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The Loaded Dice Table Talks II Page 6

Oct 30th, 2017 by Riel Richard

Final Thoughts from Riel

I hope "years of stuff in the hopper" is applicable to Necromunda as a whole. Maybe even that "shelved until further notice" statement was outright flawed. During its gestation and maturity period under the creative guidance of the entire dedicated fanbase, Necromunda has had the chance to become a sort of paradox. I say this in terms of it's scope and identity, in that given the microcosm setting compared to the larger 40K universe it exists within, it has grown to be unrestrained by any formal rigidity of structural canon. There are large holes in the context of the game's lore that are sheer wonders of their own to the game's loyal community. These plot holes drive the creative output of keen hobbyists, and allow for some completely individualistic takes on the underhive setting.

YakTribe has thrived on these sorts of discussions well into the depths of many unanswered questions. Keen ponderings on the spacial logistics of a hive structure; on the socio-political arrangements and movements of a society based in a House-division format. And even on transplanting the entire universe into other settings, or working out how introducing outside lore from the larger 40K system into the game translates with balanced mechanics and unsquandered lore. Our community has emerged to define itself in these sorts of omitted details, and it has been a trial by fire basis in curating our own abilities in critical thought towards such an entertaining thesis of fiction.

This requirement for hobbyists to step up and fill in the missing pieces has emerged from the game's orphanage, where the attempt for a Living Rulebook was scrapped mid-works, which could just have easily been the final shovel of dirt on a grave whose tombstone read Necromunda. But the tenacity of the fanbase to keep the game supported in some form speaks grand testament to the quality of the product: through the richness and detail of lore married to the balanced and well thought out core mechanics, the game lends itself so well to creative liberties and renditions from enamoured hobbyists willing to put in the work to keep it afloat, to keep it evolving and growing.

And while Shadow Wars: Armageddon marks a stirring of the coals and a reignition of the kindling from the company that started the fire, the slow burning crackle of flames has been keeping gaming groups warm for over 20 years now. Because Necromunda possesses a duality of time, in that it doesn't take 3 hour sessions to complete a game but you can nonetheless be several months into a campaign arc with the same grizzled crew as the protagonists of the story you are building. And were the fire not still burning, it could just as easily been ignored completely.

And so the the uncertainty of the game's future is something of incredible interest. Because for anyone returning to the game after an all too long hiatus, Necromunda as it currently stands might no longer fit into preconceived notions of what the game needs to be. Nor should it try, because the game ultimately doesn't need to be any one thing. It has expanded into countless individual aesthetic interpretations, and almost as many mechanically stylistic reimaginings. Like its own shelf of dusty codices, the online community has become its own direction of tutelage for a school of thought on game design and miniatures making. A supportive, constructive, and engaging community I share in the pride of belonging to, might I add. Because the Necromunda community really reflects the grassroots of the entire industry, all wrapped up in the microcosm of the underhive. Fortified by its mutual support and exemplified by the quality of work produced across its whole, the Necromunda community thrives on imaginative and creatively made miniatures pieces from ingenious and unorthodox materials.

From no two gangs ever being the same and all the efforts and thought that go into detailed customization to produce one-of-a-kind creations that double as both game pieces and works of art. And from the impassioned efforts to share the game system within the hobby and encourage others of all the perks and merits that come from this little sidelined game within the hobby. Because the end result isn't even defined by a growth in the Necromunda playerbase. Its all the games, additional supplements, and even complete rules revisions that share influence and ideals to the Necromunda system.

These are elements that the community firmly framed the product within, and these values resonate throughout every discussion on the forum. Because it always comes down to the people who are excited to share and encourage the works of themselves and others in this shared hobby interest. The terrain making mastery of Sean Patten has helped keep creative minds ticking while opening up huge possibilities for taking a second look at the aesthetic and reusefulness of common household items and thrown away rubbish. And the frontline interaction of Steve Stodden in fleshing out the array of customizable parts for making truly unique miniatures has been a stark contrast to the status quo interaction between manufacturer and fanbase, and the resultant product has meant that no collection could ever possibly be complete or a crowning achievement, adding only fuel to the creative drive of hobbyists.

Hobbyists who belong to an ever growing community, with the work of Ash Barker only expanding the audience even further out to intrigued science fiction enthusiasts that very well might otherwise never known of tabletop hobby options. Certainly not likely to be beyond the larger flagship game systems requiring higher investments, where instead games of a more affordable and approachable size can lead to more games played and more time learning and making and improving the skills that make the hobby so great. Because Necromunda genuinely is great, and it is great enough to have this entire community behind it. Great enough that it doesn't have to be unique to its own setting or original rules, and can be the framing for any of us to become game designers of our own. Because there is possibility in having ones hand in this craft, and Joey McGuire's works and successes with This is Not a Test showcase how the influences can be enriched into something completely different altogether.

It all results into a Necromunda community ultimately being about something more than just Necromunda. And the community became that way from the hard work, creative outlook, and ingenious attitude by the members that belong to it.

The Loaded Dice Table Talks II, by Riel Richard

Riel is a Necromunda hobbyist in his late twenties living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and feels compelled to refer to himself in the third person within the closing about the author blurb based on the expectations of the status quo...