No not the Sinitta 1985 song but something completely different.
There’s been a flurry of forum posts about Field of Glory Renaissance (FOG R) this week and some good seems to have come from it. One of the posts asked if the format of competitions could be changed to improve overall attendance.
I put in my two pennyworth. I supported the army classification system used in the Northern League. I also supported the idea of more games at 650 points on a 5’ by 3’ table. The benefits of 650 point games are:
- Games are quicker,
- The lower unit count means there are fewer draws,
- Armies are easier, and cheaper, to raise,
- Armies contain a bigger proportion of compulsory troops.
I wasn’t the only one supporting 650 point games. Tim Porter even suggested refocusing the rules on 650-700 points rather than 800-900.
Shorter 650 point games would offer additional benefits:
- Smaller tables should provide more elbow room for the players,
- Organisers could offer a few more tables (not too many),
- Smaller halls would become viable competition venues,
- Organisers could shorten the competition slightly (later starts etc).
Quality Not Quantity
I have long sort some relief from the hassle surrounding competing (it’s one of the reasons I stopped) and put forward the last point as I feel the player benefits of shorter events would be:
“[time for] a decent lie in, a more pleasant drive home (minus headache or drugs) and more time to socialise and visit traders if present. Plus it would make the competition viable for people from further away increasing the catchment area of potential players.”
I don’t think some posters really got this. For them allocating less time to each game simply meant there would be time to squeeze in another game! There's nothing set in stone that says a competition must include a minimum of six hours game time; it’s just the way it’s always been.
As it is people are voting with their feet. As was pointed out in the thread competition numbers are in decline for FOG R and the recent trend is for skirmish gaming with fewer figures and shorter games on smaller tables.
I feel I am clearly in the minority in looking for a “quality experience” (to use the current jargon) at a competition. Sometimes I think it's all just a bit "macho": long days, long games, lots of figures, etc. I’m at that stage where I’m looking for a bit of quality rather than quantity. I’m sure I’m not alone but perhaps it’s my age?
Blind Leading The Blind
All this leads me to a much more serious and much less personal point. As always the changes must be made by those who enjoy the current situation for those who do not.
The forum post sought input and ideas for change. The original post was thoughtful, balanced and designed to address a serious problem. However, the post was made on a forum where the audience is mostly active competition players steeped in the ethos of the existing circuit.
To increase numbers you need to reach those who’ve gone elsewhere, given up competing or who’ve considered, but haven’t yet entered, their first competition. If you don’t get direct input you have to make an effort to put yourself in the position of those not present. As always bootstrapping is a hard process.
I’m certain the forum members will be able to suggest useful, if incremental, changes. I am equally certain that overall the current ethos will prevail and competitions will remain essentially the same with inevitable results. I hope I am wrong and the situation does improve.
I will be watching what happens with interest. In the meantime please let me know what, if anything, would get you to start, or re-start, competing.