Forging The Narative – An embittered veteran’s tale of maintaining hobby interest

In a similar vein to my latest post about maturing as a hobbyist Duncan has sent in an article detailing his struggle and ultimate resolution – Martin. 


Of late I’ve been taking a bit of a battering in both 40k and fantasy and to be honest my last three games haven’t been all that fun, which has led me to try and figure out what I would like to get from this oh so loved hobby of ours.

The first instance of this came just after the new Tau dex was released, Myself and Robin dusted off our armies and took on the role of the vage nosed space communists and prepared to face the imperial might of James’ and Dave’s guard and Martins’ Iron hands

The game itself consisted mainly of Dave and James dropping 4 pie plates a turn on our little blue men and Robin and I spent most of the game putting our models away. That being said we still pulled off the win by grabbing a last turn objective, but it was a far from satisfying victory.

An Iron Hand to their fishy faces….

The second outing for the Tau saw me take on the might of Martin’s Iron hands and Daves Iron Talons. From the outset I knew I was up against it but the make up of the Astartes force arrayed against me meant that after a frankly disastrous turn of shooting the landraider, drop pods and rhinos that I had failed to destroy disgorged a metric crap tonne of ceramite discomfort into my lines and I called the game shortly afterward as I wanted to go home and sulk.

The latest incident was a game of Warhammer which saw my valiant Bretonnians stare down Jason’s falace riding army of homosexual chaos warriors. I got bummed. His fast cavalry got around the back of me and he stuck his chariots in my face, it was game over especially after his hell cannon miss fired and killed nearly 270pts of grail knights in his first turn. Again I called it so as not to prolong the hurt and so I could get a head start on my long drive home.

Now I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon when I have a game like this, I get a bit of a sad face on and the room goes quite. Its not that I’m a bad loser (at least I hope I’m not) in fact some of my best games have been losses, I remember a particularly great loss I had against Dave’s Druchi where we were drawing at the start of the final turn. I could have played safe but in true Bretonnian style I charged, it didn’t work out so well but I came away with a fuzzy feeling in my tummy and I still harp on about it over a year later. I just hate those games where you feel like nothing more than a viewer where your only purpose for being there is to put your models back in the case. No, I can safely say I’m not a bad loser, I’m just bad at not having fun.

And so to the focus of my ramblings. I need to enjoy my hobby more and I think I have an idea as to how to achieve this.

Narrative gaming…….

I almost think GW have made this a bit of a joke with their insistence on ramming their new catchphrase down our throats at every opportunity, but stick with me.

Forging the Narrative

The thing I love in equal abundance to the miniatures is the fluff and whenever I get all misty eyed about a past game or get a hobby boner for a particular army/game/model its because of the mental image it evokes. Fortunately Forgeworld and Black library are here to help in the form of the Horus Heresy books and range. I am unashamedly a massive Astartes whore so I have been yummying up all that these guys have been chucking out of late (Apart from Graham McNeils stuff of course) Its also fortunate that all of the Warbastards have finally bowed to the pressure of the Heresy which means that we all have a heresy force in some stage of progress, even if it is just an idea at present. It seems to me that narrative driven 30k gaming could offer me all I need to satisfy my hobby desires, the models are cool, the background is compelling (despite McNeils attempts to murder it) and it has Primarchs so this I the direction that I’m heading in.

So here is my manifesto for enjoying my games again.

  • Plan my games properly, I think this is the most important. Plan what the game is supposed to be about and create a goal that is story based rather than based on winning.
  • Collaborate with the guys. All too often when playing 40k or fantasy we just turn up and play a pitched battle, I need to get everybody on board and enthused about a story arch or scenario.
  • Try and make each game a special event.

So those are my thinkings, hopefully I can stick to this new way of playing and start to enjoy playing a bit more. I shall keep all you readers (I hope somebody reads this) posted with battle reports as the Warbastards play more 30k over the coming months.