A flurry of recent Facebook posts has really struck a cord with me.
The first was a post about how the lack of a competitive scene was harming the Malifaux community and stopping it growing. The second was from a player who was irritated that a tournament had limited summoners to models in a list of a 100ss models for the day in line with other crews. He felt that he was being punished for being an experienced competitive player.
As always in Malifaux, the posts and discussions were well thought out and the debate remained civil. At one point it was suggested that the 100ss model pool kept things fair for beginners. One poster opinioned that if beginners wanted that kind of thing, perhaps they should go to a beginners tournament. He had paid for his collection, spent time building and painting it, and should therefore be able to actually rock up and use it in a legal crew if he wanted.
I found it a little depressing. I don’t know if community would grow if it was “more” competitive or not, or whether the model limit is a good idea or not. What really struck me was that there is a upcoming challenge for us as Malifaux players. That challenge is the growth of the game and how to steer a course between ultra competitive and too laid back.
I’ve been playing at UK tournaments and clubs in London for over a year. I can say that even the friendliest game at Darksphere (which is full of lovely chaps and chapesses) is really competitive but stays friendly and helpful. I’ve seen how many new people come into the hobby and seem to stay. From my point of view, the hobby is growing, the tournament scene is fine and I don’t think more or less competition is actually needed. There isn't a competition each weekend yet but we have tons going and more being added.
I keep hearing about how much better Privateer Press is with competitions and aggressive growth. I don’t know much about it as I don’t play, but it sounds like a fairly shitty community to be honest. Of course that is probably massively unfair but hearing about how competitive everything is, how it is specially balanced for tournament play really turns me off.
I can’t see why beginners should be roped off into a “junior division” tournament or why only being able to choose from a mere 100ss hiring pool is such a restriction that you can never use your fave models.
One thing that particularly struck me was a commenter saying that the only way the game can grow is by attracting new players, and that this could only be done by a higher profile, tougher competitive scene because that's what gets people into the club scene. I'm not sure that this is true, but I'm no expert on the games market.
As the man said “why can’t we all just get along” It isn't so much whether the community gets more competitive or not that bothers me, it is more how the community reacts to the changes. This has always been such a positive community and it would be a shame if Warhammer Fluff v Competition debates started dividing it.
Anyway, I'm not sure that there is a right or wrong answer. Like a lot of people in the UK,I've found our scene both friendly, fluffy and competitive all at the same time and growing nicely so I'm in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." camp. I don't know how it works overseas though.