Background of the project: The Fantasy Battles Hobby

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  • Here, I would like to elaborate a bit about what is "The Hobby".
    This is a very important concept for us, as it is the environment wich caused the game's creation and which still nurtures it.

    Let's trace back a little bit in History.
    Wargames were initially created as training for officers, played as preparation for contemporary wars. They have become since a leisure, and extended their simulations to non-contemporary conflicts. Embrionic Fantasy wargames existed as early the 70's, with Gary Gygax's "Chainmail" rules. It was an evolution of these wargame rules that led to the first role playing game, Gary Gygax's Dungeons & Dragons in the 70's. Fantasy wargaming and role playing both started to gain in popularity during the late 70s and early 80s. Games Workshop released its own role playing game that also included tabletop wargame rules, "Warhammer" in 1983. This was followed up by a supplement in 1984, "Forces of Fantasy", which focused on the wargame aspect rather than the role playing aspect. Games Workshop over the following decades was able to effectively refine and market Warhammer so it became the dominant and ubiquitous fantasy battle system that would be played during the following 30 years, in successive editions.
    "Vince Venturella's history of GW series, worth watching" describe a vivid relation of these early times.

    Within a few years, a whole Hobby emerged.
    If you think about it, there are several distinct components in the Hobby:

    - the first pleasure is collecting models, customizing them, painting them; participating to competitions for models or whole armies;

    - then comes playing games with these models, in epic battles including hundreds of models aligned in multiple regiments, or in small skirmishes;
    tournaments were organized, and progressively, independent organizers created specific adaptations to get more balance in the games;

    - many enjoy telling stories around these models, writing or drawing legendary battle reports or humorous stories;
    professional authors developed narratives in series of romances which were avidly read by fans; derivative roleplaying games based on wargame universes were developed;

    - derivative games were imagined aside of main wargames, which allowed to use the same models or new specific ones, in the same universe; for example, a fantasy football game named Blood Bowl became particularly popular, but there were also naval battles, alliance games, small warband games, skirmish games, video games…

    - a whole community developed around The Hobby. They would gather in local game shops or in large conventions. Fans discussed all aspects of their Hobby in more than a hundred of ultra-specialized websites and created many facebook communities in various languages.

    But relax! It is not necessary to be interested in all of these aspects to be a Hobbyist!
    Most Hobbyists are interested in several aspects, but each component has enough attractiveness on its own to satisfy many fans.
    Some only collect models. Some don't mind to play games with unpainted models, or are happy just to enjoy the atmosphere of a tournament. Some dream fluffy stories. Some let their creativity loose for developing new ideas. Some stick around just because they find the community cool and made friends there.
    And all of them are Hobbyists!

    In 2015, the main game animating the Hobby ceased to exist.
    Collectors were left with discontinued factions, players missed rules adapted to their former playstyle and competitions, storytellers lamented a destroyed and dead universe, and the Community massively dropped the frequentation of all specialized websites.

    The Ninth Age project was created in this context, to restore The Hobby into its glorious prosperity.

    This is done firstly through the provision of a new game: Fantasy Battles: The 9th Age.
    The game is designed to fill the unaddressed needs of Hobbyists, and is made with the help of the Hobby Community.
    The second step is to gather the community once again, and to grow it around a solid R&F fantasy game.

    We will examine that more in detail in the next article.

    Advisory Board

    Background Team

    Social Media Team

    - contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves

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