GWS 2020: A look back at 2020

This year, 2020, has been incredibly hard for many. In the US we have an ugly presidential election, and in Europe there is Brexit. The entire world is dealing with COVID-19 infecting tens of millions and killing globally over a million. If 2020 would have happened in the time of the Dark Ages the monks would be out with a call to repent as the end times were near.

Yes, 2020 has been dark. We, as a community, have lost loved ones, had careers come to an end, and have been put into home lockdown away from friends and extended family. So what did we do? OK, we did complain some, that is natural, but as a community, we stood up to the challenges, and said we were better than COVID (or politics). I know this, as I was honored to be able to read the comments from the 2020 Great Wargaming Survey. There were some complaints here, but it was mostly about the strengths of the hobby and community, and how we were planning to get past 2020. In writing this I have concentrated on our reactions to COVID versus the politics and news of 2020.

This first comment could have been from any of us, it is short and to the point.

I have not been able to game since the 1st week of March 2020

This is true of many of us as stores and clubs have closed, but as a community, we did step up.

As we have been unable to do face-to-face gaming for much of 2021, there is that pesky lead mountain to tackle. You know it is back there, and under COVID we are working to bring it down at least a little. I for one have used time in lockdown to finish off a few platoons that I bought last year. Or was it five years ago?

COVID 19 has increased my hobby time to paint minis but has been very detrimental on playing time

COVID has been destabilizing in many ways, including forcing us to move. After that I will have much more time and space to paint and write, but less money to spend on games, which should help tackle my mountain of shame.

COVID has increased my painting and army construction output… It has made me realize that if I set time aside, I can complete projects.

The current global pandemic has not allowed me to play games with people outside of my home, but has allowed for more opportunities to paint and play with my children.

Whilst the current COVID-19 situation has helped lower the lead mountain, I look forward to real face to face gaming again.

We are all in agreement about getting back to play face to face. Miniature wargaming is at its heart a social interaction as we not only game but cajole and supporting our friends as we research, paint, and run games. We even meet for a pint every now and then.

To me, Wargaming is about the social aspect of playing and the creative aspect of modeling and painting. It is about being proud of your collection and also having fun with friends.

COVID has really made me realize how important the social interactions involved in gaming are to me.

COVID has deeply impacted my hobby experience; it has driven home the fact that this really is a social hobby. I am grateful beyond words for WSS and its podcast, which has kept me connected and inspired.  Thank you.

Many households have seen a loss of income from one or more members of their family. This will reduce our discretionary purchases and will in turn affect the retailers we support that are currently trying to operate under COVID.

My income is the same but no conventions to go to and so considerably less money spent…

COVID has put my job in jeopardy and so my gaming expenses are being curtailed even further.

COVID really knocked me off my hobby stride this year, we recently moved to a new area so contacts were minimal…. Plus, our income dropped to nil which puts a real dampener on spending plans.

Changes in income have not slowed game time with the family. There is even a possible bright spot that tabletop miniatures can finesse a young person away from their iPhone. Family time is another positive for the hobby that includes crafts, reading, and fun playing a game.

The current global pandemic has not allowed me to play games with people outside of my home, but has allowed for more opportunities to paint and play with my children.

COVID 19 allowed me to spend more time playing with family…

With our family staying home so much now, my son has started into wargaming with me.

Lockdown has enabled me to get family to play who would otherwise have never tried it.

Our hobby does have concerns with events canceled for 2020 and into next year. We wonder if brick and mortar stores, online vendors and conventions will be hurt long term by COVID.

COVID-19 has damaged the social side of the hobby and with the events not happening I hope that exhibitors will have survived.

It has been a harsh year for the show scene and I hope that many of the shows can survive. Salute and Warfare will be back but some of the smaller ones might not?

COVID-19 has definitely had a negative effect on our local club and may yet lead to the closure of our local shop who host the gaming evenings. However hats off to the majority of the traders who have done their best to support the hobby during these troubled times

The lockdown encouraged me to shop more with other miniature makers beyond my usual 2 or 3 suppliers. In an effort to support small companies I have placed little orders with as many possible each month with the money I saved not driving to work and back.

Reaching out to smaller vendors is a great way to show support. I myself have spread out my orders for basing materials to multiple vendors to both get a mix of materials and support as many vendors as possible.

One of the first things many gamers fell back on with the lockdown was looking at solo rules, or multiplayer games with a few minor personal edits to make them solo friendly. We all know gamers like to tinker with rules; I for one have played several games of Chain of Command solo this year.

Most of my gaming is solo, more so since COVID 19…  Solo play allows much more thought and detail/story.

The best thing to come out of the pandemic is new solo play rules.

COVID has been a challenge to gaming but has also opened some opportunities. Remote and solo games have been investigated more and will become part of ongoing life.

Gamers using both dedicated game online tools like Roll20, Vassal and Table Top Simulator but also online business tools like Zoom, Skype, and Facebook to get their gaming fix. It is important to think of the advantages we have in 2020 that would have been missing just a couple of years ago that make communications during a lockdown easier. I for one do not want to live without high-speed WiFi!

Zoom and Roll20 have opened up a larger group to interact and play with. I have enjoyed it so far.

I think going forward we will see more games being played over Zoom/Skype/Discord even when things return to normal. I have had opportunities to game with people around the world I never would have met without this technology and I do not see this changing.

There is also an old/new way of gaming, a way that reminds many of our childhoods. Which only proves that gamers will find a way to get their toy soldiers out of the box.

I haven't returned to my wargames club since the lockdown but I have been playing friends in my garden.

Before I end, I do want to share two comments that I read and had me chuckle. Two members of our community have pointed out an issue with the survey and geography.

Mexico isn’t part of Central America, so technically you didn´t gave me an option to choose my living area at the start.

I’m from Mexico, we were not included named or as part of North America, so I selected Central and South America. Love your survey, love wargaming, current restrictions due to COVID s&@k.

I can see a potential change for the survey in 2021 in the name of geographic fairness and national pride!

As I conclude remember, no one can say that 2020 has not impacted each of us in a serious way. Yet, as we look ahead to 2021 it is important to remember that the hobby is an important part of each of us and without exception we find value in this hobby. We have close friends, and friends we meet only at conventions, maybe again in 2021. We assist each other with researching a campaign or the right Vallejo paint for a facing color on a uniform. Or we like to go for a beer and curry after a game. We had each other’s back in 2019 and it holds true for 2020. As we move into 2021 remember this, we are stronger than COVID and all the petty issues we hear on the news. These few comments from The Great Wargaming Survey show how strong we are. Be strong, and I will leave you with these kind words from three of our fellow gamers.

I think COVID-19 has had a large impact on the social elements of gaming but has inspired gamers to do more research, painting, etc.

Hopefully COVID will recede and I can get back to seeing my friends at our club and just sit and play and chat again. No pressure gaming, a good laugh getting back to the hobby I have loved for the last 40 plus years.

I do find the hobby therapeutic particularly this year!

Hang in there for the final months and see you in 2021!

Leave a comment

Related Posts