But that is what Games Workshop is doing - they posted a new community article here: www.warhammer-community.com/2021/11/23/armies-on-parade-gets-bigger-and-better-with-a-year-round-schedule-of-events/ Announcing a 'year round schedule of events'. And here they are:
- January – February: New Year New Army
- March – April: Battlefield Behemoths
- May – June: Gods of War
- July – August: Wizards and War Machines
- September – October: Fields of Battle
- November: The Grand Finale
I'm hopeful that this will really help the event grow. Honestly, I thought this year's AoP was a little lacklustre. Despite, or perhaps because of instore entries I think there was far less boards shown on social media. Although I'm not a huge fan of the competitive aspect it did always prompt people to celebrate what they'd won and share their boards in the process. But I don't recall seeing half as many of those sorts of posts, even compared to last year when it was all online submissions. Additionally, Tyler Mengel has been sharing multiple posts on Warhammer Community about AoP months in advance to gee up interest. It was quite an increase in promotion for it, although sadly the official website hasn't had quite the level of attention it should - still showing AOP 2020 information. I did message them about fixing it but they didn't update it.
I do have some reservations about the new format though. I'm not sure which year AoP started, it was at least 2012. I thought at that stage I didn't have an army to display and certainly not a board, and boards were mandatory back then. I wasn't naïve either - AoP is a great marketing tool to encourage hobbyists to buy more figures. I think this in part is why some folk were dismissive of seeing the same army displayed in successive years. But I always felt it was a parade of your army and no one should be penalised for not having the funds to start a whole new army. So, January - February's theme feels a little disappointing.
From a commercial sense it's genius - lots of Christmas money to spend and hobby pressies fresh out of the box, it's ideal for the community and GW. However, I hope they're clear about just how optional these themes are. The most important thing I learned about AoP over these 8 years is just how inclusive it is, a fact that I think is lost on many hobbyists. They see the competitive side, they see the amazing boards and there are many people who are just daunted by the level of effort and detail. And, they believe they can't win and so don't join in. But it is a parade, it is an opportunity to showcase your army, your hobby, in whatever form that takes. People get too hung up on winning rather than standing up and saying "this is my army, and I'm proud of my hobby". The minimum requirements have come down, you don't need a board and there are no model requirements. So, even the newest beginner with a handful of figures - even a Warhammer Underworlds warband could theoretically take part - that's how inclusive it's become. So I hope this aspect doesn't become 'pay to win', or even 'pay to join in' - that even taking part you need to evidence a new army or similar requirement.
On the plus side I'm not entirely sure what I would display in 12 months, so perhaps these themes might provide suitable direction to focus my hobby efforts. But I am a slave to my whims and motivations and they don't always align with what I want or need to do - just look how long it took me to fit #DreadTober into my hobby schedule. Perhaps some folk refer to do their board first, which helps inform their basing with countersunk bases in the board. But, and I'm guessing here, if boards are supposed to be 'September - October: Fields of Battle' that could throw some people's plans out of whack. This is all new though and the details are very light at the moment. With more information down the line I'm sure some of my fears might be averted.
What do you think about this new format? Does it make you more or less inclined to take part? Does it feel too much like 'organised fun' or a great structure to build a board and army around? Let me know.