A gentleman wrote an article on BOLS. In this article he tells us all about his opinion of Oldhammer. Read it. Go on. I dare you.
Ok, I'll do a TL:DR version of it for you.
Oldhammer is boring cos you'll never get any new toys. Oldhammmer is dull cos your army will never be the newest one with the newest codex. Oldhammmer is a dead end because you'll never be able to find a stranger to beat in an FLGS. And most importantly of all....the author has done fuck all research, listened to something his mate has said, jumped to a conclusion and gone running with it to write an article of spurious content.
Now of course, this being a free world he has every right to air his opinion and I will fight your 3rd Edition Orc army to the death to defend his right told do so. This article and the comments following it and indeed the conversation on the Oldhammer Facebook page do bring up some interesting points.
1. Objects in the mirror may appear closer than they actually are
The distance between the audience of BOLS and your average Oldhammerer is huge. To an outsider, my wife for instance, we all play Warhammer. To my wife 'Warhammer' is a catch all phrase that covers the entire hobby no matter what miniatures or rules I am using/painting/tidying off the work surfaces. The minutiae mean nothing to her, just that I tidy my shit away. But within 'our' world the differences are important. From Pimpcron's (for that is his name) point of view, Oldhammer is simply the people he is familiar with who have refused to move on to the current version of the Warhammer rules. To him this is bizarre. To him, the whole point is that you wait on the next release in order to get the jump on your potential opponents. To him you need to get the latest unit the day it is released so that it can be on the table (in all it's grey, uniform, glory) before his opponents have had time to develop a killer list to neutralise it. To him, this is the point of the game. Crush your Enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of the neckbeards. Oldhammmer to Pimpcron is simply a sad and pathetic attempt to hold onto a time when your army was top. He see's you as weak and unable to take part in the great consumerist battle in the high street where you should be able to write a killer list within moments of the newest codex coming out and be able to beat any opponent that approaches you for a pick up game in the FLGS because only by doing so will you be able to declare yourself the besets of those present and be able at win at life.
Every single adherent of Oldhammer I have ever met has done everything in their power to get as far away from the kind players that spout this doctrine as they possibly could.
It has never occurred to Pimpcron that you could turn up at a game with a couple of friends and not know which figures you'd be using. That one of your mates would have thought up a reason for your figures to be on the board and that they had a very specific reason to be trying to kill the figures being pushed around by another friend. He wouldn't know what was going on when the friend who owned the figures started making decisions about the course of the game and didn't just quote rules. He'd spit out his kool-aid when the 'GM' shrugged and said he hadn't use points to work out the scenario or the forces, he just went with what felt right. His mind would melt and pour out of ears when he realised that no one was trying to 'win' and didn't give a poop about the odd half inch difference in charge range.
Yet, to outsiders we're playing the same game.
2. Gentleman, you can't fight in here, this is the war room
Mr Pimpcron makes a point about not being able to find games with other regulars at FLGS (an acronym that makes me shudder with some kind of innate british snobbery). He claims that you will only be able to get games if you are playing the latest edition as thats what everybody else will want to play and you have to have a common standard so you can play each other. So that you can find opponents. Note that we're not talking about games with friends. He seems to only play competitive games. Games with strangers, opponents who have turned up at a designated place to do the nerd equivalent of a dance off. Using your latest moves (and freshly glued plastic) in order to bewilder and embarrass your opponent which will lead you to be TEH WINNER!!
It's such a shame that Pimpcrom will never have the opportunity to meet my friends. The friends that I have made through playing/discussing (way more discussing!) old hammer related subjects. The friends from all around the world who have bonded over the most ridiculous of things but who frienships I cherish and would happily never win a game against as long as our free-rolling mish mash imaginations kept us giggling like helium fuelled 7 year olds for ever and ever and ever!
3. Here's looking at you kid
Is that the way the kids see us? Is that article an example of what current players assume Oldhammer is. Just a bunch of refuseniks?
The comments about this article generally sigh a breath of relief at this state of affairs. Generally thanking the lord that we don't have to play the tournament version of a wargame any more. Thats we can relax and socialise and not have to compete. The rest of life is such a competition why would want to do it when we are supposed to be relaxing? Sure we still show off our latest paint jobs and we subtly boast about collecting that full set of figures or getting that ultra rare one that loads of us are after, but it's all part of the collective pleasure. It's a shared Nerdgasm and it's part of the fun. You might get to play with that rare figure, or have the pleasure in seeing that ancient unit across the table and your soul will get a massive hug from it.
The sad thing about the BOLS audience reading that article and walking away from it with that image of Oldhammer is this.....the article promotes the absence of imagination. Why go to any effort to come up with an great scenario for a bunch of your mates to play when you can wait two months for a new codex and waste all the guys down the FLGS. You don't do anything unless it is officially sanctioned. You are not playing.
Oldhammer is the opposite. Oldhammer is rediscovering that imagination that spends it's days locked up in our heads who we try our best to be adults and deal with the competitive drones that inhabit the real world. The imagination that delighted and entertained us as kids has, for some of us, been rediscovered and is fuelling a renaissance in our sad little cerebellums. The idea of this brilliant new dawn being screwed down into a competitive format is an anathema. Long may it be so.
4. Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore
One of the largest misunderstandings in Pimpcron's article is that Oldhammer is the game, that all it takes to be Oldhammer is to refuse to buy the new game, or the new codex or the new figures and to simply play with what you already have. This version of the Oldhammer myth seems to have appeared around about the birth of Age of Sigmar and looks like the coopting of the old hammer name to describe the phenomenon of players not wanting to give up on WFB. If this is the case then Pimpcron and his likely huge audience is missing out what the Oldhammer movement actually is.
Oldhammer started out as a bunch of bloggers ploughing away in their own furrows. Doing their own things. All of them different and for different reasons and none of them thought of themselves as Oldhammer. Slowly they got in touch with each other and started to find common ground. A forum was born.A name was found. And then the forum was reborn. More people were drawn to the idea. A community developed. Games were played. Miniatures were swapped. Paint jobs were admired. A meeting up was suggested. An Oldhammer weekend happened. A Facebook group was created and another. And from there the exposure of Oldhammer has expanded exponentially. The mad little group and their unformed ideas have been exposed to the glare of the internet and have been unable to pin done exactly what it is they do.
This is because Oldhammer is not a thing. A thing can be described. Measured. Classified. Pigeon holed.
Oldhammer is a community. A community that has lots of differing opinions. Has had its fair share of arguments. Has members that don't like other members. Has cliques and sub groups. It is a community that is growing and it is a community that is living. Amen for that.
5. Thats what makes me sad : Life is so different from books
Pimpcron goes on to describe Oldhammer are stale bread. Never being fresh. Never getting a new book or army or ruleset means that you end just playing the same army and never getting the opportunity to improve it. Never seeing it change.
This viewpoint does more to put me off playing the way Pimpcron does than anything else he says. I can't imagine a situation where I only got to play the game the way it is written in the rule book. I can't imagine the only variation that I encounter being the way i'm allowed to set up or the victory conditions that were randomly determined from a choice of six which I had already built into my army choice any way. I can't imagine ever playing a game where some kind of story hasn't been developed as we play, where the other players and I chat and laugh as much as we play. The thought of not having fun and simply playing to win by using the rules is fairly tasteless. A lot of old hammer players have been there. I've played 4th edition 40K when I got back into gaming. I played 5th and I played 6th. It was the constant need to update and change that became bitter to me. There was no investment in your army, why bother, it was going to change soon anyway. The endless cycle that is only in place to ensure that there was a constant supply of new products to ensure a constant income (actually the ideal is a growing income) to keep the investors happy. It's what businesses do. It gets old.
Stale bread? Panzanella. Bread pudding. Breadcrumbs. Casse-croute. Ribolitta. Croutons.
It's about using your imagination.
So TL:DR version of my ramblings
Pimpcrons world = Rampant consumerism to crush strangers in shops
Oldhammer world = Playing imaginative games against friends and having fun