Home Forums General Conventions and Shows Do you have to make your own convention game?

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  • #10802
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    Convention games come in all sorts of different flavours, and there are trends over the years.

    What makes me a bit grumpy, though, is that I tend to see a shift towards bigger and more spectacular convention games. That is not a problem in itself, but then it turns out that the game was not constructed by the guy running the game. He bought painted figures, he bought the buildings and scenery ready-to-play, he uses a commercial ruleset. In other words, he did nothing except throwing a lot of money at it and transport everything in a van to the convention venue.

    Now, although such a game might be a spectacular thing to look at, I do think it’s poor form. I believe that a convention game should be about showing what you can do for the hobby in terms of painting and/or modeling and/or rules writing and/or having clever ideas …

    It’s a bit as modern sports: anyone with enough money can buy together the best football squad (Chelsea? Madrid?), but where’s the soul and spirit of such a team?

    Or am I too much of a nostalgic here?

    • This topic was modified 7 years, 3 months ago by Phil Dutré.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #10804
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Oooh good post.
    I don’t think it is poor form.
    However I do get what you are saying.

    For me the hobby is about the making and the painting, as much as the playing.
    I have my own rules and my own range of figures and terrain.
    I made and painted them all myself.
    It is the creative aspect of gaming that I like more than the actual playing.

    When I see a great looking game I am not fussed if the paintjobs are stunning but not done by the person putting on the game, someone has painted them very well and seeing lovely models is reward itself.
    It would be nice if the painter was there so I could compliment them, but no matter really.
    Same with the rules too.

    Many people simply don’t have the time to paint or make or write rules, some do have the time but not the skill or desire.
    For some the fun is in the game, for some it is in the making, for others they may like the painting but not have the time so they have to compromise.
    I think people have different reasons for gaming.

    As for home brew rules and so on.
    There have been some unique and very cool home brew games over the years that I have seen.
    One that sticks in my mind was by Andrew Beasley who did a naval game and the game measurement was done with a piece of string with knots tied in it.
    Cool eh.

    It is tricky.
    I do like a nice looking game.
    I will quite often just look at games and silently admire the work that has gone into them.
    I do like commercial and home brew rules too.

    Being a creative sort I do get a kick from seeing something that someone has crafted themselves though.
    I find it inspirational.
    Doubly so if it is well made and well painted.

    Maybe it is a bit snobbish/elitist but I do prefer games with homemade terrain.
    Maybe it is just that it means I have something else in common with the gamer, we both game yes, but we also both made our own terrain…

    Then again I have seen some homemade terrain that was truly awful.
    In those cases I would rather see commercial terrain.

    I guess by doing it all myself the compliments about the game mean more than had I purchased it all elsewhere.
    But that is just a personal vanity thing maybe?

    Though of course, if we are here saying how we prefer one or the other or neither, maybe we should show what we made and what we bought?

    Oh, can I get a bonus point for making my own actual convention itself?
    😀

    #10805
    piers brand
    Participant

    I kinda agree with the OP.

    I don’t see any attraction in showing off a huge and spectacular event and having had no direct effort put in other than buying it all ready to go. Seems odd to me as the hobby for me is all about producing work to then, essentially, show off!

    I like to be able to look at a display and say ‘yup… that’s our work’.

    I do wonder if at shows with prizes, one team that has built all their own scenery and models, might be a little annoyed if someone won with a display that they bought?

    Of course, the flip side is that not everyone has the time to do such work, but that’s kinda the point… You are rewarding the hard work you put in by showing off the results to a (hopefully) adoring public.

    Those who build amazing terrain set-ups, populate it with lovely figures and then take the time to take it to shows are the life blood of inspiration and Im in awe of some of the skills shown by people at wargame shows.

    I do remember one occasion where I did see a very impressive game, and when I asked the gent showing the game how items were made, he informed me that he had just bought it all and hadn’t built or painted any of it. Didn’t bother looking at it anymore… Kinda took away the awe factor as it was just money, not blood, sweat and tears, invested in the game. Was still a nice game, and the gent running it was highly enthusiastic about the hobby but it did take away from the spectacle for me and I remember thinking “well anyone can do that if you have the money”…

    But we all to a degree invest money to a lesser degree in games and we cant claim ownership of it all. Figures are only painted by me… I don’t sculpt them. I buy buildings from a chum who makes them… So perhaps we all have some degree of ‘help’ with everything we do.

    I guess for me the results are impacted by the effort put in. I’d love to spend a lot more time on my hobby, but work and family need to come first. So for those that also manage to fit in building amazing displays, then Im a little in awe of that.

    #10806
    Mick A
    Participant

    I’ve always painted my own figures and made and painted most of the scenery I use in games (the only exception being buildings). As for rules, for a few years I put on VBCW a games at shows which used my own fast play rules but I did put on a VSF game earlier this year using In Her Majesty’s Name but I did adapt it slightly to make it a multi player participation one.

    #10817
    Shandy
    Participant

    I enjoy painting and building stuff and the diy aspect of the hobby is very important for me. However, I see with some trepidation the increasing level of, for a better phrase, model-railwayisation – playing tables become dioramas where every detail looks just perfect. My skills are not sufficient for such things and frankly I enjoy a bit of a ‘gamey’ look to my wargames. Does this mean I will never be able to host a game in a convention, as my table will never look like the stuff you see in WI or on some shows?

    Especially to introduce newcomers, I think it would be great to show that you can have a lot of fun without investing incredible amounts of money or time – why not stage a game with a felt mat (SHOCK HORROR)? It can be as fun as a game with custom made boards where every tuft of grass is from Silhouette and cost a fortune… (this incidentally raises the issue of the cost of building things yourself, which can be higher than buying them, especially if you strive to reach a very high standard, as the raw materials can get quite expensive).

     

    #10825
    Mick A
    Participant

    I’ve never used custom made boards for any of the games I’ve put on they are always one or two grass mats with home made hills placed underneath then scenery placed on top.

     

    I do like scenic boards that people have made for games it’s just that I’ve never had anywhere to store them.

    #10840
    willz
    Participant

    Wow yes an interesting subject.  I have done demo games by myself and with friends to help.  Build and paint my own tanks, vehicles and figures, they are comically produced and I use teddy bear fir or mats for my terrain base.  Now I did not create the figures or AFV’s or knit the teddy bear fir that does not mean I did not create the overall effect.  Can you be a true Napoleonic war-gamer if you have not had dysentery or understand Medieval warfare if your family have not suffered from the effects of the black death.

    Would I buy everything pre painted and built and then turn up at a show and call it my demo game, not today I wouldn’t, but if I have won the lottery tonight after I had got my 40 x 80 foot gaming room and workshop, with built in wall to wall cabinets all singing all dancing gaming table and several thousand figures all painted for me.  Who knows I am not sure, if I had the money would I pay someone to do all the painting and leg work for a demo game.  It would free up time for me to concentrate on one project for a show.

    One of the best war-games I have ever seen was at legionary in Exeter 2 years ago, the gentlemen was playing a 20mm Napoleonic war-game using plastic figures, the painting was very basic but all of them about 1500 figures were painted the same, with the same bases and it just looked so good it was an inspiration.  I had a chat with him, he only got into war-gaming a few years before and believed simple painting and fun gaming, it said it all (I have some photo’s will try and find them).

    When at my club some of the sci/fi gamers play with unpainted figures, occasionally I asked them why do they not paint them, some say they have just as much fun gaming with unpainted figures, some they can’t paint as good as I can and don’t want to put out poorly painted figures, some can’t be bothered.  On this theme is it AT47 comes all pre-painted figures and equipment I saw this as a demo game at some war-game shows and it looked good, (I had force myself not to buy it) and what about X-wing that’s all pre-painted.  As pointed out is it cheaper in the long run to buy everything pre-painted or do it yourself, taking into account paint, tools, books, glue, material.

    So it’s horse for courses any demo game must promote the hobby, no matter where the figures, vehicles or equipment comes from.

    #10856
    Shandy
    Participant

    Funnily enough, as you mention X-Wing, it brought me back into wargaming… I got it when it came out and was glad there was no painting to be done. However, some weeks later I started to get ideas about scratch building asteroids and satellites for the missions, and then I ordered a Senator’s shuttle at Shapeways and moseyed into the local game store to buy paints, and from that moment on I was lost… 

    Meaning that painting and crafting seem to be a constitutive part of wargaming for me. So if I had the money, I’m not sure I would pay people to paint stuff… I would commission lots of sculpts of figures however (apart from the dedicated gaming room William mentioned of course)!

    And lovely looking set up, Mick!

    #10867
    Pijlie
    Participant

    Personally, I love to present self-made participation games at events. I tend to be a Rennaissance hobbyist as I build my own terrain, paint my own figures, write a lot of my own scenarios and even use my own rules.

    However, I see no reason to disapprove of someone who spends the money to buy what I make myself as long as he takes the trouble to present it as a good participation game at an event.

    Why this would be “poor form”, as the OP judges it, completely eludes me. After all, he does what someone hosting a participation game is supposed to do and that is making sure people have a good time, getting inspired to wargame and sharing his stuff with other people at the event to enjoy with him. Which is the essence of demo-ing in my opinion.

    The only frustration things like this might cause in me is that at some events professionally built tables (with which I mean tables usually built by -and with the resources of- wargaming companies) vie with club and individual projects for prizes for the best games. And unsurprisingly, usually win them. But then the poor form is accepting the prize, not hosting the game.

     

    http://pijlieblog.blogspot.nl

    #11329

    Personally, I love to present self-made participation games at events. I tend to be a Rennaissance hobbyist as I build my own terrain, paint my own figures, write a lot of my own scenarios and even use my own rules. However, I see no reason to disapprove of someone who spends the money to buy what I make myself as long as he takes the trouble to present it as a good participation game at an event. Why this would be “poor form”, as the OP judges it, completely eludes me. After all, he does what someone hosting a participation game is supposed to do and that is making sure people have a good time, getting inspired to wargame and sharing his stuff with other people at the event to enjoy with him. Which is the essence of demo-ing in my opinion. The only frustration things like this might cause in me is that at some events professionally built tables (with which I mean tables usually built by -and with the resources of- wargaming companies) vie with club and individual projects for prizes for the best games. And unsurprisingly, usually win them. But then the poor form is accepting the prize, not hosting the game.

    I do a few demo games, and I paint my figures, do most of the terrain and do the scenarios. But I agree with Pijlie completely. This sounds like sour grapes from someone pipped to a prize of some kind. I would not knock anyone giving their time to promote the hobby. I don’t care what else they did for the game before hand. If they did loads then kudos to them, and most of us know who those people are. Professional stuff tends to look professional, and tends to be the standard the amateur aims for – it is aspirational, job done.

     

     

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    #11915
    Luddite
    Participant

    Do you have to make your own convention game ?

    No. But it’s a lot more satisfying when you do.

    Don’t worry too much what everybody thinks about your game, the only meaningful feedback is from those who have played it.

    #11961
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    This sounds like sour grapes from someone pipped to a prize of some kind. 

    Oh no, not at all!

    I was just commenting on an evolution I see, and perhaps a changing attitude in what the purpose of a convention game is. Is the game only there for the game and for people to participate in; or is the game there to show visitors what is possible in the world of wargaming – a sort of show-and-tell so-to-speak?

    I always saw conventions games as a way of clubs or gaming groups to “show their best”, and that implies it’s your best, not someone else’s best.

    The fact that prizes are involved at some conventions is only a side-issue that I did not even consider at first.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

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