Monday, 6 July 2015

Is Age Of Sigmar Off Topic For Oldhammer?


The Oldhammer Facebook groups are fine places for talk about gaming of yesteryear and for trading or selling off old lead. Just don't mention what Games Workshop are up to today, as it makes people utterly displeased.

The Age Of Sigmar has arrived and I for one and very glad to welcome it. I've played older rulesets and 8th edition WFB, as well as other systems, like Songs of Blades and Heroes. I really hoped that Age Of Sigmar would be something different and all the rumours and signs running up to the big reveal indicated that it would be.

Then the rules dropped - all four pages of them - for free, and the gaming world stayed up late trying to figure out what it all means for them, scrolling through... well, Warscrolls. Tourney types were outraged by the lack of points and immediately started working out how to achieve 'balance' through wound counts or some other metric. Casual gamers rejoiced at the potential for swift and satisfying games. Narrative gamers began dreaming of the possibilities for scenarios and campaigns.

Oldhammerers... well.

Although the Oldhammer Facebook community is clearly aimed at sharing people's enjoyment of a certain set of games circa the late '80s and early '90s (and fills this niche very well), I've always been troubled by how all newness is broadly treated as anathema. While this may not be a majority view in 'real life,' it certainly comes through in plenty of anti-plastic, anti-contemporary rhetoric in posts and comments.

Today, all talk of Age Of Sigmar was deemed off limits, with the threat of removal from the group. This astonished me.

Perhaps I missed a batch of particularly nasty and idiotic comments somewhere. Maybe someone was having a bad day. It could even be that this is a backbreaking straw for the camel, the final point in a trend of 'off topic' commentaries that is bending the remit of the group. Whatever the reality of it all, the response seemed pretty extreme.

I simply commented (and I strongly believe this) that the Oldhammer group should be a place to have some sort of discussion about how this new rule set - so radically different from what went before (i.e. 8th, 7th...) - compares to the games of our youth. I would like to share in this discussion with fellow 'veterans'. To me, that is eminently 'on topic.'

I am not alone in noticing that in trying to invigorate their fantasy line, GW have given the world a system that looks to hit all the sweet spots for Oldhammer-types. It genuinely is a play-it-your-way game, built around cooperation between players. You don't have to like the high-fantasy models to appreciate this is a good thing.

I'm going to embrace it and I'm going to do this for several reasons:

1. It's a new game that seems to capture all the ethos of gaming that I enjoy. In sum, it's a game that's storied.

2. Round bases offer better modelling opportunities and as I spend 98% of my time modelling and painting, that suits me.

3. Crucially, this is a system that will scale very well for different solo gaming opportunities - I want something to occupy me at the dining room table while my wife looks over occasionally and sighs...

4. I can easily teach my children how to play as they grow up, and it'll be the same game at each level.

5. It's an excuse to buy new models and I like the current line.

These aspects then made it a done deal for me. Points 1-3 will be a new focus for this blog (along with all the 40k stuff I've been up to... more to follow on that).

It's time to discover and explore the nine realms.

15 comments:

  1. You did indeed miss some particularly disgusting comments and I think for the time being while peoples emotions are running hot then discussion is best left to other groups. I agree with your point - you make a good case but people feel upset that upset causes them to overreact...

    It'll be different in a few months and we can discuss it in groups again like any other game we use to continue the Oldhammer ethos.

    Good to see a blog entyr again!

    All the best.

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    1. It's a shame there was some stupidity on display, glad I missed it. Maybe in time it will calm down like you say.

      Glad to be back!

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  2. To be honest, there has been some good critics and response by some members until at some point it escalated to primary silly bashing because of the new Statue in front of the HQ, we lost the good comments and interesting posts in the process which is a pity really.
    That said, the forum offers a pretty civilised discussion without the heat and fuss.

    I would add that hat lead to that might be the line not being clear enough. Saying Oldhammer is just a mindset means one can apply it to any game and will therefore welcome Infinity, Malifaux, SAGA or warmahorde as long as one thinks they tie with his own idea of Olhammer. If there is no trace of anything old or Oldhammer, well it may very well be excellent but just not Oldhammer which is not a problem in itself, it just means you may want to discuss it elsewhere.
    I am quite flew qith the whole concept as I use models from all ranges and times and though I do firmly prefer older rulesets I sometimes just don't share with the OH community when I feel it's not relevant. Looking at other hobby communities I've found this one is not the most exclusive out here, it's just the internet and FB makes sily people feel confident to behave as they do I think.

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    1. I see. It's a pity I missed the sensible bits then. I agree that Oldhammer needs to be more than just spirit - the models and the era do matter and give it the solid foundations it requires. I was just after a specific and detailed discussion about some of the spirit being captured in the AoS rules.

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  3. Worth remebering that the face book page is a part of oldhammer. It isn't Oldhammer full stop. The blogs and forums where it started are still going from strength to strength and discussions about this shiney new kids game has been decidedly adult for a bunch of geeks with nostalgia problems. I don't like what I've seen of the miniatures so far, not my asthetic and I haven't the time to go through the rules. After BOYL perhaps.

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    1. Kids game... ;-)

      Otherwise, you're right. One of the reasons I'm back blogging again is to reconnect with the community outside Facebook.

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    2. Don't take the kids game comment wrong, everything I do warhammer wise is a kids game, I'm proud of it but try not to take it too seriously.

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  4. Good points Davey, I agree that comparing new rulesets and figures to what we had in the 80's is a good thing to do. I do think a small minority of individuals are taking this all too seriously. As Erny says, it's a kids game and even though I'm in my mid forties I'm still proud of that fact. For me, Oldhammer is about reconnecting with the freedom and excitement we had during the 80's when fantasy wargaming was taking it's first steps in the world. Anything that helps achieve that is Oldhammer in my view. I'm currently waiting for Kings of War 2nd edition to see how that compares to 3rd edition Warhammer and planning to use my old lead and plastic figures with these rules. I'll be interested to see how you get on with Age of Sigmar.

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  5. Thanks Peter. The gaming hobby really is an oasis away from the stresses of life. Anger, annoyance, or anxiety in the realm of fun is such a waste of time - like you, I'm serious about my fun but I don't take my fun too seriously.

    I'll also take a look at Kings of War, which will surely be popular with loads of people. I fear I may be too much of a GW fanboy though!

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  6. Some days you can't have an adult conversation on facebook because the noise of idiots drowns any attempt out. Despite the excellent notification controls and blocking facility of facebook there is a trend to lean on the admins a little bit when this happens, the majority of members tend to demand a polite and mature environment. Yesterday our top posts were 3 arguments about AoS and picture of a warhammer cake by a female member that was kept at the top by a flood of unsavoury sexual comments. Bundling the two problems together in one warning post now strikes me as absurd (they are not even in the same league) but I'm glad I took swift action to stop all the negativity dead. Every time someone starts a conversation about AoS an argument starts, when this is no longer a true statement there will be a reassessment of the situation. Along with the other page admins I consider myself to be answerable to every single member, if you have any further concerns you should feel able to message us/me about them at your leisure. It may interest you to learn of the 'Rebel Games' group, a private Oldhammer discussion group I set up yesterday to cater for those who want expand the definition of Oldhammer ad infinitum.

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  7. Thanks for the comment Paul and the explanation. I didn't see all the idiocy or the cake, only the fall out it seems - I can see you have a tough job on your hands as admin of a continuously growing group with a mixed constituency (including those who are socially challenged). Your work is, of course, appreciated. I try not to join too many Facebook groups as I find it hard to get the time to contribute, but I am now a member of Rebel Games. I'd also like to believe that the AoS comparison to older systems would be possible before too long on the Oldhammer group - however, I wonder if the drawn out release schedule that GW has adopted will make that impossible (or rather, the commentary of idiots that accompanies each new release).

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    1. My pleasure. I hope that time heals all wounds (slightly tongue in cheek there but I do sympathise with everyone upset over having invested a fair bit of cash in lots of EoT products that went... not obsolete but 'unsupported' very quickly) and that we can utter the dread syllables AoS in the same way we spoke of 8th when it was current. A friend of mine ran the old 2e campaign packs for our group using 8th because it was his favourite and I still consider that to be Oldhammer.

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  8. Yeah... for awhile I've been mulling over leaving the oldhammer fb group (left last night) as it turned out to not quite be about the ethos of old style scenario, and game play for fun, but more "must be from such and such a time" and "no talk of newer rulesets" I felt less able to join in on discussions, and even though I do own a few older models 'of the era' less inclined to want to post them when they were done.
    some of the open-ness of AoS has me and my friend rambling about games that sound fun but truly throw balance out the way, such as a giant raid on a small empire village, not sure of what'll be used (he has 5 giants... I thought my owning 2 was excessive...) and my idea of a smallish goblin army trying to capture/convince a giant to join them turning into a fight for survival when scouting reports of a solitary giant turns out to be 3 or more... who likely don't take too kindly to goblins trying to boss them about =)

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    1. That all sounds like great fun to me, I really enjoy building scenarios like that - I wish I had more opportunities to do it! Hopefully AoS will grant the ease and impetus to do that, especially low point solo games (I do have friends too though... Honestly).

      On leaving the Oldhammer group - I can see your points, as it's clear there are certain breeds of purist on there. I'm going to step away for a while and focus on other groups and this blog (which still needs some cobwebs blowing away...).

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