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Community Spotlight -

Welcome to this community spotlight section once again, this month I have had the privilege to interview Kieren Jones

This is someone I have found through the wonders of social media on instagram and here is a link

I have asked them to be interviewed to find out their hobby styles and life, and see if others can gain from their experiences.

First off thank you Kieren

Lets begin with some basic questions so people can get to know you,

Can you tell the folks a little about yourself

How did you get into the hobby of tabletop wargaming?

I was around 9 (25 years ago!) when my brother picked up a White Dwarf and I used to pour over the mock up battles, drawing little lines between the models and titans to see who would win. I had no idea how to play but I loved the models and gradually built up a collection via birthdays, pocket money and Christmas presents! My brother never really stuck with it but would dip in and out but I had a pretty prolonged love for the hobby ever since.

I started my lifelong love of Space Wolves due to a giant battle of Ultramarines, Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Space Wolves fighting a rogue Imperial governor – for the era it was fought in it was a rather large battle. The Space Wolves land speeder flanked and killed him as he fled. That was how it all began.

What type of hobbyist are you? A painter/collector/gamer or a mix?

I would say a mix but I am not a very keen painter – more I do it because I have to. I have a hefty Horus Heresy collection and I’ve even started picking up bits of original art used in the Games Workshop publications so I’d say that probably makes me a collector more than anything?

However, it’s all with the end game of having a friendly game or two over a few drinks. So it’s safe to say a mix.

What game systems do you play? Are you simply a one game person or do you play many different games?

I dabble with a heavy preference for Games Workshop games. I’ve got a hefty chunk of 30k stuff but I also have Aeronautica Imperialis, Adeptus Titanicus, Blood Bowl, Necromunda and a few non Games Workshop games/board games – the Tombstone rulebook is sat out in front of me for example as something I’d like to try out and the Nemesis boardgame kickstarter exclusive stuff arrived today too.

What was the thing that caught your eye the most them you were first starting out?

White Dwarf was fantastic for this back in the day. I’d get the articles and drool over the art, the stories and the battle scenes. It was very accessible for all ages – even if it was aimed at older folk – it was just so colourful and had funny little parts to it. The lore for Games Workshop is so strong that it makes it really easy to understand why Space Marines are mighty or what it is about the Orks that makes them so comedic.

What advice would you give someone just getting into the hobby/or your younger self, now you have been involved in this for a while?

If I had a time machine to go back to my younger self, I’d probably tell him to cool his jets and that not everything needs to be picked up right away. But back then models were quite a bit cheaper too so it was easier to enter the hobby and buy lots of different cool toys.

For someone today I’d say that you should really plan out an army, especially if you are younger. It’s far too easy to just spend your money on something that looks cool but on the table might not fit your army. Ask for help, we’re all happy to advise. Start with the rules, it’s generally okay to play without them for a few games but eventually your newbie card expires and asking without having your own set is frowned upon.

Have you ever had an extended period out of the hobby?

From the age of around 17 to 23 I took a break for university and because I felt like the hobby would get in the way of finding a girlfriend (how wrong I was – my wife is very supportive of my hobby!)

How did you get back in?

I was working in a job that meant I was away from home a lot and that had a lot of sitting about. I started reading forums again and realised I wanted to give it another go. So I picked some stuff up and started going to events/clubs and eventually found my local group up here in Inverness and have been regularly hobbying since.

What’s the best part of the hobby for you?

I surround myself with like minded people and that’s awesome for me. Our hobby has a negative reputation for being exclusive or for fat lonely neckbeards but actually you know what? That’s not the case for me. I’m very lucky to have people I can share ideas with and bounce concepts off and just have a good laugh with. The best bit of the hobby is the lore, the background and the stories but without good people around you that means nothing. So absolutely 100% the people I am lucky enough to get to spend time with either at home or at events.

What is the worst part of the hobby for you?

I have no time for people who play with the WAAC mentality. Outside of a tournament I don’t understand it and I don’t enjoy that mindset. It’s what inspired me to start working on narrative events as a primary source of enjoyment and there’s no looking back.

I’d probably also add in that when people ask for advice I find it a little frustrating when the advice is centred around that same mentality. For example someone asks how to start a World Eaters army in the Horus Heresy game and invariably within the first few comments they are told that the Rampager unit is rubbish with no regard to fluff/aesthetic reasons to use one. Let the person know they aren’t the best by all means but don’t completely shut them off to that idea.

What keeps you in the hobby?

Community, friendships, having the time to appreciate the hobby. Without those three flagstones I think I’d have dropped out by now. The fluff is important as without it the game is just a game but I really need to enjoy it with others to get the most from it.

How do you deal with burn out/lack of hobby mojo?

Sometimes you just have to clear stuff out that’s not being used. Other times you need to persevere and commit to do 10 minutes a day. But the number one tip I have is that it’s okay to put things away for a while. If it’s in your face and taunting you – put it in the loft or in a cupboard. Do something else. You can come back to it again. It’s fine to accept temporary defeat.

Has anyone inspired your hobby style/life?

There was a period from the age of about 12/13 till I was 16/17 that I would frequent the Games Workshop Falkirk store every weekend, both Saturday and Sunday from opening till near close. I lived for that place. The store was run in a very friendly manner with a couple of staff members that were just the happiest days for me.

One was nicknamed Pinky after Pinky and the Brain (he was a dead ringer) and the other I think was called Michael. The pair of them just ran a really friendly atmosphere that young me really appreciated. I was allowed as a youngster to hang with the older kids and it felt like I belonged. I’m sure I was a little annoying shit and they just put up with me to be nice but it was a really happy hobby time. They may not have been there for that long or for that entire period but I have so many fond memories of those days. It also found me one of my favourite bands – The Barenaked Ladies and we used to sing one particular high note during the song If I Had A Million Dollars, that song stuck with me all these years and was my first dance when I got married this year!

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I have Adeptus Titanicus and Aeronautica Imperialis to paint but my main focus is my Horus Heresy Space Wolve army – I’ve got easily 20,000+ points and a lot of that is down to vehicles that are sat unpainted so that’s on the cards for the next wee while. Once they are done I’ll be hoping to move house and get them all in a nice cabinet for displaying.

Do you plan out projects/armies or just get sucked into the trap of collecting everything?

I am guilty of just buying stuff that I want to work on when I see a good deal. I like to magnetise or utilise whatever is possible. I recently bought a lot of sicaran tanks and sold off the hulls just so I could have all the turret options. I’m a bit of a completionist, my Space Wolves don’t really lack anything anymore because I’ve made sure to put in a bit of everything.

If your budget was unlimited but you could only buy one army what would it be?

That’s easy – I’d stick with my Space Wolves. I love the stories, the models and the range. They have been my army for 25 years and I can’t see that changing soon. They are the epitome of rebels and with that freedom and carry on that they seem to have it couldn’t be anything else.

What do you hope to improve with regard to your hobbying in the future?

I have to get stuff painted but more importantly I have to learn to paint well. I can do the basics but I’d like to get a bit better. Overall my hobby is in a good place, we’re looking to move house soon so having a dedicated Warhammer room would give me the opportunity to display my art, armies and get games in without the pain of tidying up immediately after each game. And obviously recruit more gamers!

None standard questions

What made you start hosting events?

Scotland has a vibrant community for the Horus Heresy game and some of the finest painters in the world. Someone ran one event for 30k and 8th edition hit shortly after and took a lot of people’s focus away. I had attended the Company of Legends events in Durham and they gave me a bit of inspiration to give it a go. We have the community and the people but no one really took the bull by the horns. It’s been well worth it and now I have access to a wider pool of players that I really need to get organised with more meet ups and gaming.

There is a need for narrative over competitive gaming in our hobby and I enjoy writing campaigns and stories so with my friend Micheil we decided to give it a go. So far we have 3 events under our belt and the fourth is looming on the 30th November 1st December at Common Ground Games in Stirling, feel free to contact me for details.

Do you have a large 30k community where you are?

Inverness for some reason seems to have quite a healthy 30k community. We’re drawing people in to try it or to dust off old models and give it a go. At a guess we’ll have something in the region of 20 people dabbling in it, which considering the rural side of Inverness is something most communities would be envious of.

The Scottish scene is quite healthy too with pockets of people all over the place.

Have you got any hints and tips for bringing people into the 30k community who maybe 30k-curious?

With the Betrayal at Calth and Burning of Prospero sets having gone OOP it’s a little tricker to get that nice bundle deal but I would say that the best thing to do is ask if you can borrow an army or play someone who has plenty and use their stuff (most 30k fans don’t stop at one army!). See how it feels for you. It’s based on the old 7th edition ruleset for 40k – unashamedly so as it wasn’t a bad system for the 30k game – so if you come from 8th you might find it a little more complex to play through.

Start slow – get an HQ and two troops choices and play some very small games till you see what your legion/army strengths would be. Don’t go overboard early on.

How do you get ideas for the missions at your events? Previous events you have been too or just random ideas that sound cool?

I just love writing them. So far I’ve demonstrated a bit of a knack for the mission writing with minimal groans from those playing. Our events are quite tongue in cheek about Scottish myths so we went out and spent £40 on plastic sheep models for one mission because it was funny to have these animals roaming about on the boards.

Generally people are excited just to not be playing core rulebook missions so you can try things – they won’t all work –try them anyway!

What do you think about the argument that ‘30k is boring because its just marines vs marines?’

For some people that’s boring. For me it offers a more balanced system in some ways because most things have a similar feel with nuances added.

But ultimately the thing I love about it is what makes some people hate it. It’s the age of excess. You can have your 20 man tactical squad removed in one barrage of shooting, that expensive tank can be exploded by sustained fire. To some that’s annoying to put all that effort in to paint for that to happen – for me that’s what the Horus Heresy was about. Space Marines and equipment wasted in droves because Horus couldn’t grasp what he had signed up for and the Emperor didn’t explain it well enough. It’s more historical gaming than anything else.

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