Growing The Hobby: Why? How? Who?
Three Questions: How important is ‘growth’ to the hobby of Historical & Miniatures Gaming? How do we go about it? Who bears the task of “Growing the Hobby?”
Why “Grow The Hobby?
If we define ‘growth’ as increasing the quantity of gamers gaming everywhere, one question that comes to mind is “Why?” If one is satisfied with the quantity and quality of the local gaming scene, then why should we seek to promote it any further? Many gamers don’t. But I would identify some reasons (Beneficial to us all) for each of us to “GROW THE HOBBY.”
These reasons include:
- Increased demand = increased supply, types, and variations available.
- Increased volume = increased suppliers: locations and sources.
- Increased volume = decreased markup: costs drop.
- Increased finances = resource improved Convention and Club QUALITY.
- Increased Quality = increased games/gaming events/participating gamers
- Increased gamers = increased choices in scales/periods/types available.
- Increased groups = increased INFORMATION on gaming ideas and projects.
- Increased gamers = increased ‘gene-pool’ of ‘your-type’ players.
- Increased familiarity = increase acceptance/respect for hobby.
- Increased gamers = multiply propagation of #1 though #9.
Now note, some may not want all of these things. Some only call for: "Some figures and some local friends to play." However, a continually diminishing and smaller hobby could eventually put us back to the OLD days of:
- modifying plastic Airfix figures (Example: Britons and WWI Germans to resemble Zulu's and Brits.)
- Playing every game with either a disinterested family member or the ONLY other gamer in town (Who might spoil every game for you, but who else would you have?), and
- Having to research 100% of your own Historical sources (which are often short of essential war game information: OB, Map, and Scenario details).
I know this is “slippery-slope” logic, but it’s mostly figurative. The REAL benefit of promoting the hobby is the opposite of “obscurity.” I no longer have a problem recruiting HS kids to Historical Miniatures since I realized they were familiar with and respected Warhammer. When I say: “This is historical warhammer!”: I gain immediate rapport with them. Anything “obscure” gets little recognition, little support, limited resources, and least of all “respect.”
The benefits resulting from promoting growth of the hobby are enjoyed by all, regardless of where one’s satisfaction is sought.
There are many ideas and projects for promoting a growth plan.
But why do all that? Don't we just want some figures and some local friends to play against? The bottom line in justifying growth is this: The hobby of Historical Miniatures Gaming will grow regardless of those who refrain from helping to promote it, but it will grow no further than the capacity rendered by those who do step forward to promote it.
How Grow The Hobby?
The first prerequisite to growth is quality... THEN, and only then, can it increase through quantity. This is a vital principle: "Rise and Expansion." We can have “rise without expansion,” but “expansion without “rise” would be a mess. (And not "true rise” since it will factionalize from discontent.) R&E requires first a "Rise" in two categories:
- Group and organizational quality: This induces a natural exponential "Expansion" (which would also provide more sources for individual quality in more key roles/positions.)
- Individual quality: Developing your own game is the “logical progression” for all gamers. We all become our own Game Master.
The hobby of Historical Miniatures Gaming is unique from Board gaming or Model Railroading in that new hobbyists truly require some earnest mentorship from others to even begin. While you can buy a model, a Basic Train set, or a copy of Axis and Allies, and then proceed with family, friends and almost anyone not already into the hobby, Historical Miniatures are different. You need more than just your cousin to play against you once a year.
You Need A Game Master
Every Historical & Miniatures Gamer who matures in the hobby becomes a GAME MASTER. Some may not enjoy it or do it for long, but all who mature in the hobby reach the point where they are able to do so.
Some even reach the point where they often GM but don’t actually play anymore. But, it is the Game Masters who provide both the stimulus for recruiting new gamer interest and the mentorship required for growth in the hobby. Which then answers our third question: Who bears the task of “Growing the Hobby?” While the local game store and other organizations bear the responsibility of this goal, it is the Game Masters (you the gamer) who will execute that goal.