Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time to Reset: The Local Scene, Local Game Stores and Forums

Let's get a little introspective for a minute.  I'm pretty Joe average, some would say I'm living the everyday American dream:  fat, dumb, and happy.  Back in October of last year, I made a huge change and moved back to my hometown, Orlando Florida.  I wanted to be close to family, my now fiance and her kids, and more importantly, I felt my career was heading for an abrupt layoff...I had already dodged the layoff bullet twice.  The 'third time is a charm' thing was looming.  I hit the big Super Nintendo Slidey Reset button of life.  Time to blow out the cartridge and try again.

I jumped out of my comfort zone in a hard core way.  I was a videogaming nerd, and I played way to much WoW, played Fantasy almost weekly, and I lived in the blue dot in the red state, Austin, TX.  Austin has a pretty hip and happening gaming communinty some may say, but I never really got into the "Scene".  I only played at the local store once or twice, and only with my immediate coworkers who jumped into fantasy with me in the first place -We primarily played at work after hours or in people's homes.  I never hung out in the Gaming stores..I always felt a bit..."uneasy'

So what kept me away from the FLGS and schmoozing with the strangers who for all intents and purposes, live in and run with this hobby of mine?

The way I figure it, now that I sit down and think about it, I was afraid of sucking "out loud".  Some may say I might be stuck up and afraid of the social stigma of gaming miniatures.  Was it that I can't embrace my identiy and just go with the flow?  We all know the steriotypes.  The unwashed WAAC players, the ultra cheezy, the cheaters and grifters, and of course those who feel you need their opinion, no matter what.   This blog can hopefully change that.

Back in Austin there were two main stores: Battleforge Games and Dragon's Lair Comics.  We had a great spread of players, (Hell, the now internet (in?)famous BoLs crew play out of BFG) plenty of 40K, Fantasy, and even some LoTR.

In playing fantasy games with my pals I felt comfy, I already knew them and had no ice to break.  I knew their take on fantasy, hell I play OnG and the general concensus on that is "Play OnG for fun, don't plan to win".  So did I set myself up for losing and frustration?  Probably. I feel like I avoided the Unknown and didn't want to stray out of my comfort zone of fluffy bunny happy happy fun gaming.  I told myself that the guys playing in a store are all about Competive gaming, and would eat me for breakfast.  I was Afeared.

I also blame WoW.  Yeap, I think right about now I can blame WoW for anything if I thought about it enough.  I HATE PuGs.  I hate the idea of sitting in a store bugging guys to a pick up game because of the same reason.  In WoW it was easy, I don't know you, I can't trust you, and no I am not going to sit here with your "many whelps" and expect me to just "Handle it!"  In real life, not so easy...They are right in front of you.

Secondarily, I feel I avoided the stores because I was a cheapskate.  I felt guilty that I never "Payed where I played"  I pretty much have my armies built off of eBay or eBay stores.  I get a guilty feeling if I would go into a store, use their boards, terain, and space but never turn around and spend money in there.

So I was content justifying it to myself.

No more.  As Alfred once said, "Why do we fall down sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up."  I frequent one of my close by friendly local gaming stores and try to spend at least 10 to 15 bucks (usually ends up as 20-30 tho...) when I go, and I have been looking to get into an escalation campaign to ramp up my Angels.

Baby Steps.

I guess I'm kinda lucky, here in Orlando there is apparently a big gaming community.  We have two or three main stores I go to. With at least three more in the area.  (forgive me If I forgot one or three)

My local FLGS shout out:
Rhubarb Games 
Paladin Tech and Game
Sci-Fi City
Coliseum of Comics (Kissimmee location)

And local Forums:
Rhubarb Forum
Adeptus Orlandicus
Orange County Choppas

So I say, to hell with it.  Thats the only way I can play and grow right?  I hope to help support my FLGS and play when I get the chance...just got to get time between the kids, work, and the soon-to-be-wife?  Easy a piece of cake.

So I ask you, have any of you ever had the fear of joining the gaming masses, pick up games, tourneys, or just meeting people in the community and supporting your Local Stores?  Any stories or experiences you want to share?  Have you ever experienced a bit of anxiety or worry about going to a gming store and diving right in, not sure of the local flavor?  is it competitive, what kind of points are played, whats beardy or cheezy?

Also, any of you got here from the Orlando Area?  I'm digging into seeing what kind of local climate we have, and how I can contribute.  Thats what it's all about right?

Funnily enough, it's OK to dive in.  we all have seen that these pics from GW are really not too close to the real scene.


Happy go lucky gaming pics from GW that help calm the noobs:
Just like your group right?

 I love these pics..just like the ones of the business people or computer guys pointing at a screen like its real life... politically correct, and soo real!


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