## Tuesday, 23 July 2013

### Ban Warhammer?

Back at the wheel here, briefly at least, to share with those who might otherwise miss it the thinking of a blogger at the Telegraph, supposedly a 'quality' daily British newspaper.

It's arguably not much of a paper today, but UK national media may have gone off a cliff, or been pushed, with just one less-flawed gem pushing back to keep us better informed.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, the blog post itself skips a fair few reasons for banning the hobby, if anyone did want to make the case. It seems to be a joke piece. A few tasters:

... The whole experience is pitched at teenage boys, but some of them never quite grow up and you’ll find men with dank pony tails still collecting well into their thirties. Emphasis upon "boys" and "men" - this underworld is no place for a lady.
...
Although it now makes me sick to my stomach to think about it, I can’t deny there was some joy in my Warhammer problem. Boys get a unique kick out of collecting and owning things that other boys don’t have, in beating them in wits or being able to show off a magnificently painted griffin. But it did function like an addiction. Once you get hooked, you find that the price of the models creeps up and up with every year. New ones are always coming on the market, and every five years or so they change the rules completely - which necessitates buying a whole new bunch of stuff. ...
...
... Lonely and gripped by self-loathing, I succumbed. A few days later, unshaven and sleepless, I found myself sitting amid a pile of skeleton warriors - looking on at the ruination of my life. A little while later, I threw it all in a dustbin and tried to get my stuff together. I’ve been clean ever since.

More here.

Don't forget that gem, the Grauniad. They may be the last looking out for us globally too.
_

Beat Ronin said...

Hi Porky, James here ex-Warp Signal.

Good to see you're still alive :)

The man who wrote that seems deeply ashamed that he played Warhammer, and thinks it's OK ot shame others as well, which to me smacks of bullying hiding behind humour. If I was him I would certainly be ashamed to have that pointless waffling right up there next to my academic qualifications. Even though he is right about many things, I stil think it is a bit low to publicly poke fun at any sub-culture. Someone who claims to have a PhD in history should bloody well know better.

Must have been a very slow day for news that the Telegraph could safely report without contradicting their agenda I guess :/

Speaking of which, I'm a big fan of the Guardian. And I'm an even bigger fan of using social media in general to undermine traditional media outlets.

Oh yeah, I have a new blog, at beatronin.wordpress.com. It's less focused on pure gaming (and in particular GW games) than Warp Signal was, and I'm also making an effort to keep the posts short - taking a leaf from your book! I invite you to have a look. Take care mate.

John Till said...

So glad you are back, Porky! Space has been emptier without you!

This reads to me as a satirical piece, poking fun at David Cameron's sudden evangelical zeal for the populist anti-internet porn bandwagon. The problem is that some readers, including some wargamers, don't get that this is satire and have read this as a genuine attack on the hobby (just read some of the comments below the article on the Telegraph website)

I fear that the net effect of articles like this reinforces stereotypes, marginalises players and damages the wider hobby (which, btw, is worth tens of millions to the economy).

Beat Ronin said...

@Lee, you said "I fear that the net effect of articles like this reinforces stereotypes, marginalises players and damages the wider hobby."

I agree. I think yes, this was intended to be satire, but the criticism of the gamers was delivered with a little too much relish and the (presumed) jab at wowsers was to me impossible to detect.

Porky said...

I can't disagree with any of that. For so large an audience, open to misinterpretation, when commenting on subjects like bans you do want a sure touch. For all the knowledge the author must have of the subject, the post reads oddly flat.

As for the PM and populism, the waters are getting choppier. There may be a temptation to distract us.

I'll be over to Beat Ronin in a moment, and catching up in general. As for space being emptier without me, I am good at filling it. It always feels good to be back too, plying the space lanes among the stars.

As Satire goes... this is poorly done. It may read better if your familiar with the politics of the day in the UK (I am not living in the USA) but I think it lacks the "wink at the audience" that tells the reader this is in fact all a joke. You want to attack Games Workshop OK you have my sword but if you want to attack my hobby and my fellow players... you'll find me an implacable foe.

Porky said...

@ Adam Carriere - A clearer wink or two would have helped, as would a little more binding to context, for example a link to a relevant news report. It's easy to assume a reader knows enough, but being certain can't hurt, and might prevent hurt.

@ Lee Hadley - Thanks for the link back and for taking the time to express those more subtle points in clear terms. As Davey suggests here, that's more than the professionals manage at times.

christian said...

Good to see you back. It seems we have both been on a hiatus until recently. I am scribbling once again at destination unknown and look forward to following your posts. I will have to give the article a thorough read. I think there are lots of people who turn on the hobby and become self-loathing gamers.

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks for this, I found too much to say about all the implications, so put it up here: http://laughingferret.blogspot.com/2013/07/evolve-past-playground-please-on-that.html

Porky said...

@ christian - Even a short break can do a power of good. In your case the creative energy seems well topped up - you're still at a very sharp edge with the LA crossover. As with Loviatar and the letters, it's worth following.

@ Laughing Ferret - More of that subtler thinking. Here's a direct link for everyone keeping up.

Paul´s Bods said...

Judging by all the comments left at the telegraphs page (the newspaper is itsself rubbish..not even soft enough for other uses) the guy is a complete idiot...I mean, the simple Connection he makes of porn and gamimg. He´s a tosser and that´s it.

Porky said...

Simple can be good, and there may be a strong case to make in the various areas he covers, but I'll agree the whole thing doesn't seem to have worked out too well. I wonder what effects it will have.

Paul´s Bods said...

Maybe he´s just out for the Google Rating Thing..and he´s got a lot of hits for it..so it worked..a bit on the priciple of sh*t attracts flies (?)

Porky said...

More here.

Clovis Cithog said...

Warhammer is neither a simulation nor a war game, it is a special rules game; these special rules are the foundation of a nefarious marketing strategy designed to make you pay $80 for$5 worth of plastic and cardboard.

Porky said...

Hard to argue with the gist of that. Based on GW's own figures the buying base may well be shrinking, presumably meaning higher prices or cost-cutting to maintain profits and keep the shareholders comfortable, which could even encourage the use of this kind of special rule.

Awareness is growing though - just from the past two or three days at fairly big sites, without even really looking:

- http://www.houseofpaincakes.com/2013/10/a-damn-expensive-hobbyor-is-it-part-2.html
- http://www.thewarmasterblog.com/2013/10/cutting-games-workshop-out-of-warhammer.html

It could turn out to be a spiralling descent from their peak, and fast, especially if the one-man store network is reduced to zero-man and they start rolling the bricks-and-mortar retail up. That might also mean more expense on more conventional marketing, and more licensing. An OGL-like maybe?

Given the externals in this kind of gaming, certain tipping points may already be passed.