HoP Idol: Golden Age of Gaming

Hey folks, let’s kick this pary off with the first opinion piece of the week from Frontline Gamer. 

Golden Age of Gaming

I think it was nearly two years ago now that I first said that we were experiencing a ‘golden age of gaming’ to a group of my friends. They looked at me like I was a bit mad at first, but then again they normally do that. However after telling them why I felt this was the case a few actually came round to my way of thinking. So why do I think it’s a golden age?

You see not many people I know feel this way at the moment, and its quite frankly because they’re Games Workshop gamers and not wargamers. Now this isn’t going to be an article that takes pot shots at GW, but its fair to say there are currently some disgruntled 40k and Fantasy gamers out there, and of course there are plenty who are really happy with their hobby too. So when I say to those disgruntled with the GW’s offerings ‘it’s a golden age of gaming’ they quite rightly see me as being bat shit crazy.
However if you look outside of the GW box what you see is vast and varied gaming landscape full of quality and invention and I love it. You see for too long the GW has had it easy, there really hasn’t been much competition. Sure you had great rules systems and yes other people were making stunning miniatures, but for long periods of time nobody else put the two things together quite like the GW did and because of this I personally feel the GW has stagnated. However I think this competition is good for them, it’ll force them to change for the better and make their own product better… or they’ll go the way of the dodo.

So what games prompted me to get so enthused? Well there are a number of them to be truthful, first up are the offerings from Privateer Press, Warmachine and Hordes. They won’t be for everyone like wargaming in general isn’t for everyone, but now we have another series of games that ostensibly have similar production values, miniatures and fluff etc. that is comparable to the offerings from the GW but different offering another secure choice in which to invest. Privateer Press have been around for 10 years and are established and growing. Having another company thriving in the hobby can only be a good thing for everyone.
However its not just that there is a new big boy that gives me cause to rejoice at the health of the hobby, oh no. In years past the reality has been that other none GW gaming systems struggled manfully for attention, custom and just to survive. However over the last 2 to 3 years I have noticed a very big shift in the attitudes of gamers, people are more willing to branch out from the big boys and play smaller game systems, people are just more adventurous now and actually actively seek out new experiences and that’s a sign of a mature and thriving hobby.

This attitude shift has enabled smaller companies like Wyrd Miniatures, Spartan Games, Corvus Belli and many more besides to exist and produce their own game systems and awesome little games like Malifaux and Infinity. Indeed these two games do offer some very different gaming from what we are used to from the GW and PP and are just as in-depth and well thought out if not more so than what the market leaders produce.
Malifaux appeals to people on a number of levels, yeah sure some people think the deck of cards is a gimmick rather than a valid design decision. Let me assure you that the deck of cards and cheating fate is a genius system and one that enables completely different types of play mechanics to dice based gaming. The miniatures are cool, sure some of the sculpt are of variable quality and some are a bit static but all are packed with character and quirkiness by the bucket load, and the community is growing all the time and the size of the game means its rapidly becoming many people’s ‘other’ game.

Those of you who know me best though will know that my current love is Infinity. It has in my humble opinion the best miniatures on the market and the rules produce some of the most balanced and tactical games I’ve ever played. Its not overly complex, its as complex as it needs to be to give you the greatest game on earth. Besides what’s not to love about an anime inspired future that is as bright and bold as 40k is grim and dark?

In the realm of board gaming we have Fantasy Flight Games going from strength to strength with the newly acquired Star Wars license. The shear quality of  and quantity they are producing is breath taking it really is, but there are others providing weird and unique board games and I can’t want to get my hands Super Dungeon Explore from Soda Pop Miniatures. We have a new start up in Mantic Games proving to the big boys that it is still possible to survive and offer cheaper more reasonably priced miniatures.

There are many more games beside from the JRPG inspired Anima Tactics, the three Spartan Games systems Dystopian Wars, Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada, which all offer cheap and affordable fun gaming. What I’m trying to say is that there are options out there if you are willing to look and take the plunge. Our hobby is currently going through an amazing period of creativity and its far more diverse in its offerings than the big boys might want you to believe. Whatever you do I implore you all not to miss out on these games while the scene is buzzing and thriving. You don’t have to let your hobby go sour and stale, over the years I’ve found that being able to branch out into other systems has kept my GW hobby alive. Peace out!

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