WIJ: Tell us a little about yourself. What is gaming like in Misawa?
Ryan: My name is Ryan Posey. I've been in the tabletop gaming scene for the past 12 years, mostly centered around the Games Workshop lines, but I have played almost every major game at this point.
Currently I live in Misawa Japan, way up north for those who don't know. It's a small rural community that doesn't have a lot to offer for a gaming group. However we've banded together pretty well so far. Our group here consists of about 10 active Warhammer players and a large contingent of gamers who play other tabletop games.
The hardest part here has been finding a place to play and getting people together with dis separate schedules. So far we've managed to get a few good Apocalypse games in. Usually every other weekend or so we get a few games going. Facebook has been our instrumental approach to getting players together, however I've been looking for a way to solidify and merge all the gaming groups so that we can have something more akin to the atmosphere you'd have in a Game Store.
WIJ: What would you say the makeup of your players is mostly? Active duty? Civilian? Locals? Expats? Have you tried reached by out to Japanese players?
Ryan: Our player base here is 100% active duty. We had some Civilians for a while, but there is absolutely zero market or base for Warhammer outside of the base here, I'd love to reach out to the Japanese here on and off base and get more players involved, but so far it's bee hard keeping our gamers involved. Truly a challenge in a rather geographically separated location like we have here.
WIJ: Space is certainly an issue for many groups. We are in the process of getting a space assigned through MWR and public works. Since we are a legal base group, we can do this. We also have been ensuring that our weekly meetings, officer roles, and other important things get done so that the base will be more likely to accommodate us. Has anyone tried creating a formal gaming group?
Ryan: We had started the process to create a formal gaming group through the base, we hit some roadblocks with our FSS/Orgs group here, but I'm not giving up and hope to have it established this winter! Once we have that, well, we'll see how space works out. We might have a place that's more permanent.
WIJ: How is it getting hobby supplies in Missawa? Do hardware stores and hobby shops or model shops cover the basics or does everyone rely mostly on Internet orders?
Ryan: Getting Hobby supplies here in Misawa isn't terrible. If you need paints, Tamiya supplies, Mr Hobby, any of the Japan brands, it's very easy. There are quite a few locations up here to get anything you could need. Otherwise there's always the Mail! I tend to paint with almost 100% GW paints, but sometimes I need special things to work with when putting together a Golden Demon Entry or something, and usually I can find it or get it without too much issue.
WIJ: What are your hopes for the future of gaming in Missawa? How do events play into that vision? Can you tell me about the event coming up, it's history if any and what the plans are?
Ryan: I have to hope in the future we'll have a solid group willing to get together every weekend or other weekend with a good outlet for pickup games or arranged games. Furthermore I'd love to be somewhere with high visibility so we can have others get into the game when they see us playing.
Events, I feel, are the cornerstone for this. Case in point, this last weekend we held our 2nd Annual Omnicon. Last year we had no Warhammer Present. This year we had two of us running Demo games, showing off miniatures, and discussing the game with everyone. We had a painting tutorial and showcase that lots of people were interested in. I feel we probably reached a good 200 people, and had some decent interest. This led to us discovering 4 new players and getting at least 2 more than likely involved in the hobby. I'd love to showcase more, and more often, but that's been a challenge.
The event was a gaming and hobby event, with video games, Magic, Warhammer. Warmachine, Dust Tactics, and about every board game or other one shot tabletop game you could imagine. We had Anime, cosplay, Oculus Rift, and green screen photography. All in All we had 600+ people show up, and even had Japanese nationals from JASDF, and off base attend. Numerous Vendors were in attendance as well, including off base vendors selling cards, as well as artists.
Huge thanks to Ryan for taking the time to answer some questions and get the word out about gaming in the Misawa area. If you have questions about Misawa gaming or want to get a game in, you can contact Ryan here.