|Leo explaining the Samurai game to Bert and Jan-Willem|
At the well attended meeting with members of the Dutch Miniature Wargames facebook group, I spoke to Julius, who will be off to Turkey for four years. And Fred, who's just moved to Amersfoort. I finally handed René the copy of Okko I promised him a year ago. It was good to see Leo, Arvid, Jan-Willem, Bert and Joop having so much fun at the Samurai participation game at the Karawansaray stand.
|Arvid on the right, also in explanatory mode. |
Joop on the left composing a Haiku
I spent much of the afternoon getting to know Mats and Jos in the bar. Discussion ranged from maroons to 17th century flags to the Hoeken & Kabeljauwen to public relations and the raising of somebody else's kids. We seemed to agree on the 'state of the hobby' which is characterised by many willing to create valuable things for nothing and many willing to pay too much for very little. Think of the brilliant stuff put online for (almost) free and the prices people are willing to pay for GW stuff.
That is not a market in which many people can make a living. For most of the miniature manufacturers, rules designers and small publishers it is more a work of love in their spare time rather than a good living. The hourly 'wages' are only acceptable because it is something they love doing and the recognition they get from buyers and players. That also means that their web shops are occasionally badly done, that they have no presence on social media, that you can only pay cash at their stands. All of that costs them customers.
Some small shops will keep coming and going. Occasionally one will rise above the amateurism and take a significant slice of the pie, like Fantasy Flight and Z-Man in boardgames or Battlefront in miniatures. But Mats was right when he raised questions on the long term future of wargaming if miniature manufacturers, writers and publishers fail to link up to the experiences of new generations of gamers. It's not lethal to the hobby I guess, but the Golden Age we seem to experience right now, might be one that doesn't last forever.
|A better look at the beautiful table|