One of the most important parts of the hobby for me is meeting new people, introducing them to the games we play and the worlds we immerse ourselves in so passionately. I have been involved with this hobby coming on 25 years now; I have played many different games set in a variety of settings, universes and time lines. I have worked for miniature companies; been a member of and run gaming clubs; volunteered for several companies demoing their games – and the thing that keeps me enthused in, the hobby is the multitude of different people I meet who have the same passion that I do. The one thing that does concern me is are we doing enough to bring more non-gamers into our hobby? This got me thinking about what is it that me and my club do to attract non-gamers to come and join us?
Wargaming over the last ten years or so has changed dramatically, with a surge of gaming companies moving into the tabletop games market and Kickstarter making it possible for some of these small companies to get these games up and running we are not short of choice of games to play. Many of us will remember the stigma that came with being interested in wargaming in our younger years and the banter that would have been directed at us from our peers, for some of us it would have even stretched into our adult years. Now, with popular Hollywood movies and TV shows being made on a wide variety of genres including fantasy, sci-fi, post-apocalypse and comic books, model companies are building games along with these licences bringing people into the hobby that may not have looked at it before.
There are many ways we can introduce people to gaming, the first and probably the easiest is to just introduce a friend who doesn’t play; I have been surprised a few times how friends I would have never thought to introduce to gaming have been interested in what I do. It can be as easy as just showing them some of the models you have or taking them through a quick demo game showing them how immersive the universes we interact in can be all it takes is finding that hook.
Most of us at some point would have run or taken part in a demo game at a wargaming show or a club and this is a great way to show people a new game, however you are selling a game to a gamer. Try demoing a game at a local craft fair, family day or school fete – these are the events that will attract families so it opens up the hobby to children and adults alike who would have probably never seen the hobby before. For these events I’d suggest a small quick easy game that catches people’s attention and will show them how easy it is to get into the hobby and how enjoyable it can be.
Lastly, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to strangers about your hobby. If you show passion and enthusiasm for what you do that will encourage who you are talking too that what you do is enjoyable and worth having a look at. The stigma we dealt with years ago is no longer as common as you may think people are a lot more open to new ideas now.
So, here are just a couple of ideas on how to bring other people into our wonderful hobby that brings many of us hours of enjoyment. If all of us set a goal to introduce one person to the hobby it helps to grow our community and keep the hobby alive for years to come. I hope this has given some of you a couple of ideas to work with and if you have any other ideas that will help grow our community please leave a comment so we can all see it and put the idea into action!