Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Community Assistance Request: Plastic Armies for Real Soldiers

So I got this wild hair, and I need some guidance from the 40K community-at-large:

The other day I was reading comments on Big Jim's blog regarding the Killzone rules and how well they are being received. One of the responses was from a serviceman who indicated that he was deployed to Afghanistan and his squad is loving the game. I felt like an idiot that it never dawned on me previously...  that these men and women deployed overseas would prefer to spend their downtime pushing plastic and tossing dice. This got me to thinking; I bet its damn tough in many of their situations to actually acquire those 40K models to put on the table. And possibly even harder to find time to assemble it all. Maybe I can do something about that and thank them in some small way. A couple of assembled and/or painted models here and there, spread across multiple servicemen and/or units. Yeah... that's infinitely doable.

The problem? Not sure how to get the ball rolling.

The logistics I can do. The issue is I can't for the life of me figure out a good way to identify the appropriate servicemen or units. I have a tentative process in mind for acquiring and tracking the models, but how the heck do I even begin to figure out where the stuff should be sent? I don't want to spin up the whole thing only to figure out there's no one to send the stuff to. So I'm looking to the community for ideas, and here's what I need:

How do I identify 40K players in the service, deployed overseas? While I wish I could do this for all our servicemen deployed abroad, my preferred focus would be those areas like Afghanistan where gaming paraphernalia would be hard to come by.

Once I've developed a solid plan to identify individuals and shipping addresses, I can move onto phase two... gettin' the goods.

So cough it up geeks. How do I go about finding these folks? I don't have a heck of a lot of followers, but I get a ton of hits, so I'm hoping anyone who is interested in the idea will pass on a link to this post.

Would really appreciate your input on this one guys. Thanks in advance.




beakie said...

Try the USO.

Dryw said...

Thought about this, and admittedly I haven't contacted them yet, but do you think they'll be able to help me identify 40K'ers? Seems pretty specific.

vidboi said...

Find the most common, highly-trafficked 40k sites and maybe some specific USO-type sites and post there with your offer (should be fully fleshed out, etc). State clearly that models/squads/armies will only be shipped to overseas/deployed APO/FPO/DPOs.

There may be a much more elegant way to do it, but this may be a fairly straightforward, if not simple, way to get the ball rolling.

Dryw said...

Good ideas. Please keep 'em coming.

I'm also willing to take suggestions from family members, friends, or the occasional servicemen who might stumble upon RD&C here. Like vidboi stated though... I'll only ship directly to APO/FPO/DPO (the soldier). No proxy-ing, sorry.

Spyrle said...

As an expert in this serviceman / deployed thing, I would like to give the following advice:

1. Most of the stateside bases have a game shop or two that cater to those servicemen stationed their. For Example in Havelock NC for those stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, NC and for those at Camp Lejeune, NC. These could be a starting point to try and identify those gamers who would be able to play when deployed. The USO, is actively involved with supporting deployed troops throughout the world and could be a valuable asset.

2. Not all deployments are the same. Some servicemen (and women) will have the time and space to play a tabletop wargame. Others will find themselves living out of their armored vehicle for MONTHS at a time and don't have the ability to game. Those who get to stay mostly on the bases, however typically will do longer duration deployments supporting those who go outside the wire and would be able to get more use out of bigger game sets.

3. So what could a group of gamers use? If I was able to make contact with a person who knew of a group of gamers who were about to deploy, I would try and send them a set, like Space Hulk or the 40K Starter pack and maybe even the paint set. I would probably assemble the models and at least spray a quick basecoat and maybe a quick drybrush to bring out some details so its easier to tell which side is whose. Most likely these guys will have to try to teach others the game and the starter sets work well for that.

4. I have known others, who, when they deployed brought all the mini's and paints required to finish off an army. If you found one of these guys, he might just appreciate a few pots of paint and a brush or two. Seriously, sometimes the littlest things can make your day.

5. Lastly, what might work is a website where servicemen can post their deployment addresses, and the projects they are working on over there and others could pledge support and send a bit or two. Because of the ban (and logistical nightmare of delivery) on packages addressed to "Any Serviceman or woman" their are websites that a single service-person (ha) can sign up representing their unit and receive a large number of packages from generous people that they then distribute to others within the unit. These can generate a huge amount of donations that would surprise you.

Hey I hope this helps


Spyrle said...

I was ninja'd as I typed...

Dryw said...

Thanks Spyrle. Solid advice. Certainly a ton of good jump-off points for me to start digging.

I figured I'd have to set up a dedicated sub-site and a specific email at some point. Maybe I should un-ass myself and get to creating such.

Chris said...

I am currently in pre-mobilization getting ready for my second tour in Iraq. This time around it looks like I'll have a regular shift, and a few of the guys in my squad have taken an interest in my issues of White Dwarf. I imagine there are plenty of soldiers like myself on various forums who would key in on a thread like this. Coordinating with a game store near a base might work well, as they will have a decent idea who the gamers are and what their particular interests might be.

Like Spyrle mentioned, prior to leaving home I packed up 1000 points of Dwarfs, some paints, some brushes, and some tools so I could at least work on an army while I'm gone.

Most of the points mentioned above are good. Any starter set or boxed game would probably be well-received.

Dryw said...

Once I settle on a decent name (tomorrow, most likely) I will set up a stand-alone blog with all of the pertinent information for this project and link to it from here at RD&C.

I'm considering running with two options in tandem: generic staples (such as Tactical Marines, Fire Warriors, Ork Boyz, Necron Warriors, Eldar Guardians, etc) and by request "what do you need" based on individual (or groups of) recipients. All this will be laid out in detail. Just needs some time to gel.

The starter set ideas are great, but I'd like to keep the packages low weight/volume to keep my shipping costs reasonable.

One extremely important point: For a number of reasons (which I will detail on the new site) I will never ask for, or accept, monetary donations. Pre-built models and/or accessories only.

Thanks for all the input guys. Please keep the ideas coming. Its helping me a great deal.


Deadmeat said...

Very cool idea.

When I was deployed to Kuwait, all we had were cardboard cutouts of tanks and Bottle Cap Infantry on a rug. It would have been cool to get some minis.

But what Spyrle said is true. Not everyone will have time and most only need a little. I had alot of time on my hands. But keep us posted so we can all help.

Deadmeat said...

Oh how about for a Name
"Plastic Soldiers for Soldiers"
Just tossing it out there.

Dryw said...

Contacted the USO. They were extremely pleasant, but unfortunately not very helpful. The long uncomfortable pause after I tried to explain what I am trying to accomplish speaks volumes. They tried to point me to a USO donation center so I could drop off my donations. Not exactly what I'm thinking here...

So... need to explore more options. I truly feel once I get a couple of contacts with guys/gals that are deployed I'll be able to break this wide open and get rolling. Just not happening yet.

I'll keep at it.

Dryw said...

Please share this link. The more folks with eyes-on, the greater my contact opportunities.

Brother Vizlani said...

Post made and link updated on my blog. Surely, one of my 16 follower's will see it!

Brother Vizlani said...

Post made and link updated on my blog. Surely, one of my 16 followers will read it...

Dryw said...

Hah! Thanks Vizlani. Every bit helps.

Still not having a heck of a lot of luck... but still plugging away.

Nothing worth doing is easy, I imagine.

Drathmere said...

This is a really cool idea. It would be nice to ship a couple of armies and rules books overseas for use by our troops...though it does feel weird to send a war game to a war zone. Let me know how things progress.

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