and I have had to readjust several times since then.

I have posted elsewhere about what Oldhammer meant to me in the earliest weeks, it was a chance to go back to square one and get things right. A bit like starting a computer game from scratch and playing through more successfully and efficiently because of your foreknowledge. Now I find that being exposed to the wider community has subtly changed my ideas of Oldhammer and my perception has shifted (widened?) slightly.

I think more about painting to showcase, something I have never been bothered by previously, rather than just painting to game. I have always been a member of clubs that have gaming as the principle raison d'ĂȘtre and have always been one of the few who had fully painted, neatly turned out armies. I never had any reason to push myself. Now I find I want to learn about the most advanced techniques and things like painting banners and shields.

I have long been part of the extended youtube gaming community and although this video post is about modern Warhammer in it's 8th incarnation it is by a smart and insightful fellow who has some interesting things to say about what draws individuals to the hobby (and it's relevant to my preamble).

If you don't have time to review the video, to sum up OB correctly identifies a lot of the prime motivations that draw us to the hobby (well, a hobby closely related to our own) and I found myself fascinated by his opinions which are obviously accurate from his point of view but are often tangential to what I have come to believe.

It is a little sad that as the video draws to it's conclusion the immersive gamers are discounted as a tiny minority along with the extreme need-to-winners and dropped from the examination so he can concentrate on the hobbyists, purists and competitors. Immersives are dismissed as an 'exclusive' club and unwilling or unable to mix with the majority, but I have seen mainstream behaviours from many in the blogging community so why are we perceived thus?

It's possible that not all Oldhammerers/OSR enthusiasts would see themselves as immersives of course, that's another assumption of mine I'm afraid. Maybe you would see yourself as a member of one of the other groups? I certainly find that relationships are a big motivation behind what I'm doing these days. I am still left with many questions after having watched the video. Are we going to be able to connect with the wider gaming community? Do we need to? Do we want to? Will we even be able to agree on a definition of our activities?

I am going to be updating my mission statement soon. It is currently from the heart but it is a bit rant like and I find I want to do more with the blog. In between the monitoring of projects and posting of battle reports I would like to talk (evangelise?) about what gaming has come to mean to me, the 'social contract' involved when you organise a game and the potential gaming has to be a positive influence on lives.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on the video or if you have reassessed your views on the hobby recently.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I did the wanting to paint display level thing five years ago I gave it 11 months but while it did improve my painting I was never going to have enough patience to reach the top level while as a TT unit painter I can match it with the best.
    I am slowly getting back into gaming but my painting goes from strength to strength. I just love the blog community.
    Peace James

  2. I recognise myself there, I want things ready to a deadline and I want them usable, not perfect. Blogging has definitely slowed my painting to a crawl. I am going to have to separate out 'connoisseur' models from day to day gaming pieces and see if that works.

    I have been lucky in that I have managed to browbeat several members of my club into trying out alternative approaches to gaming in the last year, that has changed the way I game in a relatively short time.

    Good luck getting those games in!

  3. I'm a role-player-hobbyist going by that, which is hardly a shock! I don't play that often and when I do it's with a very limited number of other players. If anything I'd like a wider circle of immersive players to game with. That's what makes the Oldhammer movement (if we can call it that) so welcome. I hope we can arrange more events and on a regular basis.

    I suppose I've stayed away from club gaming because I'm rather prejudice about what I'll find there, which is entirely unfounded and my own fault (I do have a busy work and home life too). Perhaps I should make more effort to get out and about.

  4. I have got that vibe from reading your blog for sure. It's similar to many of us too I suppose, I've had loads of games over the years and hundreds of opponents but I only have a small group of 'preferred enemies' at any one time.

    I think finding a good club and then finding good opponents within that club is a difficult thing to do. I've found it takes a lot of communication to organise a really great game that delivers for all parties.

    I found it worked first time with Thantsants from though, we had an introduction online and emailed each other loads so that when we eventually played a game at my place it went really well.

    This means I am going to get a lot of use out of online dating as a suitable metaphor for being a happy gamer from now on! Don't expect the perfect match to be in your neighbourhood or even your town! We should all get online and track down our perfect gaming partners! :D

  5. It's when you get exposed to the ideas of others that you suddenly begin to understand your own values! It reminds me of a quote from an old 40k rulebook: "I find that travel narrows the mind wonderfully". I have yet to see a blog that does not evolve over time. I'm looking forward to seeing your new mission statement!

    1. Quite right!

      I am looking forward to unleashing the new mission statement on the world. Don't worry though, when I'm done the red era will still be all yours! :)

  6. An interesting video and like you say its a shame we don't hear much more about the immersives. I think that us Oldhammerers by definition must have a high percentage of immersive qualities in our makeup - narrative wargaming, background stories and the like. That being said, I like the idea that his taxonomy is something of a spectrum of behaviours and along with the highly immersive side of gaming that I personally pursue there are other more mainstream behaviours as well. I'm also glad that I'm far from the Microphallus end of the spectrum.

    For me that would include a heavy dose of the hobbyist - showcasing miniatures that I've painted up as best I can, looking to improve painting and scenery building techniques and generally enjoying the aesthetic side of gaming. Although I haven't got down to my local gaming group, the social side of the hobby is something I'm looking at developing. Believe it or not, strategy also interests me - just a shame about my dice rolling and preference for beer and chat instead of cool, tactical thinking at Plank Street! ;)

    As this is turning into a bit of an essay I may think a little further on the matter and write a post on my blog in response - I've a few other thoughts on connecting with the wider gaming community and your social contract idea...

    I quite like your mission statement but look forward to the revised version!

    1. I am glad you are going to do a follow-up post, I will look forward to that.

      Don't worry about the current mission statement! I just want to expand my horizons, I will preserve all the other promises and values.

      We can definitely organise a re-fight of Plank Street, or better yet a sequel. We could rotate roles too, either Gaj or myself could GM allowing you to lead the Orcs and Erny to lead the Dwarf army.