Friday 3 March 2017

Playing the generation game

I have just been reading a brilliant article from a recent issue of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy called The Generation Game. It's all about getting the younger generation involved in our hobby, playing games, painting miniatures and participating in our wonderfully 'social' hobby. The often heard lament within our community is that our hobby risks dying out with the current generation of aging wargamers. In my own small way this is something I have been determined to rectify by involving both my children in my hobby as they grew up. 

My youngest daughter (otherwise known as the Young Padawan) is often featured on this blog when we play ancients games using the To the Strongest rules and WWII North African battles using my desert armies. She is also a developing painter although she is less keen on that side of gaming. Maybe that is a little bit too much of a step as her generation likes everything to be instant and maybe she hasn't got quite got the patience to spend hours painting. I can't expect her to enjoy every aspect of a hobby exactly the way I do. So long as she enjoys rolling dice and laughing over the games table with her old man then I can hardly complain.

Most of the article focused on the benefits of getting young people involved in local wargaming clubs. I think this is something that many gamers have tried to do and I have noticed lots more children at shows as part of clubs. This is great for the future of the Hobby and seems to be going in the right direction but for me the most important thing any of us wargamers can do to support the future of the Hobby is to get our children involved at home. I'm not advocating forcing them to join in but anytime away from the games consoles, the TV, the phone or handheld games system can only be a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a particular problem with any of these things in moderation, but variety is after all the spice of life.

I think its important for us oldies to remember how we got into the hobby, particularly if we did so while still at school. My introduction to gaming came through my friends at school, books that I found in the library, through Dungeons and Dragons as an early teenager and Warhammer Fantasy battle as an older teenager but it was always closely linked to my group of friends. I think that social aspect to the hobby is a vital ingredient that needs to be nurtured in young gamer's because it is the building blocks of a lifelong passion for tabletop gaming in all its many forms. Our kids may have different tools and access to technology that we didn't but so long as we keep friendships at the centre of the experience they will get as much out of the hobby as we do, and hopefully for many years to come.

Its vital that this my generation understand that their generation may want to do things differently. While I would like my children to follow in my footsteps how they do that is entirely up to them just so long as they still want to play games. Our hobby has evolved enormously over the decades and it will continue to do so long after we are gone and with a bit of encouragement it'll be our kids that shape the rule systems, models and technologies of the future. So long as my kids still want to play games with me when I'm in my dotage then I'll be quite content!


  1. Great post Lee and you are absolute correct, it's vital to have juniors coming through the ranks. At our club we have two members who are particularly adept at encouraging some of their students to Wargames and they have now joined the NWS along with five other junior members. We charge them 1/3 of the annual fee and we love having their energy at the venue.

  2. Superbly put, I couldn't agree more! Also, as I seldom comment here, I'll use the occasion to say that I really like your blog - it's always a pleasure to read about your activities.

  3. Both of my children played miniature games when they were younger, because it was something that they could do with Dad. There even played in a few 'Hordes of the Things' competitions, designing their own armies (although I still ended up painting them). My son has moved on from playing games as a hobby (besides console games), but still plays card and board-games with us when we get together as a family. My daughter, now 20, also enjoys card and board-games and is building up her own collection which she and her friends play. As you say, the new generation may do things differently - she's not playing historical or either miniatures games - but they are playing games.

  4. Agree 100%. Both my kids are interested in the hobby, but the point is for them to develop the hobby for themselves, not for me to tell them what it should be based on how I approach it.

  5. Couldn't agree more, Lee! My girls are eager to do some painting and play another game, we'll have to sort out a Kent v Essex game soon!


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