Often I’ve complained that there aren’t enough narrative-based Warhammer 40K events out there. I’ve heard more than a few gamers fault the Independent Tournament Circuit (ITC). They’re an easy organization to blame. They’re large, popular (it’s easy to hate the cool kids), and founded on a competitive platform.
In addition to nationally ranking players, maintaining an up-to-date list of upcoming ITC tournaments, and hosting annual national events, the ITC makes it easy for local game stores to run events in their community.
Path of Least Resistance
By developing rules amendments and tournament scenarios, the ITC has done most of the work. Local game stores need only set a date, announce an event, and refer player questions to the ITC FAQ. For lack of a better word, local game stores have gotten lazy.
While it’s easy to download the ITC format and run a tournament, these events cater only to competitive Warhammer 40K players, ostracizing other gamers and polarizing local gaming communities. Any casual or new player who signs up, unaware of what they’re getting into, quickly becomes disillusioned and could quit all together. But what can local game stores to do?
It takes a lot of work to organize and run events, plus they have a business to look after. It almost makes more sense to rely on manufacturer support. After all, Games Workshop designed the game. Who best to organize it?
Unfortunately Games Workshop spent the last decade isolating itself. This created a void in the Warhammer 40k community; one that was quickly filled by third-party organizations with their own testaments as to how Warhammer 40K should be played.
Games Workshop is, in a large part, responsible for diminishing community cohesion. Their lack of involvement created an atmosphere where organizations like the ITC are able to thrive, and we’ve built these organizations into false idols. Now we either play by their rules or don’t play at all. Local game stores reinforce this thinking by running only ITC-formatted events, polarizing the local community and driving away new blood.
Of course it’s easy to bitch about it from behind a computer screen. While ITC-type events have their place, they are not the end all be all of Warhammer 40K. If we want to see real change, we need to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to run the type of events you want to play. Chances are, you’re not alone. Here are a few organizations that consistently run events not based around an ITC format.
Need a little guidance? Reach out to them. I’m sure they’d be happy to help.
If you’d like to hear more about our views on Games Workshop and the ITC, check out this episode of the Inside the Gamer podcast, ITC OMG!