Friday, November 24, 2017

Interview with Neil Larocca of Rend 4

Hey Everyone!  Today I am happy to bring you another interview with a community leader, Neil.  Neil runs the Rend 4, Age of Sigmar Club located in Northeastern Ohio and has really done well creating a friendly group to share and support hobby with the clubs page on Facebook.  I was lucky enough to get to know Neil on Twitter before finally meeting him at Adepticon this past year.  He participated in the Coalescence event I held at my local club and I will be attending his first club tournament in only a few weeks and I am excited to meet more members of his local scene.  If you are in Ohio be sure to look him and the club up!

Neil winning a well-deserved prize at Coalescence 2017

Chuck: "Neil, what is your Warhammer Origin story?"

Neil: "When I was 11 yrs old I received my first Warhammer set, it was the 4th ed Elves and Goblins starter box.  My younger brother took goblins while I went for the elves and have loved them ever since.  Over time I picked up some extra heroes for my brothers growing WAAAGH and my Noble Elves to give us strong heroes in our games.  I played all the way through college adding a unit per year while only getting a few games every year with my brother in classic basement hammer style.  Later on, I found a shop in Columbus Ohio called The Guard Tower during 6th and 7th ed that really got me going into the game and hobby even more so until I went Grad School."

"During Grad School, my hobby was mostly listening to Garagehammer and reminiscing about past games, but sadly there wasn't much time outside of my studies.  After grad school, I came back just as The End Times wrapped up and Age of Sigmar began.  I saw it as a great fresh start and dove full in and haven't regretted a day of it."

Chuck: "What Armies do you currently play/own and what do you have on your future hobby table?"

Neil: "I currently own and play Blades of Khorne as my main army.  I also have a small force of Nurgle and a bunch of Tzeentch which are mostly slaves to Darkness.  Outside of that, I have various Aelves I am working on expanding such as Order Draconis, Phoenix Temple, and various units from the old Dark Elf range.  My brother recently gave me his old empire army as well so I plan to build on these in the coming year if possible."

Chuck: "What is one of your favorite memories of this hobby?"

Neil: "Adepticon 2017 without a doubt.  It was inspiring to me.  I had built up my club which was very rewarding, but going to Adepticon for my first time and getting to talk and play with all the hobby heroes from across the podcasts and Warhammer Community.  It really stuck with me and validated all the effort I put into this Hobby."

Chuck: "How do you balance Hobby, Work, and Family?"

Neil: "I try to Hobby after the kids head to bed.  My wife will be grading papers for her work and I take that time for myself to paint a few hours a week at least.  It is really about sticking to a routine.  Mine typically is going to the gym in the morning, taking care of the kids during the day, spending time with my wife, painting and then to bed."

Chuck: "What is your favorite part of this hobby?"

Neil: "Community Building.  When I set out to make Rend 4 I wanted to find people who love this Hobby as much as I do.  I love talking to players about what they enjoy and listening to their stories as much as telling them mine.  It is such a joy seeing people have fun at events especially if you had a part in making it happen.  I feel this hobby is the community more than the game itself and it gives meaning to the games and the work we put into all of this."

Chuck: "What is your least favorite part of this hobby?"

Neil: "It used to be painting, but as I did it more I began enjoying the process of painting more and more.  Now. however, it is the members of the community that are more divisive than constructive.  Sometimes it can be negativity for the sake of being negative.  I don't know the purpose of it and I would rather rally around positivity."

Chuck: "You created and also lead "Rend 4: Age of Sigmar Wargaming" club.  Can you tell me a bit about the club?"

Neil: "It is built to have something for everyone, Hobby, gaming, competitions, tournaments, etc...  I intended it to be focused on the local area and branch out to the smaller isolated groups to help connect them all.  I met up with a few locals through an online map I heard about on Twitter and Facebook and I decided to start a club with those locals and I wanted to give everyone a name to rally around with T-Shirts, etc...  I also wanted a place where people can celebrate what others are doing in our community.  Any levels are welcome and we want to encourage and grow by staying positive."

Chuck: "How has the Age of Sigmar Scene grown in the area and how has the club helped?"

Neil: "Where I live there are two local shops and I would post on the forum for the shops, but I felt like an outsider trying to intervene with people more established at this shop.  It was intimidating, but starting our own Facebook page was a way to help alleviate that feeling.  Originally it was just me posting and try to get the communication going.  I wanted everyone who joined felt included in the group and make sure if someone posted their hobby that someone would respond to engage.  Honestly,  I feel I need to do more, posting flyers and trying to connect the isolated groups out in my area a bit more."

Chuck: "What Challenges, if any, have you encountered growing the club?"

Neil: "It is a challenge getting people motivated to participate.  The barriers to entry monetarily for the game has dropped, but the barrier of entry regarding the social contract and interaction is still high.  It took me quite a while to branch outside of basement gaming and meet new people and I think that is still a challenge overall, especially for new players."

Chuck: "What are the plans you see for the future of the club?"

Neil: "I want to grow.  Ultimately, I would like to run a two-day Grand Tournament.  I am running some one-day events to get practice currently.  I also plan to travel to other shops in the area more to meet new players and help connect them through the club.  It would be great to grow the connection all the way throughout Ohio creating friendly rivalries across the state between the clubs."

Chuck: "How can someone reach out to you or The Rend 4 Club?"

Neil: "You can follow me on Twitter and search Rend 4 on Facebook and join us there.  Even if you're not in Northeast Ohio we would be happy to have you as part of the Facebook group so please feel free to check out the page to share your love for this game and hobby."

Be sure to head to the clubs page on Facebook and check it out.  If you haven't followed Neil on Twitter yet be sure to do so as well.  Come back next week as I continue my Article Series "Life Lessons and Wargaming".  Until next week, Happy Hobbying!