A Golden Rule for Gaming

As a Press Ganger, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to run a successful event. I feel that every time I organize a league, I get better at finding ways to improve the experience for the players. I think I’ve come to a comfortable place now where I understand the mechanics of what works and what doesn’t, at least for my store’s current meta.

We have a diverse demographic, mostly male (of course), with players between the age of 18 and 38 years old. Interestingly, we lack a solid number of regular players who are between the ages of 22-26. What does this mean?

In general, the younger players have smaller budgets; their armies grow at a slower pace. However, they seem to have more time to play. On the other hand, the older folks have more disposable cash, but have more outside responsibilities, e.g., family, careers. Generally, the older players (myself included) have less time.

This all works out, however, because there’s a game that we all enjoy and the tabletop becomes a great equalizer. The dice rolls don’t know who we are.  D6’s are blind. Warmachine/Hordes, the game itself, ignores age, socio-economic status, gender, and all that mumbo. It has rules that let people from different backgrounds and experiences interact at a simple level.

It’s fun almost all the time….

Then, as an TO/EO, of course, I’ve seen conflict and arguments over the more granular aspects of the gameplay (e.g., LOS, range, etc)….but this isn’t chess with perfect movement grids and all-or-none piece removal. Fighting between players is expected. Press Gangers learn over experience and personal interaction how to handle these situations. They are common and expected.

But, the more insidious aspect of being in a position of organizational authority is the inadvertent emergence of an inner circle, more tightly formed, and resilient to the introduction of new players.  I  expect that many groups comprised of once-friendly regular players do break-up, fall apart,  because cliques form. Even the most successful, stable communities build these invisible walls comprised of egos and plastic achievements. Maybe it’s possible that gaming communities can potentially reach a theoretical threshold of collapse (e.g., real-world governments can fall).

Maybe this is okay?

It’s just a game!

For me, I want it simple. It comes down to a golden rule: play the game (including etiquette) against others in the same way you would want your opponent to play against you. The application here is that behavior at the individual level will emerge organically at the broader group-think level. Has this worked at my local meta? I think so.

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