Playing in Isolation; part two.

To say that these are strange and uncertain times would be an understatement. The world is going into lockdown, and life is going to be far from normal for the next few months as we all battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. While the world will keep turning as we do our best to pass the time, boredom and mental health will be a major issue for everyone. This is especially true for all of you reading this at home, since the hobbies we enjoy are so rooted in community engagement.

Getting out of the house to play in an event at your local game store or hobby centre is usually one of the high points of the week, allowing us to chat with friends and leave the day-to-day worries of the world behind for a few hours at least. But with most countries (including here in the UK) halting mass gatherings in order to stop the rampant spread of the virus, these kinds of events will be put on hold for the time being.

If that weren’t bad enough, some of you will be stuck at home as a precaution against getting or spreading the virus. I myself am currently living away from my wife and children, as they are on lockdown due to health concerns. The fact that my day job is as a care worker means that my staying at home would put my family at risk, and I know I am far from the only one dealing with this kind of situation.

So it is imperative in these times of isolation that we stay in contact and watch out for everyone, even if it is from the comfort of our own (or someone else’s) home. Luckily, there are some ways we can all help each other stay connected and get our hobby fix.Today we will be looking at how to get your fix of battles in the Mortal Realm and the far future of the 41st millennium in part two of our Playing in Isolation series. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you pass the time and stay mentally health while we all wait out this pandemic.

Coffee Table Battles

Unlike some other hobbies, tabletop wargaming is very much a multi-person pursuit. Lining up your army for glorious battle is only fun if you have someone to play against. Hopefully some of you will have someone else in your home who is as much a fan of the hobby as yourself and will be able to play out some games with you, and if you’re really lucky, you will also have the room to have a full-sized gaming table upon which to stage your epic battles. If you have neither of these luxuries, fear not! There are a few things you can do – more on this to follow.

If you do have someone else in the house with their own army, but not a lot of room, you could decide to play a smaller skirmish game like Warcry or Kill Team. Not only are these games a ton of fun, but they fit onto a coffee table and so don’t take up too much room. If you’re in the mood for some ‘proper’ 40k or AoS, you can still have a game that only takes up a small space. Why not try some games of 40k in 40 Minutes: playing 400 point battles on a smaller scale to really test your skills as a Warmaster, or maybe have a few games of AoS skirmish if Fantasy is more your speed.

If you have the room but no one in the house plays, now is the perfect time to introduce them to your hobby. Why not get a copy of Know No Fear or Tempest of Souls and show your housemates, children, or significant other the joys of tabletop gaming. Or, alternatively, pick up a box game like Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda, or Blood Bowl for a family game night as a way of sharing your hobby with the household.

Even if, like me, you find yourself alone with no one to play with, you have ways of getting your hobby fix. Games like Space Marine Adventures and Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress are playable as solo games, allowing you to roll dice and have fun in isolation. I myself am playing through BSF and have just managed to conquer the second stronghold, and it has been a life sever as a way to keep my mind busy.

Paint Your Miniatures

You’re at home for two to twelve weeks. You have a shelve full of unpainted miniatures. It doesn’t take a genius to work out where I’m going with this. Using this time away from the gaming table to get that Chaos or T’au army looking tabletop ready is a great way to keep yourself busy. You could even keep a log of your progress and share it with the community to show off how much you have managed to get done (or share them with us in our monthly painting blog).

Even if your up to date on your hobby projects, that doesn’t mean you cant get started on another. Why not pick up a Start Collecting box and begin that new army you have been talking about. Maybe get some spare miniatures and try some new painting techniques you have been thinking about, or repaint/touch up those well-used metal Guardsmen you have had since 2nd edition. Most of all, have fun with the hobby. Use it as a way to keep you sane in these unusual times, and bring a little bit of colour into your day (and, hopefully to your models!).

Vox Link with People

One of the things that is going to be a real issue for some is the social isolation that can come about from being on lockdown in your own home. As I said earlier, getting out of the house to play some games is usually one of my high points of the week. It’s the time when a lot of us get to socialize with friends and fellow hobbyists, blowing off steam and allowing the stress of daily life to fade like a distant memory, if only for a short while.

Just because you are stuck at home, it doesn’t mean you are alone. If you don’t already, consider setting up an online chat or voice chat group on an app like discord in order to stay in contact with your local hobby community. Share pictures of the games you have played and the miniatures you have painted and encourage others to do the same. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to them about how you are getting on, as they will most likely be in a similar position to yourself and would probably feel better talking it out with a friend.

If you don’t want to set up your own chat group, there are a ton of online sites that are frequented by like-minded people in similar situations to yourself. I myself am part of more than a few groups and I’m always open for a chat. Remember, mental health is as important as keeping physically healthy, so stay connected and talk things out with one another. We all share this great hobby, and it has the power to bring us together even if circumstances mean we can’t do so in the real world.

I hope today’s article has been of some help to you. If you need to chat about wargaming, mental health or just want to share some fun meme’s, you can find me on twitter @MTGTengu. You can also drop us a line in the comments below. I currently don’t have any internet, but I’ll answer to any comments when I get the opportunity.

Look after yourselves and each other, and remember: “The Emperor is my Shield”.


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