Editorial: Moving to a New Meta
I've had a week to settle into my new digs in Oregon, cold, rainy Oregon... During this week, I took a few opportunities to explore the local gaming scene and see what it has to offer. I've never played any games in the area, so I definitely feel like the new kid in school. Right away, I realized things are very different here in the great wet north.
The first thing right away I noticed was that the players in the Portland area are far less competitive than those in the SF Bay Area. This isn't a bad thing, actually, it's a great thing! There are pockets of players who enjoy the full ITC format and all it has to offer, but there are also plenty of other players who would rather crack open a beer, and play some standard 40k. Previously, my 40k was basically limited to mostly ITC games, and it was kind of getting me down, but now I have found multiple ongoing narrative campaigns, as well as smaller groups of just pick up players.
The downside to this, is people tend to have an opinion on what is considered over-powered for regular use... and it ain't pretty. The last time I came up here to do some recon before the move, I overheard players talking about how OP the Adamantine Lance was, which by that point in time, was quite old and everyone else seemed to think the new formations in the codex were far better. The conversation devolved a bit from there, and went on about how Knights in general were destroying the game. When asked what army I played, I quickly changed the subject. Getting used to not making the most powerful list I can will be a challenge, but also means I can experiment with more units and enjoy the variety of models I own.
Living in the SF Bay Area, there were not many options for places to play. Gamescape in San Francisco was literally the only store in the city, and in the Oakland-Berkeley area it wasn't much better, Endgame was in Oakland and had a nice game space, but Games of Berkeley in well, Berkeley, kind of slid off and nobody played there anymore. I've found in my new area that there are no less than 5 stores I can easily get access to, the closest one being a very small and incredibly game shop, Glimpses of Wonder and Warfare, a mere 8 minutes from my front door. The biggest game store in the Pacific Northwest is also here, Guardian Games, which hosts many game nights with every game you could imagine, as well as being the venue for the Guardian Cup, a big annual RTT.
So how many people in Portland play? Good question, I have no idea. Due to the variety of venues and play styles, it is really hard to get a grasp on how many people around here play. The game nights at Guardian Games never seem to be found wanting for players, but at the same time, their attendance for specific games seems to fluctuate between nobody showing up and well over a dozen. I've found 3 different Facebook groups of gamers in the area, and have also been told that a lot of people just choose to play in their garage. The result of having all these game stores means that the player base is very decentralized and difficult to organize, an issue I'm working to resolve (keep your eyes peeled after Adepticon for something BIG).
If you like beer, then start praying to the Northwest, because Portland has more breweries than any city IN THE WORLD. It feels like every restaurant that's a step above Applebee's is brewing it's own beer in the basement, and it's awesome. This might be the perfect place to preach the word of Beerhammer, Guardian Games, even has a 21+ gaming area where they sell beer. I might have died and gone to heaven.
It's a totally different gaming environment here. In many ways, I like it more, with the diverse play styles I'm free to enjoy the game how I want and I'm sure to find people who like to play the way I do. Infinity is really starting to take off here, and I'm already recruiting new players from some curious 40k players. I think it'll be a good fit, and if not, I'll hopefully be too drunk to notice.