Thursday, September 8, 2016

State Of The Union

Greetings all!  SeerK here and I am going to get a little philosophical.  Last week was quite an adventure.  You may say, “of course it was you went to the Nova Open!”  My response sadly would be no I didn’t.  I was unable to attend Nova due to some circumstances I would rather not go into, other than say I had to attend a Funeral.  We had a lot of setbacks with our planned trip.  It is setbacks I want to talk about.  Setbacks and a malaise that has gripped the community. Players and Spartan fans grumble about it, but nobody is really talking about the fact a lot of established communities and play groups seem to be dwindling in size to the point they cease to be.  I want to talk about it a bit, at least my take on it.  Join me won’t you.

I am going to use the local scene as my first example.  Things die down during the summer around here.  It doesn’t really matter what game it is.  Infinity is catching on and we ran a league this summer, but we only had 6 players participate.  Others are starting to play now that summer is winding down and people are itching to play again.  We have not done a whole lot of Firestorm Armada or Planetfall in the local are this summer.  Halo is pretty much not a thing here in Lansing.  I am going to be trying to change that, but the player base is kind of tuckered out.
I am hearing about this from a lot of places.  Attendance at The Nova Open was lackluster say for the build and play tournament.  It makes me worry a bit about the North American Championships at Adepticon this year.  I think we are seeing our first real community wide rough spot.  This is going to be a major test for Spartan.  The only communities that seem to be growing fast and gaining momentum are the Halo related ones.  They have a feel like FSA when 2.0 came out.  
I think this is from a combination of things.  First and foremost I do not think the Vanguards are getting out there enough and in the right way.  Demo’s days and such get people into the game, but you have to be more involved than that.  If you cannot make it up to the shop on a weekly bases to help foster a growing community you should not be stepping up to lead it.  There is a lack of follow though.  There is also a lack of follow through on Spartans part.  We hear about stuff in the pipeline and plans for the future, but we are not seeing them come to life.  This has hurt Spartans credibility and the communities trust in them.  That is not a good thing.
Spartan is getting better and improving though.  Official play kits for the games and a marked increase in convention attendance is a good start.  The planning for shows and conventions is months in advance and they need somebody dedicated to doing it if they want to really get out there and get the community fired up.  They need somebody in the United States to do this.
The apparent supply problem has a bit to do with Spartan and more to do with the Distributors that shops use.  Golden Distribution is pretty much the only reliable one for Spartan product.  Most shops tend to use Alliance, who is terrible in my opinion, Southern Hobby and ACD.  I know Spartan has been working with the latter two to get products in and out to the players.  Shop owners will not carry stuff if there is no community to support it though.  It is a big investment getting a new game on the shelf.  This is where the Vanguards and local community cheerleaders come in.  
Keep the community going and growing with follow through and regular attendance.  I know it is disheartening when people don’t show up.  I have gone to game nights and been the only person there for weeks. I still went though.  Sometimes you have to be the beacon to get things going.  I know real life is busy, but if you want a community to flourish, you have to put in the extra effort.

So to sum up.  Spartan needs to overhaul the Vanguard program, they need to kick some of the rule sets in the pants and follow through in a timely manner.  They also need a dedicated Event Coordinator in the United States.  The supply issues could be solved with their own warehouse here, but in lew of that they need to continue to work with the distributors to keep products in stock and restock regularly.
This is really dependent on all of us getting out there and getting our communities rallied and playing.  Not only playing, but buying stuff.  That’s what shops want to see.  Players buying locally, not on the internet.  I am not going to get into my view of internet only vendors, that’s a whole different post.

So join me in getting the community back on track and growing again.  It’s going to be tough, but if we want to see more events and have more players we really need to start working together to do it.  I am hoping Spartan plays ball as well and continues to improve.  Well that’s my two cents

Until next time, Crush the Alliance and as always…


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