Propaganda Data Slate: The Lodge & The Importance Of Community
Hello and welcome back to the kitchen for a special article completely unrelated to certain recent events…
So first up I know Spider and Bone have already given you an update and a huge massive thanks on behalf of all the team regarding the Lodge Pledges, as have I in the various comments related to the Lodge but just again it shows the pure heartfelt love we are feeling from the community, as it really shows that what we are doing is connecting with people, and justifies our thoughts and feelings on our involvement with TT. So to repeat what’s already been said, thank you all so very, very much.
These are extremely exciting times for us here in the team, and we can’t wait to give so much extra stuff back to you all that make it possible. As has already been said, with more of us full time, and more space dedicated to a whole range of things, we’ll be cranking out so much more content it boggles even my mind! Have no fear, this is in no way going to be a drop in quality, as that is our first and foremost mission, to provide the best and highest level of content. But it means we can start delivering on some stuff we’ve been talking about and looking forward to doing for a long time, such as weekly Vox Casts, live stream specials, expanding into other games systems, returning to the worlds of RPGs with a vengeance, a Tale of Gamers series where you’ll be with us from the beginning, guest players, events and tournaments, more in depth Campaign and Narrative games, and so much more! The hype and power level is getting far beyond 9000 for all of us, and we can’t wait to share it with you all and get you your just rewards for your support!
Vast Worlds, Vast Peoples
It’s not just gushing here though, as this has made me think on just how vital community and positivity is to the hobby. Now community could mean a whole host of different things to different people. It could be your local gaming store, friends you’ve been playing with for years or people you’ve been playing with for weeks. It could be the sense of belonging in a competitive scene, or attending narrative events, indeed many a friendship can begin from just a one off game, or seeing the familiar faces at events even if you’ve never played. It can come from striking up a conversation about an awesome conversion, an incredible paintjob, a fantastic new model or a crazy bit of lore. It can stem from enjoying the same videos as another person (or in this case a metric ton of bosses), and overall it can just be from being part of the hobby in some capacity, no matter how small.
Whether you play, paint, build, or even only watch the game, we are part of the same community. Regardless of your location, your background, whatever – you are part of the community. But why does that matter, why is it important? Well because without a community, there wouldn’t be a game. You wouldn’t be able to test your skills against other players, or hone your painting craft. There wouldn’t be a wealth of stories to absorb and create. You wouldn’t be able to watch and read hobby related content from around the world. So a community is important because it builds and adds to the wonderful hobby we already have, enabling it to connect people from all over, and to grow bigger and get more people involved.
Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate
Of course, these are the positives, and it’s not always those positives that are focused on. There are stereotypes that exist, and of course a minority that seems to somehow come to represent everyone. The cutthroat tournament players that disregard the spirit of the game for pure mathematical superiority, elitist 30k players that sneer at 8th edition, those that deride someone who hasn’t quite mastered 17 shade blending, Airbrushing Vs Hand Painting (and don’t get either started on Contrast paint), the longbeards that will remind you that this book is wrong and your 9 year old is the worst for wanting to take part in this very adult hobby of toy soldiers and how dare you want to enjoy something with them and introduce them to it. Finally, the worst of all… anyone who plays T’au…
You can see how easy it is to assign labels, go completely over the top, and probably annoy a whole slew of people along the way. And often for the simple matter of we just don’t understand their reasons for enjoying the hobby that way. When really, we’re all part of the same global group that plays with plastic miniatures – it’s not all that serious, and we all enjoy it in our own way, and that is phenomenal in itself. I’m not a painter for example, but you’ll bet I’ll be drooling over the Golden Daemon entries every year. Sadly all too often people can feel deflated over an aspect of the hobby they can’t quite do as well as someone else, or even get actively discouraged.
From time to time I have read or heard of people no longer taking part in the hobby because they can’t paint as well as they feel they are expected to, or someone told them their list was rubbish, or they didn’t feel they were being treated properly because they were younger or of a different gender. Which honestly is not only saddening, but more than that disappointing and in fact infuriating that people would rather their community was insular or even shrank, rather than grow and get bigger and better.
Tzeentch loves Change, so can you!
Now, everyone is of course entitled to an opinion but it must be considered how it comes across, or the way it’s said. Be it in person or online, what is said can be interpreted or taken the wrong way, even if it was unintentional. I am guilty of this myself, mainly due to how I can come across as overly abrasive or too full of vitriol, but it derives from a passion of the subject, or perhaps a frustration over something that occurs that I disagree with…
That aside, I can also acknowledge that others opinions may differ, that doesn’t make me or anyone else wrong on the topic. Indeed, it just allows us to talk about it, so we might better understand our own stance, opposing views, and appreciate them both all the more. Were someone to disagree with a statement or action, but simply dismiss it as wrong, rather than explain why, it can get brushed off, and contributes nothing to progress.
Discussion and debate is good, it’s healthy, but there needs to be at least the acceptance that whilst change might not come from it (whether your own or someone else), the fact that there is a difference of views is precisely what enables a varied community, and it’s things like that, that foster the growth of it. If the willingness to even listen to another view, or explain your side, or offer a counter, isn’t acknowledged, you can’t even say you’ll agree to disagree – agreement implies a discussion has been had. Explaining your thoughts and reasons, even if you get a response you don’t like, must surely be better than “lol whatever you say, if that floats your boat mate?”.
This works the other way as well, as not only must you be aware of how you are putting your own point of view across, you must understand that someone engaging in discussion with you are not always attacking you. People can be defensive by nature, we don’t like being challenged or told our views are wrong or misguided, and all too often both sides can get too quickly offended and clam up, retreating to the safety of the known and the similar. This again can lead to insularity, which for a game that literally requires you to interact with other human beings, at least in some capacity, can be a death knell. It might not be for the game as a whole, but it can certainly lead to cliques being made, echo chambers and stagnation, or even the falling apart of a gaming group.
I am not saying you tip your toes around a conversation for fear of offending someone, nor should you blindly accept anything anyone says about your views that you disagree with. Simply acknowledge that how it’s said, but also how it’s construed, can twist it all too much into something completely unintended and cause division.
Never lose sight of the fact that we are all collectively part of the same hobby, regardless of what you do within it or how you do it. Don’t lose sight of what you enjoy from it, but likewise don’t demean those that do it differently. Support each other, and encourage someone to perhaps try something new that might expand their horizons, so long as you’re open to it yourself. Consider what you say or how you say it, not for fear of offending or putting someone off, but rather so as not to see someone with potential and love of this hobby drift away from it.
Anytime you want to get back on topic Chef…
So that brings me back to part of what has compelled me to do this particular article, and indeed is pretty much the only reason I can even do this – because of our incredible community. We have a huge range of people that are part of the TT Community, from long term players, tournament players, talented painters, newcomers, people that have been out of the hobby for years that are now returning. We are all a hugely supportive group of people, and no, there is not 100% agreement of everything. There will be tactical errors on our part that takes someone out of the moment, it could be an sub optimal choice that will leave someone scratching their head, one report might be too hyper-competitive and not enjoyable for another. It could be wondering our reasoning for doing D&D over Dark Heresy, and for the love of all the God’s will we PLEASE start Age of Sigmar!?
And yet 99% of the time, none of this is said in malice. Sometimes it’s blunt sure, but it’s not meant to be in a negative way, at least I hope not (cos otherwise I’ve a lot of apologising to do to people!). This says so much about our community, that despite differing opinions or likes and dislikes, there is still the sense of positivity from everyone involved, which is so key. To repeat what was said at the beginning it really shows that TT is not only doing something right that people enjoy, but is connecting with a whole range of people from all different corners of the hobby.
What we’re doing is great, but remember it wouldn’t be possible without the support and love from you all. Make sure that spreads to all the aspects of the hobby you take part in, maybe even the parts you don’t. Be a part of the TT Community even when you’re away from it, and be ambassadors for how awesome this hobby can be!
If you have a list with some unique tactics, a Tactica or hobby article that you feel would make an interesting read, or maybe you just want to give Chef a topic to rant about? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might see your topic discussed in a future article!