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Grow Your Community

Hey everybody – today I wanted to talk about a topic of 40k (or indeed wargaming in general) which is near and dear to my heart. I was updating the website’s events calendar, and it was to my utter amazement that I realised that there were still SEVEN (and probably at least one more if DWARF run 40k at Winter War again this year) tournaments still to run this year. For Scotland, this is absolutely mind bending! Those of you who follow this website internationally may be thinking to themselves “big deal, I can knock out seven tournaments in a couple of months”, but let me take you back a few years to explain how different the situation was even just 5 years ago.



I started playing 40k competitively about 8 years ago. I think one of my first ever competitive events was Throne of Skulls, which was held at Warhammer World (in the days before it was more of a gaming event) and I was absolutely hooked. As awesome as going to the home of Warhammer was, the killer about finishing a gruelling 2-day event is undoubtedly the trip home – and I wasn’t even the driver! Upon further investigation when I got home, I learned that there was probably only 1 regular tournament north of the border, which was Rapid Fire held by Stirling Wargamers (if the DWARF guys want to correct me on this and chime in please feel free!). Around this time there were also the Chaos of the Warp events held in Dunfermline by Geoff Nicholson (who sadly isn’t really on the 40k scene much these days), and these were quite pivotal towards establishing a base of Scottish Tournament gamers in my opinion.



About this same time my original partner in the Caledonian Deathwatch Radio podcast, Sean Morris, had expressed interest in running his own tournament. He had attended an invitational attendance event (I think more than once) called the Partick Crucible, which was held in Glasgow as a semi-competitive event. He later created the Stronghold 1-day event, which just last weekend celebrated its 7th year and is still going strong.



In 2013, Common Ground Games in Stirling opened it’s doors (and I found this video on YouTube which was filmed around that time):


That summer the venue’s first 40k event was held. “Clan Wars” was ran over 2 days by Scott Milne, and had a pretty good turnout. After having gone to the venue and seeing what it had to offer for myself, I knew that I wanted to run some events there. So the following year in February, I started the 2-day event Dark Millennium. This year it ran for a 5th time, and was Scotland’s biggest ever independent 40k event.



Since Dark Millennium started, I’ve seen more and more events being added to the Scottish Tournament calendar. DWARF, MAGE, Knightly gaming and Stirling have all added new events and seen attendances remain strong. When I actually worked out the full (current) calendar in Scotland for events, I was stunned by the numbers:

  • February – Dark Millennium (Independent)
  • March – Twin-Linked (Stirling Wargamers)
  • March – Scottish Take Over 3 (MAGE)
  • April – Clash of Alba 2 (Knightly Gaming)
  • May – Stronghold VII (Independent)
  • June – Cry Havoc(DWARF)
  • June – Eternal Warrior II (Independent)
  • June – Ironhammer (Knightly Gaming)
  • August – Scottish Take Over Doubles (MAGE)
  • September – Bad Decisions II (Independent)
  • October – Rapid-Fire (Stirling Wargamers)
  • November – Scottish Take Over 4 (MAGE)
  • November – GT Heat 2 (Independent)
  • November – Winter War (Likely Date) (DWARF)

This is a staggering FOURTEEN events that have either taken place, or are scheduled to take place this year. This is unbelievable considering no more than 5 years ago we had less than half of this in our entire country. I am proud on a personal level to help contribute to this number, and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the various clubs and committees who have also put in time and effort. To grow both their own events, but also the Scottish scene is excellent for all of us who want to see the community grow and flourish.


So why go on at length about this? Throughout my various internet hobby surfing, one of the most common comments that I see on-line (besides all the FAQ hate!) is about how folks say that there are no events in their area. I have no official affiliation with any local gaming store, but I work closely with Common Ground Games to make our future events run smoothly – and there is no reason that you can’t do the same in your gaming communities.

If you are an aspiring tournament organiser, I want to encourage you to reach out to your Friendly Local Gaming Store (or FLGS as I have seen this termed on numerous sites), and see if they are interested in running some 40k events. Maybe they haven’t thought of how to develop their own rules pack, or they don’t know much about the ITC. As a gamer, you can arm your local store and scene with the tools and framework to develop and host new events. The scene in Scotland is still minuscule compared to somewhere like the states – but if we can collectively grow into what we are now, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do the same in your area.


One final note as well – for those of you who listen to our podcast, this is going to be a familiar statement. Tournaments are absolutely one of the most fun ways to experience playing the game, and the vast majority of tournament gamers are fun, good guys who you will have a great time playing against. You’ll see some cool armies, make some new friends and have some cool war stories to talk about when it’s all over. I can’t recommend getting into Tournaments enough, and I hope this may encourage you to get the ball rolling in your area.

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