In celebration of the When Cannons Fade two year anniversary extravaganza, I’m getting to write an article for Hoagy. I’ve been keeping up with this blog since its inception, so I’m excited to take part in the celebration and contribute a little something of my own. This is only fitting since Hoagy has often declared me as responsible for getting him hooked on gaming again. While this bears a modicum of truth, (only a modicum? – Ed) I don’t feel like an apology is necessary since he’s clearly been enjoying getting back into painting and gaming. (yup, you got me there! – Ed)
With this spirit in mind, I’ve decided to write a bit about why I like to play and what gets me pumped for a game. If I’m being perfectly honest, which I usually am, playing a game of 40k or WFB is just a form of escapism and a way to get my competitive juices flowing. Being surrounded by good friends a few libations and a good pizza has never hurt things either, though.
Like reading a good book, playing a good video game, or watching a great movie, playing a game lets me escape from the demands and drudgery of every day life. As with all of those other things, a good game let’s me forget about my troubles for a while and get absorbed into the action as I identify with various characters or game pieces. More than any of those other media, though, gaming gives me complete control over what’s going on. I think a lot of us gamers tend to be managerial, leader type personalities. Controlling your game pieces gives you a situation that, unlike real life, you are faced with a situation where you are clearly in the drivers seat at all times. If that’s not a good time, I don’t know what is.
Being neither a WAAC or FAAC gamer, I enjoy all aspects of the game from painting to playing. Since we’re talking about playing here today, though, I have to admit that I’m a pretty competitive person. I took the ‘Strengths Finder 2.0 Gallup’ test years ago and came up with “achiever” as one of my talent themes. This came as no surprise to me, as I love crushing the competition and achieving any goals that I set for myself. This isn’t to say that I’m a sore loser at all. I’m mature enough to know that if I lost, there is a reason that I need to find- mistakes I made that I can learn from. Gaming really gives me a chance to let my competitive nature out of the cage, but in a nice relaxing way. A game of toy soldiers isn’t exactly high stakes most of the time, so it’s nice to be engaged in a competition that won’t have any repercussions in real life.
This brings us to the last reason I play wargames- camaraderie. For years I have kept my gaming in the basement. (With some lotion and a basket? – Ed) While I occasionally shop at the FLGS, I just can’t bring myself to go in and find a pickup game. Possibly I’m a little shy, but I really I think this stems back to some bad experiences playing MtG and video games with total strangers who turned out to be complete dicks. Take playing Counterstrike, for example. I’m not very good at it. So, back in the day when I tried to get in a pickup game online, things typically wouldn’t go very well for me. Most of the time I’d be dead within seconds and didn’t have the opportunity to get better. Just try asking a hard-core counterstrike player to let up for a second so you can get used to the game play or level layout some time and see how well that works out. Much like this, I’ve found experiences in gaming in the past where, the community isn’t willing to help a new player- they’re more interested in seal clubbing. I’m starting to change my tune on this a bit lately, as I’ve found a lot of really cool people in the community online, but I’ve still not had the opportunity to start going to tourneys yet, but it’ll be happening soon, I promise- especially now that I feel I’ve got my game up to a pretty high level. I guess I don’t have to worry about getting my ass kicked by 14 year olds too much anymore.
There is one thing the FLGS and tourney scene typically can’t offer, though- pizza and beer. While I can admit that there are decent people to play with out there, no game outside of my basement can recreate the experiences of good friends getting together over a close game, sharing some drinks, and grabbing some food. Now that’s something to get excited about.
And there you have it. I asked (read: pestered) Dethy to write up a little something for WCF as part of the 2 year celebration. So, I would like to say a big THANK YOU! to him for squeezing this in between School, writing for Dick Move, House of Paincakes and all the other stuff too. Not only is he the master of large batch painting, he’s also the master of the cowbell:
Cheers for now!