Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to bring your consciousness to a whole new level!
Welcome back everyone! While going through some old files, I came across an old article that a teammate from one of my old clubs, Fred Whitney, wrote about the life cycle of a 40K player. I’ve tried to adjust it to reflect the more current era, this was written almost 15 years ago, so I hope you enjoy!
We have all played many games, not just 40K. Typically, we begin a new game like a child. We open up the sealed deck/basic set and, with eyes wide open, we begin learning the rules. Once we have a basic grip of the dynamics, we start to have some fun. Then, after a dozen or so great games, we expand a bit to make things interesting. At some point, unfortunately, someone goes out and buys another card/blister for the purpose of giving them an “Edge” over the other decks/armies in the group (in their mind, no doubt, to make them “competitive”). In response, many will go out to buy whatever “makes things even”. (Some people refer to this as the “arms race”.) Others will quit and find another game. Thus, I would describe all games as progressing through three basic stages of life: (1) Infancy; (2)The Golden
Age; and (3)The Fall.
For 40K, the Infancy is that period where we just bought the rulebook and, for you lucky players, a codex. It is also the time where we are buying models based upon how they look and NOT how they will perform on the battlefield (because we have no clue about how they will). It is the Infancy, I believe, that inspires those of us already playing 40K, to go buy other armies. A new army is a way to give rebirth to the game, and to remember that period when we first experienced and learned the game.
Next we come to The Golden Era. This is where we have not only learned to paint a bit, but have slopped enough paint to gather about 3,000 points worth of stuff on a table , 1,000 points that looks great but sucks in play ( for me defilers ), and another 2,000 that, when put together, is worthy of a GT. Now we really start playing. We turn to the internet, find some other players, and start trolling the regular shops. If we are lucky, we find a few good fellas (or gals) that are actually fun to play against, and who will share our enthusiasm for the game and competitive play. This, it goes without saying, is the most blissful and sacred of times for any game, and is well worth the price of a grand tournament admission ticket.
Finally, in most games, we come to The Fall. Fortunately, I have not yet suffered this fate in 40K, although I bear the scars of loss from many other games. There can be any number of reasons for a person’s fall. Money, time, issues with the game, and other reasons all play in a part on what causes a person to fall and quit the game. This is the point where you see a player’s army up on ebay, or sitting at a convention table with a sign that reads: “Painted Army For Sale. I Don’t Have Time To Play Anymore.” These poor lost souls are to be pitied (right after you offer $80 for their entire 4,000 point army – after bluffing about how you will have to strip their GT quality paint job, and how their model choices are basically unusable — It is particularly helpful to have a friend around to help with this)*.
For most games, the life cycle is about 3-6 months, if that. 40K, however, is unique. First, it is so complex that most do not begin their gaming career with it. It would be like trying to start out math with advanced algebra. But this is exactly why 40K has such a long lifespan for most gamers. The game is so complex, by the time that you realize The Fall is coming, you have already invested hundreds of dollars and hours coddling an army into a personalized expression of yourself. Moreover it is that artistic creativity that stands 40K above so many other games. Thus, many of us are simply unwilling to give it up. Although it may sound final, there are times when people do recover from The Fall and return to the fold, but usually doesn’t happen very often.
The following presents actual comments that illustrates the point through two perspectives. The commentator, who I will call “Huckleberry”, presents where most enlightened gamers will end up, refusing to take the final step into the Fall. Huckleberry describes that last place a gamer can stop before giving up the game. I call this a “Place of Enlightenment”, because it is, I believe, where good gamers will end up if they don’t quit. I know that Huckleberry enjoys the games he plays and the company he keeps. By finding like-minded people who, like him, resisting The Fall, he keeps the game, and community, alive.
“I think that if anyone plays in any type of league/tournament, you have to expect that there will be some ‘hard’ armies. At this point in my gaming life I could care less what you bring. I’ll still play against it and have fun doing it. I play goblins/halflings in Blood Bowl for god’s sake! If I really wanted to win, I’d be playing Dark Elves. What it comes down too for me is my opponent’s conduct before, during and after the game and if I’m having fun.”
At this point in my gaming life, I will toil to keep the Golden Age alive.
That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. Unfortunately Fred succumbed to The Fall when Age of Sigmar launched and is currently wondering the wastes of Kings of War, I believe. I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know where you think you are at in your 40K life cycle, in the comments section. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!
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*We used to actually do this. It was surprisingly effective