Sunday, April 3, 2011

The second golden age of 40K?

As I sat listening to the IP Character's Ustream of the adepticon finals today, I just felt like we are entering a second golden age of 40k. Not since the first golden age of 40k tournaments has there been so much available for everyone. First off, I better explain what I think was the first golden age. Then I will go into why I think we are entering a second golden age and what the future holds.

The "roaring" 20's was see as one of the most prosperous times in America.
I'm not sure when the first golden age of 40k and GW started. I remember my hobby started in the local FLGS and I pretty much went there every weekend. They had great "mega" events and several leagues but tournaments were not around yet.

Then I remember the first tournament the store had. They ran a fantasy tournament and it was fun. Later that year they ran a 40k one and I won best sportsmanship. This award was a color paper certificate from GW. I still have it from December of 2000. It predates the Rogue trader tournaments, but not by much.

Then GW made the Rogue Trader Series of tournaments. You would pay a fee to register your tournament with GW and they would send you t-shirts, paper awards, scenarios, and list your tournament in the White Dwarf. Tournaments exploded on the scene. Every game store was running them.

GT's in major cities were being expanded. They went from Seattle, Chicago, and Baltimore, later adding LA, Minneapolis, and Dallas. Coverage in the White Dwarf of these events was always a couple pages. They even made a ranking system later on the GW website.

They also ran summer events like Hunt for the Fallen, Armageddon, and later the Eye of Chaos. I remember playing in RTTs and having to enter in results for the summer campaign.

Baltimore Gamesday seemed to be a bigger event to me back them. I never went but always considered it the pinnacle event of 40k to attend. There was also a major RTT there. Outriders all went to work and I heard cool stories about it. Outriders, now there is another thing that I loved back then. One got me into the hobby and I always wanted to join. I never got around to it and then they were gone.

Soup lines in the Great Depression.

Then it all went away. GW stopped supporting the RTT system. The player rankings were gone. GT's all but shrivelled up and died as GW pulled funding and support. The Outrider program was over. Like the great depression in America it just seemed to crash. And my hobby time also fell to an all time low. I let my WD subscription run out. Stopped going to tournaments, although looking back, I think they were fewer and farther between. The time period was pretty much 4th edition, give or take. There were always other events. Con of the North, and Magecon still held their tournaments, but it just felt like less with the collapse of the RTT system.

Then I think technology changed the hobby. Forums started and connected people. From forums then to blogs. BoLS took off, and with other sites like Dakka Dakka, Warseer, and Bolter Chainsword, the internet made the hobby less flgs related and a more open place to connect to like minded people. Then came the personal blog explosion, and podcasting. It seems like everyone has a blog and there are a ton of really good ones. I have about 20 on my favorites list and of coarse your reading mine. 40k radio and others opened up podcasting to the hobby and now I listen to 6 different ones. Of coarse there are many more than 6, but now I have so many options to pick the ones I enjoy the most.

Tournaments have made a comeback in my opinion since 5th edition. Their seems to be more local tournaments and the Indy GT circuit has put tournaments back in the national spotlight. Adepticon is exploding in popularity with interest. With several podcasts and Rankings HQ TV broadcasting there, you don't even have to go to get a taste of it. I sat at home and watched the championship match with 180 other people.

I think the biggest change lately is the "big" GT's popping up again. Adepticon like numbers being pulled in at Nova and Wargames Con (BoLS) are very impressive. Also the number of 60-100 person GT's is on the rise. It feels like the good old days of the GT circuit.

My biggest question is can these events survive without GW, or is this second golden age inspite of GW?

What do you think, are we in a second golden age or is the first still happening?

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