Friday, October 13, 2017

How to connect to the wider Age of Sigmar Community

Hey Everyone and happy Friday!  Years ago when I began my hobby journey and began laying Warhammer I never imagined how it would become more than a hobby and truly a part of my life.  I cannot see any future that does not involve Warhammer and Tabletop Wargaming as a key aspect of my life.  Beyond being a healthy and enjoyable hobby I have come to realize, over the past year or so, that it is a community of so many different people.  This community is the single greatest part of this hobby.  There is no doubt that completing your latest model or army is satisfying and making a podium at a tournament is thrilling, but the best part is sharing it with the community to give it true meaning.  My hope for this article is to help you branch more and more into our community (please note this will be from my perspective in the U.S.).

When you share your hobby with the community you get validity in what you are doing and we have a supportive community that you should connect with as you grow in your hobby.  That is not to say that there are not people who can be critical within the community, but as The Honest Wargamer has pointed out recently this is part of a healthy community.  Now there are people who will be negative for the sake of being negative and people who are positive for the sake of being positive, but they are there no matter what you are doing in life. You shouldn't let this keep you from connecting to the larger community as the more people you have to share your hobby with and chat to will broaden your thoughts and views about the hobby we all share.  It is good to keep in mind that every level is different as cultures and subcultures exist as human nature, but at its core, we are all here for the same thing and that is Age of Sigmar.  The best way I have found to describe this is "Unifying without Homogenizing".  That is my dream for our community.

So how do you connect to this community?  I feel it is best to break down everything down into four levels that I will cover. Local, being your Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS), local friends or club. Regional, being your larger area such as your state or surrounding state for larger events or playing with other clubs.  National, is your country of origin and the major events within that country.  Global is the connection with those in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zeland, and any other part of the world.

One of my FLGS

One of the best ways to connect is to find the closest shop in your area that sells Age of Sigmar.  Chances are they have space to play and you might even see some people playing a game.  If you do walk up and talk to them, but don't interfere with the game.  Chances are they are more than happy to talk about the game, their army, and when they play.  Also, ask the Shop owner if anyone plays the game regularly and see if you can stop in when they usually play to connect with them.  It is very possible the shop has a Facebook page or that there is a local club with a Facebook group you can follow or join to begin playing at local club days that you might not have even known are happening close to you.  It is also good to see if you have any friends who have interest in the game who can join you in their own hobby journey.

There is a possibility that there is no one really playing the game and in this instance, you have the opportunity to plant your flag and begin building your own community.  At this stage, it is a great idea to begin looking for Age of Sigmar Blogs (like the one you are reading now) as well as Youtube Channels and Podcasts.  These content producers are often looking at the National and Global already and help you connect the community in their own ways.  There is also a The Grand Alliance forum which is a great way to begin connecting to every level of the community and discuss Age of Sigmar.  On top of all of this Games Workshop has the Warhammer Community page to help keep you informed as well with daily articles being posted.

Midwest Meltdown 2017

You know have a local group you play games with on a regular basis and that is fantastic, but how do you grow from there within the community and continue to connect yourself?  Begin to look on Facebook for groups based on a part of your country, state, or even your closest large metro city.  There is a very good chance there are more FLGS the farther you branch out into your region and find the Facebook pages for larger areas you can usually see when clubs within your region meet or maybe even run tournaments that you could attend.  Reaching out to people on Facebook can help you connect your club to other clubs to form a larger and larger scene.  You can even visit the Facebook Pages of the farther away FLGS and often times post there to find players from that area.  On these group more Regional Facebook Pages you will also see events such as Grand Tournaments (GT's)  that may be a one-day or two-day event.

These are fantastic ways to connect more to the community as people are often willing to travel a bit for these events so you get to meet, play, and hang out with fellow hobbyists from across your region.  At this point, it is great to look into using Twitter as well and exchanging Twitter handles with people within your region.  The Age of Sigmar community has a strong presence on Twitter as it was a refuge after The End Times and it has retained a strong presence even as Facebook pages for the game grew.  Twitter will be useful in the higher levels as well.

Nova Open 2017

When you begin looking at the National Age of Sigmar Community you will undoubtedly be looking at a few major events that draw in wargamers from Age of Sigmar and many other game systems to a single place.  In the U.S. the biggest three are Adepticon, Las Vegas Open, and Nova Open.  These events will be across all forms of Social Media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as having their own dedicated websites where they post all the detailed information for the event.  These events will fill up the Twitter Feeds and Facebook Groups as they draw near as people from all across your country will travel to share in our Hobby.

We often times see people from other countries traveling to these events as well.  Just as it was with the Regional events it is a great time to make more friends and connect with them on Twitter and Facebook to keep in contact.  These are the top events and you can often times talk and chat with the podcasters, bloggers, and Youtubers and never be afraid to go say Hi.  We are all just passionate Age of Sigmar players just like everyone else and I know I love to talk about Warhammer as much as possible to anyone.  Not only are these events amazing times, but you will walk away with new friends of similar interests and a connection to the game at a very broad level.

Warhammer World Age of Sigmar Grand Final 2017

When you begin connecting nationally you will encounter those who connect globally and by doing that will begin to connect you globally as well.  If you are following Podcasts, Blogs, Youtube Channels, and The Warhammer Community site you are aware of what is going on with the Global Community.  Also if you are on Twitter and Facebook as well as following or friending players from across the globe you are already interacting with the Global Community.

One more layer you could look at is asking to be added to a Whatsapp grout for a specific army or other various Age of Sigmar related Whatsapp groups.  The last big step, which is one I need to take myself, is to travel to another country to play in one of their major events to make even more connections to the countries community and create our Global Age of Sigmar Community.

This is no way a set roadmap you need to follow as you could just as easily attend one of the National Events without having a local club or friends who play, but I encourage you to try to create connections at all levels as it will enrich the other levels within this community.  I am sure I have missed items as well so if I have please mention it in the comments to help us all.  Age of Sigmar has a strong community full of great people and I hope you participate at all levels to help the game grow as it will help keep a healthy and active community while bringing more awareness to our game.  If you have a link to a Facebook group, Blog, Youtube Channel, or even to your Twitter please post it in the comments as well.  I am also very happy to chat more about this as I love thinking about and working to grow the Age of Sigmar Community so feel free to reach out to me.

Until next week, Happy Hobbying!