The Tone of Fear
One of the most common remarks I hear whenever we post pictures of our events is, “Wow, that looked amazing… it looked like so much fun!”.
Sometimes I hear it from people who do play the games, but have never participated in a large event or tournament. And many times, I hear it from others who have taken all the steps to start playing, but have never actually played the game, even though they want to join in on the fun.
These are the three underlying fears people commonly express:
Fear #1: “People might get upset with me or impatient because I don’t know the rules.”
Don’t — absolutely DO NOT — let this doubt get in your way. Nobody is going to give you a hard time because you don’t have 100% of the rules memorized. In fact, while many of us “veterans” are familiar and used to the rules, very few of us have them all locked away in our brains.
We rely quite a bit on rulebooks and other manuals during events, and even for regular, open play or casual game days. Many times, scenarios create unique gaming circumstances for which there are questions, and players must look up the rules for answers. As long as you have a basic grasp of the game, you are welcome to join an event!
By asking questions “in the moment”, you have the chance to learn more about your army’s capabilities, and assess if there are ways to improve your game.
If you’re STILL not ready to jump into an event, then come in for open play days, or find someone who is willing to run a practice game with you. I guarantee, there is typically a Denizen who is more than willing!
You can read through rulebooks and codexes and watch games on YouTube or Twitch, but you won’t truly learn to play until you actually get your minis on the table and start playing.
Fear #2: “I am not really good at this game.”
Other than gifted individuals and geniuses, no one ever starts out good at anything. They practice, build their skills, and regularly challenge themselves. In tabletop gaming, this equates to playing against different people.
When you play against the same person or couple of people over and over again, you risk becoming too familiar and comfortable with their gaming styles. Soon, you start anticipating what they will do. And then you don’t grow as a player.
I got caught up in that myself, long before ever opening The Ogre’s Den. For awhile, I was playing the same two or three people in my gaming group and I became stagnant as a player. I played the same way, employing the same tactics. I either became used to playing against the same armies, or I’d figured out the person’s play style.
As wargaming enthusiasts, we need to branch out and play against different gamers. It helps us to become more aware of, and learn about how our armies will work in various circumstances.
While you may be able to steamroll your friend’s army, you might find yourself struggling against someone else’s. In this way, you learn how to adapt and grow as a player. You collect valuable gaming knowledge from new situations, and your confidence increases. Soon, you’ll find that as you start playing against more people, YOU will get asked the questions. You may surprise yourself by knowing the answers!
Fear #3: “People might say my army isn’t painted right.”
There are so few of us that start off as a good painter. It’s a learned skill! Don’t agonize because your minis don’t look like they’ve been pulled straight from the pages of White Dwarf. Painting minis takes patience, and comes with time. Keep practicing and trying new techniques, and you WILL get better. And, it absolutely SHOULD NOT keep you from playing in events.
No one will judge you on your ability to paint a miniature. Most people are just happy to see that someone else has painted their minis, too!
We do require table-ready minis at our events, meaning your minis must be painted, or in the process of being painted, with a 3-paint minimum. This means you don’t need an insane amount of detail. And for open play games or casual games, paint isn’t required at all. (Note: We do take a lot of pictures at all of our events to post and promote on social media, so we always appreciate painted minis. But again, don’t let this stop you from playing!)
If you’re worried about your minis not being painted the right color, I’ll give you a little tip: for 28mm minis, use a color that’s a shade or two lighter than the color that a model is said to have. Why? Because you want the details of the sculpt to pop. You don’t want your mini to blend in with the background (i.e. the terrain, game mat, etc.).
For instance, when I paint a U.S. Infantry mini for Bolt Action, I may start off with an Olive Drab. But I will work up to a lighter tone to make the mini stand out. The colors I apply to my minis aren’t always historically accurate, but I want them to be distinct and noticeable on the table.
Even my Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar armies aren’t painted to the exact, specified colors in the books. The point is, it’s YOUR army. You paint them to the tone or hue you want. Above all, be proud of your work, and the fact that you took the time to paint them. And if you still feel uneasy about the hobby side, bring your minis in for Tuesday Minis Paint Night and get some help from myself or other gamers!
Let Go of Your Fears!
We all started out just like you. And we all had our first “big game” moment, where we felt a bit anxious and unsure. But I believe none of us regret taking that plunge into playing in big events. Big events are reasons why we continue to enjoy playing miniatures games.
Let your fears fall away and choose a group or event to join. You can check our website calendar, or join our Facebook Group to get early game announcements. If you see an event that catches your eye, get some practice in, and get ready to play!
Sidenote: for those interested in Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar specifically, be on the lookout for more thematic, story-driven events. We also have many more tournaments and big events coming up throughout the rest of 2019!