I firmly believe that the true strength of any tabletop game is less in its rules, it’s minis, even it’s fluff (as much as I adore it), but more in its player base and community. When you’ve nurtured and fostered a gaming environment that is welcoming, supportive, encouraging, all about the love of the game, you’ve got a good thing going. I’ll always remember when JDWhitee lined up against Jason Watt at the Templecon Masters. Jason had the opportunity to win very early in the game, but held off and actively coached his younger opponent as they played. Jason still won, but it was an amazing example of sportsmanship. It’s this kind of thing that makes me look at events like the Welsh Masters – yes, it was in May and I’m talking about it in October – and wish I was able to attend.
Martyn Jenkins and his crew have been running the Welsh Masters now for 9 years. 2019’s will be the 10th, and no doubt will be a suitably funk shindig accordingly. For 2018 that turned to fan-favourite artist Florian Stitz, whose art has been seen on World Team Championship swag for several years now. The end result was a glorious Welsh dragon, fighting off a bulldog, a rooster, a unicorn and a leprechaun… I’ll let you figure out who they represent 😉
A stylish feat token, objective and flag markers, and some super schmexy dice were added to the mix, but let’s face it…
… it’s all about getting to wear Florian’s art on a jersey in the end. I love the whole team jerseys at the WTC thing, with some players switching jerseys at the end of the tournament. Given that I’m never going to quality for any of Team Canada’s squads – the “I can lose to anybody!” mantra doesn’t so much work in competitive WarmaHordes – being able to score one of these sweet shirts has made my day.
I look at events like CaptainCon, Warmachine Weekend and the Welsh Masters and I see fan-driven events not necessarily being driven by the urge to compete, but being promoted by a love of the game. Competition is still fierce for those first place titles, but there’s a place for those who are just looking to have fun too. Heck, there’s even literal wooden spoons in the prize pool.
The life and death of any game hinges on the people who choose to play it. Supporting players both new and old, encouraging both the competitive and the casual. We all play a part in our local communities,and it’s important to make sure that we’re giving as much, if not more, to our communities as we are taking from them. If you can find it, track down old episodes of the Fell Calls podcast that talk about the social contract between players.
Be the kind of person you want to see across the table.
And go to the Welsh Masters next year. Noogie Martyn for me, and tell him Kev Bryant’s hat sent you, for bonus confusion.