So Gamesday 2011 was a bit of an experiment for me, I’ve played many GW games over the years, but I’ve never gone to a Gamesday. When I started going to Gen Con, GW was still attending and very much involved. At some point about 10 years ago, GW decided to not attend Gen Con, this still strikes me as strange. Going to Gamesday this year, unfortunately, proved most of my suspicions about GW, they don’t care that there is a whole industry out there that they are part of, they are pretty ignorant of that fact. I guess I should have expected this to be like a giant GW commercial, and it was, but I think part of me doesn’t want that to be the case.
That being said, they do offer some neat opportunities, albeit in short quantities given the number of attendees. One of the activities was building a piece of 40k scenery. If you were able to get a chair, you’d be given a clippers, glue, random building bitz, and an hour to build a piece of custom terrain for yourself. This is a really cool idea, you get to walk away with something you built by simply attending the con, however, for the large group of people there, it was more or less impossible to get on of the 30 or so seats for this session. They had 2 conversion areas, setup very much the same way, even with that, it was totally packed and impossible to get a seat.
They had a few workshop style areas that were showing how to prepare their terrain, the game board, the hills, the trees, the ruins, etc. I watched as they conducted one of these, as the line for both areas was rather long, and from my laymen understanding, you should only use GW paints, paint everything, including large terrain with their tiny pots of paint, and thats a cool idea. Beyond that, there was no bonus to this, it was literally, paint inside the lines, with the color the guy shouted at you. All of the other areas offered a build it and take it, and paint it and take it, but not this one. You, for the cool price of $25 admission, got to paint terrain for their stores, this is amazing to me. I will mention that these may have been raffled or something, but I was unaware of any such thing going on there.
I did do a paint and take, which was pretty interesting, because I really only paint in one place at home, so painting at a large table with none of my usual items was kinda fun. They handed you a space marine or a goblin and you got to go find a spot and start painting, with pretty much everything you’d need to do it, I really liked this.
There was a showing of all the Specialist games, accept for Necromunda…go figure. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but the fact that there was a Blood Bowl, Battlefleet Gothic, Space Hulk, and even Epic 40k, it’s kind of insulting that they didn’t have a demo running of, in my opinion, their best game to date.
Out of all this, the one thing I was really surprised by the most, was this.
I’ve never played their Lord of the Rings or War of the Ring games that they have to offer. I was looking forward to learning the ruleset to see what it was all about and if I could use the rules for a Game of Thrones style ruleset. I stopped over at the 3 Big Games, they had running, fantasy, 40k, and Lord of the Rings respectively. I was told by the gentlemen running it that to participate, I should know the rules and that there was a demo somewhere around the convention to be had. I’m going to assume I was blind and didn’t see this, but the picture above tells me otherwise.
All in all, this is what I’ve come to expect from GW, it’s sad that at this point, I just assume it’s going to be bad. I spoke to a few people who had attended many Gamesdays, while waiting in the Forgeworld line, that mentioned that this was the only gamesday this year and usually there are multiple in the US. If this is the only gamesday, it was a pretty poor showing, and I can’t imagine that it lived up to the hopes of the gamesday regulars.
To show you that this isn’t just a rant, I tried to point on many positives, or things that, if scaled up to meet demand, would exceed many peoples expectations and create an environment at this convention that doesn’t create resentment. If they had a few more tables / areas running this build and take / paint an take options, that would have likely solved the issue many had with being unable to do one of those sessions. They honestly had the space, there was no lack of space at this convention, that is for sure. On top of that, support all of your properties, it may do a lot of good and help gain support for these other systems. If you’re going to run Big games, but no demos of how to play your games, you’re doing it wrong, I can’t emphasize this enough. The fact that I couldn’t get a demo of one of your 3 main properties is insane. The open gaming area was great, I didn’t bring an army along, but there were many games there that broke out throughout the day. The one thing that I thought was missing was a Tournament, what happened to those? I know GW has changed it’s stance on tournaments, but you’d think that this would be prime opportunity to run a tournament.
In the end, unless gamesday changes how it’s run, I don’t see myself going to one ever again, hopefully they change their policies / activities and create something worth attending.