Instagram is vital for the wargamer

I know a lot of gamers are put off by social media. There are concerns with privacy, toxicity, and the prevailing opinion that it’s pretty juvenile. These issues to have weight to them and may be something big-tech and communities can work on together. 

We used to, and some still do, gather in forums to get the latest hobby news or share insights. The ones I was on though didn’t work out especially well as they quickly turned into a nest of viper trying to prove their dragons. There was a lot of name calling, banning, and lies that I grew tired of it. With more open social media like Instagram, people seem to have a bit more decorum, though the ugly can still creep up now and then.

Wargaming is Social

The aspect of our wargaming hobby that appeals the most to me is building communities. Back in the House of Geek days with WarJeepney, we made so much content and had regular gaming nights that I can truly say I was genuinely happy with the hobby. While I didn’t have much resources to buy crazy amount of miniatures then, I used a lot of my time to help build our gaming experience and even build up the confidence of other gamers so they’ll commit more to the hobby group.

I’m not the best painter, strategist, or hoarder, nor do I especially try to be. I put in more effort with my online community engagement (which is crazy since I’m very shy and totally not confident!)

The Medium is the Message

Instagram allowed me to discover new styles, paradigms, and communities that restarted my hobby drive as a miniature wargamer. I used to trawl through forums to get my hobby fix but the ravages of time has seen me misplace my login details for the multitude of sites I used to frequent. Many of these once bustling centres of hobby have been shuttered, choked with dead image links, or unusable with aged UI. The Gram, in the parlance of the youth, gives you what you need quick: images, a way of connecting, and a way of discovering similar interests.

You don’t need to be the best, just be a positive contributor to the community. Leave your ego at the social media door as interacting online doesn’t have to be about your issues. Give praise, offer constructive criticism, ask questions, and generally be a good influence to the hobby. There are enough trolls and wannabe gatekeepers in our respective fandoms and too few champions for the hobby and the hobbyist. Your reasonable reactions and positive engagements will ensure that the hobby will be healthier for longer.

Below are just some of the accounts I follow which inspired me in ways beyond miniature wargaming:

My friend @hardpaints is an amazing painter and hoarder! He takes ages to complete armies for gaming and doesn’t play with unpainted miniatures, which means he doesn’t get to play often. His works are pretty stellar though especially if you’re into Batman Miniatures Game and Infinity.

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I just love @ingrimmson’s thematic works. The conversions alone defy reason and are reminiscent of Final Fantasy bosses!

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I discovered @bb_miniatures by listening to Boys of the Golden Throne. He’s a great miniature painter and hobbyist, and he even reached out to me to drop by The Spire when he found out I was also in Vancouver via Instagram. Just goes to show you the power of social media, particularly Instagram, to make connections.

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And of course @duncanjrhodes! The one who made “two thin coats” mainstream, before it was hijacked by keyboard wargamers. He has stellar GW and non-GW pieces, and is generally an all-round nice guy on the Internet.

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If you’re into miniature wargaming, get an Instagram account and share in the experience. It’s an amazing repository of inspiration, goals, and weird stuff that’ll keep your hobby fresh. While you’re at it, give me a follow as @itsthemadnessof and let’s grow together!

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