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Questions about building a local Scene


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I don't know if this is the proper place to ask for advice, but I'm trying to build a AoS community in my town. However, I'm encountering two problems and I was wondering how to go about solving them: 

First, Some of the more senior players tend to really have a super-meta competitive mind set, where they sort of loudly complain about the "meta". It is especially bad where they lose, or towards people looking to start an army. In general, I understand that there is imbalance, but how do you guys think I could boost positivity? Id really like it if we could keep a fun, light hearted sort of feeling around game night, but often times, a lot of players feel like they've lost the game before it's begun.

Secondly, one regular player has been bringing his kids to play, although, they are very young; we're talking like 7 to 10. They like the game, but don't often get asked to play; this is partly due to the above, but also due to their lack of understanding. To further the problem, their father doesn't seem to understand the game despite many attempts to show him. I'm not sure how to explain the problems or help him in the community, since he is very consistent in showing up, but seems to be getting frustrated at the lack of games?


Any advice is appreciated!

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Man, those are some tough problems. I don't think there are any easy solutions, and it will take a lot of work.

Competitive negativity: this can be really poisonous for a small but growing community. Any enthusiasm among the players gets spent pushing back against the pessimism instead of encouraging new people to join, and it's very off-putting for curious potential players to hear complaints about balance right away.

To try to turn this around, you'll need to find ways to encourage a less competitive mindset, and focus more on the fun and engaging aspects of the game. Narrative events, multi-player games, wacky scenarios like castle sieges or aerial-only battles - anything that you can do to make it clear that these games are about rolling dice and having fun, not about who wins and loses. Be prepared that some of the grognards from your regular group will be unhappy and will refuse to participate, but also recognise that excluding the most toxic attitudes might simply be necessary to build the positive atmosphere you're after. The serious competitive games can come later, once you've got a solid local community built up.

Playing with children: this is honestly a much harder problem. Nobody is doing anything wrong, but for most adults, playing a complex game with children falls somewhere between tedious and frustrating. It's not fair to ask a player to give up their normal gaming experience (social engagement, mental stimulation) in favour of what is effectively babysitting.

That said, these kids are the future gamers that will help to build your local scene, albeit in a few years' time. If there are any local players happy to volunteer to shepherd them through their development stage, encourage those people as much as possible. If not, decide whether this is something you're willing to take on yourself - and there's no shame in it if the answer is no. In that case, just let the parent politely but firmly know that their kids are currently too young to be a good fit for your group, but that they'll be very welcome when they're of a more appropriate age (e.g. 13+).

If you do decide to spend your time helping the kids, I'd suggest teaching them to play against each other is the best path. Start with fully-supervised games where you help them through every step, then gradually step back as they get the hang of it. They might not like coming to the club just to play against each other, but they should understand if you explain that they need to know the game really well before they can start playing against the adults. Switch it up occasionally with games where they combine their forces and all play collaboratively against you. The most important thing to reinforce with them is to make sure everyone is having fun - when they get upset for whatever reason (there will probably be a lot of this), be merciless in stopping the game and forcing them to take a break until they recover their emotional stability.

Good on you for being proactive about building your community. The other really important thing to recognise is that this process takes work, can be genuinely exhausting, and involves you sacrificing some of your enjoyment of the hobby in order to build others up - and it's totally normal to need to take a break from those responsibilities. Make sure you stay in touch with how you're feeling, and pay attention when you need some time to just enjoy yourself without worrying about everyone else. Avoid burning out at all costs.

Best of luck!

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I've got no suggestion for the kids but for creating a less competitive/toxic community I'd say try running some casual events, awards for coolest army and sportsmanship rather than wins. 1500 points, with TO having discretion to ask players to redo lists that are too strong. Make it clear that it's a soft tournament for fun and anyone who isn't a complete chud should be excited.

We have that in our local scene, December some TO's ran a casual 1 day doubles tournament, this weekend we had a 2 day competitive GT. maybe 70% of the players between the 2 tournaments were the same but for the comp tournament people brought their best and picked lists they felt they could win with. The Doubles tournament however was full of fun armies, people brought the stuff they can't normally play at tournaments because it's not competitive but want to play because it's fun or want to show off because a lot of love was involved in painting/creating. The added benefit being, a lot of the 30% who weren't playing both tournaments were new to the game or the scene.


Both tournaments were success's, both were fun but both were aimed at specific experiences and people gravitated to that.


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Dont know much about AoS local scenes but from the time a started playing mtg more seriously i know i liked going to beginners tournaments. People who entered with their meta decks where really frowned upon. Some of the regulars sometimes joined with themed or fun decks to teach people how to play better. Nobody likes to get stomped by pros when just starting out a new hobby, its just no fun for either side.

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It has been some time since I have been heavily involved in the local scene, but I do have these suggestions on past experiences.

Run a campaign with teams and try to get some balance of old/good players and new/bad players in each team. So if the good/old players want to win it is easier if they help their team members.

This one depends on how set on their army choice the new players are. Help them pick a army that is comparatively easy to use and then help with the army selection. Picking one or two aspects to emphasise, gradually adding more. This can work well if there are two new players playing against each other so they can learn together.

Make a challenge for the old players to help the new pick a army they can win with against a known, but good opposition. For example I once had a young, but good and experienced player who boasted about how good he and his army once and how only our best tournament players could beat him, true. Also a young new player who was loosing patience after several weeks of never winning. So I took up the challenge and provided a simple to use army gave a short explanation of how to use the army and left the new player to get his first win.

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