Making something out of nothing: Part 3

Avengers assemble!

At this point, if you are following my plan you are ready to go in terms of selling the game.  What you need is “customers.”  Now the work really begins.  You’ve got the basic pieces in place, so it is now time to start recruiting members into the fold.  Obviously, this is something that is incredibly dependent on your individual situation and not that easy to do.  This is where the lack of a game store really hurts because there is no gathering place for those of a like mind .  Fear not, I’m here to help… maybe.  What I am going to try to do over the next few articles is identify some “types” of people that you may be able to form your gaming group with.  These will be drawn from real life examples, but generalized enough to hopefully apply to some people you might know… or will know soon enough!

They are out there

You are not alone… probably.  Even in the most barren of landscapes, there is a very real chance that you are not the only person with nerd interests.  The easiest way to get started in building a gaming group locally is to try to locate that kindred spirit that lives where you live.  I can’t make any promises, but let’s be honest.  If you live in an area with more than 15,000 people the chances are really good that somebody else has discovered and enjoys gaming like yourself.  Still don’t believe me,[1] read on.  There are two scenarios to meet this person or people, assimilation and discovering the cylons. Let’s take a look at both.

Assimilate

The first form is something I do not have experience with.  This takes the form of a local group that is clearly engaging in a nerdy pursuit, just not the pursuit that you would prefer.  This could be a local group of people that play Magic, play another mini’s game, read comics, avid Warcraft players or even train enthusiasts.  There are many examples, but the point is this is a group of people who enjoy something that clearly isn’t a large leap away from Warmachine.  This should be a prime target for you.

If you don’t know the people, the first step is going to be getting to know them.  This means you might have to get your hands dirty a little bit and join in on their activity first.  This isn’t nearly as bad or disingenuous as it might seem, as the reality is that you will probably enjoy yourself.  I’m not too keen to getting back into World of Warcraft[2], but if I can meet some local players who might become interested in my games if I show interest in their game, then I’m in.  Heck, I’ll probably enjoy myself in the process.  You have to give a little bit if you expect to receive.  Once you establish a rapport, you then have the ability to introduce them to your hobby.  You might need to “gateway” them to it, since miniature gaming is pretty hardcore, but I’ll address that idea in a later article.

If you already know members of the group, you can move right into selling them on your game.  Again, this is a fertile group to try to convince.  They’ve clearly got nerdy proclivities, just like you.  In fact, that’s a great way to think of it.  You might have some trepidation in asking a bunch of Magic players or comic book guys to play, but in reality, what would you do?  I mean, I’ve never really had a huge interest in playing Infinity or L5R, but the fact is if someone approached me to try those games out because they knew I played Warmachine, and had all the materials to try it, I’d jump at the chance.  If you like nerdy stuff in an area with no game store, you’ll often play whatever game you can actually get people to play.  That works both ways.

Discovering the Cylons

Battlestar Galactica was amazing.  Hot chicks and impressive T.V. space battles aside, the concept and execution were fantastic.  To me, the brilliance of the cylons looking liking humans was outstanding.  It’s a fantastic plot point, made even more poignant by the post-9/11 paranoia actually occurring in our society.  If you’ve never seen, it’s on Netflix and it’s amazing.[3]

The point, besides a great but probably unnecessary recommendation from me, is that the cylons were among us and no one knew.[4]  It can be that way with gaming.  Despite the upswing in acceptance that nerd culture has received, many people, including the author, still prefer to keep their interests and hobbies on the down low.  Am I embarrassed that I play with little toy men?  I mean…. yes… but no… well, sort of.  If someone asks me point blank about it, I will absolutely admit it and discuss it.  However, I’m not going to be reading No Quarter in the break room or sorting my Mage Wars[5] cards in front of company.  Some of it is probably the stigma, but I also just don’t want to be hassled to have to say the following and statements like it to fellow teachers, rugby players, and associates:

“No, Warmachine is not really like risk at all”

“I’m not sure liking LotR’s means you get it”

“No, I don’t dress up as anything”

“Wow, your cousin played D&D, that’s really neat”

So, I am a pretty big closet nerd.  I love nerd games, books, movies, and podcasts.  The thing is, if you knew me in a different context, it would be very easy for you to never know that about me.  It doesn’t help that I coach football, play rugby, and generally have the look of a guy who would be closed minded enough to think those things are stupid.[6]  Some might say I look stupid, actually.  However, you might be able to put some pieces together if you looked closely at what movies I was always at, saw me on Xbox live, or even the books I might have with me.  You might get suspicious upon further examination, but you’d have to know me for a while, and really pay attention.

I submit to you that I am not an exception.  There are others like me (and maybe you) in your community, and you have to keep your antenna up, and be on the look out for them.  It’s not easy to discover them always, their spines don’t glow, but if you want to get a community going it doesn’t take extra time to be on the look out.  If you pay attention, you might be surprised by what you find.

True story.  I caught wind that one of our parish priests was into Warhammer.  Well, to be more precise someone mentioned that they heard he played some type of war game with little painted men.  I immediately perked up, being a Warhammer guy, knowing I’d just heard the magic words.  You can imagine my surprise because this was a guy I had sort of known, or at least seen on a weekly basis, for 4 years and I never suspected he played nerd games.  He was a guy who clearly had a lot to do in any given week, and I guess I never considered a man of the cloth being into games.  It turns out, not only did this guy play Warhammer, 40k, Mordheim, and had a couple Warmachine models, he also was into RPG’s and had the most robust board game library I had ever seen in my life.  Further, he had two brother priests he gamed with, and they came down once a week for game night in our town.  Out of the blue, I suddenly had three local players to add to my group.  They weren’t that big into Warmachine, despite owning a few models.  So I played game with the they like, and had an absolute blast.  Eventually, I started to encourage them to play Warmachine since they clearly had some interest in it, and they were hooked.  This was  huge boon to be sure, and you might argue lucky, but it serves to illustrate my point.

Look around where you are at.  Keep an eye out for the tell tale signs of a fellow nerd (black shirt, memorabilia, being at every midnight show of a superhero movie).  It might take a while to find them, but chances are landscape is not as barren as you might have first thought!

 


[1] Either did I in 2005

[2] Ironically, I played this game a ton until I got my first purple item in 2006.  It then dawned on me as I equipped my Lionheart Helm how much work I put into something completely intangible.  To each his own, but I never looked back.

[3] Be warned that the “pilot” is like 2 hours long, and is slow moving.  Get a couple episodes in and you will thank me!

[4] Of course, I’m not sure how Gaius was never adventurous enough to be in a “position” to notice the mid-coitus glowing spine, but whatever…

[5] I might have to do an article on this game at some point.  It’s AMAZING.

[6] Although a bad combination of Mountain Dew and the demands of fatherhood are eating into my workout time, resulting in more of a “gamer” look I’d like.

Author: Nitz

Nitz is a man of many interests. His journey into nerd games began with a fateful purchase of Axis and Allies from Toys R Us, but got in full swing on an even more fateful stop on a whim to Mayhem in Ames during VEISHA '97. He enjoys all manner of games, movies, video games, professional wrestling, and sports. Most of his hobby time is spent in painting and theorymachining, as he lives in gamer no-mans-land, but he's working on that!

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