Yes, I AM going to play other gaming systems/board games. Not because 40K sucks. Because I can!
I can see the eye rolls after that opening line. Really Dan? Doesn’t everyone play other miniatures game/systems/games? The answer, simply put, is no. Moreover, for those that have reached across the aisle, it is not an easy step to take. Why? Because 40K can be absolutely consuming, addicting and a black hole of time. There are also (at least in my local meta – but I don’t think I’m alone) several gamers those for whom 40K is all they WANT to play. It is enough for them to immerse themselves in the glory of the 41st millennium. Before we go on, this also applies to those who have found their hobby home in 30K; either from the start or as 40K converts. For the purposes of this article, however, they belong to the same universe, albeit NOT the same specific gaming system. That all being said, it is certainly our privilege as adults to decide how we will spend our hard earned cash. In our local gaming metas, it is imperative we allow, without dirty looks and backroom banter, our friends and fellow gamers to explore the wondrous variety of gaming options with which we have been gifted.
Now I would like to discuss some personal experience with crossover. My first non-40K experience was with Infinity last summer. I was in the process of selling off my 8000 point Tyranid army, and taking a break from 40K; the same “time out” that many gamers grant themselves every once in a while. My initial experience was a good one. The game system was a welcome change from the complexity of 7th ed. 40K, and the buy-in cost was relatively low (about $400) for a decent set of about 30 miniatures. I even found a local gaming group who, at least initially, were welcoming and instructive. After a short time (about a month), however, the true nature of the group became apparent. Lot’s of 40K bashing and political commentary began to make the gaming sessions oppressive. I game for fun, not to get into arguments. Bottom line is that Infinity was a great game system with a very streamlined and intuitive rule set. Just that I needed someone to play the game with.
I migrated back to 40K and started an Iron Hands/Ad Mech army. The few months I had taken off were enough breathing room to energize my model building and narrative mojo, and I was really enjoying myself. Then my board game alter-ego asserted itself (it had a major reincarnation a few years ago at Rock-Con). I started spending Wednesday evenings at a local pub where board gamers are actually given an entire section of the house. Still building and painting, but as many of you know, it takes a while to create a 2000 point, table-ready 40K army. Since last fall, I have split my time between board gaming and 40K…then came Sigmar.
I caught the Age of Sigmar (AoS) bug in May. After much consideration, I decided on Seraphon (Lizardmen). Although it was a tough decision; I almost went with the Death faction. Even picked up a couple of Spirit Hosts and a Mortarch before settling on lizards. Is there anything more dope than a dinosaur riding a dinosaur? The summer campaign really provided some great motivation for building and painting; I actually contributed 9 points to the Order faction. At the same time, I started reconnecting on a regular basis with the folks in my local meta. One of the gamers in our group owns a hardware store and he now opens the basement up for Tuesday night hobbying and gaming. For many of us this has been a nostalgic ride. We used to game until midnight on Tuesday nights at a local FLGS which closed several years ago.
Which leads to my final experience with crossover gaming. As I sit building and painting on Tuesdays there is a group rabid 40K gamers who have time traveled to the Old West. They are having a crazy good time playing a 28mm game based on cowboys in the late 19th century. I think it is called Desperado (not sure). One of our group picked up the rules at Adepticon this year. It seems to be a combination of role-playing and table-top minatures; or at least that is how they play it! After a few weeks of listening to their joyful insanity, I am relenting and have ordered a set of four appropriately armed (pistol, rifle, shotgun) minis. I will probably be celebrating the advent of fall by throwing down with them in a few weeks. Fortunately, these four figs appear to be the extent of my required investment, or so it appears. Ride ’em cowboy!
As much as I appreciate the dedication of many of my mates to the 30K/40K gaming genre, it is also a great time to venture forth. Whether you stick with GDub (Sigmar) or venture into X-Wing, Warmahordes and the plethora of other gaming distractions (including board games), it is a great time to be a gamer and to have choices.
What other gaming systems/board games have you explored while keeping an eye on your 40K roots?