24 April 2013

Life, that constant roulette wheel of change

I make no apologies for the length of this post, as I need to get something of my chest so to speak.

Its funny how things change as you go through the course of life, a couple of years ago, well June 2011 to be exact, a few of us decided to set up an independent gaming club. The club was in fact more an affiliated group of friends rather than a formal club and I with some help slogged away and made a batch of tables and terrain for us all to use.

Things over the two years however have not been trouble free, we initially set up in a pub using an upstairs room. It worked great for 6 months then the landlord told us the pub was closing down. We moved lock stock and barrel to another pub in the centre of town again after a period of time we were looking for another home. We eventually found a new home, however we had to change our gaming night from its regular weekday evening slot to Sunday evening. Also at this point I swore I would not move the club again as it was just a lot of trouble!! This worked well for approximately a year but in the last year most of the members circumstances have changed somewhat and that has impacted on club attendance quite severely recently.  Babies, careers and family issues e.t.c. have affected almost all of us at some point over the last year.

This has led to the three of us that formally ran the club, last night having to make the hard decision of whether to continue it or close it down. Reluctantly the latter became the only real answer. As during our three way conversations, we talked about how to reverse the clubs fortunes, the realisation that none of us actually had the time to divert resources into recruiting new members, and how in reality we were not as a group committed enough to continuing and that Sunday badly impacted our lives.

I think this is the fourth time now I have joined a club that has eventually dissolved for one reason or another and wonder if this is a regular feature of the hobby!!

Now I am partly to blame for this venture dissolving,as I have not been to the club for a couple of months. Sundays are difficult and often busy. Its my only real day off in a week and I like to spend that with my family. Gaming on a Sunday evening meant in reality, I got little family time, my boys attend church every Sunday morning, they come home, we have a family meal, I get to play with them for a couple of hours then selfishly go out gaming. Morally that is wrong.

Whilst I don't attend church myself. (being a Pagan my views are generally not accepted by Roman Catholics at all.) My wife however has her faith and is sharing that with my boys, something that I whole heartedly agree with after all knowledge and understanding of others is a virtue not to be wasted. The only thing ever gained through ignorance is contempt. So I have abstained from the club most weeks this year to devote more time to the family. The recent loss of my beloved grandmother also redefined the meaning of family most strongly to me. Others however have also been having similar issues with Sundays hence the lack of attendance. So the most logical route was to dissolve the club.

Now for me and several others this really is not a problem, as many of you readers know I have a man cave suitably equipped with gaming tables and terrain. I also have been playing weekday evenings for a long time and this has relatively no impact on family life at all. Further more I have built tables for Kelly, Craig and Kevin over the last two years as they also have gaming rooms and we do tend to play games between ourselves. However it may impact one or two of the other players who do not have such facilities, although hopefully not as they are friends and only have to ring or email me to organise a game here. But is this being selfish? is it a case of I'm ok Jack? or should I have attended more at the club lately and continued with not spending more time with my family?

I also spoke to my good buddy Kevin about this matter of gaming and he has been experiencing similar issues, and whilst we game together, Sundays also proved troublesome. The club no longer fits his gaming requirements, and to quote his own words "He is mainly a historical gamer, with his own room, table and terrain. He games most Thursdays and would rather play an additional weekday evening ( duly noted) than play on a Sunday evening." After all he too has youngish children and about to have a new wife, and they like to spend weekends together as a family. We have also come to the conclusion that perhaps we are both very set in our own gaming ways both having a preference for more historical games than anything else. Both enjoy the painting of figures and just having a relaxed game when we feel like it.

Now having said all this I still find it sad that, the club as is will no longer be there. I also feel partly to blame for its downfall but know that I am not solely responsible for this happening. So what does the future hold now for me gaming.

Well the funny thing about life is that things change constantly and we have to learn to accept that as part of the course, whether we like it or not it happens.

So going forwards well my business is about to undergo a big transformation and hopefully will grow to the next level. I will be having an all new business partner join me in this venture, something I am personally looking forward too. I will probably game a lot more as this has provoked some conversation between my regular gaming buddy Kev and me and we have decided to shove an extra game into our calendars every other Tuesday and I will be attending his regular Thursday gaming session on alternate weeks. I will of course be able to have games during the week with my new business partner, after all we have to have some R&R during the working week and as my gaming room is next to my workshop may well be too hard to resist.

Ok thats it of my chest for now!! Have any of you experienced similar issues with gaming!


  1. I've been lucky or unlucky to have been a member of the Rejects for nearly 12 years, not really a club and we sometimes don't meet up for more than a month at a time but it's a necessary evil with our hobby, good to mix business and pleasure.

  2. Hello Andrew:

    Thanks for this heartfelt and thoughtful post. Someone once said that no one on their deathbed wishes they had spent more time at work, and I suspect that none of us, as we lay dying, will wish that we had devoted less time to our families and more to our hobbies. It seems to me that your priorities are sound and wise. In Canada we don't have the same tradition of clubs that you folks in Britain do. Our gaming mostly centres on groups of friends meeting at each other's houses, with very loose structures and little if any commonly held property (boards, figures, etc). Sometimes I wish that we had more of the club tradition that you folks do, but whatever works.
    Who knows if, as your children get older, you may have more time to dedicate to leading and sustaining a club, maybe with their help, but for now, follow your heart and your instincts, as you seem to be doing.
    I liked your comments about faith, by the way.

  3. INteresting post Andrew.

    Like Michael aboved mentionned, it can be hard for me to relate because of the lack of clubs in Canada. I'm quite picky when it comes to who I game with so I'm not sure I would join a club anyways!

    But in the end, and even though we spend so much time on it, it's still just a hobby! (a really fun and addictive one, but still...).

    You can always start another club in your old days, when the children are gone and the wife is tired of seeing you at home all days ;-)

    1. Iannick, I can fully relate to this and can be picky when it comes to gaming. I do feel that my gaming is best served now with friends in a similar format to they way you and Michael have mentioned after all it is meant to be fun and not a chore :)

  4. You made the right decision Andrew. Your family always comes first and seems the others feel the same way hence the low attendance. You have a gaming room and so do your friends so all seems well. You can still invite people you meet to gaming so your gaming group can still grow.

    I'm part of club that I game at once or twice a month(mostly fantasy/FOW) and I luckily have another group of gamers who prefer historical games like myself where we meet at my house for gaming in my hobby/games room on a semi regular basis.


  5. You guys are spoiled! I count myself fortunate to get a game in every fortnight. Maybe it is the lack of a club tradition others have but mostly I find myself over commited. Working a job and attending university take up most of my time and I dont feel it is morally right for me to go off wargaming when I already have such a small amount of time to spend with my wife and children.

    A club is a means to an end and not something that has value in and of itself. If those people who don't have their own tables and such were getting more out of the club then you were then they will shoulder the burdern of keeping it going or simply play with their friends in mancaves across the land.

    It is too bad you can't play while your family goes to church, Odin does appreciate a good scrap even in miniature.

  6. My gaming history is full of stagnant periods interspersed with enjoyable gaming. I've never had the luxury of regular weekly gaming and to be honest that may not be what I actually want.
    I do know that I am pleased I took what amounted to a 'sabbatical' for 15 years whilst my three girls grew up. You will only have that opportunity to spend time with them once.

  7. I for one have not been at a club for 20 years, in the last 6 years the only games I have played is with my Dad and my sisters Father-in-law. I think most gamers would prefer a loose nit group of friends who get together for games. I have the added snag of working nights so I can not game in evenings anyway. The closest I came to regular gaming was when I played the WAB circuit when I would have a comp every month or two giving me my gaming fix.
    I guess I am wrong to call myself a wargamer at the moment I am a painter who games once in a blue moon.
    I think you have made the right move family is the biggest thing and if your lads get in to gaming I can tell you they will become best friends as well as son's.
    Peace James

  8. Sorry to hear all this but as a soon to be dad i also have been putting time into the family so would like to WFC was an enjoyable club to visit you guys got me playing all sorts of periods and systems i never would have tried before also the painting rules inspired me to get my saga force painted up and WFC ran wicked tournies!

    I felt weekdays were easier to attend but sunday night gaming had a less rushed feel to it. Fav momments of my WFC visits have to be the tournie in The Green Room for Saga (Spring Tide) so many people around the UK travelled to that one!

    And 2nd would be the US civil war game i played with you Kev & Kelly just loved the scale of the conflict!

    All the best with your new venture too mate :)

  9. Gaming is YOUR hobby mate so in the end it should be what works for YOU. Certainly it is good to take others into consideration but if you're not happy are you going to be the best opponent across the table? And besides, I'd certainly never want to game with someone who was critical of me for putting my family before anything else. Nothing is forever, do what you have to do now and who knows what the future will hold...

    PS. In Aus we're no better off than Canada it seems. Our "club" is a loose association of mates and I'm lucky to get a game every 2 weeks despite what I'd like. Consider yourself lucky!


  10. You made the right call and owe no-one an apology. Sunday is our family day and when my friends schedule a game on that date, I rarely can make it.

    We killed our local FoG club recently (one player trying to control the whole thing) and we now meet up at each other's homes and sometimes in a public gaming place. I went from club to free agent...kind of like what you are doing! Good luck and happy gaming!

  11. I have been very lucky during my 41 years of miniatures gaming to have had either friends or a club in the same town. Our club currently meets the third Sunday of each month from noon-6. We play larger longer games either at my home or another friend's home.
    Work and family obligations keep me from some of the games, but I am able to attend most.
    Don't feel guilty about your club dissolving; those things just happen. There is a cycle to this, just like all things in life.

  12. That's a shame your club had to fold, but families, jobs etc have to come first, even though sometimes we don't like to admit it. As Fran said above, our club The Rejects isn't really a club, its just a group of mates (and hangers on.......(Fran) who meet up when we can. There are 10 of us and we hardly ever have the full 10 turn up for a game, its usually around the 5-6 mark. There are clubs in Gravesend, and the surrounding area, that we want to go to but just don't seem to find the time on Wednesday or whatever night they're on, one day I hope. Good luck!!!

  13. THanks Guys your thoughts have been taken on board

  14. I've never really been a clubby type of person - wargamers en masse are an acquired taste - but more than that what put me off was the investment required to put a fixed evening aside every week to game... like the other guys I tend to be more ad hoc in my gaming.. I play when my mate comes down from Wales, we're experimenting with running games via Skype, but the benefit is that I play when I feel like it.. and there's nothing worse than playing a game only because you feel you have to... right decision.... may be you can go the same way as the Rejects - keep the club in a virtual way and just meet in each others houses when the need arises??

  15. I can relate to a lot of what you say. Sunday is a family day for me(attend church/Bible study in the morning with the family) then we do 'this and that'. I might get a couple of hours of painting in but I try not to disappear for too long. However, you guys in the U.K. need to keep things in perspective. Where I live, in Upstate New York(USA), there are no such thing as gaming clubs...and thay is true for most of country. We may outnumber your population 5 to 1 as a whole, but I'd guess we have an equal number of wargamers...we probably have even less historical gamers than you. Consider stretching that gaming population across the expanse of our country...and you can see why clubs are so rare. I am lucky, I have a Military Gaming club that I advise where I teach so I get to share the hobby with kids...and my own sons.

  16. Great post Andy.
    I recon our casual gaming approach with the regular Thursdays are the way to go.
    Like I said on the forum, I will game with any of the guys and we should use the forum as a means to arrange these.
    I agree with Ray and we should be more like the Rejects, a casual gaming group.

  17. I'll just echo what every one else has said, I think you're making the right decision. My gaming right now is mostly solo or with my family, kids can be great fun to have in games if the don't get too caught up in the winning and losing. I've never been in a club so I don't know. The closest I have is my martial arts practice and I basically gave up teaching after ten years because it was conflicting too much with family time. I too have a friend and a neighbor that I do things with, not the fighting but the health aspects. That's enough for me at this juncture.

  18. Interesting post Andrew. I would look at it has the glass half full. You are very lucky that you get to play so often as it is, so the club issue is maybe less important. Really attendance can not be at the cost of your personal life.

    I game with a small group of friends every 4-6 weeks, to do this I have to fly from Boston to Montreal. I game with a great little group, but I wish it was more often. There are individuals here which meet weekly at one of the hobby stores, but they play games that I am not much interested in, no SAGA, no Napoleonics.

    I have to admit that I wish there was some way to game long distance through a video connection, I would love to get a game in once per week.


  19. I was with a ladies' group for many years. We had one night to play. It was tough getting off work, feed the children, put them to bed, so one night had to do. Here we are years later and it's so much easier... but we only do two nights! Or sometimes a Saturday.... all day... those are the most fun!

    It's worth it to have what you want without giving up what you have. Hang in there, Andrew, it will all work out!!

    Such a sincere and heart-felt post you've written; best of luck with all ventures. :)


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