Warmachine: “Awkward Asks” and Holiday Gifts
How to share your preference for Warmachine and Hordes gifts this holiday gift-giving season, including the awkward process of asking for specific models.
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with a discussion of that awkward moment of letting your friends and family know what you might like when it comes to holiday gifts. Last week I discussed giving the gift of Warmachine and Hordes. This week, it’s time to be a bit more selfish, and discuss how one goes about asking for Privateer Press products. A number of holidays in the winter season include the giving of gifts as part of the tradition. And while many people associate gift-giving with the winter holidays, these guidelines apply to any moments when you might be receiving gifts.
It’s the age-old problem of people with hobbies: we prefer and consume really specific stuff. For the hobbyist at the holidays, that means two distinct interactions with family and friends. First, being asked the dreaded “what do have on your gift list?” and not knowing what to say. And second, having that person “get you something nerdy, because I thought you would like it.” The first can end in awkward stammers the more truthful you are: “Well, I was hoping for a unit of Cataphract Incindiarii to pair with my new Croak Raiders” might be understood by a slightly deaf grandmother as a request for fireworks and a pair of crocs. The second can end in equally strangeness when someone unfamiliar with tabletop wargaming decides that gamers are into everything gaming-related: “Oh, is that USB accessory torch a Minecraft thing? I saw it once on ThinkGeek I guess. Thanks…” Even family and friends who know and understand Warmachine and Hordes may be prone to a gift mistake: “Ooops, I couldn’t wait to buy myself a Zuriel… he’s already sitting on my painting table!”
So here are three simple guidelines for asking for Warmachine and Hordes gifts this holiday season: people like specifics, make it easy to acquire, and avoid the crass “ask”.
People Like Specifics
Your family and friends want to give you gifts that you actually want. They really do. Think about the unifying thread of bad holiday gifts: those green felt “executive” desk sets, Chia Pets, holiday-themed socks/ties/sweaters, dubious “witticisms” desk calendars, car and garage gadgets, unnecessary travel accessories, and coffee mugs with out-of-date cartoon characters (“Betty Boop? Really?”). What they have in common is that the person didn’t really know what you would actually like. They don’t have a sense of your preferences, your aims, and in this case, your hobby.
So don’t hesitate to be specific. Make a wishlist and put it somewhere public. Tell them exactly what they’re looking for if they ask. Subtly supply it to those who are likely to give gifts to you but haven’t asked yet. Everyone will thank you–as they want you to get things which you’ll use, treasure, and CONQUER ALL FOES with. Well, at least the first two.
This can feel like making a gift registry to some people… and that’s okay. One local store in my area has actual gift registry sheets which you can fill out and tell family and friends about–they can simply stop by an sign up. You can create various online wishlists and share them with others. You can pin up a list on your cubicle at work. Trust me: potential gift givers in your life want specifics, as giving a dud gift is just as awkward as receiving one.
Greetings fellow penitents. For the blessed winter ceremonies of Menoth I have registered at Williams and Sonoma. His cleansing fire be praised.
Make it Easy to Acquire
That said, for the Warmachine and Hordes hobbyist there’s an additional level of difficulty giving specifics to potential gift-givers. You cannot just run to the nearest labor-exploiting, mega-branded, chain box store and pick up a set of Precursor Knights. Instead, you need to make moves that make things easy for potential gift givers to procure Privateer Press models for you. People want to minimize the labor of gift giving. It’s why bad gifts exist, and why people love specifics as I explained above. If you take the time to make it easier to acquire the items you’d like, the likelihood that people will choose that option dramatically increases.
The first step is location: let people know where the models can be obtained. For many of us, it’s the address of the local brick and mortar gaming store. For those who live more remotely, it may mean an online retailer. Include specific directions where you think they might be needed (deaf grandmother) or the name of the store for anyone capable with a smart phone.
The second step is a unique one to Privateer Press, and especially needed if the person might have to place a special order for the gift if it’s not in the regular stock at the location you’ve suggested. Supplying the Privateer Press PIP code along with the item(s) you prefer can ease that process on everyone–the retailer and the gift-giver. It just takes a few minutes on Privateer Press’ faction gallery pages to look them up–they’re at the bottom of each image. This also helps avoid the issue of misunderstanding: Bane Thralls, Bane Knights, Bane Riders, and Bane Lord Tartarus could all be mixed together pretty easily by someone unfamiliar with the game.
The handy-dandy PIP code. For all your special ordering needs.
Avoid the Crass “Ask”
Okay, so you’ve got your list available and cross-referenced, with a stack of handy Google Maps print-outs showing driving directions to your LGS. Now it’s time to think about tact in this process. While people love to give gifts you want, there’s a subtlety to the process as well. You’ve got to make sure you avoid the crass “ask”.
Subtlety is the key here, because you don’t want to be seen as demanding a certain set of presents. So work on the tact and poise. Consider an e-mail to family and friends that politely says: “Hey, it’s holiday time and if anyone is puzzled about what to get me, here are some things that would be cool. And make sure to send me ideas about what you would like!” Make certain to keep the tone open, joyful, and requesting of the same from them.
If you fail to use tact and poise in the request, then you’re likely to fall afoul of that nebulous concern: the spirit of giving. The point of gift-giving is to show care, respect, love, admiration, connection, mutual celebration of religious or cultural tradition, or some other value to the recipient. If requests go beyond “hey, I know I’m hard to shop for, here’s some things I might like to make it easy on you” and into the territory of demands, requirements, or even threats, then the gift-giving reason is lost. It becomes a crass action instead of a way to help others choose gifts that are meaningful.
Pictured: the wrong way.
Anyhow, best of luck endeavoring to communicate your Warmachine and Hordes gift wishes to friends, family, and co-workers. And happy holidays no matter what you’re celebrating.
~ Can you ask for exactly what you want as a gift? Is that a holiday faux pas?
To see the models that Chalkboard foolishly asked for, check out his blog at