Thursday, 12 June 2008

A Manifesto for Wargamers

For those who do not know me that much (which is probably most people reading this blog!), one of my main hobbies is wargaming. More specifically playing a lot of Games Workshop games, especially Warhammer 40k and Lord of the Rings. I enjoy making the models, painting them and playing battles. It isn’t cheap, the models are quite expensive, it’s very time consuming – which I suppose makes it a little odd for someone quite as poor as me to play it.
Part of the way I afforded it was to not spend all that much on anything else, but also I spent almost a year working for the company and they have a dirt cheap price for many items for their employees. The company pays its frontline staff very little at all – true money is spent on the design and creation of the models which is quite expensive, but that is still no excuse, especially when most of the ordinary shop workers are quite skilled modellers and painters themselves.
Being wealthy is of course a big advantage for people who play as you have more money to spend on things so are not limited to the cheapest kits and have a wider variety of models to choose from when playing.
Anyway, a while back this got me thinking of demands that socialists would make in favour of workers in relation to this hobby. It is perhaps not the highest thing on the socialist agenda, but it is in my opinion worth considering. So here they are below:

1) Nationalisation of the major model making and wargames companies under the control of workers and hobbyists. To plan production in accordance not with the needs of profit (ie. changing rules just to make everyone buy a new rulebook), but to meet the needs of the modelling and wargaming community (ie. produce models which are useful to them). End competition between different companies making the same or very similar products (ie. paints and scenic materials).
2) For a living minimum wage for all working in the modelling and wargaming industry.
3) Immediate reduction in prices to a level more affordable to youngsters who can often be put off a hobby they enjoy through a lack of money.
4) Allow the use of company facilities for the ordinary wargamers as a when they need them – ie use facilities for wargames clubs. Free painting, modelling and strategy lessons from beginner to advanced level.

Some of the above are to an extent in existence – when we were open most of the boards in the store where I worked were available for people to play on, and we also did introductory lessons – however, stuff was also hired out and masterclasses costed – great if you have money, but no good for people with very little of it.


Phil BC said...

I like it! Citadel miniatures under democratic workers' control!

Back in the day I used to be a Games Workshop fanatic myself. It was the old Fighting Fantasy books that got me started, followed by D&D. And from there it was down the slippery slope into Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, Battle and 40K. I never had much money when I was a kid either so me and the few I used to play stuff with generally avoided the miniatures and made new with paper squares. Besides, all of us were well into our Realms of Chaos stuff so buying up loads of miniatures for converting our chaos renegades and champions into the abominations we'd rolled up on paper would have taken some doing!

Were you ever a Realms aficionado?

Leftwing Criminologist said...

bit too early for me - my first army was the dark eldar for 40k - about ten or so years ago - i got into it through all my friends playing (who had quite a bit more money than me too!). as i mentioned i worked for gw for a while so got loads of stuff then - which i need to sell some off it off to make some more room in the house. actually there is a few of us from the socialist students society who play wargames.

as for not being able to afford stuff - before i joined the party i used to run a gaming club (on semi-socialist lines come to mention it - the thoughts for this post have been bubbling in my brain for a while now) where we built up a few armies for people to play with (as well as dogs of war type stuff that people could use to boost up the size of their armies too), we also had a library of all the rulebooks and stuff. it was quite good really. Do remember this one kid that used to come though that just had a load of space marine models and about fifty different army books and would say that the marines represented whatever army was flavour of the week for him.

anywasy, enough reminiscing for the time being.

Phil BC said...

Aye, me and my mates would try and spread costs. One of them would buy Blood Bowl, for instance, and the other would get the rules expansion.

But what was utterly awesome was the old Talisman game, which had more expansion packs than you could shake a stick at. Did you ever indulge, or was that before your time too (sob!)

Highlander said...

I was into RPG's (D&D, Call Of Cthulhu) but never never made the transition to war gaming and my interest waned. But the collectivisation of any hobby, for the benefit of all and to inspire young people, will always get a vote from me.

Leftwing Criminologist said...

i still have blood bowl - although i lost the case with my bloodbowl team in (i had a spare team that i didn't play with as often too though!) - including a converted ogre that looked ace.

i've seen talisman - but never played it - i think they were on about relaunching it when i worked for them - not sure if they have yet.