A NOTE FROM ERIC
First off, congratulations for every NEO who stepped up to run a Coalescence event in their local area. You made June 10th, 2017 a success! Thank you for taking a chance on our event pack and creating a space for your players to play narratively. Due to the overwhelming positivity we’re receiving, it looks like we made a great team.
Reports came in of a Ironjaw Weirdnob Shaman casting and sustaining the Foot of Gork to kick a Tzeentch Daemon Lord of Change in the beak, over and over until dead. Tomb King Chariot Skeleton Horses standing up to and killing a Seraphon Sunblood. A Beastclaw Huskard on Stonehorn stomping over a Khorne Bloodthirster only for its death to trigger a blood tithe and get a brass comet dropped on him.
Across the realms, these Keystone Shards were discovered and fought over, tuning themselves to the Alliance that fought the best. In the end, Chaos attuned the most Keystone Shards, unlocking the Diaphanous Fastness and harnessing the power of the Godbeast Eristrat for Archaon.
We received reports from 45 events across the globe, with more trickling in. These events varied in size from 4-14 and maybe some bigger. Games were played in Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, across the US, and more! We don’t have an exact count of participants, but it’s safe to say that several hundred wargamers participated. At the very least this places the Coalescence event up there with the most attended independent Warhammer Age of Sigmar events around the world; South Coast GT, Las Vegas Open, and Adepticon. This is a huge win for narrative events and NEOs.
Our social media streams were dominated with #CGNE17 tagged images of amazing armies and tables. In the past I had been a social media spectator of Realms at War and Realm Hopper events, sullen that I couldn’t attend myself. But June 10th was different, because I was able to attend and play alongside hundreds of other players around the world. This is true for others who are far away from the hubs of gaming, especially in the U.S. where the community is so spread out. People were able to attend an important AoS event close to home and this is a big deal for growing our community.
When creating the event pack for Coalescence, we wanted to create something that had obvious “signals” of narrative, such as varied list sizes, asymmetric scenarios, linked scenarios, and a scoring system that balanced scenario wins with epic feats of heroism. The goal is set expectations for participants that things won’t always be balanced, and that the story takes priority. We also wanted this to be easy to read, play, and step into for NEOs and players that have been to a narrative event. This resulted in ‘Narrative-lite’ mechanics and we worried wouldn’t be potent enough to focus people on the story over the competition. However, playing at my local event it was evident that a little narrative mechanic can go a long way in helping people make that shift.
A huge thanks goes to Games Workshop for supporting Narrative play broadly with the General’s Handbook, and giving narrative a visual and vocal space in our community. Not to mention how the models and war scrolls contribute to the stories. The Games Workshop team also supported the Coalescence event through the Warhammer-Community website and in some hands-on collaboration and consultation. It absolutely affirmed our efforts and gave us confidence to pursue this.
My last thank you goes out to the Coalescence Team. I won’t paint any illusion that we were a well oiled or organized bunch 100% of the time. There were plenty of frustrating moments, but the contributing individuals are of such character that conflict was resolved respectfully. Creating a streamlined pack that was easy to play also benefited us in that it took less rigor to get together. While the project slowed or attentions waned at times towards real life, jobs and family, there was always someone to keep the torch burning. In the end, what made this event amazing was being a part of a community of narrative lovers, sharing ideas and putting something out into he world that others could latch onto.
I briefly want to note that I saw a plethora of competitive gamers participating and enjoying their Coalescence Events. By building up narrative play, we’re not asking our community to pick one or the other. We’re giving them an opportunity to enjoy all the sides of gaming.
So what’s next? We now have 45+ NEOs and dozens more who want to be NEOs in our community and we need to see what they want to do next. It’s time to do some reflection, count our successes and failures, improve and start again (Coalescence 2018?). We want to share what we’ve learned, even the embarrassing stuff, so that others can learn from our journey and need to find the space to do so. We want to build the library of narrative resources available and we need some help figuring that out.
-Eric @StoneMonkGamer on behalf of the Coalescence NEO Team