A short History lesson (apologies if you’ve been with the blog for a long while and I’ve written this before).
Many moons ago I picked up a game called Malifaux and loved it – the fluff, the setting, the models, the characters, using cards not dice – it was great. So I went to an event at a local store to play it. When I arrived, no-one talked to me. In my first game, the other opponent was also new, and we had a pretty good game even though I lost. We chatted a bit afterwards. No-one talked to me during the other breaks in the day. In my second game the other guys used to jank to easily beat me and barely talked out of barking his moves at me. Game 3, I think the guy was annoyed at being 0-2 and he barely talked at all. So that was my first event experience.
A few years later, the local Malifaux organiser invited me to play some games at out local store. I met a few other guys and was enjoying playing Malifaux again so I tried another event. At least the TO talked to me this time. Game 1 the other guy barely spoke, even on his activations. I lost. Round 2 I had a bye and played the TO. Round 3 I lost my leader in the 2nd activation and was tabled pretty much round 1. I left and haven’t played Malifaux since.
It’s amazing I ever played another event! But while playing Malifaux, one of the players (cheers Zi) introduced me to Guildball. I went to an event. People were having fun, some of them even talked to me! I went to another event and people recognised me, even invited me out for lunch. I met people in places like Stoke, Leeds and wherever the Glory Goals guys play. I travelled to the south to play games. Eventually I even went to another country to play in the World Team Championship! So what is it that I like about events?
- The Community
I’m sure there was a Malifaux community, but it wasn’t very welcoming to me. Guildball was. So far MCP is. Meeting and spending time with people who share an interest with you and who want to talk about it is great. When I look at my facebook friends list – a good chunk of people I met through Guildball and MCP. And when I post something I can expect a good mix of like and responses from family, close friends, old school and uni mates, ex/colleagues AND wargaming friends. So I love going to an event and catching up with old faces and meeting new ones. This weekend I’m hoping to see 3 people I haven’t seen since before covid – that’s great.
- Playing Games
Seems obvious, but currently I’m not playing many games out of events. So going to events is how I get to play MCP. It’s also hard to swing “playing games with my friends” for a day out. But playing at an event I get a pass for!
- Learning the game
It’s one thing to read the cards, it’s another to play against your local players or mates. Playing against new and different players is a great way to learn new ways of playing the game.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve never actually won an event*. But I have a bunch of 2nd and 3rd places. Those 2nd place certificates and little plaques mean a lot to me. But winning games is fun. Losing one or two is ok. Losing all 3 at my last event and having some bad dice made for a rubbish day. So yeah, Winning > Losing. It also depends on your mindset. I’ve had games where I was too tired to take them seriously and was happy to lose. Sometimes just having a laugh is less taxing.
* Technically I won a 4-man event once. The TO was off, and we only had 6 players which lasted 2 rounds. So we ran a second mini-event and I won. But I never really count that.
- Rating points and Ranking
There was a lot of discussion after my longshanks post about the merits of a rating and ranking system. The feeling seemed to be it’s fine for competitive players but might put off casual players. For me it turns something which is fun into something more fun. Without a rating system I might have fun at an event, but I’m unlikely to win. So I don’t get any visible benefit from coming mid-table. But with a rating system those games still mattered. Literally every game counts. I became far too obsessed with my longshanks rating. Who was I near? Where was I in the different guilds? What if I just looked at the Welsh players? To many people, this doesn’t matter. But to me it is something else to look at. I can see if I’m improving and measure myself against other players. It’s evidently not for everyone, but I like my stats, so I like my ranking!
- McDonalds breakfasts
Since I don’t have any really local events, an event usually means travelling an hour or so. Usually first thing. Which means a trip to MaccyDs for a Sausage and Egg McMuffin Meal with a Toffee Latte. This is the only time I ever drink coffee.
- Road Trip!
Occasionally I get to drive with other people. That’s always fun – talking about life and rosters on the way there. Talking about your games on the way back. Great stuff.
So there you go, Events are Awesome! What’s that? Are there any bad things about events? Fine I’ll play along…
- Getting up early.
Getting up earlier at the weekend than I get up in the week sucks. I like my weekend lie-ins
- Solo drives
I like driving to an event in a group. Driving by myself, not so much. Although I prefer driving myself to being a passenger. I hate being a passenger! It’s nice having time to listen to a podcast on the way, but I do that all week on the commute
- The cost
Events aren’t cheap. £10-20 a ticket. Often without food so I need to pay for lunch. And maybe get takeout on the way home, and breakfast on the way there. Plus petrol. An event can easily end up costing £40 for one day.
- Missing out
Events are a time sink. So sometimes doing an event means missing something else. Like my daughter’s football match, or going to the cinema or some other real life thing. There’s only so many hours in the day.
- 5 round events
4 round events are fine. 7 rounds over two days, also fine. 5 rounds in one day is too much. Done it a bunch of times at the chase hotel for Glory Goals and was always knackered after.
If winning is good then losing must be bad. Although this depends on so many things. Losing in the final is really gutting. Losing in the middle and winning your last game, you forget the loss. Losing due to stupid mistakes or bad dice is frustrating. But you often learn from losing, so it’s not always bad. And some of my fondest remembered games have been losses.
- Bad players.
I don’t mean bad as in they’re no good (I love them – easy wins). I mean bad as in no fun to play against. In malifaux that was two thirds of my games. In Guild ball in like 200 tournament games, it was one game. So far in Marvel it has been no games out of 4 events. So luckily, these have been few and far between. But I guess it depends which game you are playing. I’ve heard a lot of bad stories about other systems.
So events have downsides, but the good massively outweighs the bad. Going to events is a good way to meet new people, play more games and have MORE fun! If you’ve never been to an event, go! I didn’t really start going until I was in my 40s, l wish I had started sooner!